Squirrel Chittering

on Monday, March 12, 2007

Photocredit: Sugarbush Squirrel
This just isn't me.

Sorry but formal and dashing just isn't me. I am more of the casual, hippie type. I get a rash from wearing ties and suits just seem like dead-weight on me. I also am not fond about protocols especially when it gets in the way of common sense. Suits and ties, for example, seems like evolutionary suicide when one has to wear it at 35 degrees Celsius and 90% humidity and yet there are some who insist on it as proper protocol for outdoor events in Malaysia.


This squirrel is chittering which is equivalent to a human ranting and I am chittering against narrow-minded and blinkered bureaucrats. I am involved in the organising of a public event to celebrate the annual migration of birds of prey. This event is meant to increase public awareness of the phenomena and to garner their support for the continued protection of certain key forests associated with this annual migration. In substance, it is like a big fiesta with lots of fun activities for everyone and especially families. Just recently, I was invited to appear on the morning show on national TV to talk about the event.

When this was being mooted, all parties, the TV station, the Tourism Development Corporation and ourselves , agreed that we wanted more young people to attend. It was with this in mind that we had artists help create some cool and funky T-shirts for the event. In preparation, I tried to include examples and anecdotes that would appeal to the younger crowd. For example, linking birds of prey, also known as raptors, to the velociraptors of the movie Jurassic Park fame. We agreed to emphasise during the interview events and activities tailored for the youth.

So I show up at the studio, wearing the attractive and cool T-shirt (it had a large stylised head of a raptor on it). The manager looks at me and tells me to change into a suit and tie.

"Kids aren't going to listen to a stuffy, old guy in a suit and tie." I protested.

"We have a dress code for guests on the program. Suit and tie. Rules are rules." She retorted, glaring.

"But the kids...." I started but was cut off by her terrifyingly unblinking glare.

Okay, so I caved in. It was her turf and you weren't there, you didn't experience "the glare".

Anyway, I think it is another example of protocol getting in the way of the task at hand which was to relate to and excite the young people. Does the studio wonder why they rate so poorly with the youth?

And so, this squirrel will keep chittering against such senseless application of protocol.

17 comments:

Janice Thomson said...

I agree 100% with you LGS! The children would have been so much more at ease with how you were first dressed...There is a time and a place for suits but that wasn't one of them. But hey this is one of the inane ways that bureaucrats take control and it makes them feel important...n'est ce pas?

I am reminded of another incident of a young man who had developed an ingenious way to provide water for people in third world countries...and for only $20.00!..It consisted of a plastic net looped over a frame and resting in a trough. At night the dew would collect on the net and presto in the morning there was half a foot of water in the trough...upon meeting with government officials the young man was told this was not an affordable solution...say what??
Uh, what am I missing here? Millions upon millions are being spent on a war but that's too much to provide water for starving people?? Oh right...there's no oil involved...

Josie said...

Okay, that is officially the cutest picture I have ever seen.

I have seen David Suzuki speak many times, and there are always children in the audience. David Suzuki is very down-to-earth, and I don't think I have ever seen him in a suit and tie. School teachers in Canada don't even wear suits and ties anymore. Many protocols have gone the way of the dinosaurs, because they just aren't relevant anymore.

There is so much silliness in the world, isn't there?

Cheers,
Josie

Odat said...

Hurray for your actions in trying to get the younger ones to be interested.....and booooo on having to change your shirt....Protocal sometimes sucks and misses the whole point!
Peace

Gledwood said...

Awww that is a very cute photo I have a thing for furry little animals I dunno why ...


come have a look at my wasps at war vid I posted up today it is FANTASTIC!!!

Molly said...

Too bad the stuffed shirts prevailed....very dashing looking squirrel though!

adelym said...

2Hey uncle.. this ppl at RTM need a kick in..... I agree no wonder no one wants to watch their channels. So boring and irrelevant to us.When is the show scheduled to be shown? Got it taped. Well it's okay if you don't have. You still my adventurest uncle and love you for being that...

CSL said...

Who did that to that poor little squirrel? I have always been thankfulthat business dress for women didn't involve a suit and tie, since I have a pretty casual style. I remember some female comedian saying she didn't understand how men can start each day by tying a noose around their own necks. And you are rght on target - if your goal was to involve young people, the funky T-shirt makes WAY more sense. I went to a day celebrating the migratory stopping of hundreds (thousands?) of sandhill cranes. It was amazing.

