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August 14, 2008

The Olympics: Beauty Over Integrity?

By now you may have already heard about China's fake fireworks and possibly underage gymnasts... This week yet another 'integrity' issue has been uncovered for Beijing... lip syncing.

You may have seen Lin Miaoke, 9, sing "Hymn to the Motherland" at the Opening Ceremony, however you were being deceived. Lin Miaoke wasn't singing, she was lip syncing to the voice of
Yang Peiyi, 7. Why wasn't Yang Peiyi allowed to perform the song herself? She wasn't cute enough.

Lin Miaoke (left) and Yang Pieyi (right). Photo: GETTY/AFP

Apparently Yang Pieyi's baby face and 'buck teeth' (um, hello, she's seven) did not meet the image that China wanted to portray. Instead, they prefer to portray an image of shallow dishonesty?

"The main consideration was the national interest," [the ceremony's musical designer, Chen Qigang] said. "The child on the screen should be flawless in image, in her internal feelings, and in her expression. In the matter of her voice, Yang Peiyi was flawless, in the unanimous opinion of all the members of the team."

That was until attention turned to Yang Peiyi's teeth.

..."We should all understand it like this: it is a question of the national interest. It is a question of the image of our national music, our national culture".

What message does that send? That the image they want of their national music and culture is one of deception? That it's more important to be pretty than talented or honest? Did Lin Miaoke learn the lesson that it is okay to take credit for something you haven't done? That it is okay to lie as long as you are pretty? What lesson does Yang Peiyi learn from all this? That if she ever wants anyone to appreciate her singing, she must change her image? "I am proud to have been chosen to sing at all," she is reported to have said. I guess she has learned the lesson that unless you're pretty enough, you should be happy for whatever little scraps you're given.

If they really needed to have someone who looked a certain way, why not find someone who was both "cute" and a good singer? They wanted to portray this image of beauty and talent, but if they can't find a singer who has their required level of both... then why portray an image that isn't true?

Honestly, we think that both little girls are adorable. Yang Pieyi looks a little bit more like an actual little girl (and not a doll). If it was really so important for them to feature Lin Miaoke in the Opening Ceremony they should have had the two girls sing a duet. Then they really may have had what they claimed to have wanted: "a perfect voice, a perfect image and a perfect show."

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Bill said...

"If they really needed to have someone who looked a certain way, why not find someone who was both 'cute' and a good singer?"

I have to disagree with this. This may be even worse, because it sends the image that only pretty girls are allowed to have talent. It's already a travesty that she has to 'overcome' the stigma of her looks to succeed with a terrific voice. It's even worse if she has no chance to succeed at all.


I agree. I think the 'not cute' girl should have been able to sing.

I'm just saying that if they were really so set on having someone 'cute', then find someone cute... who can sing. Don't find someone cute and pretend that they can sing.