Censored (Well, not really)

March and April of 2017 have certainly been a strange time for me. For one thing I have decided to stop driving permanently, which is a very sad decision as I really love driving. But a momentary lapse of concentration or a blind spot – call it what you will – caused me to drive straight into a pillar in the Football Club carpark. Just after nine in the morning, broad daylight, stone cold sober, I just drove into it. The pillar, you will all be pleased to hear, is fine. The plastic waste bin which guarded it sprang back into shape as soon as I reversed, so that is fine too. Nobody was injured. The car alas suffered grievously. In the interests of safety for everyone – self included – I figure it is time to stop.

On the professional front, two columns I submitted failed to make it through to publication, the first time this has ever happened. The first one is easy to explain: China Daily commissioned an article on the Rugby Sevens tournament, I wrote it, they loved it, but then couldn’t fit it in on the day on grounds of space. Nonetheless they coughed up, so no harm done and they may even run it next year! You can read it as item 55 under Miscellaneous Assignments.

The second case was really bizarre. I write an occasional column for the SCMP in the "On Second Thought" series which is quite separate from the fortnightly piece in the political section. I decided to do a fun piece on the different ways people (a bit about men, but admittedly mostly about women) dress in cold weather. It was meant for the Friday edition of the paper, and as per usual practice was put up on the (free) website the afternoon before. It lasted only a few hours before some women readers complained in the comments section about political incorrectness, article demeaning to and objectified women etc. The article was taken down and never made it to the print edition the next day. It was replaced by an apology in the same spot on the website and a brief comment from the editor in chief that the tone of the piece did not meet SCMP standards.

What was so strange was that the original article – and the apology that replaced it – both appeared directly beneath an advertisement for ladies lingerie which featured six photographs of scantily clad women. The comments section was then filled with allegations of hypocrisy on the part of the SCMP, so the apology too was quickly taken down! What fun. You can judge for yourself whether all the fuss was deserved as the original version of the column is item 54.