At precisely 1 year to the anticipated 2008 games in Beijing, every Chinese cannot help but feel at least a grain of pride in this milestone. The sentiment of pride and excitement has already begun.
I am disheartened however. With the glimpses I had of the country and Beijing last year I am dismayed in the manner the city subsists in. China is a country blemished with incalculable flaws. They liken the growth witnessed by China the past two decades as the second Industrial Revolution. No doubt the span of time between my last visit to 2008 will see a great improvement in the infrastructure of the city, technology could do away with that. But human habits, behaviors and forces of nature could not be rectified in a span of a year or two. Essentially, Beijing is not ready. They may be ready in terms of the facilities that will be provided, but they are in no way prepared to accommodate the International community with their tarnished human rights record and the tasteless display of public behavior.
Just the other day a friend of my parents were recalling an incident that happened to her while visiting the Great Wall. Running out of camera film, she purchased one from a stall that lined the tourist area only to find a piece of stone in the container.
And with the recent rampant news of toxic and dangerous Chinese exports to the US and the Chinese government trying to educate its impolite denizens, visiting tourist to the Games will not only be on the look out for the sporting events. They will also maintain a constant vigil, a conscious and mental effort into recognizing and piecing together the news they have familiarized to back home and the real China. That is not what we desire. We want the International community to come to China with an appreciation of our civilization and our remarkable transformation, what we have to offer the world; not with the notion of examining us to verify if our disfigured image abroad indeed translated into reality.
Because I fear that it would.
I love China, someday I might relocate to Shanghai for work. It is an exciting place to be at in this century. I acknowledge the fact that the country has made a great progress. They just require more time to sort themselves out.