Re-runs of Asian Games ceremony could be endurance test for locals

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2011, 12:00am

Guangzhou will restage last year's Asian Games opening ceremony for the May 1 holiday and offer tickets at a discount, but the public response overall has been lukewarm.

The Southern Metropolis News quoted unidentified sources from the Guangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee as saying that the city would prepare 10 presentations of November's gala at Haixinsha Square as a treat to people who did not get to see it live.

About 100,000 tickets would be available to the public starting from this weekend, and 80 per cent of them would be sold at about 200 yuan (HK$237) each.

Only 5,000 tickets for the original ceremony were made available to the public, and some of them sold for as much as 6,800 yuan.

It is planned to hold the presentations from April 29 to May 8. At the original ceremony, 45 boats adorned with LED lights ferried thousands of athletes down the Pearl River to Haixinsha Island, which was configured like a sailboat.

The re-runs will not include the grand fireworks display, however.

Employees of the organising committee said they were not in a position to comment on the report, which also revealed there was another purpose behind the presentations.

'This restaging is a kind of experiment testing the potential of Haixinsha Square to be a venue for major performances.

'If this is well received by the public, Haixinsha will regularly host shows and musical performances and become a new tourist spot for Guangzhou,' the unnamed source told the newspaper.

But not many local residents have shown a keen interest. One said the idea of restaging the opening ceremony did not appeal to him.

'It's kind of boring and not creative. The authorities should have just opened Haixinsha Square and its park area free of charge so we could enjoy more public space,' he said.

Another resident said she saw no purpose in restaging the show.

'All the money put into the restaging is yet another wasteful act of the authorities,' she said.

'The people of Guangzhou could really use some of that money to upgrade medical care and ease traffic jams.

'We saw it on TV, and there have already been plenty of re-runs already, so there isn't anything to anticipate from the re-runs.

'Last year's historic moment has already passed, and I would much rather recount the precious ones in my memory instead.'