So, the first really big question: why am I here? Or, to put it in a way that will make sense to those of you who haven’t just read the collected bios of all the attendees, why was barely qualified, not particularly accomplished little me invited to attend this workshop.
I mean, really, the people here are so highly qualified and well-connected that I, with a really tiny number of articles under my belt, a very recently defended PhD in hand and a radio segment every week, look like the pity candidate, the person you let in to fill a quota (or something like that).
Now, bios are a great way to showboat a person and possibly the people here aren’t as great as they appear on paper (although the number of senior, former military personnel are still going to have a certain amount of prestige, even if, like me, you think the military and its intelligence arm are just a little suspicious – no offence to the attendees who are reading this. I’m sure you are great); I certainly showboated myself in my bio, what with talk of a TV show and all (which, at the time, at least looked likely, but I believe the people at Topshelf decided not to present it to TVNZ for some of that precious, precious charter monies), but still, even my showboating pales in comparison to nearly all the other people who are here.
But, and I must keep on reminding myself of this, I did not plead or beg to attend this workshop: I was invited. Someone, somewhere, thinks I am going to be a useful voice in the discussions of the next few days.
And what a next few days it is going to be. Here are the objectives:
But before then, there is a meet-and-greet with cocktails and food stuffs. I am reliably told they have put on food that I can eat and if there is whisky at the bar, you can guarantee that I will be partaking. Hilton Kuching, do not fail me now!