photos: AP  Hu Jintao displays the Olympic lighter and torch

There was a notable gasp as President Hu Jintao held up the box housing the Olympic flame in front of 5000 invited guests at China's infamous Tiananmen Square last night, followed by murmurs of 'Western plot', 'Tibet took it', and 'that ain't nothing but a lighter'.

Jintao, realizing that many of his countrymen were not familiar with the rich pageantry that is the Olympics, was quick to reassure them that nothing was amiss.

"No problem, citizens. Olympics is mix of ancient and modern. Flame flew in 747 because Athens too far to run, and torch not allowed in airplane due to safety. Olympics now use Sterno can  and very attractive box."

After several attempts, Jintao managed to relight the Sterno, and before you could say Kung Pao swiftly lit the Olympic Torch, which is seen as China's entry key to the 21st century for some reason or another.

"Booooo," the crowd hissed, "too small, too small." Incredulous cries of "you call that a torch?", and 'I came all the way from Shandong province for this?" rang out. One man, wearing a 'Free Tibet' t-shirt, attempted to amuse the crowd with a megaphone.

"Your torch is so small, it couldn't set off smoke alert in a Bejing efficiency," he shouted to the revelers before being taken out by Chinese security. "Your flame so small that if Cheung Tat-Ming try to light bong with it, he would... Aiiiyeee! Aaaagggghhhh!'."

 

 

2008, Mark Hoback