It is with a personal sadness that the Diary records the death of Maureen (Mor) Reihill, née Byrne, of Ballsbridge, Dublin, and originally from Kilcullen, on the evening of 26 September, 2014. She was 97.
She is survived by her daughter Orla, and was predeceased by her son Shane and her husband Jim. Mor was the daughter of the late James J Byrne Snr and his wife Mary, and the last surviving sibling of Jim Byrne, Tom Byrne, and Kath O’Reilly.
Maureen’s remains will repose at her home on Monday 29 September, between 2-8pm. Her funeral mass will be celebrated at 10am on Tuesday 30 September in the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace, Merrion Row, Dublin. Her burial will take place afterwards in New Abbey Cemetery, Kilcullen, Co Kildare, at 12 noon.
A moment in time that conjures up sadness and reflection.
My mother Kathryn(“Kath”)’s (http://wp.me/p15Yzr-k7) dearly beloved eldest sister, Auntie Mor’s passing on Friday marked the end of a “Byrnes of Kilcullen” generation, whose precocious talents brought so much conviviality, escapade, involvement, commitment, and true wit to the lives of so many many people, a legacy which, I for one can confirm, continues to percolate through the genes of their children and grandchildren.
I am very happy that Auntie Mor, a true devoted and loyal daughter of Ireland – who loved singing, baking (some of my fondest memories 🙂 ), her many friends and her two precious children, Shane (http://wp.me/p15Yzr-4) and Orla – will be returning home to her final resting place in Kilcullen.
“Oh, East is East and West is West,and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!
– Rudyard Kipling (1889)
The first line is frequently used to suggest that two different types of people or things cannot exist side by side or find commonalities, it being beyond doubt that geographic points of the compass will never meet. However, ironically, the significance of Kipling’s poem is that two when intelligent and principled men from diverse cultures meet they can appreciate and respect each other, since where they come from, the accidents of their birth, their nationality, race, or family, are inconsequential. In this context Kipling regarding Asians and the European as one and the same.
Written by, William Butler Yeats, Ireland’s greatest poet, ‘The White Birds’, is an expression of concurrent intertwined feelings when loving someone so much colludes with the crushing despair of unrequited love, when your beloved does not love you back: A sense of loss over something you will never have, being one of the worst feelings ever.
William Butler Yeats wishes that he and his beloved, Irish nationalist Maud Gonne MacBride, with whom he was infatuated, could take flight from their circumstances and be together. This wish is portrayed in the representation of the two of them changed into white birds floating on the sea-foam. He urges his beloved not to muse over mundane and forlorn images of this world – the fading meteor, the rose and lily, depicting the politics of Irish nationalist resistance – and restates his longing to be apart from the world with her, as two white birds together
Tir na nOg in Irish folklore is an imaginary land where persons live as long as fairies by the “Danaan Shore”
I would that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea!
We tire of the flame of the meteor, before it can fade and flee;
And the flame of the blue star of twilight, hung low on the rim of the sky,
Has awaked in our hearts, my beloved, a sadness that may not die.
A weariness comes from those dreamers, dew-dabbled, the lily and rose;
Ah, dream not of them, my beloved, the flame of the meteor that goes,
Or the flame of the blue star that lingers hung low in the fall of the dew:
For I would we were changed to white birds on the wandering foam: I and you!
I am haunted by numberless islands, and many a Danaan shore,
Where Time would surely forget us, and Sorrow come near us no more;
Soon far from the rose and the lily and fret of the flames would we be,
Were we only white birds, my beloved, buoyed out on the foam of the sea!
Flight delay, delay, delay….The glamour of air travel is gone.
In China was it ever thus?
Unquestionably one can consider Laozi (a.k.a ‘ Lao Tzu’), the ancient Chinese poet and philosopher who died in 531 BC, truly perceptive when he remarked:
“Yī wèi cōngmíng de lǚxíng zhě méiyǒu gùdìng de jì huà, érqiě bù yīdìng fēi yào dàodá mùdì de [一位聪明的旅行者没有固定的计画，而且不一定非要到达目的地]”, which roughly translates as
“A clever traveller has no fixed plans, and does not necessarily have to reach their purpose.”
