Newspaper article China Post

London Opening Shows Charm Lies in Culture, Not Spectacle

Newspaper article China Post

London Opening Shows Charm Lies in Culture, Not Spectacle

Article excerpt

London pulled off a mission nigh impossible yesterday by presenting an Olympiad opening that held its ground to the grandiose 2008 Beijing spectacle. The media noted the strong British cultural elements and British humor in the London 2012 opening show: the parachuting queen, the piano-playing Mr. Bean, and the Beatles-like performers pulling inflatable yellow submarines.

"In sharp contrast to the militaristic precision of Beijing's spectacular 2008 effort, Boyle (Danny Boyle, director of the opening ceremony) brought wonder and whimsy and wit to the proceedings without skimping on any of the patriotic touch points that are a must at any Olympic opening ceremony," said Madhulika Sikka of the U.S.'s National Public Radio.

The ceremony was widely acclaimed by pundits around the world, including masterminds behind the 2008 Beijing Games opening, such as artist Cai Guo-qiang and deputy director of the Beijing opening Chen Weiya, who described the London performance as one with "surprises after surprises."

Yet perhaps the secret behind the success of yesterday's show goes beyond the celebration of Britishness, but rather originates from the celebration of the nation's connection and contribution to the world. According to the UK newspaper the Guardian, Boyle aimed not only to impress but also to move the audience. British icons such as Queen Elizabeth II, James Bond, the Beatles and other Briton superstars were not at the heart of the ceremony; it was a tribute to the UK's publicly funded health care system, the National Health Service, in which hundreds of actual nurses joined the performance that marked the essence of the ceremony. It was a confirmation of the fact that the pride of all civilizations should stem from their ability and commitment to take care of those in need.

The final act of the ceremony featured a typical middle class family in British suburbia, and centered on a budding love story between the daughter of the family and a boy whom she socialized with partly via the Internet. …

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