Saturday, March 7, 2009

Outstanding editorial

The Dominion Post has an outstanding editorial; so good, that we have taken the rare step for us of publishing it in its entirety. Under the headline "Classy is as classy does" it reads:

Classy: of a high or superior class; stylish, smart.

To Lisa Lewis, the Kiwi stripper and self-publicist who was kicked out of an Australian sex fair for being too raunchy, class is easily defined.

"I did keep my G-string on and feel I was classy throughout," said Ms Lewis, who rejected organisers' claims that she had put her hands in her underpants during her pole-dancing routine.

For Sir Fred Goodwin, the British banker who presided over a 24 billion (NZ$68 billion) loss for the Royal Bank of Scotland last year then negotiated a 693,000-a-year pension for himself, class is probably just as easily defined.

It is maintaining a dignified silence, and making plans to leave the country, while politicians and the public howl for blood.

For Mark Bryers, the co-founder of Blue Chip, the finance company that collapsed last year leaving investors about $84 million out of pocket, class is something else again. It is living in a luxury waterfront apartment in downtown Sydney while some of the mum and dad investors who believed his blandishments are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

It may also be attempting to relist one of his companies on the Australian sharemarket while facing court charges in this country.

But class, in the sense employed by Ms Lewis, has nothing to do with G-strings or wealth or lavish homes or social standing.

It is about how people treat others and about how they react when the chips are down. Ernest Hemingway called it grace under pressure.

For a lesson in class, Ms Lewis, Sir Fred and Mr Bryers need do no more than consider the case of Pakistani bus driver Mehar Mohammed Khalil.

Mr Khalil, 38, lives with his two sons, his two daughters, his parents, his two brothers and his brothers' families in a small house built by his grandfather in an alleyway in a poor part of Lahore. He earns 15,000 rupees (NZ$375) a month.

On Tuesday he was driving the Sri Lankan cricket team to Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium for the third day of the second test against Pakistan. When he slowed for a roundabout, two men emerged from hiding and started shooting at the bus.
Mr Khalil could have frozen in panic, he could have thrown himself on the floor like his passengers, or he could have jumped out of the bus and tried to flee on foot.

He did none of those things. Instead he kept his foot on the accelerator and, as more terrorists emerged, one armed with a rocket launcher, he steered the bus between two security vehicles into the safety of the stadium.

"The thought that the Sri Lankans are guests and my country's image will be ruined if any of the players got seriously hurt spurred me," he said.

That is class. Mr Khalil's heroics weren't enough to restore Pakistan's battered reputation. That will be the work of years, but he did show the rest of the world that not everyone in his country has forgotten the meaning of hospitality or the value of human life.

That man deserves a beer, even if his religion won't allow him to drink it.

As we said earlier, this is an outstanding piece, and it's hard to disagree with a word of it. Well done Dom-Post!


Baxter said...

Like Gunga Din the Paki has more class than most of us..Still of the other three Lisa has easily the most.

Inventory2 said...

Well said Baxter - at least those who avail themselves of Ms Lewis's services do so knowingly and willingly, unlike those who invested with Bryers and Sir Fred.