Give me an M
Give me an O - C- R - A - C - Y!
What's that spell? Hey guys, where are you going? Come back!
Fluent Opposition leader plays China card
Kevin Rudd, the Australian opposition leader who is riding high in polls before a general election expected next month, upstaged the Prime Minister yesterday by addressing the Chinese President in fluent Mandarin at a state luncheon in his honour.
There was an almost audible intake of breath among the scores of Chinese political and business heavyweights in the audience. Many sat bolt upright, beaming at Mr Rudd's command of Mandarin and his folksy account of his years as a young Australian foreign affairs official in Beijing.
It was not a comfortable moment for John Howard, the Prime Minister, whose Foreign Minister had earlier missed the subtleties of Beijing's much vaunted "panda diplomacy".
Commentators noted that Mr Rudd had chosen the ideal moment to show-case his linguistic skills on the international stage. He spoke at length in English first, showing a grasp of China's history and its reformers and praising their efforts over two decades to turn the nation into a global titan, before welcoming President Hu Jintao personally in Chinese.
“My wife and I have a particular love for Beijing – we love the feeling of Beijing, we love the people of Beijing and of course its culture,” Mr Rudd told the President. He said that in the 1980s he went with his wife and daughter to live and work in China as a diplomat.
“Twenty years later the little girl that we took to Beijing, this April married a young man from the Australian Chinese community. I also have a little boy (our youngest) who is in his early years of high school. He is really, really naughty, he doesn't like doing his homework. But he has already begun his study of Chinese.”
Mr Howard's remarks that China would this year become Australia’s largest trading partner, and his announcement of a formal annual dialogue between the two nations, were worthy but largely overlooked...
Oh Georgie! What will become of your, my and Howie's dream of a great geometrical shape of some sort of Freedom?