Saturday, February 08, 2014

Sochi Opening Ceremonies: As Bizarre As You'd Imagine. Plus Geopolitical Nerd Fight

You just KNEW it was going to be a weird night when the Trololo song ended up in the proceedings and this happened:

As for the rest of the evening, I should preface this by saying that in my corner of Nerdworld, watching the thing with a bunch of fellow nerds turned into an argument about geopolitics. Whoever keeps trying to say that the Games are non-political is a fool.  You know, I wasn't going to bother blogging about the nerd fight, but why not ... You saw the ceremonies yourself and know the extent of its content. But you weren't in my living room. So if you want to hear what happened, it's all after the fold.

Warning: This is probably how you'll feel as spectator to a nerd fight:

On with the show, shall we?  You weren't there when that idiotic "Chinese Taipei" flag marched into the arena and some of my peeps and I said what we say every time this happens: "IT'S TAIWAN, DAMMIT, TAIWAN!"

At this someone (not Asian... I don't want to be racist, but I'm just reporting) objected and said nobody on Taiwan calls it "Taiwan."  Seriously.  Actually said that.  I'm sure all my relatives are going to be delighted to be told that they don't do what they've done all their lives.  OK, fine, occasionally an oldtimer will say "Formosa."  And the one thing that nobody calls it is GORRAM "CHINESE TAIPEI."

I had to stop a moment to be sure I heard what I thought I heard.  I was hoping so badly that I was wrong.  But I wasn't, and suddenly this was me:

"Yeah," I finally said.  "Nobody except the 23 million natives who live on the island and everyone in my family."

I was hoping this would be the end of it, but NO!  This person then proceeds to try and tell me about being Taiwanese.  You know, that's bloody rich, someone trying to correct a Taiwanese on how to be Taiwanese.  A non-Asian to boot!  I don't want to open an ugly can of race-based worms, but I'll just leave it up to your imagination.

This is really what I wanted to say:

But I didn't.

"Where are you getting all this?" I said as calmly as possible.  

"A KMT friend of mine explained everything to me."

I almost spewed my drink all over the coffee table.

I felt like asking, "So did your KMT friend also explain the KMT came to the island and took over?  My family was already there.  Did they explain the 2-28 Incident and how it started when someone pistol-whipped an old woman in the marketplace?   Did they explain the resulting massacre of at least 10,000 civilians?  Did they explain martial law?  Well?  DID THEY?"

But I didn't.  I just said, "The KMT came to Taiwan from the mainland in 1949."

This went on back and forth for a while and started proliferating.   

I just wanted the conversation to change the subject.  GEEZ!

After a while, though, we all together decided, let's just watch the Ceremonies and make fun of people's outfits and technical difficulties, OK?  Let's not fight.

Then a Canadian friend declared that Team Canada was going to kick all our asses in the medal count, eh, so we laughed and started trash talking and the air cleared. In honor of the Great White North, by the way, here's the Most Canadian Image Ever:

The whole incident confirmed what another buddy said (the Games are always political and China's forever using it to throw its weight around) and what I always knew to be true: I was right not to go into Asian Studies because I'm just not objective enough about Taiwan, especially not in a world is full of KMTers and cheerleaders for China, as despicable as its government is.

I am done with "discussions" about Taiwan that are really just the other person telling me that I'm wrong.  I am DONE.


Brian J. Dunn said...

Honestly, Ms. Minerva. It's so cute that you pretend to have insights about what Taiwanese think. Defer to your--I'm sure--more "core interest-friendly" colleagues. ;-)

Mad Minerva said...

Hahaha, just so!