The little reminders

It’s weird for us right now, with the Olympics in town.

Love this headline on Stuff – NZ’s online news website

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 thisย  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 – theย  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?


'The little reminders' has 16 comments

  1. August 3, 2012 @ 2:44 pm uniquenique01

    Times like these are difficult for any expat I think as no matter where in the world you are coverage is the same, each country will always concentrate more on their own talent. Also you are always torn between the guilt that comes whether you are supporting the country of your birth or your adopted country ;~D I try to just enjoy the Olympics for what they are a celebration of extraordinary talent no matter what country you support.


    • August 3, 2012 @ 5:18 pm vegemitevix

      Spot on! That’s exacty the dichotomy. Bit sad that we missed the medal ceremony though.


  2. August 3, 2012 @ 4:27 pm expatmum

    USA? I take it that’s a rhetorical question LOL. It’s diabolical over here. They keep the best bits till Prime Time (a good six plus hours after the event) and then talk all the way through it. The live coverage in the morning is part of The Today Show (a morning talk show) so we keep getting Jamie Oliver showing us how to make Eton Mess etc.. What the what?


    • August 3, 2012 @ 5:21 pm vegemitevix

      Funny, I thought that might be the case. It’s difficult getting news from outside of the world as it is, let alone in Olympics time. To a lesser degree I have the same problem here in the UK which is why I’ve learnt to follow the NZ news websites if I want to find out about anything Down Under. Sometimes they even give a better report of other world Nnws than the UK does.


  3. August 3, 2012 @ 4:46 pm Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

    Our first Olympics away from home was a killer. Imagine being Australian and missing the Sydney Olympics? We watched the opening ceremony trying to pick out the pieces of Indonesian that we understood, but it just wasn’t the same. It almost became progressively worse over the years, desperately searching for the green and gold only to find that this year the volleyballers are wearing blue, looking for the yellow cap when they’ve changed to white. I think it’s the same everywhere, in Canada the commentary was biased towards Canadians, in the States it was the same and in Australia right now it is a constant barrage of Aussie athletes. GB has so much to revel in at the moment, weddings, jubilees and Olympics – God save us all. xx


    • August 3, 2012 @ 5:23 pm vegemitevix

      Oh that would have been gutting! Even I was excited about the Sydney Olympics and I’m only half Australian! Apparently there’s full coverage on Sky over here, so I might give that a go. Funny to see a Huffington Post article about how NZ is doing better than Australia in the meda talley, by the way….


    • August 6, 2012 @ 1:38 am Russell V J Ward

      I agree with Kirsty. It’s the same in every country I’ve lived in. If you’re in Britain watching the London Olympics, it’s no surprise there’ll be bias towards Team GB. You’ll need to pop back over to NZ if you want Kiwi coverage by the sounds of it ๐Ÿ™

      This is a mighty interesting time to be in Oz even if I am missing the UK celebrations. Watching the athletes turn on the media, and the media try to figure out what is happening and why, is fascinating. I’m just a teeny tiny bit smug right now ๐Ÿ˜‰


  4. August 3, 2012 @ 5:20 pm utterlyscrummy

    I am feeling exactly the same way. Really homesick, cheering like mad at the telly & wishing there was much more coverage of NZ. My 3 girls are cherring on the kiwis too, despite 2 of them having been born in the UK. I’ve shown the girls TVNZ coverage but it’ not the same as seeing it live. Boo hiss to the BBC!


    • August 3, 2012 @ 5:25 pm vegemitevix

      I need to fix the Flash plugin which is stopping me seeing anything online at the moment. Apparently on Sky ch450 you can see all the medal ceremonies. Weird feeling though feeling homesick and yet proud of UK simultaneously. Thanks for commenting hun. Isn’t it cute seeing the kids so patriotic!?


      • August 3, 2012 @ 6:34 pm suujmac

        if you have 450 upwards has the 24 dedicated bbc channels..not silly commentators except for the actual race/competition…and they show all the medal ceremonies -not just those with GB in them…happy day to be a kiwi ๐Ÿ™‚


        • August 4, 2012 @ 6:24 pm vegemitevix

          Thanks Sue! That’s really helpful for all of us long-suffering Antipodeans in the UK.


  5. August 3, 2012 @ 7:19 pm Steve

    I can’t believe, given the immense air time put aside for the Olympics, that all the ceremonies cannot be shown. We want to see the winners no matter what nationality they are!


    • August 3, 2012 @ 7:36 pm vegemitevix

      Awww thanks Steve. It’s a bit hard seeing anything else but the Olympics at the moment isn’t it.


  6. August 3, 2012 @ 11:17 pm Carole

    Are there other countries than NZ in the Olympics – hard to tell from the coverage here Downunder. And we are so sorry for those poor Aussies who are weeping and wailing!


    • August 4, 2012 @ 6:23 pm vegemitevix

      Thanks for making me smile Carole, I suspected that might be the case. x


  7. August 6, 2012 @ 10:13 pm Candi

    As I *may* have mentioned before, I’ve gone native and now tend to support Ireland: it’s the Irish athletes that I follow in the media and know about. Though I do get a little warm glow when UK competitors do well ๐Ÿ™‚


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