For it seems this wise sage back in ‘BC’ times was privy to the staggering state of affairs that would by and large ensue by the end of 2015 when China will have built close to 220 fully operational airports (up from 175 airports in 2011) handling over 870 million passengers and serviced by 46 domestic airlines (exclusive of foreign airlines), with a fleet of just over 2,000 planes (to be expanded to 4,200 aircraft in 2020) vying for limited space overhead. Add to this mélange the fact that China doesn’t have enough airspace (the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) controls all airspace, only allocating 20% of airspace to civil aviation), and China’s inclement weather (for example, if there is a thunderstorm impinging on a flight route between two cities, the flight will likely be delayed since it can’t divert through controlled airspace), and it is no wonder flight delays snarl China’s clogged and struggling civil aviation transportation system.
With the People’s Liberation Army Air Force blaming chronic air traffic congestion and flight delays on poor airline management and scheduling performance, “having no fixed plans” at least for the day of passage, as in “cancel all other appointments”, is sage advice indeed. China’s airlines have the world’s worst record for flight delays.”
And so to some of the tell-tale signs that all is not well regarding timely aircraft departure from Chinese airports as experienced by myself over the past 12 months almost 100% of the time.
1. The informative announcement
2. Queuing to board the aircraft?
4. Food Service
5. In-flight Films
6. Angry Passengers
7. The Hard Landing
The joys of flying in China, soon to get worse. “A clever traveler has no fixed plans, and does not necessarily have to reach their purpose.”
How many hundreds of millions of €€€ would need to be invested (or what % of Ireland GDP) for a League of Ireland football team to win the European Champions League and how many decades would we have to wait?
Amateur versus professional arguments aside, and given the joint Irish, Scottish and Welsh big to host UEFA Euro 2020 wouldn’t an All-Ireland football league featuring teams from both the Republic and Northern Ireland raise competitiveness and Ireland’s footballing profile so we can attract the likes of Messi and Ronaldo to play for Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers…. assuming hundreds of millions of €€€ are thrown at this obvious win-win use of public / private funds?
Perhaps Roy Keane could do for football in Ireland what David Beckham is doing across the pond in Miami… buy the League…. He’s loaded right? The TV pundit stuff is more for satisfying his ego, surely he doesn’t need what amounts to loose change.
Not even Saint Anthony, known as the performer of miracles, could create an ‘Irish Real Madrid’, no matter how much money was invested. With close to 300 million fans base, the world’s richest professional football club, having just won its 10th European Champions title, is in a high-performance footballing stratosphere of its own.
From China (where the masses only get to vote for one party) to Hong Kong (where despite promises of universal suffrage to be introduced in 2017, Hong Kong citizens’ hopes of electing their own Chief Executive by one man one vote is diametrically contrary to the principles of China’s one party authoritarian system. In other words the Chief Executive will always be a hand-picked puppet of Beijing) to Bangkok (at 2.00 am on the 22nd of May,as I was sitting on the airplane in Bangkok Airport during transit Thailand’s military was setting in motion the usurpation of an elected Government, its nineteenth Coup d’Etat) in Dubai (which like China has embraced unbridled capitalism without political freedom), before finally arriving on Tuesday 19th May in an Ireland on the home stretch in the local and European elections campaigns, with the majority of people due to vote three days later.
The last time I voted was in the February 2011 General Election. Following the abysmal mess created by the Fianna Fail / Green Party coalition, I had made a decision to join the Fine Gael Party (I still have the official welcome letter signed by local TD Sean Barrett the Ceann Comhairle, or the speaker of Dáil Éireann). I even met Enda Kenny on his whirlwind visit to Stradbrook Rugby Club to drum up the party faithful Over a cocktail sausage he took my business card, put it inside his breast pocket and said he would be in touch in a few weeks to talk about China (It didn’t register at the time that, although he was to become the next Taoiseach, he was merely just another politician focused on the corridors of power, taking the populist line on anything and everything to get into office).
Anyway, never heard from anyone in Fine Gael again. So be it.
And so to 23rd May.
Should I vote?
Yes. All people have a right to have a say in what is happening in Ireland. The alternative is a China, Hong Kong, Thailand or Dubai. What would happen if everyone decided not to vote? Where would Ireland’s democracy go? Who would run the country? What type of political system would Ireland have?
Does it matter?
Take the France versus Ireland rugby match setting last 15th March in Paris where Ireland, up against a ferocious French onslaught, held on to win 22:20 and be crowned RBS Six Nations Champions. One Irish voice cheering alone wouldn’t have been heard, but when all those Irish fans who travelled to Paris collectively stood and shouted “Come on Ireland!”, then it mattered!
