Oct. 2, 2018
8 hours ago
I have recently been awarded an honour for political services. I am told I can now apply to the College of Arms for a coat of arms. The King of Arms says this must include allusions and references to my life and achievements. My entire career has been in mergers and acquisitions, some of which worked and others which didn't. What do you suggest?
In modern life, when will you use your coat of arms? On your signet ring? A bit Sloaney, don't you think? For a seal in wax? "Shurely shome mishtake"! When you are a banker turned politician, I should keep piano about your honour, as there is a presumption of greed among bankers and disingenuousness among politicians. You will more likely become a symbol of contempt than admiration. Besides, it costs £8,000 to register a new coat of arms. That in itself should be sufficient reason for someone who is proud of their honour not to spend such an exorbitant sum to flaunt it.
Perhaps the most important lesson to take from HKU's heraldry is that it represents a connection to university values and a wider tradition of learning. The very idea of a university - a self-governing body of teachers and students - shares its origins with heraldry, in Medieval Europe. The current debate over HKU's institutional autonomy - and the increasingly-overt signs of political interference with the process of appointments - represents a direct attack on all of the values embodied in the university coat of arms.
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