|Friday 26th September 2003 - ECC Charity Dinner|
Friday was the Ecumenical Council for Charity (ECC) annual Dinner for Charity. I got a ticket last minute through Phil (who got shipped over from Cambridge at 2 days notice for a project at work). For your money, you get an evening of entertainment and a nice buffet dinner at the Al Bustan.
The evening took the form of entertainment, simultaneous auction and dinner followed by more entertainment. After the tap dancer and irish folk dancers, the whole assembled mass of 500 were ordered to go to the dance floor for a 5-minute disco during which there would be prizes for the best dancing. Sounds more like a school end-of-term party.
After the ordeal of dancing with 499 sober expats, we were allowed to tuck into dinner. During dinner, polite conversation was made impossible because of the charity auction, run by two distinctly non auction-experience ladies. The bizarre prizes didn't help much either. E.g. a set of 9 Swatch watches. I mean, who needs 9 Swatch watches? Maybe for your 9 wives. Hmmmm. Also being auctioned was a holiday to the Seychelles for 3 nights with flights from Dubai, 250 miles away. Great, start your luxury holiday with a 6 hour bus ride to the UAE.
Anyway, post dinner entertainment was of a much higher standard. The British Ambassador, His Excellency Stuart Laing, with his wife Sibella dutifully sang for Queen and Country in a rendition of "Ye Kanny Shuv Yer Granny affa Bus" and "Oh You Take the High Road". I told him afterwards how proud I was to be British. I mean, what other country can you think of who's ambassador would do that? Sweden? Burundi? I rest my case.