Perhaps my vote on its own isn’t going to matter, but I choose to cast my vote because I support Ireland’s democracy, our ability to elect the people who govern us, our right to be free, and our right to show the Government what we think of them. People power.
Almost 100 years ago, in 1916 a group of Irishmen, including my grandfather, Dr. Michael William O’Reilly, and women stood up to British rule in Ireland and declared an Irish Republic. They were opposed by many of their peers. Seven years later Ireland had a free state. Change can happen.
Around the world on a daily basis people risk their lives by fighting and struggling to earn the right a vote, something which many Irish people take for granted, while past generations of Irishmen and women suffered to get us such a right.
Indifference changes nothing.
Who will I vote for?
It has been a fairly brutal three years since the 2011 general election. Sure after the shambolic financial mess created by the previous Fianna Fail / Green Party Coalition Government, austerity cuts needed to be made.
However, I don’t like the way the country is being fixed. Inflicting crippling austerity, property tax, and water charges, flawed cuts and knee-jerk decisions, instigated by an increasingly aloof Government / political elite, have had a huge negative bearing on the lives of so many ordinary citizens, particularly the middle classes.
I no longer trust the establishment parties and whips that have caused Ireland so much destruction, while Sinn Fein will never get my vote. This time I will have the pleasure of not putting a number beside the Fine Gael and Labour candidates. Instead, I intend to vote for those independent (and People Before Profit) candidates who can really irritate, by constantly nipping at the heels of, the establishment.
It’s time to overhaul what is a worn out political system, but nothing will change if people do not get off their backsides and vote.
… and the opening ‘here we go again’ reactions of Khun Somchai?
ยิ้มแหยะแหยะ “yim yae-yae” : – The “I know things look pretty bad, but there is no point in crying over spilt milk” smile
“… no TV… They plan to bore us to death. But I’ve got tons of books.” (Source: My friend Ataporn Y.)
One of the first acts of the creepy Orwellian-sounding National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC), or theMilitary Junta, was to suspend radio and television broadcasting.
ยิ้มสู้“yim soo” :-The “it can’t get any worse than it already is therefore I better smile” smile.
“I think it will be better” (Source: My friend Kitiya K)
… no doubt hoping with this nineteenth military coup since 1932 that the end-game of the political crisis which has paralysed Thailand‘s political system is now in play.
Unfortunately, with Thailand now being controlled by a council of unelected officials, the illusion that what you wish for becomes true in this instance doesn’t augur well.
ยิ้มคัดค้าน “yim thak thaan” :– The “I disagree with you” smile.
Largely rural and working-class Red Shirts are not in any mood for compromise, once again feeling embittered that their popular mandate and Thailand‘s democracy have been stolen without elections, while the military junta will very likely suppress any defiance with force.
Within the near-term quietness it seems the risks to Thailand are intensifying.
Location: 2 Floor, Zhangming Music Library, Hangzhou West Lake 6th Park
Date: 20th February 2014
Thank you for inviting me here today. I am Niall O’Reilly, Managing Director of Accurate Group – China Market Makers –, and Director for China, Irish Exporters Association. This is my 25th year in China, the last 8 years of which I have been based in Hangzhou. Previously I have been responsible for Asia Pacific marketing for two leading USA-based multi-nationals. One of the Asia Pacific marketing campaigns I directed with global advertising agency BBDO won a gold medal at the Malaysia advertising awards.
Impressions of Hangzhou’s Tourism Product
Hangzhou has enormous foreign tourism potential.
Some 4 million foreign tourists visited Hangzhou in 2012.
Cathay Pacific / Dragonair (Hong Kong), Qatar Airways (Middle East), Ethiopian Airlines (Africa), KLM / Air France (Europe), EVA Air (Taiwan), ANA (Japan) and Asiana Airlines (Korea) now offer direct flights to Hangzhou’s Xiaoshan International Airport.
In 2015 China is expected to overtake France as the world’s top tourist destination
It is against such a backdrop that ever pioneering Hangzhou was the first mainland China city to put into practice an ‘open door’ global policy of promoting its tourism industry to more than a dozen new markets including United Kingdom, Germany, France and United States.
Nevertheless, foreign tourists will only be attracted to travel by the quality of Hangzhou’s tourism product which would need to be amongst the very best in China. We would note, for example, while Hangzhou was once a stronghold for Islam in China, with historic Arab connections dating back 900 years, Hangzhou’s tourist product offering for high-spending visitors from the Middle East and the Gulf States arriving in Hangzhou by way of 5 Star airline Qatar Airways is far from world-class.
