TODAY -

Why don't we take a leaf from Beijing

By S. Kunjabihari Singh *

The meticulous Chinese buries deep inside the frozen face, a fire-brand perfectionist determination normally not inherited nor exhibited by many other Communities, the least by the Meiteis, who are often tempted to claim proximity to this member of Mongoloid stock from such considerations like the facial looks, the food habit and the like.

In effect, the Chinese belong to the Classical Mongoloid group while the Meities as also natives of the NE region (except the Assamese), Myanmar etc to the Palae Mongoloid, both being sub-groups of the par ent Mongoloid stock. Historically, culturally and ra cially there may be traces of close relationship.

A poverty-ridden country securing independence only in 1950, through various social and economic reforms have risen to be a super power comparable to the might of be US, largely through sheer scrupulous determination for performance.

For the 2008 Olympiad in Beijing, they kicked off in an 'ultra careful style right from the word "Go" way back in 2001. The tireless effort ultimately culminated into 29th Olympiad-nicknamed the Year of the Dragon, on 8-8-2008, an Olympic heralded as the most spectacular and grand from any conceivable parameter, you may like to name, the world has ever seen.

The Chinese are excessive in their zeal to achieve and perform and in the endeavor, don't leave anything to chance. Perfectionist as they are, they are exceedingly religious and have strong obsession for numerology. They do not, reportedly, have "13th" floor in a sky-scrapper mansion or a hotel, nor have room numbered 13. They avoid this number considering it as "inauspicious".

I read about it way back in 1965 at the time of my final examination in the university. My examination roll number was, how ever 13, I felt dingy about it but there was little that I could do citing the case of China. In any case, I was not a Chinese either. According to the Chinese, '8' in Mandarin is "ba" meaning "prosperity'* and has a triggering craze for "8".

They have a deep faith that this number brings luck and love to life. It wasn't just default but by meticulous design that the date and time were arrived at. Recall the number of times "8" is forced to repeat-opening ceremony slatted for 08hr 08 min 08 sec on 08-08-2008. Right after securing rights for hosting the greatest extravaganza of sports, the organisers were anonymous in fixing the time, the date all with the most auspicious number "8".

The craze for this magic number only in creased over the period and it is reported that the Chinese authority had to make special arrangement for registration of couples tying the wedding-knot, on this day by opening new on-line service to avoid accumulation and congestions in the various registration offices across the country. Nearly 16,500 couples tied the marriage-knot in Beijing on this day.

Apparently the Chinese pay scrupulous attention to any thing, however painstaking arid rigorous they might be. The sole objective is to accomplish with impeccable level of precision, touching every minute detail of every conceivable aspect, however insignificant-looking they might be.

What is commendahle is this superb, sense of stickler for perfection, manifestation of which is visible in the various preparations in the run up to the greatest extravaganza of sports. Look at the quantum of effort put and energy spent apart from the enormous funds on the production of an item, on glimpses of the history, of China, on the opening day on the 8th.

Zhang Yimou, the art Director had to put three solid years of creative energy and painstaking effort to project 50,000 years of Chinese history condensed into a 50-min show. Also recall the element of selective care they have rendered in areas of hygiene, manners and decency that includes dress protocol, food menus in the public restaurants.

Reportedly, they have generally advised the natives to go slow on garlic, perhaps in consideration of its pungent smell the point is the element of consciousness this community is concerned about when it comes to hosting international congregation where they are keen to unfold a concoction of technological wonders and cultural depth.

Then again the general banning of dog meat in restaurants, their advice to come out after properly cleaning mouth and reaching even the areas of dress code like instructions to put on best to roll up shirts, to avoid leather and transparent skirt in public places. They have even pulled off DVD malls apprehensive of indulging in piracy of CD/DVDs.

The amount of extra-care they have taken care of special training of a large fleet of multi-language hospitality girls put up in the various hotels, public places, sports centres; the general instructions to hone up capability to express English properly are all positive steps people often tend to ignore. All these are indicative of their utmost con cern of the inner urge for perfection in matters generally brushed of, as matters of lesser importance.

We may also have a feel of the enormous effort for creating new benchmarks in organisation of the general ambience starting from traffic ban under a two-month plan when half of Beijing's 3.3 million vehicles had been pulled off road at least one day in a week easing congestion and reducing pollution. All vehicles with the registration number ending either in an even or odd number would be required to either keep off or on road on a particular day of the week.

What is remarkable about is the stiff regulation imposed by the Beijing Municipal Government fixing a fine of US$14 - roughly around Rs 550/-, for any violator and the citizens failing in line without a question. They had set aside over 250 km of road-ways for the exclusive use of certified Olympic vehicles to move from hotels to venues and game villages.

Ordering offices to stagger work schedules, opening of public offices one hour later than normal are part of the whole exercise to decongest traffic. The adoption of e-net more than before to lessen, physical visits to offices, again to ease traffic is novel. 'Shutting down of polluting factories not only in Beijing but also in neighbouring 5 provinces, closing of heavy work sites re stricting emission by 30% of chemical plants, power sta tions, and foundries; banning of a gigantic 3 lakh heavy industrial trucks beginning 1st July are all glimpses of their sensitivity to the minutest details towards a stage-managed show-case of perfection.

They had planned a near perfect strategy to meet the challenge to ensure production of crystalline air for estimated to 500 of the world's top players. The International Olympic Committee president had warned that outdoor endurance events lasting over an hour would be postponed" if the air quality was poor. They accepted it as a challenge, in good stead.

To further augment air quality, 40 million pots of flower plants had been reportedly put up in and around the city. In addition, they raised a forest cover of select trees in an area twice the size of the city of New York. They ended up investing US $17 million but executed with heads raised high.

Lauded, undoubtedly as the greatest showpiece of extravaganza and lavish, the Chinese have demonstrated that they are a nation not only with, economic might and prosperity; but also have achieved high antennae in sophistication and glamour. These combine with the most stony and deceptive face, can maintain secrets under wrap only to unfold at an opportune time.

They had not opened to the world, the masterpiece in the main Olympic stadium, nicknamed "Bird-Nest", described as a veritable architectural wonder off inter woven steel, until a few days before the inaugural function. This steel-latticed Bird-Nest Stadium, is reported to cost US $42 billion and speaks of the extravaganza and style they are so fond of.

The inaugural function alone was so lavishly organised exhibiting a new benchmark in sophistication and colour and by many accounts applauded as the most spectacular opening ceremony in Olympic history. Around 10,000 select performers exhibited a dazzling spectacle of fireworks, drums and dancers and was acclaimed simply unbelievable.

A whooping US $ 100 million was apportioned for the opening and closing functions alone, again intent on getting their own way of starting the Olympiad in grand Chinese style. They triumphed ultimately.

While we cannot copy the might of this nation, can't we think of adopting some of the spirit of perfectionists they have exibited in abundance?




* S. Kunjabihari Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express. This article was webcasted on November 08, 2008.

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