Tag Archives: China

This acrobatic tragedy reminds me of a childhood experience in Singapore

The husband-and-wife acrobatic team somehow disconnected during their performance in Suzhou, China. The plunge led to her death.

According to the Straits Times,

” Authorities are investigating the death of an acrobat, who fell while performing with her husband during a live flying-trapeze performance in Suzhou, China, last Saturday.

Videos of the graphic incident posted on social media showed that the couple was pulled high into the air from the ground by what appears to be a crane.

In the videos, the woman was later seen falling from reportedly more than 9m high, after her husband failed to catch her with his legs during the performance.”

This incident brought back childhood memories of a circus coming to Holland Village in Singapore. I was probably around 7 or 8 years old. We were living in a farm. I remember my lorry-driver father telling us that there was a tent circus coming. We obviously wanted to go but had no money to buy tickets for our big family of ten children.

Later, I remember my father coming home one night with the news that a girl acrobat had fallen to her death from a trapeze.

That news had a powerful imprint on me.

I can’t explain why I was so unequivocal about it. But I decided right there and then that it was not right for people with money to put others in dangerous situations just to entertain themselves.

Extraordinary 2022 protests in China

It’s not too often that Chinese citizens are made so angry to the point of staging public protests. There is a lot of private chit chat. But people appear to be so programed or fearful to go against the huge and powerful political machine that can literally make one disappear without a trace.

I was in Tiananmen Square in 2007 when my husband was participating in an academic Conference. The image of the lone student standing in front of the military tank was imprinted in my consciousness.

Where I was at this 109 acres “public” square, you could see tourists and hawkers selling kites, souvenirs, including the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics Game. There were also a few troops of soldiers marching in formation.

I saw a woman far away across the Square who quickly held up a small sign. It was too small to see but I could see how quickly a marching troop reached her. Her sign was taken and she was taken away.

I wanted to go over and check it out but my husband said if I went, I would probably end up in jail too. He was probably correct.

Currently, the ongoing protests in China is probably as bothersome to the authorities as the Tiananmen Square. Covid lockdowns have brought crushing problems for many Chinese nationals. The lockdowns are harsh and inhumane, especially for ordinary citizens who have to work to survive. Friends in China have also reported that college students are quarantined for months in their dormitories. Sanitation facilities including showering are regulated. There had been suicides as the living conditions were unbearable to some.

Excerpts from The New York Times:

By Li Yuan

“We want food, not Covid tests, We want reform, not Cultural Revolution. We want freedom, not lockdowns. We want votes, not a ruler. We want dignity, not lies. We are citizens, not slaves.” In Shanghai, some even shouted the banners’ most radical demand: “Remove the despotic traitor Xi Jinping!”

Choon James: Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

February 4, 2022 – February 20, 2022. The winter events are held in Beijing, National Stadium, Hebei. There are approximately 2,971 athletes competing from 91 countries.

This would be China’s distinct opportunity to hold a Summer Olympics in 2008 and then today’s Winter Olympics. I was in Beijing, China in 2007 and they were already selling the Olympics 2008 paraphernalia on the streets then. Certainly China has enough land to do both seasons.

With all the excitement and focus on medals, sometimes it’s hard for us to remember that these athletes sacrifice much and work their tails off to get to where they are today. We can’t forget the support of their families and mentors either. Their accomplishments make every sport seem so easy.

As wonderful as it is to praise medal winners, it’s just as important to praise others who won’t receive medals this time around. Years of training and sacrifice can be upended in “disasters” within seconds. It’s an unforgiving sport for sure. If it’s any comfort, it happens to the best. Even, Mikaela Shiffrin, who crashed out of women’s giant slalom yesterday.

Despite this unfortunate incident, her example of resilience, perseverance, and toughness is what the Olympics is all about. That’s the enduring character part that is the real winner.

Her remarks with CNN demands respect and admiration from us all: “We can go to a lot of different places in the season where we can put the blame, but the easiest thing to say is that I skied a couple of good turns and I skied one turn a bit wrong and I really paid the hardest consequence for that.”

“Shiffrin’s next chance at a medal comes in Wednesday’s slalom, the discipline she won gold in as a teenager at Sochi 2014.The three-time Winter Olympic medalist said she was “not going to cry” about the crash as it would just be “wasting energy.”

You go, Mikaela!