Ai Weiwei, Changi, David Battie, deferred gratification, Dim sum, earthen vessels, Garden of Eden, Heathrow, Horatius Bonar, Humpty Dumpty, Jia Xiang, KrisFlyer, NGV Melbourne, Qing vase, Singapore Airlines, The Antiques Roadshow, The Fitzwilliam, Trust, UOB Bank, Warhol
(Walters Collection, Baltimore)
I wouldn’t trust him with a barge pole, said Brassie, firmly.
How does she create these mixed metaphors? What would
she expect someone to do with a barge pole? Run off with it and
sell it on E-bay?
I kept thinking about the short advert for UOB Private Bank which
I saw on KrisFlyer, on the screen on the back of the seat in front of
me, during my flight on Singapore Airlines, from Changi to Heathrow.
The advert was a lot more interesting than the films on offer.
Trust. “Our Principles Define Us.”
A sweet little boy- Jia Xiang- is shown a large blue and white vase
by his father, who tells him that it is priceless and irreplaceable. The
parent places it on his display shelves and asks his son not to touch it.
The boy nods and promises.
Later Jia Xiang is bored as it is raining and he goes to the shelf and takes
the vase down, in order to look at it.
A servant calls him for Dim Sum and the boy hurriedly replaces it on the
shelf, but not in the exact same position.
His father later questions him as to whether he touched the vase. Truthfully,
the boy confesses and his father raises the vase and smashes it to the floor.
He then tells his son that trust is of the utmost importance. They hug.
Hmmm, as a non-committal Anglican vicar friend of mine might comment.
(Image by Hafenbar)
The underlying metaphor reminded me of the video at the NGV, Melbourne.
The Ai Weiwei/ Warhol exhibition is brilliant and featured footage of the
Chinese artist raising an ancient vase above his head and smashing it to
the ground. I think we are meant to question its cultural, aesthetic and
historical value. All I could think was: What a shame! I hope it was a fake.
It’s like David Battie on The Antiques Roadshow, assessing some priceless
piece of porcelain. I keep wanting to shout out at the screen: Be careful!
You are making me nervous!
I remember some visitor stumbled down the stairs at The Fitzwilliam Museum
in Cambridge and knocked over three Qing vases on a sill in the stairwell.
They had a combined value of £500,000.
He should have tied his shoelaces.
Restorers did manage to put all the shards together again- unlike Humpty
But should the museum have trusted the visitors? Well, 9 million people
had passed them before and nothing untoward had occurred.
When The Husband broke both of my prize lustre vases in one week, I had to
ask myself where I placed my value. The Bible says we have our treasure in
earthen vessels, so I suppose the vessels are only the receptacles. Where
your treasure is, there will your heart be.
I was still annoyed!
Sometimes I remember the patient child in the psychology experiment on
deferred gratification. When told not to touch the sweets and there would be
a greater reward after a little time, some kids just could not wait. Others
could and reaped the benefits of even more confectionery.
Sometimes I wish that I was able to trust God and leave things alone and not
But then, it is the same old problems as our forefathers had in The Garden of
Eden: curiosity, impatience and lack of trust.
Our principles define us, as the UOB advert says.
Christianity often recommends having a firm grasp. Horatius Bonar’s hymn
sprang into my mind:
Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face.
Here would I touch and handle things unseen.
Here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace…
Oh, for a more tactful and careful approach to dealing with sensitive matters!