Monday, August 25, 2008


I did not manage to see the closing celebration of the Beijing Olympic Games. I set the recorder to catch it on TV1 through SkyTV. What do I find in the morning? Sky had switched it over to Sky Box Office, as often happens in the middle of a program on the Arts Channel. On this occasion, I might not have checked that it was on the right channel, but I hope there will be a replay eventually. I truly am an admirer of Chinese culture and I am fascinated by their writing systems, so I was glad to have a video-tape recording of the opening ceremony.
   Here in New Zealand there is not too much gloom. Number crunchers have shown that calculating on a per capita basis Aotearoa came 7th on the medals table, and Australia got 5th place. The NZ result was the best since 1992 (Madrid). I have a recording from that time, when Australia did not do well, but very ill. Andrew Denton and the cast of Live and Sweaty sing "I don't care as long as we beat New Zealand" (but they didn't). Quote: NZ has just won its fifteenth gold medal in kayaking! (not this time, though). And an extended dialogue with variations on the mantra "We did quite well for a country our size", with a plethora of permutations and combinations, and ultimately the introduction of the word 'bloody'.
   Personally, I am counting a host of other medals that did not get the Aotearoa national anthem sung to them.
   Since Phelps the porpoise was partly trained in this country, we can share all his gold medals with the USA (well, we won't include the relay medal). By the way, I noticed he had a bevy of fans wearing PHELPS shirts. In this Godzone land some people would read that as P HELPS; but it does not help at all; metamphetamine misuse has produced a new wave of infants with brain damage and personality disorder, to add to those ruined by fetal alcohol syndrome; and here comes the stupidest invention of modern times: a drug that will allow pregnant women to imbibe gin laced with vodka with no harmful effects on the baby, just damage to their own silly selves.
   And because I have an Australian passport (which, like Chinese passports, proves I am 16, not 14) I am snapping up all the Oz medals, too.
   My mother Irene Rilatt was English, and my convict ancestor George Colless was Anglo-Scottish British, so I am raking in all the medals won by Great Britain.
   Finally, all New Zealanders can cash in on this one and be win-win winners. Notice how often we come fourth in the events. Because there are now so many countries and so many competitors in the Olympic Games, 4th place should be recognized with a medal. And this gallant little nation will supply the medals. Alongside the gold, silver, and bronze, we can have aluminium (maybe even beryllium, or beryl). Each little disc will carry the inscription: "Proudly made in New Zealand at the Tiwai Point smelter" (and if we are feeling generous we might add "from Australian bauxite"). That's "power to the people" (but also "power from the people", since that smelly factory uses up a power of our electricity).
   Yes, we did really really well for our size (I amactually  talking about our national obesity problem).
   And in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro:  I now have the statistics, and if I add my AUS/Oz total of medals (*29*) to my NZ tally (a spectacular *18*, given the population of 4.5 million millionaires living in dwellings of that value, or price)) I am sitting with *47* in 4th place after USA, GBR, CHINA (RUSSLAND was holding 4th place already, but we can put ourselves ahead of them on high moral grounds, surely).
Brian Of NZ/OZ

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