These are confusing times for the thousands of Chinese state employees recquisitionned to help stage the Olympic Games. While national pride is felt throughout the country, some still found the change of occupation quite surprising.
When Tang Li heard he was going to contribute to the Olympic Games, he initially jumped with joy… “I always dreamed of being able to attend the Olympics, and now I have a unique opportunity to see them from the inside!” But Tang will have to follow the event from the inside of a truck.
Like hundreds of state employees, Tang has been requisitioned for the Olympics. A telecoms engineer in normal times, Tang will spend the two weeks of the Games as a delivery man, driving a van around the Chinese capital.
“During the Olympics, I have been asked to deliver food to the Olympic village. I will have to drive a van,” Tang explains with the slightest hint of a grimace. “Fortunately, I will still be paid my normal wage.”
It is like the China of old - a national drive to get people to help out. Almost every state-run company is supplying staff to make sure the Olympics run smoothly.
An office assistant becomes a translator. Another will greet arriving delegations. And some, like Tang, will be drivers. A lucky few will be able to take it easy during the Games - their companies were told to shut down during the Olympics in an attempt to cut congestion in the Chinese capital. Others will experience the novelty of working at home, but everyone will have to change their schedule during the two weeks of competition.
“We have been asked to start work an hour later and finish an hour later,” a worker at state channel CCTV explains.
Tens of thousands of State employees will be affected in some way by the Games. And for many in Beijing, it will be a difficult couple of weeks. Their daily routine will be turned upside down while the Olympic flame lights up the city's streets.
Date created : 2008-07-21