Three days to go, the country is primed, factories temporarily closed, cars off the roads, the algea invasion temporarily stymied, battalions of garbage collectors pulled back from the urban front-line, peddlers of counterfeit goods pushed further underground, city streets beautified, foreign media covering China like they just found out it’s there, the delegations of diplomats and leaders on their way to pay tribute to the new Chinese empire of bling and what does it all mean?
A coming out party for a nation that boasts 5000 years of history and more skeletons in its closet than there are teeth-marked discarded wooden skewers outside the barbecue place at 3 AM？Who’s coming out, the minority groups, the political prisoners, the AIDS activists, the handicapped, the mentally disabled?
A dazzling display of modern China’s industrial, technological and financial prowess, built atop smashed homes and disrupted lives, with peasant sweat and blood mixed into the concrete for that extra grip.
A host nation assuming its place at the international banquet table, where the big players throw themselves parties for being so damn rich and powerful. Look at my wealth and my power, look at my massive airport and my unrecognisable capital city, totally pimped out, plastic surgerised to perfection, gone the centuries old lanes like wrinkles on an aging face, gone the history, the proles and the disgrace.
A nation has been racing towards this summit of glory, this peak on a mountain of magnificence, this apogee, this zenith, orchestral chords swirling like schools of silvery fish towards the surface, the spin on this things so tight by now that it has its own gravity, pulling matter and lives into it, three days to go until the great collective holding of the breath when all that has been struggled for, all the columns erected, people trained, particulates swept away, the endless stockpiles of vapid speeches exhausted at last, such focus, dedication and hope as to sustain the nightly dreams of countless souls for years on end, comes to pass.
What does it all mean? That the best is yet to come, and come it will, totally inevitable and thoroughly unpredictable.