Sunday, September 23, 2007

A quick question – Where were the last three APEC summits held?

If you couldn’t answer that question then just how well do you think Sydney’s hosting of the event will benefit the city over the next three years.

Remember how in the lead up we were promised that the inconvenience would be worth it because of the exposure Sydney would receive in the world of business and government events.

Comparisons were made to the Sydney Olympics regarding the traffic inconvenience and the thrill of having international visitors. The big difference though was that we were all invited to participate in the Olympic experience and if we couldn’t get to see an event we could still gather to watch it on big screens at the various Live Sites.

In contrast APEC was for an exclusive club and if the populus were to gather in any numbers they were surrounded by police. Just imagine how much more enjoyable it would have been for everyone if the Live Sites were set up again so that we could have gathered to enjoy the spectacle of George W praising our Prime Minister (over and over) and our Austrian troops in Iraq. And how enjoyable it would have been each night to watch Roy Slaven and HG Nelson do a wrap up of the days proceedings along with interviews with representatives from some of the lesser lights of the conference.

Surely the most outrageous act though was to not invite the taxpayers of Australia, who after all were paying for the whole shebang, to the harbour spectacular on the Saturday night. In fact the populus were specifically instructed to stay away and the spectacle on the water was never mentioned.

The Gala Cultural Performance in the Sydney Opera House was reserved for the APEC visitors and assorted Australians of note – as it should have been. But just maybe a concert paid for by our tax dollars could have been televised in order to make us feel a little more included, especially as that concert featured the Flying Fruit Fly Circus, TaikOz, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Christine Anu, Simon Tedeschi, The Australian Ballet and soloists from the Australian Opera.

The harbour fireworks associated with this concert were covered by the media but how many are aware that a complex and spectacular show was performed on the water. This involved a number of tall ships and 16 racing boats, all of which were lit up. The lighting on the racing boats in particular was quite impressive as the sails were lit with LED lamps with wireless DMX control (the first time these lamps have been used in Australia). The boats looked spectacular as the sails changed colour in unison and sequentially. A story on how this event was developed will be published in ASE shortly.

So now the APEC cavalcades are gone and traffic is back to the normal half hour or more to get from Sydney’s airport to the CBD. Fortunately The Chaser team managed to get some TV exposure for Sydney outside Australia.

And the last three APEC meetings? They were held in Ha Noi, Vietnam (2006); Busan, Korea (2005) and Santiago, Chile (2004).

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