Archives of Our Lives

{a narrow and broad look into the lives of people I love}

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

{Communism at its Finest}

How important is it that what we see on television--or in movies--is real and unaltered?

Me? I don't care too much. When I go to watch Lord of the Rings, I fully anticipate special effects, digital supplements, and all manner of enhancements to make the actual finished product more effective than it would have otherwise been.

We live in a digital age--a time when images we see on screen or in print are rarely left unadulterated. The mainstream population of the world seems to acknowledge this--even embrace it, rewarding designers and filmmakers for best visual effects.

Why, then, does this story seem to rub so many--myself included--the wrong way?

China's opening ceremony was beautiful, as I have already noted. Sure, there were some digital "tweaks," like those massive firework footprints racing throughout Beijing, but that's not what bothers me. What annoys me is that Chinese officials knowingly allowed this little girl, Yang Peiyi:

Photo from here.

to sing "Ode to the Motherland" into a microphone, probably hidden away behind some curtain backstage. Meanwhile, while her visual counterpart, Lin Miaoke:

Photo from here.

lip-synced the song for the world the night of the opening ceremonies.

I thought this sort of thing was over and done when Singin' in the Rain came out in 1952. I mean, are we that superficial a world? Honestly?

It's already bad enough for these poor little Chinese girls as it is: they are most likely the sole child in their family, since Chinese women are allowed, by law, to have one child only. And inasmuch as they are girls, they are already considered slightly unwanted by Chinese standards. Now, added to the pressure of making their parents' one shot worthwhile, the girls are being taught that they fall short of their country's standard of perfection.

I can see how it happened...

"Well, Yang Peiyi, there's no doubt about it: you've got a great set of lungs. Unfortunately for you, you're not much of a looker. Your haircut is rather square, isn't it? And those teeth have got to go. How about you give the government your best efforts--your voice--and we'll take care of the rest? That's just stand right over there, behind the stereos and equipment all night. Make sure nobody sees you...Hu Jintao forbid."

And to Lin Miaoke...

"Lin, you sure are a pretty little thing, aren't you? Unfortunately for you, your singing resembles a pack of cats in heat, so here's what we're going to do: You just go put on this fancy new dress...that's right, dear. Remember to suck in, and make sure your mother puts your hair in pigtails--that's what the people want to see..."

In the end, I don't know which girl I feel worse for. On one hand, Yang Peiyi is learning that despite her very best efforts, she may never receive recognition for her successes. On the other hand, Lin Miaoke is being taught that, even with nothing to merit her, a pretty face is worth more than hard work or refining talents.

Sucking the best out of everyone's lives and giving it all towards the support of one's government... Call it Socialism, call it the end of the day, it disgusts me. It's one thing to have a single lawnmower for an entire neighborhood, with every family using it only as needed. It's quite another to make one little girl give up her voice--and another one give up her face--in the pursuit of perfection for the onlooking world.

I'm so thankful that the red of my country's flag is also merged with white and blue.

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Blogger The Lowry's said...

Wow, I can't believe I am the first to post a comment especially since I haven't in a long time. I also don't know which girl I feel worse for. Such a sad story. It is a sad world we live in.

August 13, 2008 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger Cristin said...

This doesn't surprise me. We keep watching the Olympics thinking are these Chinese athletes going to get flogged or sent to a worker's camp if they don't perform well? Their gymanists look like they are 7 years old.

August 13, 2008 at 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, it's all different.
it seems to be working for them.
they work a little/lot more for reasons i wouldn't try to fathom.
i don't call it much of anything.i'm just dumb enough to suspend disbelief.
all the asians i've been friends with here in canada are wonderful lovely people, hearts of gold. i assume that of everyone everywhere, for my own peace of mind.

i really need to shut my mouth now.finite characterizations limit my free thought.

(milli vanilli.
tata vega, real voice of shug avery in, colour purple.
done for money.)
blessed are the peacemakers.

August 13, 2008 at 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wonder what the chinese think.
i admire my nephew sean sefcik for living in china, for a close view.

August 13, 2008 at 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'll have the yin. my mate will have the yang.
extra ginger please.

August 13, 2008 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Kim and Jason said...

Wow, that just puts a huge pit in my stomach and brings tears to my eyes. I had no idea that was going on.

