Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"The Snakehead"

Driving home this evening, it hit me that this Saturday, 08-08-09 marks just one year since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony. Whew! What a year!

And during the drive home, on the NPR and WHYY program "Fresh Air With Terry Gross" (aired in Atlanta on WABE-FM) the program featured an interview with Patrick Radden Keefe, author of a new book titled "The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream."

The text is centered around an entrepreneurial woman who made millions smuggling people into the U.S. during the 1980s and 1990s. My interest was piqued while listening, and will have to check it out soon.

Meanwhile, the AFP today ran an update on the Beijing Olympic venues and how they are being put to use (or not) in the 2008 Olympic city.

I think the one-year mark is premature to nickname the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium a "white elephant." It is going to take time to determine the right mix of events to host there, but eventually these decisions will be made and the stadium will be put to good use.

For comparison, look at the 1972 Munich Olympic stadium, the architectural wonder of its time (and of all time). This time next week, I aim to tour this 37 year old stadium, which now features a rooftop walking tour, a regular mix of sport and cultural events and other gatherings (in two weeks, Madonna will perform there -- perhaps she may add Beijing to the tour schedule).


Book image via www.patrickraddenkeefe.com.

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