Friday, August 22, 2008

Ugly Gentleman

British "gentlemen" are enamored with the words "overzealous". Remember the Brits complaining about "overzealous" "men in track suits" trying to protect the flame during the London torch runs? That was in Britain. Now in Beijing, Brits used word "overzealous" and "belligerent" to defend their own rude behavior again.

David Davies, who won a silver in the swimming marathon, soaked Chinese "officials" who was urging him to attend the medal ceremony with bottled water. It should be pointed out that the lady who was splashed water on her face, called official by British media, was actually a volunteer. The ward ceremony was already in delay due to Davies' pass-out at the finish. While the Welsh enjoyed telling his life story on the camera, his fellow competitors was waiting to get on the podium. According to Olympics regulation, failure to attend the award ceremony in time could result in cancellation of the medal award.

Granted, there was a culture divide here. In China, touching of elbow or tucking of cloth in urging was common practice and understood as acceptable, and may even appreciated when for the benefit of the urged; while in Britain, body contact was more strictly forbidden without mutual gesture. Still, the British's action of dousing was extremely rude and thuggish. The British media, which called Davies a gentleman, took no exception, and did not seem to mind of the behavior. Britain’s performance director, Scott, joked: “He was just shaking a champagne bottle, nothing more than that.”

The incident was not widely reported by official Chinese media, perhaps out of desire to keep the Games "harmonious", but had angered many Chinese netizens. Many were surprised that no apology was demanded. Then again, a few Chinese were worrying China demonstrated too much dominance in diving as it was poised to sweep the eight Gold.

Good luck London of 2012.

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