Here Be Dragons

Friendly Dragon

The arrival of the Chinese Year of the Rat was celebrated in London today.

With great skill we managed to miss both the parade (we arrived too late) and the dragon dancing (we had to leave too early) which I particularly wanted to watch. We did time our arrival perfectly to allow us to hear the Great and the Good of London and Westminster deliver their carefully rehearsed speeches (in English) and their even more carefully rehearsed New Year greetings (in Cantonese).

We also got to see Reg, who was not initially on stage with the Great and the Good. Reg is a Community Copper who works in Chinatown and who is about to retire. His deployment near the stage entrance had been carefully managed to allow him to be dragged up onto the stage to receive a surprise award and hear the alarming invitation “Perhaps you would like to say a few words?” He looked surprised and a little nervous at this, but Reg the Unrehearsed did a great job of addressing the assembled crowd in English, speaking briefly about his work in Chinatown and presenting a really positive view of community policing. He followed this with greetings in both Cantonese and Mandarin, for which he was applauded loudly. The Police as an organisation take a lot of criticism, but there are a lot of really good individual policemen and women out there.

That left us with just enough time to buy a paper dragon, with which I am childishly delighted, before heading off to the circus

(Original post sent from my mobile. Updated on 12th February 2008)

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