THE BLOG

Bush Booed During Opening Ceremony

09/08/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Well, maybe not in the stadium. But at All Star, a sports bar at the new Solana shopping mall on the northwest corner of Beijing's Chaoyang Park, American tourists and expats chanted, "U-S-A! U-S-A!" when the team, in Ralph Lauren pony-embroidered blazers and stupid-looking hats, took its lap during the Olympics opening ceremony. This cheering abruptly switched to a unanimous groan of "Booooooooooooooooooo!" when the camera panned onto President Bush. The Chinese waitress, who was picking up an order at the bar, quickly looked up; and when she saw what the discontent was about, laughed.

It was a welcomed break from the dramatic four-hour opening ceremony, consisting of a multimedia history of China, which at times seemed to be on acid; procession of countries in funny outfits (China's team uniforms looked as if they'd been designed by Ronald McDonald); and then final cauldron lighting by who's-that-guy? Pronounced "Booosh" by most Chinese locals, the US president's surname is generally followed by a groan or laugh in Beijing. "Booosh seem slow in head," one taxi driver said to me. "He likes to begin lots of fights."

Bush, or should I say Booosh (when in Beijing!), caused minimal stir in the capital city (besides some detouring around the Westin Hotel where he's staying), even with his speeches scolding China's human rights record before arriving. His addresses seemed odd and forced -- taking place maybe because he had taken some flack for attending the Games simply as a "sporting event" -- and didn't seem to alienate Hu Jintao, as the two oddly held hands during part of the lunch.

Even Chinese people seem eager to see Bush step down after this year. Many times when locals find out I'm an ABC (American-born Chinese), they ask: "He's done soon, right?" or "Who do you think will win next?" Like many know, the Booosh isn't here to stay.