Time Magazine and Beef Noodle

I am a long time subscriber of Time Magazine. I like its depth of coverage on various national and international issues. But, I was really disappointed when it started reporting Olympics torch relay since beginning of the year. It started with Simon Elegant’s article “China’s Olympic Shame?”, which was like most media of westen country at that time, pictured the pro-Tibet activists as heroes and totally ignored those violent actions towards the torch and the bearers. In the next issue, the same writer picked the most extreme responses, of course he was cursed by some, of his first article and tried to depict Chinese people as insecure and dangerous. It seemed things indeed going south as they wanted and China was going to blow it.

Then, the game started. It is a huge success. The world sees a confident, culture-rich and modern China. One week after the opening ceremony, Time Magazine dedicated 3 pages to the game. Hannah Beech’s article, “The Medal Machine is Cranking”, is surprisingly desperate. “The U.S. has dominated swimming and is expected to gorge on track medals. China mean-while, has churned out golds in weight-lifting, synchronized diving, shooting, fencing and judo. Not exactly prime-time viewing in the U.S.” I cannot believe this comes from Time Magazine, a world-wide respectful publication. Is Olympics just for prime-time viewing for U.S. audience? The article goes on attacking the fairness of the game and expecting Chinese athletes would loss the medals under the pressure. The fact that both authors actually wrote the articles in Beijing further proves they just eager to come out of nothing to criticize China.

Last weekend, I went to a small local restaurant to have a beef noodle. The soup is spicy and rich. I like the texture of thick noodle so I ordered it. Somehow I tried to use the ‘civilized’ way to eat the noodle, twirling the noodle by the fork. I couldn’t do it. Because the noodle is too thick and heavy. The only way to eat it is to put my head down, take the noodle into the month with the chopsticks and bite it.

At that time, I felt I realized something: there is no good way or bad way to eat the noodle. You cannot say slurping is bad because it is not civilized. In fact, the origin of twirling may not be related to if it is civilized or not at all. It is considered so only because Italians are seemingly civilized. Similarly, an unbiased media should not criticize someone or some country just because they are different. It should be more considerate when it puts its own standard and judgement on other people.