Fun and games

July 25, 2012

So, I’m leaving Phnom Penh today, bound for the UK. But only for a week or so, to use up a plane ticket and to get some advice on the leg. Stupidly, however, when I booked the ticket, I failed to notice that I fly into London on the day of the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

I imagine that it might be possible to guess my attitude towards the Olympics. But if not, here’s what I think:

The Olympic Games are a colossal waste of time, a huge, shockingly corrupt boondoggle for financiers and politicians and health-corrupting corporate giants, and a cover for astonishing levels of kleptocratic behaviour in the name of sporting excellence.

As to the running and jumping: I suppose that’s fair enough. Just. If it really matters to you that Usain Bolt can leg it down the track one hundredth of a second faster than some other Jamaican, then knock yourself out. If you really care that some South Korean can weight-lift a tiny amount more than some Azerbaijani, then you’ll be happy. But 12 billion quid’s-worth of happy? I’d be surprised.

For the narcotized masses, force-fed a diet of panem et circenses involving European Cup football, Wimbledon, the Jubilee and now this dictator-fest of a school sports day this summer, everything in the garden is wonderful. But it was only a year ago that large parts of London were lit by decidedly non-Olympic flames as London’s youth practiced their running (away from the police), throwing (bricks through shop windows) and weightlifting (heavy TVs) and their misappropriation of expensive sports shoes.

So while the kleptocrats glide through London in their limousines in their special private lanes, and the general population huddles on Tube platforms for endless hours trying to go about their business, they’ll be able to reflect on the positives of this fatuous exercise in internationalism, leaving an exciting legacy of velodromes and canoeing courses, which are just what the East End of London needs.

The IOC has demanded 40,000 hotel rooms from London for the duration of the Olympics, including 1,800 four- and five-star ones, as well as 700 luxury cars to drive along the 250 miles of reserved roads. The sponsors and advertisers dictate what the people of London can eat, drink and wear, while the police and the armed forces train batteries of missiles at anything even slightly suspicious. If this doesn’t strike you as insulting, then I’m afraid you’ve drunk the kool-aid.

The opening ceremony, which I’ll miss, due to being stuck in a seven-hour immigration queue at Heathrow, will apparently feature an idyllic scene of the British countryside, with rivers, real cows and sheep grazing in meadows and a cricket match on a village green. Yeah, that sounds representative of the England I know. I’m glad we spent 81 million quid on that. I can’t think of anything better we could have done with the money.

As a side note, Cambodia is sending six athletes to London. So good luck to Sorn Davin, a female taekwondo person, middle-distance runner Kieng Samorrn, sprinter Chan Seiha, judo geezer Khom Ratanakmony, short distance swimmer Hem Thon Vitiny and her uncle, swimmer Hem Thon Ponleu. Sadly, they haven’t got a chance.

An area where you might have thought Cambodians might have a chance to shine is at the Paralympics. There is no shortage of disabled people in Cambodia, due to the landmines that the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese scattered so liberally around the country. But unfortunately, to compete in a wheelchair is expensive: far too expensive for a country as poor as this.

The Cambodian disabled volleyball team organiser, a saintly man called Chris Minko, said recently that the Paralympics “showcase the ability of people with disabilities around the world. But they cost an enormous amount of money. The blunt reality is that for nations like Cambodia, we’ve got nothing. The athletes are starving.”

Van Vun does the 100 metres in a wheelchair. Last year he won two silver medals at a regional meeting, after using a second-hand lightweight racing chair cast off by the Australians. As a result, “the difference in time over 100 metres is about 30 seconds,” he said. He can’t afford to go to London.

“It’s so goddam frustrating,” Minko said recently, “not to be able to participate in London and actually go for that goal. That would be a genuine goal achieved by our sporting ability, and not by our ability to purchase $20,000 hi-tech wheelchairs.”

I dunno, perhaps they could have taken the 81 million quid cost of the Olympic opening ceremony and just driven the IOC around, y’know, the real English countryside in their 700 air conditioned luxury German limos, and done something worthwhile with the rest of the money. I wonder what Van Vun thinks?

BP, Adidas, Coca-Cola and McDonalds will be laughing all the way to the bank. The 23,500 extra private security guards will be enjoying themselves bolstering the security state that is the UK today. Then the greedy and corrupt members of the IOC will take their first-class seats and jet off to the next city lucky enough to receive their vampiric attentions. Priorities, eh?

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4 Responses to “Fun and games”

  1. Georgie M said

    FGsS don t t just stick to domestic..you always nail the truth mate.. Keep it coming, i love it.. Appreciate it.. We need it.. Whatevs tickles your crutches! X

  2. Georgie M said

    Bon voyage btw :/

  3. Camilla may said

    Hey, wordsmith, could not agree more – bloody frustrating, boring and totally embarrassing – what do ya do?

  4. Chloe said

    agree, i hate London Olympic….my visa is taking forever….

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