This evening the conference delegates were invited to a cocktail reception hosted by the Mayor of Arles at the Cloître Saint-Trophime off the Place de la République.


It was a nice venue for a reception (see picture above) and there were some lovely French wines on offer, but the speeches were way too long. About 15 minutes into the Mayor’s speech, some of the Asian delegates at the back started chatting amongst themselves (they were getting bored as there had already been one speaker before him and I don’t think many of them understood French). After a couple of minutes of this, one of the mayor’s aides came down to the back looking most annoyed and started ‘sshhing’ all the delegates.

Obviously he had never been to a cocktail reception in Asia. I don’t think I can ever recall a reception in Asia where everyone stopped talking. Of course, if politicians would learn to speak more succinctly, they might hold the attention of their audience a bit better.

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