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After the Olympics: What's Next?

Now that the Olympics are over (and how about those closing ceremonies? Those of you who found my comments on the Opening Ceremonies distasteful should count yourselves lucky I didn’t blog the closing ceremonies) everyone is asking what will be next. It’s a good question: I first came here about a week and a half or so after the IOC selected Beijing to host the 2008 games, so I have never actually known the city without the Olympics looming in front of it.

What’s next? Dinner for now. Then calligraphy practice — I’m trying to learn to write 篆书 seal script with a brush. Calligraphy is a bad sign among foreign students of Chinese: it starts out innocently enough, but before you know it you’re all hopped-up on the 古琴 guqin zither and studying 相声 xiangsheng and god-all knows what else, until you wake up six months later to find yourself in a dumpster missing a kidney, wearing a Mao suit and singing 对面的女孩看过来 “Hey Girls Over There – Look Over Here!” on a foreigner talent show.

16 Comments

  1. Soong Li wrote:

    篆书 is kind of boring to me.

    I wish someday you would get a chance to see some genuine masterpieces of calligraphy in China, it’s pretty hard though.

    Keep practicing calligraphy. I’m sure you will get more fun from it – much much more fun than watching opening ceremony.

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 11:26 pm | Permalink
  2. Todd wrote:

    Something I hate: after singing a song (badly of course), somebody suggests that you go on one of those foreigner freak shows. In other words, “You’re pretty fly…for a white guy”.

    Soong Li: I’ve seen some really nice calligraphy in the national art museum. I don’t whether they are masterpieces by your standards though… :)

    Thursday, September 4, 2008 at 7:47 am | Permalink
  3. syz wrote:

    Wow. Pretty soon you’ll be writing about how you’re cleaning earwax with a metal implement that has no proper name in English, you’re flossing with the same string of floss you snipped off in April, and you’re finding that two spoonfuls of “royal jelly” 蜂王浆 (obtained from a communal hive cultivated for 17 generations in a country village) consumed every morning with springwater really does have the restorative, curative and aphrodisiac powers that your 四合院 neighbor had told you about.

    Thursday, September 4, 2008 at 8:42 am | Permalink
  4. Will wrote:

    “Before you know it you’re all hopped-up on the 古琴 guqin zither and studying 相声 xiangsheng and god-all knows what else, until you wake up six months later to find yourself in a dumpster missing a kidney, wearing a Mao suit and singing 对面的女孩看过来 “Hey Girls Over There – Look Over Here!” on a foreigner talent show.”

    Hasn’t that all happened to you already?

    Saturday, September 6, 2008 at 2:16 pm | Permalink
  5. Brendan wrote:

    Oh, heavens, no. Death before dishonor and all that. I’ve never even been on TV.

    Saturday, September 6, 2008 at 3:44 pm | Permalink
  6. Michael wrote:

    Personally I’m pleased the Olympics are over, because now the real sport, Murderball, can be viewed in all its wonderful glory.

    Also, what’s wrong with a foreigner freak show? We do the same thing to them in the name of diversity fairs, culture events, or whatever else you want to call it on various college campuses…the call of, “Hey, you, go dress up like your great-grandparents and dance for us” knows no cultural bounds.

    Sunday, September 7, 2008 at 8:58 pm | Permalink
  7. trevelyan wrote:

    Some of us skip right to 对面的女孩.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 6:00 am | Permalink
  8. David wrote:

    Hey dude, you should update your blog now.

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
  9. christopher wrote:

    Hey there, so I’ve been reading your blog for a bit over a year now although I’ve never posted. Always entertaining, and sometimes brilliant stuff. The way you wrote a few articles was simply poetic, blew me away when I was reading it.

    Now why I commented for the first time. You’ve taken breaks here and there from blogging, but you need to post more. That’s right, I, a complete stranger, am imposing upon you to blog more for my enjoyment.

