Sunday, August 8

Presidential Pressies!

Check out this list of US presidential gifts given by foreign leaders in 2003 (the complete list is available here. Most of it reads like a really bad wedding gift list (and have probably made their way onto Ebay by now) but there are some interesting items in there.

The Saudi royals do not disappoint by giving the First Lady US$95,500 worth of diamond and sapphire jewellery and the First Daughters US$16,500 worth of Bvlgari jewellery, stuff that they probably leave lying around the palace for the pets to play with. Silvio Berlusconi the Italian President isn't too shabby either with his Franck Muller & Bvlgari watches and Damiani jewellery. The man has taste and he is definitely invited to my next birthday party.

As for the Sultan of Brunei, he clearly has no clue when it comes to gift giving. Besides the usual expensive stuff, he throws in a couple of cds, some cheesecake, some shortbread cookies and a candle. Who is he, the host of a home shopping network? Speaking of inappropriate gifts, somebody should tell the President of Senegal that the Laura Bush has done the whole child-bearing thing a couple of times and at her age she really doesn't need a fertility statue.

I am particularly impressed by the Argentinian President's fashion foresight - who knew back in July 2003 that ponchos would be making a huge comeback this year. French President Jacques Chirac was the only one to give toiletries to the President and you just know that is his way of saying "You stink". The First Lady gets an Hermes scarf from him, but after watching Le Divorce, I have to ponder the meaning of that gift.

It's a bit odd for the Singapore PM to be giving a black Namiki pen with an image of Mount Fuji - what's that got to do with Singapore? Sounds like he is trying to palm off what a visiting Japanese dignitary gave him. Finally, you have to feel bad for a country like Djibouti for having its relatively modest gifts (a book and some coins in a dish) on display while the rest of the world is piling the gold, myrrh and frankincense on the White House doorstep. It's like that one kid in your class who brings baked beans and a side of spam to school on Bring A Special Dish Day.

If you were a political leader, what gift(s) from your home country would you be giving to the First Family? A tacky souvenir, a slave or an STD? Email me (subject title: Presidential Pressies) your suggestions with your name and URL (if any), and after consultation with the First Family I will publish their favourites.

Submissions so far
Vince of HKMacs: Brighton Rock and a tacky seaside postcard

Veronica: A book collection comprising the Koran, the Good News Bible, the Teachings of Buddha, the Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama, a dictionary and the thesaurus

Leon: A red t-shirt with the words "Como estas bitches"

MeanOne: One of my precious farts wrapped in a brown paper bag


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