Check out my no-fun dork shoes:
China's "top-down" approach to security in the Olympics guarantees that there will be very little mirthful exchanges between the people (in public places at least) and the Games here will be ... well ... all business.
2am curfew. anti-drunken partying behavior by the coppers. random security checks. jumpy cops with instruction to "maintain social harmony at ALL costs."
sigh. This aint no game.
The problem with a the good ole' top down commie approach is that information gets out way too late and changes in the plan happen without any real communication or -- for those who have been planning for a while -- logic.
So problems at the venues when security guards who can't speak English try and take bottle of water from Greeks who can't speak Chinese while a horde of pissed Aussies slowly grow red in the sun and glare at a group of haughty Frenchman ... oh man.
And when people start getting hauled away to the Public Security Bureau (PSB) for getting loud at a bar and forgetting their passports ... then all of a sudden the leaders say, leave some of those foreigners alone, cuz its starting to get hectic, security kinda breaks down .. and BAM! Osama rolls in on a magic carpet and drops a load of poo on everybody.
Basically everybody here foresees chaos and hectic. I mean this is China, there is always some sort of problem that requires flexible, decisive decision making -- the exact skill that so many of the middle level leaders lack (or are afraid to employ), so decisions come from on high. These decisions tend to be overkill, ineffective, contradictory and subject to change as the information trickles in.
I put my faith in the bright hospitality of the Chinese PEOPLE. Screw the authorities, just like they screw us. If only the Aussies, French, Greeks and Chinese can figure out some body language and get drunk together. I am telling you: Chinese are down to smoke cigs and drink all night long with a foreigner, take his ass out to eat and help him find a girl ... its all good. Just gotta communicate.