Wednesday, August 06, 2008

8th August 2008 at 8pm. That's the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The Chinese are crazy of the Number 8. They love it so much because they believe it means prosperity / wealth / fortune. Therefore, even the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games will be focused on getting as many Eights as possible right from the date to the time.

Wikipedia has this to say:
The word for "eight" (八,捌) in Chinese (Pinyin: bā) sounds similar to the word which means "prosper" or "wealth" ( - short for "发财", Pinyin: fā). In regional dialects the words for "eight" and "fortune" are also similar, eg Cantonese "baat" and "faat".

There is also a resemblance between two digits, "88", and the shuang xi ('double joy'), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters 喜 (xi, 'joy', 'happiness').

The many issues encountered before the games is really making this Olympic Games into more than just a sport event. The terrorist threats, the pollutions, the Sichuan earthquake, the Great FireWall of China to cut down on press freedom, the Xinjiang, Tibet and Falun Gong are all the problems and potential problems faced before the games. Hopefully, everything will settle down nicely when the real events take place.


When I was in Shanghai more than a year ago, they had already been promoting the games. The mascots were already appearing in all sorts of forms. Well, they have a full description from their website. Basically they all combined together to mean literally Beijing Is Welcoming You!

"Like the Five Olympic Rings from which they draw their color and inspiration, Fuwa will serve as the Official Mascots of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, carrying a message of friendship and peace -- and good wishes from China -- to children all over the world.

Designed to express the playful qualities of five little children who form an intimate circle of friends, Fuwa also embody the natural characteristics of four of China's most popular animals -- the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow -- and the Olympic Flame.

Each of Fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name -- a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.

When you put their names together -- Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni -- they say "Welcome to Beijing," offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of Fuwa as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games.

Fuwa also embody both the landscape and the dreams and aspirations of people from every part of the vast country of China. In their origins and their headpieces, you can see the five elements of nature -- the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky -- all stylistically rendered in ways that represent the deep traditional influences of Chinese folk art and ornamentation."

I like the ONE WORLD ONE DREAM as the main theme for the Games.


As for the architecture, of course there are a few crucial landmarks already created for the games. For the full descriptions, you can check out the information here. The two most crucial buildings are the Bird's Nest and Water Cube. The Bird's Nest is the National Stadium designed by the famous Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron with China Architecture Design Institute. Bird's nest is a Chinese culinary tradition with many health benefits and your guess is as good as mine why it ended up being the main building for the games. The Water Cube is actually the National Aquatics Centre. The famous environmental friendly Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), which is the 'in' thing now for architectural design is used heavily in the building design. It allows the light and heat penetration into the interior to cut down energy cost. The outer wall is based on the Weaire-Phelan structure, a foam. The building was designed by PTW Architects, CSCEC International Design and Arup.

Beijing 2008 Olympic Games


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