Something Bernd and I didn’t discuss during our recent talk is my tendency to be hot-headed in my dealings with others. Not always, but sometimes.
I’ll happily stalk over to the restaurant next door at 2am in my bathrobe and knock on the glass door until they turn the music down. I’ll front up to builders in our street and ask them to stop contravening the council’s weekend noise regulations. Just last week I yelled “This is a f**king joke!” on the phone to the Bank of Melbourne (which I like to call the W*nk of Melbourne) and hung up. I’d given my London address, then the relationship banker (seriously, this is what they’re called) said he couldn’t help me and told me visit ‘my local branch’. You can’t say I wasn’t provoked.
My point is, even though I hold dual citizenship, I’m definitely Australian rather than British in my approach to confrontation. I did spend my first 31 years there so my Aussie sense of outrage is well developed.
As the recent sorry tale of Otto Warmbier’s demise shows, a reckless attitude can get a person into some serious hot water in a country like North Korea. I certainly don’t want to wind up in a labour camp so I’m going to tone down my reactions to all things. Nothing will provoke me. They can deride America and the west as much as they like. I won’t so much as roll my eyes at the unquestioning worship of the great, dear and supreme leaders. And there definitely won’t be ANY theft of propaganda posters.