I'm watching the Olympic games opening ceremony (whee!). Since China doesn't use a Western alphabet, and since the games are in China, the countries have been introduced in their order in China. This is based on the number of marks in the Chinese character for the country name.
The announcers mentioned this once, that I can tell (maybe more -- I've slept on and off during the opening ceremony because I've got an awful summer cold). Over and over, they've made comments about how "the countries aren't in alphabetical order" without bothering to mention the Chinese character issue again. This really bothers me. One thing -- it's really cool because the intro went from Australia to Zambia. What's not interesting about that?
In other Olympic news, the kid who walked in with Yao Ming is super cute. Apparently, the boy helped save some of his classmates during the recent earthquake. He helped out because he was a hall monitor, and he felt it was his roll to help others. How amazing!
As I get older, I am more and more interested in watching the Olympics. My flip answer is that I love sports, and the Olympics means that we have sports coverage available all day long on interesting sports. Going deeper, I also feel that the Olympics are really important for encouraging international cooperation. I sense that we still have many boundaries between nations even in this day of global travel. I look forward to seeing these boundaries become less important within my lifetime.
At the day camp I work at, we have lots of foreign children -- this week, we had 10 Korea children, 4 Japanese ones, 1 Chinese boy, 2 Jewish children, 1 Russian girl, 5 American kids. A few of the Korean kids barely spoke any English. And you know what? Two of the Korean kids who didn't speak English were my favorite kids. They behaved well, and they let me know when other kids needed a little discipline. They learned how to paddle just by watching me. They couldn't say my name, so they called me "teacher." The language very rarely served as a barrier; we found ways to communicate with just a few words, smiles, and gestures. I wish I could deliver a similar experience to everyone in the US so that our nation could learn that immigrants are nothing to fear; citizens of other nations have much to offer us, just as we have much to offer them. In the Olympic games, I see the seeds of possibility.