Monday, 16 April 2007

a few more days

Again I am in planning mode, thinking of going home in a few days, sorting things out and preparing for our move to Rome. Work is boring and not too inspiring with managers who have clearly reached their level of incompetence but who have powerful protection in senior management. The Office went out tonite to dinner at a cheap Chinese restaurant in one of the more populous neighborhoods to drink 40 cent beer and stuff their faces and pretend they are having a great time at their own expense. Not my idea of fun so I am staying home instead, I have other things to do.

It is always a long trip to go home even in business class, half way around the planet. I am trying to think of what all I need to do once at home. Want this to be a productive trip. See Will get things organized, but at the same time I am getting tired of moving and packing and sorting through things. Have to become more sedentary but then again I know that I will always want to move must be in my nature. What is it so far, I have lived or travelled to 24% of the Earth.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Visit at the Office

Today our former Governor General and Commander of the Armed Forces, the Right Honorable Madame Adrienne Clarkson and her husband J.Ralston Saul came to visit the Embassy. They are on a tour of China, the first since their last visit in 1979. She told us that she remember back then meeting all these old Communist Party Officials who spoke French and English and smoked cigarettes from Ivory holders. How things had changed since, indeed no one speaks F. or E. nowadays. The elegance of the old revolutionnaries is out replaced by the crass corruption of the current crowd. She is writing a book on Norman Bethune the celebrated Canadian doctor who gave his life to China and to help poor Chinese people during the hard years of the revolution prior to 1949. It will be a book in a serie of 18 books to be published by Penguin in 2008. All written by famous Canadians on famous dead Canadians. John Ralston Saul is the editor of this series. She came to China at the invitation of President and Party Secretary Hu Jin Tao. He had visited Canada in 2005 and extended the invitation to her.
She spoke beautifully in both French and English, her voice is clear and soothing and has charm and elegance. She looked like a little bird today, he looked like the Prince Regent (George IV) very 18 century in his light gray business suit. She told us in an answer to a question that they had been married now for 31 yrs. She thought that in any relationship the one that work out are the one were each person complements the other. You each bring something to the table.
On Bethune and how she wants to portray him, she said, some people seek to live their lives other seek their destiny, that is what he was seeking.
Both came across as Liberals of the Trudeau era, L.B. Pearson fans. They were young back then and he worked for Maurice Strong. A very different time all together from today's. I thought J. Ralston Saul said interesting things about Canada. He said why is it that we always seek to minimize who we are as Canadians. Why not say that we are one of the oldest Parliamentary democracy in the world. With one of the oldest Constitutions, comparing us to Germany (1870), or Italy (1870) or France who only got an elected chamber of representatives after 1870.
We (Canada) are a member of the G-8 because we sit on most of all strategic reserves of mineral wealth in the World. He then went on to compare our society in terms of people seeking Canadian citizenship 82% after immigrating to Canada to the USA where only 40% will take-up citizenship, the rest preferring to keep a Green card (permanent resident). As proof of better integration and identification with the new nation.

He spoke of Mike Pearson, (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) as being a visionary in terms of diplomacy after the WWII.
Both mentionned how important it was for Canada to work at integrating successfully our immigrants and continuing to recognize what they contribute to Canada by immigrating. She thought that the Press in general was overblowing the negative news about racism and social tensions in Canada. She did not remember in all her visits to different communities in Canada during her time as G.G. being aware of social tension. They both felt that we had been succesfull at mixing peoples and communities in Canada and having people live in peace despite their differences. She mentionned that one of her favourite shows now on TV was on CBC, Little Mosque on the Prairie, a comedy about a village in Saskatchewan where different people live together.

It certainly lifted the tone at the Embassy from the ho hum of everyday work. I am happy to have had this opportunity to have met them, after hearing about them for so many years. I will look forward to this Penguin serie of books on Canadians and on her book on Bethune.

Monday, 2 April 2007

My first entry...

Well after my partner started his web, I decided to do the same. I like the idea of a web and writing down whatever you feel. I will use more than one language on this web, both French and English, depending on the mood and what I want to write about. Some thoughts are better for personal reasons in one language.
I also contributed to but with censorship here and the blocking of LJ in China, I decided to switch to this medium for the time being. This blog is for whoever wants to read it. It is about my life and my thoughts, so enjoy. Welcome!