August 13, 2008 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Alice said...

That whole things just made me sad. I thought the real singer was just adorable.

Boo hiss.

August 13, 2008 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Zach and Whitney said...

I feel the same way. The poor little girls! China! I have to also agree with cristin. I often wonder if the chinese olympians have death hanging over their heads if the dont do good. AND those girl chinese gymnasts are no older than my sister who is 12. The totally breed their children over there to being who they want.

August 13, 2008 at 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I didn't hear about this scandal at all! It's horrible. I agree with you 100% on everything you said.

August 13, 2008 at 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in that impossible alternate reality in which i have a blog, i totally wanna borrow all you people to totally agree with me.
occasionally take me for a walk.

August 13, 2008 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger RatalieNose said...

This breaks my heart!

August 13, 2008 at 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also haven't heard of this before. How sad. I thought the first girl was so cute, and now she'll probably grow up with lower self-esteem, thinking she's not pretty enough. very, very, sad. How inconsiderate of feelings those people are that let this happen.

August 13, 2008 at 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After thinking a bit, I've decided that although this is a horrible thing that has happened, it is not just China's fault. The US, through the media and what not, is just as guily of trying to create an image of what is considered "perfection," and trying to make people think they must look a certain way to be happy. We, as a human race, try to deceive others into believing what we want them to see us as.

August 13, 2008 at 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

holy crap!
independent thought, 4:58?
cool. you must be one of the change people.

(opening sermonomy, yes, we are all that superficial. i'll assume your posit was not quite obviously rhetorical.)
(hmm, superficial, move one letter...superfacial. such fun, this 'freedom' fry.)
yes, honestly.

August 13, 2008 at 5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

call it capitalism.

then pop over to Smallwart...trademark, treadmark, treebark..blah, et al.

August 13, 2008 at 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Spocks Brain said...

I've done alot.
God knows i've tried, to find the truth, i've even lied.
But all i know, down inside, i'm bleeding.
And superheroes, come to feast, to taste the flesh, not yet deceased.
And all i know, still the beast, is feeding.

And crawling, on the planets' face, some insects, called the human race.
Lost in time, lost in space, and meaning.

(Previously said by Brad, Janet, and the Criminologist).

August 13, 2008 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger BOSSY said...

Oy oy oy oy oy oy oy - Bossy cringes at the thought of what those two little girls know.

August 13, 2008 at 9:25 PM  
Blogger Geneva said...

I agree with Alice. Boo Hiss.

August 13, 2008 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Isnt it so saddddddd saddd saddd.
coastal nest

August 13, 2008 at 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our Saviour Jesus Christ loves us all. He does not judge the why and wherefore of those beautiful children.
He does not boo or hiss. He is saddened to see us judge each other. Again i fall short of his example.I will soften my heart as i am able. He died for me. I must learn greater love for everything i don't understand. This is the debt i can never repay.

August 13, 2008 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger Lindsey Burnham said...

It's just strengthening that foundation of unattainable standards and images. The world makes it seems like a person has to be perfect at everything {looks, talents, etc.}

It reminded me of this:

Is anything even good enough anymore?

August 14, 2008 at 12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in this world we're in, L., not really, but in the world we can change,yes. so many things can be good again.
wouldn't that be nice.

August 14, 2008 at 3:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad the little girl with the imperfect face doesn't live in the good old USA. She could get braces, cosmetic surgery and style perfection from one of the thousands of classy salons and clotheries. We are so much more humane and caring over here about the ugly and unpresentable. :)

August 14, 2008 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger HeatherPride said...

I know what you mean. This story has bothered me a lot as well. I think the little girl with crooked teeth is adorable. Who says she's not cute enough?? China, that's who. Makes me mad.

August 14, 2008 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger Alicia said...

So, I'm not gonna lie. A lot of these comments confuse the heck out of me, and now I forgot what I was going to say in the first place.

I think it's a horrible thing that China did to those two little girls, but I was very inspired by your words, Camille. I, too, am grateful for the United States and that I am an American!

August 14, 2008 at 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


August 15, 2008 at 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two Words: Milli Vanilli.

Do you still root for America?

August 18, 2008 at 9:30 AM  

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