Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Diplomatic cocktails

As a senior journalist, writer or politician, I have always been invited to attend diplomatic cocktail parties in Kuala Lumpur.

Diplomatic cocktail parties are not secretive or conspiratorial. It is part and parcel of the institution of modern diplomacy, especially public diplomacy.

The purpose is to establish or maintain personal channels of communication, whether we agree with one another or not on policy issues. In other words, attending diplomatic cocktail parties hosted by a foreign country does not necessarily mean supporting every policy or strategy of the host country.

This is an example. It was held in the National Press Club on 8 July, 1998 to welcome a newly arrived British diplomat Nicola C.Bowling. I was there to represent Sin Chew Jit Poh. Zainon Ahmad standing in between me and the British diplomat is another senior editor then representing the New Straits Times.


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