It’s weird for us right now, with the Olympics in town.
Of course we are excited that London looks so amazing, even though we don’t live in London I reckon 40 miles south west is close enough to claim London as our patch. Of course we are thrilled that everything has gone so well in the preparations – no one’s been trampled in a Tube Station, no one burnt their fingers lighting the cauldron, and no Mayor of London made a tit of themselves by getting caught on a zip wire…
Oh hang on…about the last one..
But over all, it’s been great to see our host country looking so brilliant on the world stage, there’s just one little thing. A few little reminders, really.
That we are a long way from home.
It’s been an historic hour for NZ rowing, some wag on Facebook (Fletcher McKensie) even suggested on the Prime Minister’s page, that we should change the country’s name to Aotearower, given the brilliant golds won by Mahe Drysdale and the NZ pair – Eric Murray and Hamish Bond.
All three kids came running to see the wins for themselves and each one was cheering the guys over the finish line. We waited with bated breath for the medal ceremony and the familar strains of God Defend New Zealand, and it didn’t come. Instead the BBC chose to play a prerecorded interview with Katherine Grainger over the top of the ceremony off screen.
“Aren’t they going to show the ceremony?” Miss Fliss asked.
“Not sure.” I hoped they would, but I wouldn’t put money on it.
I understand that the BBC are only covering the Olympics in a manner that best meets the needs of their large home audience, and I understand that they cannot possibly cover every medal ceremony. I just don’t think they understand that for Kiwi expats we were just hanging on for that little reminder of who we are, and where we are from.
Shame, it didn’t come.
I know the BBC don’t have a strategy of not showing Kiwi success, even if they did dismiss the pairs’ win as a foregone conclusion (which doesn’t make it any less special if you ask me), I suspect there are expats of other nationalities sitting here feeling frustrated that their country’s heroes and heroines aren’t getting the coverage or kudos they deserve, just as much as we are. The Australian women rowers worked so hard for their silver medal, but they weren’t given any attention whatsoever from the BBC and languished in the shadows of the attention received by the winning women rowers Grainger and Watkins.
I’m sure this one-eyed approach is not limited to the UK. I’ve heard stories from other bloggers, like Kirsty at Shamozal that each country has its fair share of expats desperately trying to catch up with the progress of their national Olympic teams, in the absence of any coverage in their host country’s media.
I’m not surprised at all, but what has caught me a little off guard is my own reaction. I can get the news from online news sources, that’s all fine, it’s just this huge longing to fly a New Zealand flag or have a Kiwi BBQ or something. Which I would totally do, if it wasn’t raining all the time.
I’m not surprised it’s hard to track my country’s progress in the Olympics whilst living in the UK, but I am surprised at the old stirrings of nationalism, fuelled by homesickness and just a smidge of pride about my country of birth – the little country that could.
Do you think the media coverage in your country has been biased towards the country you’re in, or do you think they have delivered a fair represenation of a world Games?