Saturday, 30 September 2017

I am out of touch

Boris is in trouble again. I suddenly realise I am unable to understand the present age.  
The foreign secretary has been accused of “incredible insensitivity” after it emerged he recited part of a colonial-era Rudyard Kipling poem in front of local dignitaries while on an official visit to Myanmar in January.
Boris Johnson was inside the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in the capital Yangon, when he started uttering the opening verse to The Road to Mandalay, including the line: “The temple bells they say/ Come you back you English soldier.”

Kipling’s poem captures the nostalgia of a retired serviceman looking back on his colonial service and a Burmese girl he kissed. Britain colonised Myanmar from 1824 to 1948 and fought three wars in the 19th century, suppressing widespread resistance.
Johnson’s impromptu recital was so embarrassing that the UK ambassador to Myanmar, Andrew Patrick, was forced to stop him. The incident was captured by a film crew for Channel 4 and will form part of a documentary to be broadcast on Sunday about the fitness of the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip to become prime minister.
Someone commented on Twitter that it was only because the Ambassador went to Eton that he recognised the first two lines of the poem. Such a well known poem!

Going to Eton, by the way, I thought conferred kudos (and mightily helped Etonians with any girl they set their eye on) but I was recently told it that it carries a stigma nowadays and has done for many years. I can only say I have lived for twenty years in Romania.

The new leader of UKIP, chosen for being a moderate, is in trouble for saying that wearing blackface shouldn't make you liable for criminal charges. This is an outrageous opinion, apparently.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't everyone who's even slightly sane out of touch now? I was just wondering what I would go for at an antique auction: 'antique or just backdated?'