I was born in China; I learned how to walk, run, jump, throw, ride a bike in China and even most of my family still lives in China yet why am I not excited about the Olympics? People asked me "you are going to watch the opening ceremony right?" and I would reply..."maybe, if I get a chance." To say that it was not on the top of my list was an understatement. Friday morning, my mother asked me if I was proud of China for holding the Olympics, and I didn't know how to answer her. When I asked her the same question, she shouted in excitment "yes!" Still I didn't understand the hype about the Olympics.
I guess it comes from who I identify myself as, an Chinese-American. Yes, I was born in China but yet I don't identify myself as just Chinese. I don't speak Chinese well, I'm not literate, and I was raised in New York City so I would like to say that I am more American than Chinese. However, society tells me that I am Chinese by the color of my skin but my dominant language tells me otherwise. Don't get me wrong, I embrace my identity as Chinese-American. I'm the best of both worlds but something about the Olympics didn't appeal to me.
Not too long ago, I watched a piece on CNN that showed young Chinese girls training for the Olympics. The girls were about 6 years old, dressed in the clothing that they came to the gym in, and were doing exercises that would help them in gymnastics. I mean they were 6 years old, and they were already training for the Olympics...sweating, and screaming in pain, not exactly something to be excited for. Also, the whole humanitarian issues did not make me a big China fan.
Then Yao Ming came out with the Chinese flag with such pride in his eyes, and I started to drink the Kool-Aide. I think it was the first time during this Olympic season that I felt proud to that the Olympics was held in my country of origin. I get why my mother was so proud of China, I get the hype and I get what the Olympics was all about. With everything that's going on in China, the allegations of funding in Darfur, Tibet, Fulan Gong, poverty, earthquake victims, there was a symbol of hope walking next to the face of China in the western world. There was Lin Hao, a 9 year old earthquake survior who saved two of his classmates. After his school was perished after the earthquake, he freed himself and went back to save his friends simply because he was the hall monitor and it was his job. He encouraged his classmates to sing songs to keep their spirits up while they waited for rescurers. I started to get emotional because in the mist of all these "problems" here's this 9 year old boy who examplifynot only the Olympic spirit but the human spirit. A 9 year old boy who taught the world about being a great citizen, a great friend and a hero. Yao Ming was wrong when asked what Lin Hao meant to China, Yao responded "hope." Not only to China but to the world.