Southeast Asia and Beijing Olympics

Global Voices OlympicsClose to 200 athletes from the Southeast Asian region are participating in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The big news (as far as the region is concerned) during the opening ceremonies are the exclusion of Brunei during the event and the “improper” waving of the Singaporean flag by the country’s flagbearer.

Brunei was expelled from the opening ceremony because it failed to register on time its two participating athletes. Kati-Ella is angry:

“How could Brunei's Olympic Committee miss the deadline to register our athletes? What do these people do? There's a whole committee to look after two athletes! Everyone was there….even Iraq and Afghanistan…even the poorest countries in the world were there….I'm so depressed.”

The flagbearer of Singapore made a mistake of dragging the country’s flag on the floor. Chronicles of SGnia writes:

“I couldn't say I am a patriotic Singaporean. In fact, I never was. But when I saw how my country flag is treated, I am disgusted. It swept on the ground of the “bird nest” stadium in Beijing in front of billions watching in the world.”

Adding to the controversy was the fact that the flagbearer was not born and raised in Singapore. DK is disappointed:

“I feel a bit disgrace when our national flag is being carried by a foreign talent during the Olympic opening ceremony. Why are we buying talents to bring an Olympic medal back?”

The Philippines too has sent foreign talents in the Olympics. Confluent Thoughts mentions this issue:

“We sent a little more than a dozen athletes most of whom perhaps were trained some place else, to the biggest sporting event in the world. I don’t know with you, but I’d say, that reflects the pathetic state of Philippine sports!”

Are Southeast Asian countries desperate to win a gold medal? Since the start of the Olympic Games more than a hundred years ago, Southeast Asian countries have only won 51 medals overall. Governments have been increasing the financial incentives for athletes who will bring home a gold medal.

Most bloggers in the region were impressed by China’s preparation for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Indonesian blogger Jenny's Journies sums up the reaction of bloggers: “It is beyond words!”

A Malaysian blogger is proud of China and Asia:

“I would put my praise on China for such an awesome, fantastic, bombastic, acrobatic, ‘out of this world’ opening, that I would have to rethink of any other nation that could ever beat the Beijing games in years to come. I am very much sure that there is a great sense of envy that China could build up such a spectacular show. I had the feeling of pride swimming in my heart, despite the host nation having little to none of connection to me. I guess, this is what they call ‘One Asia for the whole of Asia‘.”

Quachee adds:

“The opening ceremony was simply spectacular. China really took this opportunity to inform the world about itself in some subtle ways…The coming in of the athletes in the non conforming way of the usual alphabetical order. I believe that this shows that China is prepared not to heed any rules, but instead is ready to make its own rules (in fact, it already has) for the world to follow.”

Tan Geng Hui’s Homepage writes:

“This awesome opening ceremony, was simply mind blowing, they captured my heart and thoughts, from a sporting and world citizen perspective. The crowds were simply superb, the performances dazzling and spectacular, showcasing how the inventions and creations of China, helped to shape the world. It certainly lived up to its reputation and promise, to be the Best Olympics Opening Ceremony in history.”

IZ Reloaded praises and criticizes China:

“It's great to see a fellow Asian country putting up such a wonderful spectacle but as the Chinese spent millions to make sure their Olympics is a success, I can't help but think about the millions of people in Darfur who are suffering because of the Chinese continued sponsoring of the genocide there. China may have staged the greatest Olympic Opening Ceremony ever but they have to look at themselves for assisting in the death of hundreds of thousands of people thousand miles away.”

No. 18htn believes the Olympic should be “a celebration of sports and not a bad brew of politics.” Mum's the Word (or Pa) adds that politics should be minimized:

“We shouldn't import too much of the calculations of politics into the striving of honest sportsmen. Let them show off their sporting skills!”

How was the Olympic TV coverage in the region? VA to VN observes in Vietnam:

“The Vietnamese broadcaster didn't really say much about any of the countries until it got to the former Soviet Bloc – he was talking about Sergey Bubka when Ukraine was announced. I guess all the communist countries know each other.”

