Expo opening fireworks a lot of shock, not so much awe

The China Post news staff

The 2010 Taipei International Flora Expo kicked off Saturday to a generally good start and with much acclaim from foreign guests, including Dr. Doeke Faber, head of the International Association of Horticultural Growers, who lauded the event as the best one he has ever seen in 50 years. However, the people watching the opening day fireworks display at the Daijia Riverside Park probably have different opinions.

Obviously taking a page from the multi-staged fireworks at the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, the Taipei City Tourism Bureau, organizer of the display, designed the fireworks to be exploded mainly at two spots so it would literally “jump” from the first location of the Dajia Riverside Park at the Keelung River to the Dadaocheng area on the Danshui River. However, due to the rainy weather Saturday night, the smoke from the lower altitude fireworks at Dajia were trapped by unfavorable wind conditions and greatly limited the view of the fireworks. Many visitors, some having waited for five to seven hours in the rain to watch the fireworks, left in disappointment and anger even before the show ended as they were seeing nothing but smoke and flashes. It is reported that some TV audiences jeered that they were not watching the fireworks but the live footage of a fire. Indeed, it has become so embarrassing that one cable broadcaster had to overlap the footage of the fireworks, which looked more like a low-floating thundercloud, with the footage of the riverside just to make the picture less silly. The organizers blamed the weather for the blunder but the fact is that they did not take all the necessary measures to ensure a successful show. They may have done all they could according to their plans but they didn’t go the extra mile to ensure that everything went absolutely perfectly. In the 2008 Olympics, the mainland government employed weather altering chemicals and traffic restrictions in the Beijing area to ensure a clear sky during the opening ceremony. The Olympic organizers even inserted fake and pre-recorded footage in the “live” broadcast of the fireworks to guarantee a picture-perfect show. While such extreme methods may have backfired to a certain degree and enhanced China’s image as the land of counterfeits, they at least did manifest a determination for perfection.