Moreover, to break into these new markets Hangzhou tourism planners would first need to invest in focused programs which both highlight competitive strengths and positioning and have a track record for consistently delivering outstanding and innovative experiences. The resulting niche tourism products would likely be targeted at high value foreign tourists, encouraging them to either start or end their China trips in Hangzhou.
Hangzhou has strengths in key niche areas of tourism, which, if effectively marketed, will certainly entice this high-spending foreign tourism segment.
Meeting, convention and exhibition facilities
Historic and cultural heritage
All of which are covered by Hangzhou’s proximity to Shanghai and the city’s Number 1 attraction: Four seasons of spectacular scenery.
Creating a new tourism catchphrase for Hangzhou
According to the book “Creative Advertising” by Charles Whittier:
“A slogan should be a statement of such merit about a product or service that is worthy of continuous repetitive advertising; is worthwhile for the public to remember; and is phrased in such a way that the public is likely to remember it.”
However, it’s a difficult job to capture the appeal of a destination such as Hangzhou and plug it into a hard-hitting, effective slogan.
Some slogans become real hits
“Egypt, where it all begins” is the impressive tourism slogan of Egypt, which intends to highlight Egypt’s historic status as a cradle of civilisations
“It’s more fun in the Philippines” is the cheery / happy travel slogan of the Philippines.
“100% pure New Zealand” is the marketing slogan of TourismNew Zealand, which reflects New Zealand’s image as a clean, green, adventure playground.
“Jump into Ireland”, the tourism slogan of Tourism Ireland (north and south) is designed to convey a sense of playfulness and to reflect the stimulating nature of a holiday in Ireland with unforgettable experiences and warm, friendly people.
Other effective slogans which we like are
“Mauritius – It’s a pleasure” – clean and simple
“Brazil – Sensational!”
Some slogans can be vague, unclear and even disturbing
“I Love (heart) New York” is the travel slogan many others try to emulate, but what does this catchphrase really convey about New York?
“South Africa: It’s Possible!” is South Africa’s tourism slogan. This slogan gives you no reason to visit South Africa
“Visit Bangladesh Before Tourists Come” was the tourism slogan of Bangladesh!
“Colombia: The Only Risk Is Wanting to Stay”, Columbia’s tourism slogan, could potentially cause more harm than good, by highlighting the reality of “risk”
Clearly some of these slogans’ unfortunate suggestions could have been caught early with international testing, and I therefore applaud the Hangzhou Tourism Commission and the Hangzhou Office of Foreign Affairs officials who have invited long-time foreign friends of Hangzhou here today to sound out our opinions regarding the four suggested new slogans for marketing Hangzhou in these new markets.
In my opinion, when developing a great inspirational slogan for Hangzhou — I am thinking along the lines of, for example, Subway’s ‘Eat Fresh’, Nike’s ‘Just Do It!; Sony’s ‘Make. Believe’ etc — five key elements need be adhered to:
Recognition. An effective slogan for Hangzhou must stay consistent with the Hangzhou brand name either obviously stated or strongly implied. It’s better to include the name of Hangzhou in it.By putting the Hangzhou name in the slogan, every time people hear it and see it, they re-imprint it and keep it top-of-mind. People identify with the name.
Unforgettable. Some of the best slogans, such as those just highlighted, are still being used today, even though they were launched more than a few years ago. Such slogans are memorable.
Useful. The chosen slogan should show Hangzhou’s intention and benefits of the tourism product by conveying the message in consumer language. Imply the risk of not using the product. Create a positive feeling for the consumers. – Such a slogan should be beneficial.
Differentiation. In an overcrowded tourism market, brands in the same industry need to set themselves apart through a creative and original slogan.
And finally, keep it simple. Use proven words and short keywords. Seven words or less: One word is usually not enough.
4 Final Slogans for Promoting Hangzhou Overseas
A diverse representation of 15 foreigners – including company owners, hotel managers, magazine editors and teachers – living in Hangzhou from periods of a year to over twenty years, were assembled by the Hangzhou Tourism Commission and Hangzhou Foreign Affairs Office to choose which one of the following four final slogans created by Shanghai Advertising Company would be best suited to promoting sophisticated brand image of Hangzhou overseas (in particular to reach tourists in Europe and the Americas).
