Friday, September 28, 2007

A magical finale under a full moon

The closing show of the Asia-Pacific Youth Arts Festival was held on a stage built over the lake in front of the Interlaken Hotel at OCT East. It was a spectacular location for the concert which lasted about an hour - not as long as the previous shows because it followed the AYAF prize-giving ceremony held in the nearby Interlaken Theatre. However, the fireworks and laser displays that accompanied the show gave it a magical atmosphere under a full moon (the rain finished yesterday) and it was a fitting finale to a fantastic week here in Shenzhen.

At the end of the show, as fireworks lit up the sky, cannons shot brightly coloured streamers and confetti out over the stage and over the lake. It was a spectacular sight, but as the smoke from the fireworks cleared, I thought of the old man that I had seen each morning in a rowing boat cleaning up bits of rubbish from the lake with a small fishing net. I imagined the look of horror on his face when he got to work this morning and found the whole of his lake covered with streamers and confetti.


The only act that fell flat – and I would say the only one of the whole festival – were a couple of ‘famous’ rap artists from the US who appeared as special guests courtesy of MTV (I can’t remember their names). I’m not a great fan of rap, so it was hard for me to judge whether it was a good or bad performance, but even the applause from the young audience was very muted.

Later that night when I was going back up to my room in the hotel, the two rap artists got in the lift with me. They were wearing baggy pants, basketball shirts and basketball caps on back to front. I was wearing a suit and tie (because I had been participating in the prize-giving ceremony earlier). One of them looked me up and down disdainfully. He didn’t say anything but I sensed a rather wide generation gap in the way we were dressed.

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