Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Men in the White Suits

This email from our Acting Project Manager has caused much needed merriment:

If you have recently remarked on the how well turned out traffic cops are in Libya, it may not be necessary to read much further. Evidently being presentable as the 'public face' of an institution is important in this part of the world. Accordingly, as the 'public face' of an educational trust, we should all ensure that not only shirts but trousers bear the hall mark of having been pressed within recently recorded history (I suggest 5 days of wear as a geological maximum. If you only brought one pair of respectable work trousers, a second pair can be knocked up locally for c. 25 dinars.) Likewise the exposed parts of the cheeks should have experienced the tingle of cold steel at some stage in the previous 12 hours.

Poor turn-out is bound to cause a degree of offence to the trainees and this may be communicated to GECOL management in time. If ever we want GECOL to exercise their discretion in our favour - e.g. over telephone lines to the villas - it is important not to leave them with a legitimate cause for complaint about our commitment to servicing the contract in a professional manner.


The reference to cheeks and cold steel is puzzling: most Libyan men seem to shave, or rather to be shaved at the barber’s, once a week. And the use of ‘if’ and ‘telephone lines’ in the same sentence is an annoyance – we want phones in our accommodation, now, no ifs or buts.

The Libyan traffic police, now he mentions it, do look rather dashing in their implausibly white uniforms, though holding them up as an example is a bit, well, it has overtones of the Village People, doesn’t it?

But on the whole, I have to admit he’s got a point. A number of my colleagues, without their mams or wives to get them ready, turn out like fucking scarecrows each day.

There were actually a tiny few drops of rain this afternoon.