Wednesday, 10 April 2013


Succeed and Advance

I received a big brown envelope through the post yesterday, with Chinese characters on the front. It was from SAHK in Hong Hong.

Inside was a smart folder bearing the name of SAHK's Institute of Rehabilitation Practice, and inside that was a a kind letter and a certificate to acknowledge my services as an Honorary Advisor to the Institute. Actually these thanks are a bit premature since I have not yet had opportunity to offer any advice – so now I had better start singing for my supper.

I have already done the honours at home: I found a suitable frame, knocked a pin in the wall, and hung up my certificate. When you are retired you can afford ten minutes for such details.

My limited direct experiences of Hong Kong had initially suggested to me that Chinese people particularly like giving and receiving such tokens of esteem, but further reflection soon put this into context. After all, my roles in being there in the first place put me in the very situations in which such things are regularly given and received, anywhere. And it also brought back to me the pleasure that I myself have had from presenting certificates, badges, awards etc., in the days when I was in a position to do such things. I hope that recipients on the whole enjoyed the gesture, and the simple but sincere flummery that could be attached to the presentation.

The certificate, by the way, bears the name of SAHK, written in Chinese characters:


I like the way that this starts of with a little flower in a pot and ends with a gingerbread house. At least that is how I identify the expression. In reality, I believe that the flower-pot character signifies 'incense' while the little house signifies 'can'.

The folder carries SAHK's strong public slogan, in two languages:


'Succeed and Advance'
I'll go with that.

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