Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
Over three months before the 2014 World Cup kicked off, FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke warned that Brazil needed a "kick up the backside." He predicted that Brazil would be the worst ever organizer of event and that year's World Cup to be the worst in history. But months later, the World Cup turned out to be one of the best in history.
Likewise, in recent months the International Olympic Committee and Olympic delegations from different countries gave a similar prediction to Valcke's as they complained about the leaky toilets in Rio's Olympic Village, mosquito bites, rampant thieves and frequent strikes.
But these are nothing strange to Brazilians. In the opening ceremony of upcoming Olympic Games, they are even set to perform a "street robbery" to show the real Brazil to the world.
Don't Brazilians care about the Olympics? They do. But what they care most about is not whether the subway line in Rio can be ready for the Games, the sports venues can be completed or the country's glory and fame can be kept. Their biggest focus is the joy of partying.
Brazil is a country that tries everything to create and enjoy happiness. Brazilians' life is always rife with relaxation and rejoicing. Those who want to revel in the sea, the blue sky and the beach in Brazil may pick up the wrong place if they demand efficiency and order.
Having lived in Brazil for nearly three years, I recommend remembering the words by Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist to better understand the country: "Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we're living now."
It's necessary to remember another phrase - Bom Dia (Good morning). It can considerably help Chinese understand Brazil and feel less grieved because when Brazilians say the phrase, it sounds much like how Chinese say "Why hurry?"
In 2014, I went to Fortaleza in northeastern Brazil to report on the BRICS summit. One day before the summit was set to convene, the decoration work was still underway in the meeting hall, but the summit was eventually a success.
In Brazil stories of this kind are not rare. The metro system of Salvador, Bahia state, started being built in 1997. The government invested $450 million on four-mile line and the whole system was put into operation right before the 2014 World Cup. That's the way Brazilians work. They won't finish the work until the last moment of deadline, but they will complete it in the end, even if some problems are left over .
Indeed, Brazil, as a developing country, is unable to catch up with developed ones in infrastructure. But after you have some contact with the hospitable and passionate Brazilians, you will feel sure that they will make a distinctive impression on the huge Olympic party.
Hosting the Olympic Games in Brazil is a test not only for the country, but the games itself and of the vast audience. But what embodies the full significance of five interlaced Olympic rings is that Olympic Games can be a success in both meticulous countries like China and relaxed ones such as Brazil.
When you stroll down the beach avenue in Rio and brush past the tanned sunbathers, or when you see the rejoicing of Brazilians playing in the sea, why complain?
The author is a senior editor with People's Daily, and currently a senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. email@example.com
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