Elephants have good memories

My buddy Yoon Kit seems to be having a heck of a time remembering what happened in today's TC4 meeting, so I thought I'd try to help him out. My thoughts are a bit long for a comment on his post, so I'll put them here where I have room to stretch out a bit, as an extended comment ...

First off, great title YK. You have a knack for good blog-post titles, and I mean that. Being much larger than anyone else in the room, and much larger than I was when this silly DIS29500 process started, I certainly felt like the elephant in the room.

And as another introductory comment, I must say that I really want to like you. I have not one, but now two emails in my in-box from people I respect who are telling me what a great guy you are. I'm sure they're right, but I'm strugging to find the wheat in all the chaff you're throwing around.

Honesty in reporting the facts

I won't return the name-calling favor and use the slang term for people who don't speak truthfully (since we're not actually children arguing on a playground, however hard it is to tell that at times lately), but I must say you've misrepresented a few things:

  • "Act of desperation"??? What an odd way to say it: I was asked to leave, and I did so, politely and without a single word of argument. Look up desperation -- I think you must have accidentally used the wrong word there.
  • I got "stares from the room"??? I guess you must be reporting that secondhand, since you weren't there when I walked around the room and introduced myself to everyone, long before you arrived. (Perhaps the fact the meeting started at 9:00 was another one of those meeting-related details you've been missing lately.) In any event, the only stares I noticed were from you. Projection, my friend: it's a hard habit to break, as I know too well myself.
  • As for your comment about the Director General of Standards Malaysia not being allowed into the BRM, that would make a better analogy if she hadn't been allowed into the BRM as an observer. Are you denying that's true, or did you carefully omit that fact when you said she "flew all the way to Geneva" and "was not allowed into the BRM."
  • And this one, I'm really tempted to use the L word on you: I "gruffly said "best that I leave""??? I smiled, shook hands with Yuk Wai and your chair, waved to the room with a smile and said it was nice to meet everyone. As you know, because you were there. (Perhaps the chair's sarcastic question about whether I'd be attending the next meeting gave that moment a negative tone that you've accidentally attributed to me instead of him?)

And finally, your silliest misrepresentation of all: "big bully behavior"??? As you know, I smiled constantly and said exactly one sentence during the entire time the meeting was in session before I was thrown out: a calm, soft "does this rule apply to me alone?" Nobody answered, and I got up and left, still smiling.

If you'd said I appeared amused, or bemused, I'd agree with that, but this "gruff" and "bully" talk is a bit much for anyone who was actually there, don't you think?

Not just errors, but omissions too

Your post is most interesting to me for the things you didn't say. Regarding your arm-twisting of the chairman in the hallway, no comment? Regarding your little buddy IBM Hassan's presence, no comment there either?

And what of my insinuation that your report deliberately misrepresents tiny minority opinions as things "many countries" stated at the BRM? Care to name any lists of countries, or do you only remember that there were a large number of them, but can't recall which countries? Or perhaps you were characterizing secretive hallway conversations for TC4, under the guise of a "Review of BRM Issues"? You seem to have a thing for those secretive hallway conversations, if this morning was any indication.

As the elephant in the room, I'd have loved to discuss those sorts of details with you in front of TC4. That good-memory thing may have been of some use to TC4 members who want to know what actually happened at the BRM.

Malaysia's interests

You speak of "the fate of OOXML with respect to Malaysia's interests." Do you mean your own ever-changing interests, as presented to TC4, or has Malaysia decided on specific interests? It seems to me that the 23 comments submitted by Malaysia on DIS29500 are Malaysia's interests, but those are curiously missing from your "Review of BRM Issues" that you presented to TC4 today.

Now that I'm out of Malaysia (sitting at the Taipei airport) and can't be hung for divulging state secrets, I'd like to share a few high-level observations about your report that was passed out to everyone attending the TC4 meeting today. This isn't from elephant-memory, I'm looking at your report while typing this:

  • There is not a single word in it about Malaysia's 23 comments or their relevant dispositions and resolutions.
  • There is not a single word in it about the 40+ resolutions that were passed at the BRM, but you did include several slides about resolutions that weren't passed.
  • You include many (mostly) slides on things that were never discussed at the BRM, which seems odd for a report labeled "Review of BRM Issues."
  • You include six(!) slides on binary mapping and translation, a topic that was only raised by 2 of the 87 countries who voted on DIS29500: the US (which recently confirmed an Approve position) and the UK.

Yoon Kit, how can you with a straight face present that to TC4 as a "Review of BRM Issues?" Hassan could have prepared this report for them himself, without ever attending the BRM, and to be very honest, the specific list of complaints you included reads more like a Rob Weir or Bob Sutor blog post than a recounting of what happened at the BRM.

It seems to me that Malaysia faces a big decision in the days ahead. Simply put, the decision is this: will Malaysia's position on DIS29500 be determined by a calm, rational analysis of what's best for Malaysia, or by the emotional and secretive distortions of an inexperienced young man? I can't wait to see the answer.

And do let me know when the next TC4 meeting takes place. I'd be glad to attend, if I can be of any service. And if I can stay in the room, of course.