Hangzhou: Relax, Recharge, Rejuvenate
Hangzhou: A Living Poetry
The Shanghai Advertising Company account manager urged those present to consider each slogan in terms of four aspects:
“Relevance with Hangzhou City”
“Sense of Picture”
Even against an appropriate setting of iconic Hangzhou panoramas, similar to “Brazil -Sensational!” or “Mauritius – It’s a pleasure”, for the intrepid tourist planning his/her first trip to China, having already ticked Beijing, Shanghai, and possibly Xian or Guilin, “Infinitely Hangzhou” comes across as rather vague. Infinitely what? Infinitely full of surprises or infinitely full of hope? What does “Infinitely Hangzhou” have to do with anything?
Of course, to those of us with even a basic knowledge of Hangzhou, simple “Infinitely Hangzhou” suggests a city of unlimited cultural expression. Yet, it will take first-rate emotionally appealing photographic backdrops to disarm “Infinitely Hangzhou” of its mind-numbing blandness. Hangzhou is an inviting and truly diverse city for those tourists that endeavour to discover its appeal. With respect to Hangzhou, a single word slogan will not generate an effective emotional impact.
With China’s heritage disappearing at an alarming rate in the race for modernisation, authenticity is a much sought-after, and increasingly elusive, quality that rates high with foreign tourists. As such, the slogan “Authentic Hangzhou” stakes Hangzhou’s claim to a rich historical past which continues to be alive and well. “Authentic Hangzhou” can also refer to Hangzhou’s natural landscape while underscoring the genuineness of its people.
Yet the slogan “Authentic Hangzhou” manages at the same time to be boring, nebulous and almost superfluous. Hangzhou may be the first Chinese city to start promoting itself to European and American markets, but soon numerous cities throughout China boasting an international airport will be getting in on the act, which begs the question: How effective will the slogan “Authentic Hangzhou” be in adequately articulating the unique attributes of Hangzhou, including the authentic experiences of Hangzhou’s history, architecture, cuisine and culture? Doubtless the tagline will be paired with colourful images, but it’s unclear whether visitors will make the connection between the slogan and the city’s emphasis on authentic experiences.
Hangzhou: Relax, Recharge, Rejuvenate
While “Hangzhou: Relax, Recharge, Rejuvenate” is the first to clearly state to spell out specific benefits of Hangzhou’s tourist product offering, the three ‘Rs’ make it sound like a catchy spa slogan. If truth be told the tagline does define what a vacation is all about, but in this case is more suggestive of warm beaches bathed in year-round sunshine, when in fact Hangzhou has four distinct seasons. Moreover, Hangzhou purists would argue that the tagline “Hangzhou: Relax, Recharge, Rejuvenate” completely negates seven thousand years of history.
On the positive side Hangzhou with its close proximity to Shanghai and growing direct international access via Xiaoshan International Airport is the ideal place for visitors to either China and relax prior to traipsing around the country and for unwinding following a hectic cross China sight-seeing schedule. If this is indeed the intended message of “Hangzhou: Relax, Recharge, Rejuvenate” then the slogan needs re-working, not least because “recharge” and “rejuvenate” are quite unoriginal and are more or less tantamount to the same meaning.
Hangzhou: Living Poetry
Hangzhou’s natural beauty and historic treasures, which embrace many aspects of Chinese culture, have been a source of inspiration for poets and painters throughout Chinese history. In contrast with modernising cities across China, including Shanghai, although Hangzhou has been through many recent urban developments, much of the city’s natural, historical and cultural heritage remains unchanged from what has been depicted in literature for centuries. As such, the slogan “Hangzhou: A Living Poetry” asserts that in essence nothing has changed about Hangzhou’s enduring allure, even if the city is China’s fourth largest metropolitan area, an appeal which, if properly packaged, would have to be enticing to China-bound European and American tourists.
Moreover, by portraying Hangzhou as a poetry in motion, “Hangzhou: A Living Poetry” comfortably encompasses the notions of “infinitely”, “authentic” and “relax, recharge, rejuvenate” as set out in the previous three taglines.
As such “Hangzhou: A Living Poetry” proved to be the most popular of the four slogans, although tweaked a little to make it more Now: “Hangzhou: Living Poetry”.
“Hangzhou: Living Poetry” – A simple, yet memorable, slogan for marketing the Hangzhou brand image to European and American tourists that people will identify with and which, by demonstrating the benefits of the city’s own matchless tourist product, clearly differentiates Hangzhou from would be competitors.
… which essentially means from the island of Ireland, Land of the Horse, where some of the finest horse breeds in the world are produced, I wish everyone good health, good luck and much happiness throughout the Year of the Horse!