By the way, it's a little freaky to log in on Sunday evening and see a post from Monday. Don't you know it's not really Monday yet? The rule is that the correct time is based on wherever I happen to be.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

janice,
I know what you mean. I'm sorry to hear of that young man and the water solution. I've come across that story before but it absolutely demonstrates that something is skewered in the way the world goes round.

In Malaysia, sometimes we hear that a project doesn't cost enough (thats because corrupt officials find it easier to siphon money from larger projects). But I can tell you from experience that relatively low cost community based projects achieve better and longer lasting solutions to poverty problems than the costlier engineering solutions.

I had a similar experience as that young man. I had a project cancelled about 15 years ago because of a political campaign promise that the problem of unsafe drinking water would be resolved by providing 100% piped water coverage to all the population. That promise was never fulfilled but the water safety project was cancelled anyway.

Why is the world in such a mess? I have to say that its a mess of our own making.

josie,
Silliness can be good but too much of the world's silliness is under the dark side. David Suzuki is one of my heroes. I have met him 3 times in Malaysia. He has a knack of explaining complex issues, simply. What a gift.

odat,
I failed to mention in my post that I was even accompanied to the studio by a young woman who was supposed to speak to her peers about the events but they completely banned her cause she was wearing jeans.

gledwood,
It's the big black eyes that always gets to me!

Fantastic video on the hornets. hooray for the small Japanese bees who know how to stand up to these bullies. Maybe that is how we should tackle irresponsible large multinational companies.

molly,
he is dashing, isn't he. Pity that's not me - either metaphorically or in reality.

adelym,
It was shown live last Friday morning on Selamat Pagi Malaysia. Too late to tape anyway, not one of my best interviews; everything was so rigid. thanks for the kind sweet words.

csl,
about the dressed up squirrel, I gave full credit to the guilty party in the post. It's a site that is given to almost entirely this kind of photos. I can only hope that the squirrel is living the high life and coping with the stress of being a well known model.

As to the time issue, I am in the GMT +7 time zone. I'm guessing I am about 10 hours ahead of CSL (Chronology according to the Steele Line). Please direct any further complaints to the sun for being so predictable as always rising in the east!

geewits said...

I'm the same way about dressing up. I have my one funeral dress and a few dresses to wear to weddings. I am a jeans or shorts person. It's a shame you couldn't get your point across to the lady at the station - I bet it would have made a difference. Maybe you should have said, "Did you ever see Steve Irwin in a suit and tie?"

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Geewits,
That is a good retort. I suspect though they will say, "Only if you plan to wrestle a crocodile might we consider forgetting about the suit and tie."

mago said...

Hello, came here from Proxima's Echo tree.

Dress code is a very strange thing: Judges, professors and ministers in Europe wear costumes that are created in the 19th century - out of the romantic spirit: They represent the 19th century's idea of the middle ages.

It is really amazing, that this cultural imperialism (old fashioned word hmhm) is working still nowadays in/with these forms.
No tie no service. Sometimes I like to disguise (tie, three part suite, hat) - it is a vanishing act ...

A german writer once saied that no profession is to be trusted, that can not be performed in normal clothes - for that one has to disguise: Judges, attorneys, ministers, medicines ...

adelym said...

In Malaysia everything is rigid cos you got to do things " the government way". Not that we have a bad government. At least we not like the lest fortunate neighbours who have civil wars all the time. I come to realise whatever the colour you are in Malaysia it doesn't matter. If you don't follow the procedures set, there is nothing to talk about. Of course unless some friend of VVIPs then that does not really matter.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Mago,
Thanks for coming by and leaving comments. I understand what you mean about disguise. Can you imagine if the dress code for the UN assembly was "NO Clothes"? There would be less posturing and superiority complexes amongst the representatives and perhaps more chance for peace.

Adelym,
Protocol can be good but it can be also suffocatingly irrelevant. Malaysia has developed a complex protocol while the rest of the world is simplifying theirs. Pomp and circumstance becomes pompous civil servants.

Becky Wolfe said...

I agree with your feelings. Talk about sending the wrong messages. You were on the right track.

I find it similarily stuffy in churches when young people are frowned upon by dressing too casually and I think 'hey, at least they are here'. Of course there are limitations to casual, in a formal setting but I get the message you are trying to convey. And wearing a t-shirt would have been more appropriate!

squirrel said...

You are sooo right! That t-shirt sounds really cool and would have grabbed the youths attention!

Top cat said...

yeah kids really listen to suits and ties..

my backyard said...

Keep on going, LGS!

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