    But hey, give it another few years of incredible articles and I might just drop you another positive comment!

    Friday, December 5, 2008 at 6:47 pm | Permalink
  10. Hutong Robot wrote:

    I have a moderately interesting comment about the Singularity on the way.

    But for now, I want to super-顶 with an extra layer of 沙发 the concept that Bokane, as a phenom, has only existed in Beijing since post-Olympic Nod times.

    Coincidence?

    Yes.

    But also 缘分. Which is a super-顶-ed state that Coincidence can achieve under certain rare extra-沙发 circumstances in which Coincidence acquires an extra gluon (stuck to the borders of its 鼻孔, in a mildly gelatin state, commonly referred to by physicists as the “Super-顶 鼻屎-2 State”, also sometimes referred, as in physics shorthand, as a 顶-Ah-Ling).

    Is causality implied in the Super-顶 鼻屎-2 State?

    Ah, I knew you’d ask that!

    You see, this is where it gets theoretical: I’m not implying that Bokane caused the Great Nod, but we’re just not yet at a point where we can talk falsifiables with any great degree of 沙发-bility.

    Apologies to those of you can’t read Chinese. I don’t know some of these physics terms in English.

    Anyhow, the point is, Bokane — the phenom, not necessarily the person — and the Beijing Olympics are strangely connected.

    This is extra 顶-Ah-Ling.

    Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
  11. Hutong Robot wrote:

    Clearly, the Singularity is coming. And soon.

    Why? Because for thousands of years, philosophers have known the famous 篆书/ Warren Ratio.

    It goes like this:

    When the length of time it takes a foreigner to go from learning 篆书 to singing 对面的女孩看过来 on a CCTV talent show approaches equivalency with the length of time it takes post-election Obama to turn his back on the people who elected him and embrace Rick Warren, the Singularity becomes imminent.

    We’re rapidly approaching a 1:1 on this.

    Back in Matteo Ricci’s time, for instance — with no CCTV or pressing inner need yet on the part of men for women to 看过来 from 对面 — we were all pretty safe from both Rick Warren gaining control of the US Presidential Inauguration to make funny faces at women, gays, lesbians and anyone else living unbiblicaliciously, and/or the sudden rise of self-aware super-powerful post-human intelligences who decide, “Earths belong to us now, ha-ha-ha.”

    Wait a second…. Nah. Never mind.

    No, wait. Could Warren and Barack be the harbingers of the Singularity? No, that’s crazy. The sudden rise of self-aware super-powerful post-human intelligences who decide, “Earths belong to us now, ha-ha-ha” could never be heralded by such a silly event. Forget I mentioned it, and, for goodness sake, please, don’t buy survival kits prior to the Inauguration. It’s going to be okay. Even it is the beginning of the Singularity, we might be safe in China. Self-aware super-powerful post-human intelligences might not want to deal with the foreign policy hassles associate with interfering with the internal affairs of China.

    Then, again, the Walmart Super-Building in Wang Jing has a sort of Singularity vibe to it. And there’s the Mystery Wart landing pad on the CCTV WorldWide Pants Building. These could be advance forces.

    Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 10:55 pm | Permalink
  12. hiusan wrote:

    I just know about this, hello O’Kane, i’ve pay attention to your blog for a few days. Good job.

    Monday, December 29, 2008 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  13. Julien wrote:

    Ok, I confess: I did sing 对面的女孩看过来 in one or two shows….

    Tuesday, December 30, 2008 at 4:38 pm | Permalink
  14. imron wrote:

    Man, I’m so disappointed you didn’t do a similar run through for the 春节晚会 :-D

    Monday, January 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink
  15. imron wrote:

    Oops, meant to post that comment in the opening ceremony thread.

    Monday, January 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm | Permalink
  16. Kaiwen wrote:

    @Todd

    Or, as we said in Taiwan, pretty 帥 for a white guy

    Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 2:22 am | Permalink

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