Front Page of the Day
Posted by Eric Mu on Friday, July 25, 2008 at 2:40 PM
The 250 thousand remaining tickets to the Olympic games went on sale at nine am this morning at various venues around Beijing. But for many determined citizens, the quest to obtain a ticket to the Olympics started much earlier.
Yesterday afternoon when he was interviewed by Beijing News, Xu Yongheng was sitting in the scorching July sun outside the Olympic Center in Beishicheng Street, Chaoyang District. He had been waiting for 24 hours, and he would wait for another 21 hours until the tickets went on sale.
Xu takes pride in the fact that he is the first one in the line. Being the first person in the three kilometer long line puts him in the spotlight: "Yes, I am the first one. I came at noon on Wednesday." Xu repeats it again and again to the journalists from all forms of domestic and international media.
"Some are from Hong Kong, laowai also took pictures of me..." Xu said proudly. "I want to show the whole world how much we Chinese love the Olympic Games."
People who camp out in line bring with them most of life necessities: tents, mats, folding chairs, food and water. To kill time, many gather to play poker games. Losers are punished with mandatory push-ups. "In the afternoon, you can see people doing push-ups all over the square," the Beijing News reported.
A young man surnamed Gao said he was dispatched by his boss on Thursday morning to wait in line to buy tickets. The apprehensive Gao says that his job is on the line, "My boss says he'll fire me if I can't buy a ticket."
Gao is worried because even though he will wait in line for 24 hours, there are over a thousand people in front of him. Neither Gao nor his boss are interested in the Games; they are buying the tickets to give as gifts to important clients.
Despite the efforts by authorities to curb ticket speculation, the prices of the most sought after tickets are running high; a ticket to the 110 meter hurdle final in which China's superstar Liu Xiang will most likely compete, is selling on the Internet for 9,000 yuan, more than eleven times the official price.
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
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Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
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Books on China
The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.