There are some things I will not stand for, and the Chinese National Anthem is one. I was delighted to be invited by the IDC to Coega for the release of their (rather worrying) financial results – and a sod-turning ceremony for a new R11bn vehicle plant being built by Chinese auto giant BAIC.
There was no shortage of sods at the sod turning – Minister Ebrahim Patel, dozens of Chinese officials and auto bods, a cluster of journalists and hundreds of other freeloaders.
There was even the sad sight of the former mayor of PE Danny Jordaan, whom I had assumed would be far too busy fighting sleaze and corruption in international football to be hanging around with sods.
There was far too much pomp at the ceremony, made even more tortuous by the non-simultaneous translation of almost everything between English and Chinese. And the cheek of the hosts to offer us non-alcoholic Shiraz grape juice with our lunch was only compounded by the media being called to a briefing before we had been served any dessert or coffee (mind you, given the quality of the other courses, this may have been a blessing in disguise).
Of course it is useful to have a big new investment at Coega, even though it would not have happened without the lure of government investment incentives and co-investment by the IDC. I just wonder whether the job-creation levels we will see can in any way match the scale which would be achieved by a similarly-sized investment in agriculture or tourism. Actually, I don’t wonder. I know it wouldn’t.
But back to that anthems….. I was happy to stand for the South African anthem, because I knew it did not imply affection for our President and his cabal of Guptarian tenderpreneurs.
But when I think of the way China disrespects human rights, and in particular has ensured through vile pressure on our authorities that the Dalai Lama is not allowed to visit our shores, I was not prepared to rise to my feet.
Besides, what the hell were they doing playing national anthems anyway?
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