The scene above is from the International Media Centre, from Torontoist (go there for actual interesting news about the summit). These figures in the photograph are international media here to cover the G20 summit in Toronto. According to Torontoist, in this photograph, they are actually watching the World Cup (Denmark versus Japan, to be precise). In the Alternative Media Centre (where the International NGOs, watchdogs and alternative media are parked), they are also watching the World Cup.
We’ve all done it, stayed up late or woke up far too early during a work day just to catch that football match we’ve been waiting for. But the World Cup only comes once every four years, and late nights cheering on one’s favourite team from halfway around the world becomes the norm this month.
In Indonesia and other Asian countries, the latest live matches of the “day” are at 1:30 in the morning, the day after. With matches on nearly every night for a month, weekends and weekdays, and with at least two matches per night, most people are getting less and less sleep than usual, especially those who have work or school the next day.
So recently, Indonesian health experts (and employers) are growing concerned about the increased rates of actual fevers and fatigue-related illnesses caused by these late nights which, n most occasions, stressful and full of excitement, but also usually accompanied with cigarettes, booze, caffeine or sodas and energy drinks to stay alert during the match.
For Canadian residents, the World Cup isn’t the only world event they’ve got their eye on this June. The G8 and G20 annual summits are going to be hosted, at great cost the Canadian taxpayers, in Toronto and Ontario.
“Corrective rape” is an attempt to punish and change somebody’s sexuality through rape. Horrible events like this is by no means isolated solely to South Africa. Discrimination and hate crime towards gays and lesbians is a world wide problem. But in South Africa, according to ESPN who researched and reported the story in the video above, “a disproportionate number of female athletes have been victims, if only because more are openly gay as Simelane was”.
A month before the World Cup, Africa and African footballing culture—at least, as dictated by FIFA—has taken over a little area of Southeast Asia in the FIFA Official Store. Not in Geneva, not in Johannesburg, but in Singapore.
To remind us that the World Cup is A Big Deal, in January of 2008 FIFA opened its first Official Store in the new terminal of Singapore international airport, where in 2009, there were 27 million passengers that came and went. That’s means foot traffic from anywhere of 200 cities in 60 countries. That’s a lot of mobile football fans.
Ever since the Confederations Cup started, the vuvuzela has been a source of controversy for some inexplicable reason. So many people think they should be banned and while this came up as a point of discussion for 2010 prior to the beginning of the Confederations Cup, FIFA said it would not be banned if they were not used as weapons or projectiles. However, because there has been complaints from media, foreign spectators and footballers, FIFA might have to revisit the issue.
I must respectfully disagree on the arguments for banning the vuvuzela. FIFA takes a risk every four years in granting nations host status but they have to accept that each nation is different and will inevitably bring to the global stage new additions to our vernacular football culture. The vuvuzela is one of them, and distinctly South African. While the vuvuzela was developed later on in South African sporting history, it is no less culturally significant for South African football fans, as evidenced by its heavy presence in the stadium, a fun, cheap way for the fans to show their loyalty toward their teams.