Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The April 20 debut of my newest wagemaster, Global Times was, in a word, anti-climatic or even underwhelming - though not without a lighter side or two.
Some members of the foreign staff, including me, got last-minute invites to the paper's official "launching reception" in a Sheraton hotel ballroom where 200 mostly Chinese Commie Party VIPS mingled with a sprinkling of embassy staffers drawn largely from some of the "..stan" countries and other powers such as Albania and the Maldives. Entertainment included a dozen female drummers and a lip-syched Peking Opera performance combined with lithesome, highly choreographed dancing girls whom I mistook for professionals until I was told by a Chinese reporter that they were all also reporters from the Chinese language Global Times.
"What? No way! How much overtime did they put in to learn that routine?" I asked. "They're beautiful, but it's not exactly what they went to university to do, I imagine."
"They were not paid overtime for that," he told me. "They 'volunteered.'"
I tried to imagine the outrage of reporters I'd known in Colorado if they'd been asked to 'volunteer' to be dancing girls for a company gala and winced at the thought.
Unintentional entertainment also came in the form of the taped intro music for the Major Commie Party Hoodoo Guru Editor of People's Daily, our editorial mothership. The strains of what I swear was a remix of '70s TV show themes began that morphed The Love Boat with what sounded like the Starsky & Hutch theme, or maybe a porn flick - lotsa cheesy wah-wah pedal effects - and brought him to the speaker's podium.
The next morning I began getting e-mails that added to the excitment from pals in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Beijing saying they'd seen me on national China TV news in a puff piece about the new GT.
A savvy American coworker found a link on the Sinocized version of YouTube. I'm the myopic fat headed foreigners about 40 seconds into it. To view, cut and paste. The autolink function isn't working now. Enjoy.
Photos by Bernice "The Bern Unit" Chen