Saturday, August 23, 2008

To Hell With Olympic Spirit

*15 days to Finals! Am so glad it's finally coming...

**It's 7.14 am now, almost an hour since i woke up. No i am no early bird, i just could not go back to sleep. For the past 2 weeks that i had not been waking up, i was woken up anyway, either by Rags knocking on the door to check if Nesa was awake, or by Nesa leaving his alarm on while showering. 

The regular disturbance did not come today, but i woke up anyway, unconsciously bracing for the faint-but-still-too-loud knock or the frenzied alarm. I always suspect there is a build-in precision clock somewhere in the human brains. 

Do you know it's the second last day of Olympic Games already? I didn't, and was quite taken aback by my ignorance when i sought out the schedule. 

By the way, what's the spirit of the Olympic? (I always have some misgivings towards this)

I always wonder why virtually everyone praises the spirit of the Olympic, in every speeches that is remotely related to Olympic Games. I vaguely remember i learnt something about it when i was in primary or secondary school, but whatever that was taught obviously did not make too much of an impact since i could not recall it well. 

So i did some googling and here are what i have found. 

By blending sport with culture and education, Olympism promotes a way of life based on:

  • The balanced development of the body, will and mind
  • The joy found in effort
  • The educational value of being a good role model
  • Respect for universal ethics including tolerance, generosity, unity, friendship, non-discrimination and respect for others.

But i beg to differ.

Olympic Games do not celebrate the balanced development of the body, will and mind. Tell me which of the athletes have a balanced development of all those? All the athletes who qualify for Olympic Games probably have lived all their lives training for the sports, and would have sacrificed the life that we commoners enjoy. 

What they have instead, is actually overly developed body, overly toughened will, and overly simple mind. 


If life revolves entirely around winning game (mind you one cannot reach the Olympic Games if he/she does not breathe, eat, and sh*t thinking about that particular sports), i would have severe reservation on how developed, or rather balance, that mind can be. 

Now let's talk about the joy found in effort

Well, if u plant a mango seed and you savour the fruits you reap, yeah that is the joy found in effort. But in Olympic Games? Come on... For every one fellow who weeps in joy for winning the coveted gold medal, there are hundreds, if not thousands who languish in misery for effort that never paid off. It's not as bad for someone who obviously sucks in the sports, he/she at least would have gotten the cue not to try too hard and should instead work on other vocations, and make more babies to torture them with his/her unfulfilled dream. Imagine those fellas who have talent, and are groomed into machines sportsmen with a realistic chance to make it to the top, BUT NEVER MAKE IT. 

Imagine a life of frustration, disappointment, and anguish. 

And chances are these people have deviated so far from the route that social norm dictates that everyone else take, most notably the lack of proper schooling. (Think general, don't get too engrossed in the few who make it to the top in both education, and sports. Those are outliers.)

Are you guilty of playing up the hype of the sports, cheering them on, and indirectly cause these people to forgo a normal life? 

Yes, they probably have an extraordinary life. As long as it lasts. Which is rather short actually. We are looking at the youngest cohort of retirees in every country. Wondering what to do with the rest of their lives, outside the limelight. 

Thank you, my supporter. My ass.

Now, the education value of being a good role model


I wonder if it's just me who is having some difficulty trying to associate Olympic Games and the role model thingy. 

There was this celebrated loser who was trailing miles behind everyone else in the marathon, but persisted in making to the line anyway. Good role model eh? But sometimes in life, in your finite life, it's ok to call it quits before you try too hard for too long for too little reasons. Do they teach you that in Olympic? No. They cheer you on for the narrow moral triumph, and neglect the importance of thinking for yourself. 

Would i persist to the line if it was me? Yes i would, but that's sports. It has absolutely no bearing on day-to-day life. If you forget to tell that disclaimer to kids, who all grow up in a poisonous environment that discourages too much thinking/questioning (think religion, and Malaysia, or Singapore in that matter), you will end up with stubborn fools who soldier on despite all obvious contraindications. 

I am sure my mum would have killed me if i were him. (Source: The Star)

That damned word is faith. (And faith by default does not tolerate intellectual probing, the less brain you use the better it is, since you only need to praise... Oh that reminds me of the small nifty gadget that mum switches on during auspicious days, that chants Buddhist prayers non stop. In spite of a brain, that gadget must be going to the heavens! Rejoice!)

Respect for universal ethics including yadda yadda yadda.... 

I say...

no tolerance because if you are tolerant there is no need to see if you are 0.01 second faster than someone else in swimming, and do that once every 4 years for that matter. 

no generosity because conferring recognition to only the top 3, while disappointing thousands of aspiring gold medallist who worked their behind off, is in no way being generous. If that does not convince you, see how many countries that have poured in millions in nurturing sports, and sadism*, but produced absolutely no medal. Hey Malaysia, you don't snigger. You are not much better off. 

*I say sadism too, because these sportsmen work so hard to be in the top 3, but if you make it easier to get a medal, like giving a 4th or 5th iron or titanium medal, i tell you for sure they will be all up in arms protesting. It's only meaningful to them because if they win, it's at the expense of everyone else losing. No win-win situation. Oh whip me hard... 

No unity because you don't see sprinters holding hand and run to the line together. They try hard to go ahead of the others. The only unity i see, is a group of people who otherwise have no business of gathering in one place in so huge a number, united in sweating, breathing in humanly odours, and screaming their lungs off. Such a display of unity must have done humanity many good...

No friendship... Well with headlines like this (Read: Beijing Provides 100,000 Condoms for the Athletes), I guess there must be some new amorous friendships abound in Beijing.

No non-discrimination. Because if you can't help seeing poorer countries with less resources doing really badly in the medal tally! You don't have to exclude to discriminate. You can include, and still discriminate. And the whole point of gold medal is to discriminate the best from the rest! What non-discrimination bullshit. 

And absolutely no respect for others. You see how the photographers never take photos of the losers? Hey those poor chaps flew thousands of miles to that great polluted city too ok?


Well i must admit that in spite of all the badmouthing that i do on Olympic Games, i cannot make a clear-cut case that this huge waste of money totally lacks merit. But we must take a pinch of salt and think for ourselves, what is the cost for every little grain of national pride we feel, and does it mean as much as the media trumpets it to be. 

And before you get bored of my tirades, do you know what the Olympic Rings mean? 

Deep indeed. Heh. 

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