Watching the Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony last night (which I won’t review because plenty of people online already have – I’ll just say that it was impressive, but seemed to lack heart and that I enjoyed Rick Birch’s commentary, which was hilarious at times), I was a little horrified to realize that towards the end of the broadcast, when all the various performers from the night were up on the “tower” base, singing their hearts out in either Cantonese or Mandarin (I have no idea which, as I don’t speak any Chinese language), our fearless commentators completely failed to recognize kung fu film legend, Jackie Chan – singing with microphone in hand in a spotlight amongst the crowd and dressed in a Beijing Olympic Volunteers uniform – despite one of the cameramen obviously recognizing him and giving him several closeups during that part of the show.
Instead, they commented on how great it was to see that some of the volunteers were getting into the party spirit.
Oh come on people!! You didn’t recognize one of the most famous Chinese movie stars … worldwide!?! Apart from anything else, it’s not like he hasn’t been closely associated with the Beijing Olympics – everyone here in Australia has probably seen his VISA ad for the Beijing Games at least a million times over the past six months, and he’s had a very high profile in Beijing in relation to the Olympics as one of the strongest promoters for Olympic volunteerism amongst the Chinese population – hence why he was in a Volunteers’ uniform in the Closing Ceremony.
So really, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that he was up there performing – and I’m shocked that his name wasn’t included on a brief for all the international commentators. I’d also like to know how they thought a mere volunteer had got hold of a microphone, but … whatever.
I was also surprised because he had lived in Australia with his parents (who emigrated over here in the 1960’s) for a few years, which technically means that he’s at least an honorary Aussie as well – and the way Channel 7 was presenting the “beer and skittles” side of China to all during their broadcast of the Games, I would have expected the commentators to immediately claim Jackie as one of our own. But obviously not. Especially as they didn’t even know who he was.
To quote one of our well-known broadcasters over here: “Shame, shame, shame”.