Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Václav Klaus and pen in Chile

I am a great Klaus fan but let me admit that this video - that became a hit in the Czech Republic after it attracted 4 million views in a few days and overshadowed the "Public Affairs"-driven government crisis - has made me laugh out loud.

There even exists a version for those who believe that the macroscopic phenomena are reversible.

The story says that during his official visit to Chile, Czech President Václav Klaus liked the pen. Clever like a fox, he acted as a typical Czech and "borrowed" the pen. He demonstrated what the "golden Czech hands" mean, completed the privatization - and people have added all typical funny stereotypes associated with Klaus, too. At 0:52, he used his fingers to signal a "victory". Hilarious.

Of course, the reality is less entertaining. A diplomatic pen with the state symbols is a standard gift for leaders and members of their delegations. Visitors to the Prague Castle whose visits have a business part always receive a Czech pen, for example. I received my pens during my recent visit to a top privatet university in Belgrade; and during my talk to Czech pharmacy students, funded by Czech Big Pharma company called Zentiva.

So one of such official Chilean peans has been given to President Klaus and he had to pretend how impressed he has been by the pen. In particular, he had to visually appreciate the symbols of the Chilean state on the pen - something that Klaus inherently probably doesn't care about - and express his friendship to the amigos with a similar flag (as pointed out by the Chilean president Sebastian Pinera) by various other gestures.

When one is unaware of the context and diplomatic traditions, all those things get interpreted totally differently and the result is very shocking or entertaining. The semi-satirical "168 hours" program on Czech public TV, hosted by Ms Nora Fridrichová, has made an excellent job although it wasn't too hard in this case.

This is not the first funny story about Dr Klaus and a pen. So far, Klaus has been a net donor of pens. In 2003, when he was elected the Czech president for the first time, the official pen with which he should have signed his oath and new job contract refused to work. The legend says that the defective pen has been seeded by his predecessor, Václav Havel. ;-)

However, Klaus was one move ahead of Havel. He picked his private pen from his pocket, signed the document, and became the second Czech president. :-)

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