Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lots of talk the past couple days about the little girl who sang to an appreciative audience at the opening ceremony. Seems we now have confirmation that she was lip-synching. It was the musical director who spilled the beans in a radio interview. Chen Qigang is a French national of Chinese descent, which I suppose, points out one of the risks of using foreigners for this massive project--the Chinese government can't sentence him to education through labor for giving away state secrets.

Anyway, the story circulating is that the little girl who was chosen to sing the song was deemed "too ugly" by a government official, who demanded that a pretty face be given to the voice.

As in most cases like this, the truth is somewhat more mundane, but the whole story does bring up some questions. First, all the attention is being focused on the little girl who actually sang the song. She is touted as a victim of China's excessive image consciousness. An Australian paper dismissed the whole affair as a result of China's "wrong child policy." But no one seems to be addressing the one thing that catches my attention more than anything else: How is it that decisions regarding a creative production are made by a member of the standing committee of the political bureau of the CCP Central Committee? You know, sometimes I talk to people about how fast China is changing. Other times I find myself wondering, "Will China never change?"

And what about the third little girl? Nobody talks about her. I am referring to the ten-year-old who was originally chosen, and who showed up for all the rehearsals. She was axed at the last minute because she was too old. So which is worse? "You're too old," "You're too ugly," or "Your voice is lousy."?

As I said, the truth is a little more mundane. It now appears that what actually happened is that the oldest girl was removed first, then the decision was made to look first for the cutest kid, and then the best voice. The little girl with the pretty red dress was chosen, because she is already a media personality who has been in several television commercials. But the Politburo member felt that her voice was not good enough, so they decided to have her lip-synch.

The Chinese didn't invent lip-synching. But the phoniness of this situation, where people were told that the little girl in the red dress was singing the song, when, in fact, another child had supplied the voice, is really what has created the international reaction. People don't like to be lied to. Message to China: Be real you guys. The world you're trying to impress will have a lot more respect for you.

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