Wednesday, 22 December 2010


And entitlement


At the World Congress, I was a 'VIP'.

This is a strange term. It is an English abreviation – for 'very important person' – but, at least in the circles that I have moved in, it is little used, except perhaps with a touch of irony.

I am not alone in this understanding  –

very important person an important or influential (and often overbearing) person, dignitary, high muckamuck, high-up, panjandrum, VIP, important person, influential person, personage

By the way, I love that expression 'high muckamuck' (alt. high muckety-muck') I had not come across it before. There can not be many words in English from the Chinook but this is a humdinger, just what is needed:

For the purpose of the Congress, a VIP is what I had to be.

It started before I travelled to Hong Kong, with the Congress Secretariat's wanting to know when I should be arriviing, so that a limousine could pick me up at the airport. My reply, that I did not need a limousine, I would be more than happy to take the MTR airport train to Hong Kong Station, fell on deaf ears. Again I was asked and again I declined. The third time I began to think that I might be appearing a bit odd, or even rude, so I meekly gave my flight number.

Quite nice it was too, being met at the barrier and ushered to a Mercedes + driver. The driver was pleasant and informative and I was delivered to the very door of my hotel. On the way I had a great car-ride into town (over yet another fantastic new bridge, in operation since I was last there a couple of years ago, and past another fantastic new skyscraper, the world's fifth-tallest building now open, said my driver).
But, oh so unnecessary. How much did this add to the Congress budget, I wondered. How many other 'VIPs' might be drawing on this fund? What can this possibly be all about?

Perhaps in the spirit of the age the Congress budget should be open to public scrutuny – either voluntarily or through the good services of Wikileaks.

I stayed on in Hong Kong for a few days after the Congress had packed up and disappeared, and became therefore 'responsible for my own travel arrangements'. So no limo on the way back, but the special shuttle bus from the very door of the Wang Chai Emperor to Hong Kong Station, then the wonderful MTR Airport Express, surely one of the great short railway journeys of the world:

A piviledge indeed. What more could a boy want?

No Doctor

The Congress programme insisted upon listing me as 'Dr'. I have an honorary doctorate of education, and that is very nice, but I would not normally consider it using it good form to preface 'Dr' to my name on this basis. It would not be good form. Indeed, I should regard it as rather naff to do so. As far as I am concerned, just call me 'mister'.

My request was declined and Dr I became for the duration of the Congress.

There were a lot of people deemed Dr, and Professor and Assistant Professor at the Congress, I am sure with far more justification than I.


None of the above are matters that I came into Conductive Education to be involved in. Is this really what Conductive Education is about for those to whom it directly matters? If there is to be another World Congress, perhaps more stringent control could be exercised.  This was another planet. Beam me up, Scottie.

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