Andystorm is annoyed by too many advertisements. Since a state-owned network is broadcasting the Olympic Games in Indonesia, Java Milk hopes there will be less TV ads. First Draft from the Philippines has a complaint too:

“I've waited for some time for the Philippine delegation during the parade of participating countries. Unfortunately, when the Philippines’ time to show up came, it only merited about three seconds on TV.”

Regional leaders attended the opening ceremonies. Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, was seen taking some pictures at the stadium. Philippine President Gloria Arroyo and Cambodian King Sihamoni Norodom were also at the opening ceremonies. A blogger asks if Singapore leader MM Lee, whose face was very red during the program, was a bit drunk?

The Daily Brunei Resources shares a brief history of the Olympics. Check out the regional medal tally.


  • It would have been easier to enjoy the ceremonies without knowing about the intense suffering going on at the same time in the western part of the country. Not sure why the govt could not see the wisdom of simply letting the people conduct peaceful protests.

  • savageveg

    i’m boycotting china, the olympics, and everything that has to do with the both
    of them. the games should’ve never been brought to china.and bush shouldn’t be
    in china right now posing for pictures, smiling. do you know how they treat
    their people, animals, and the environment? i’m not saying any one country’s
    perfect, but seriously? china? they’re evil! and the fact that they make no
    attempt what so ever to remedy their evilness is sickening! so what do we do?
    pat them on the back and give them the olympics. yeah, you guys kinda forgot how
    they’re trying to kill everyone from kids to pets cuz everything’s made in china
    and it’s all poison!(oh maybe they didn’t know there was lead in the toys, or
    wheat gluten in the pet food~whatever!) you guys need to wake up and stop going
    with the flow. you’re followers, not leaders! who cares about sports, for one?
    and secondly, it seems this olympic thing is only for entertainment, money, and
    publicity. who cares who can run the fastest from w
    hich country? when they’re skinning animals alive for their fur and directly funding and supporting the
    continued genocide in darfur ~all you care about is that you feel disrespected
    because a piece of cloth representing your country was dragged in the dirt? wow!
    you need to get your priorities straight. we should not be rewarding china for
    their mass slaughter of EVERYTHING. no, instead, i think we should forget about
    how far someone can jump and think about how the people of darfur would surly
    much rather have their flag dragged in some dirt as opposed to being starved,
    rapped, tortured and murdered. yeah, that sounds about right.

  • wei

    1 billion people watched US vs China; Phelps was great in swimming, China dominates in diving…and the opening Cer was the best ever.

    Go ahead and live your cave, no one cares.

  • chan

    I am proud of Asia, China……all man kind and The World.

  • so_damn_lame

    yo savageveg,

    People like you piss me off to no end. So, for every animal you don’t eat, I will eat three.

    Here’s something for your enjoyment.

  • I forgot to add that maybe the Vietnamese broadcaster likes RISK and Seinfeld!

    Savageveg, let me guess, you are like this lady that got brutalized by the Beijing cops for protesting at the Olympics:

    Oh no, there is wheat gluten in pet food! *Wheat gluten*

    If you want to be naively strident, try not to be a naively strident idiot. People eat wheat gluten – normal folks eat wheat gluten in China. Poor folks eat wheat gluten in China. Wheat gluten gets gussied up as sold as Tofurkey, or Morningstar burgers or whatnot to people like you. It was *contaminated* wheat gluten that was the issue. You know, sorta like the poisonous, deadly tomatoes, lettuces, alfa sprouts, etc. that killed people – and grown in that evil place that is California, and Florida, and Mexico!

    That high horse you are on gives you a skewed perspective on the world.

  • Sky Traveler

    If you people have confidence, come out and admit that you are

    and Chicken

    Instead of hiding behind some nation (USA) and yell nonsense

  • Mulan

    @ savageveg

    part of the money made of Olympics is funding your economy so you can sit at your laptop barking nonsese.

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