5 June 2009

Laotian Olympic Team Flight

Back in the 4th century BC, the book "Analects of Confucius" recorded that Confucius praised a deceased scholar named Kung-yu.

Kung-yu was honoured with the posthumous title "Wen Gong" (means "honourable master of broad knowledge"). Confucius' doubting students and some other people argued that there were many scholars more senior and more knowledgable than Kung-yu, it was not appropriate to pay such high respect to Kung-yu.

The Great Master then explained that Kung-yu had truly lived up to the honour because he was "very willing to learn humbly, not ashamed to consult those who supposed to be less knowledgable, and not ashamed to learn from his subordinates".

Now back to the modern world. The Indo-China Philatelist (ICP) is the official journal of the Society of Indo-China Philatelists (SICP). In ICP #187, which published in March 2009, there shows an interesting cover. Nothing Cambodia, it is a beautiful aerogramme from Laos.

In the journal, it reads:

"Richard Aspnes, SICP President and specialist in commemorative markings from Laos, had not previously seen this marking, but he has some knowledge of classical Chinese writing. Even if the name of the addressee is written in simplified Chinese, Richard can say that the aerogramme is addressed to the Olympic village."

It is actually a plain and usual civilian residential address - the addessee Mr Huang's own home in Changping, a northwest suburb of Beijing. Mr Huang is a Chinese philatelist who is keen on Beijing Olympic items.

The cover has nothing to do with the Olympic Village, the address does not even bear the word "Olympic".

Perhaps Mr Richard Aspnes can learn from Kung-yu - do not be afraid to consult and learn. There are members in SICP who are perfectly fluent in Chinese.  This is an unfortunate case of "he thinks he knows".

Once the journal was out, I contacted ICP's editor, Mr Ron Bentley. No response given.

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