Begging your pardon, sir,

October 6, 2020 — 16 Comments

but phuck you!

My respect for the office of president is intact. There have been presidents since I was honoured to become an American citizen who might not have been my choice, who might not have believed as strongly as I on certain issues but they have garnered my respect if not my approbation. My respect for the man who currently holds the presidency has never been lower.

I am a hybrid. The product of an English father and an Australian mother. My parents met in Malaya and my childhood did nothing to stop their wanderlust. Thank goodness. Dad had stayed in Pakistan after Partition in 1947, one of a handful of British army officers charged with helping form a new army for a new country. Mum was a pragmatic woman, a nurse who experienced the horrors of World War II in both Singapore and Papua New Guinea. I was their only child. 

Discipline for minor infractions was meted out by my mother – after extreme provocation a slap across the thigh with a floppy slipper would be forthcoming. I remember it being red silk with delicate embroidery, beautiful and gave a decent sting.

Rarely can I remember my father being involved in non-compliance issues. And he never slapped me. But nearly sixty years after the event I vividly recall being sat down at the dining table and given one of the sternest lectures of my life. We lived in Nigeria which means I would have been no older than six.

The reason? I had cheeked Ali. I don’t remember how, or why but I have never forgotten the lesson I learnt that evening before my bedtime story.

Ali was our cook. Originally from Sudan and proud, whenever guests or a camera came into view, to change into white trousers and tunic over which he tied a broad red cummerbund. He would also don a red fez with a black tassel and, lastly, he would pin his medals across his chest attesting to his service in the East Africa Campaign whilst in the Sudan Defence Force. 

Any man who visited out home and who he deemed worthy was saluted. He knew to keep my father’s glass topped up. If Ali didn’t like a guest he would, to my mother’s chagrin, ignore an empty glass and parched throat. He was though a gentle man who adored my mother despite her propensity to gather orphan animals, and for whom he would cut up papaya and pineapple each morning. Something I’m sure wasn’t in his original job description. And Ali loved me, and I him.

It was a long time ago so I can’t remember the exact words my father used after my transgression and he would not have raised his voice but I do still remember the shame. His words would have been measured and along the lines of, “Ali is a dignified man who works to make our lives easier. Particularly yours. Who are you, a child, to dare speak to him in such a manner?”

I do remember being dismissed. I ran to Ali’s domain where I sat on the kitchen step with his arm around me and, crying, gave him my apology. It was probably the first truly sincere apology I had given. 

It is people like Ali, and Sam, our houseboy and others in other countries who worked for my parents, and later others who worked for me and my own family who have made our lives infinitely happier. Without a doubt easier and, once I reached the age of employing people myself, have given me insights into different cultures and countries that I might not have had without their kind guidance. A true privilege.

So why the title of this little story? Because the president of the United States has proven with his craven behaviours toward those who work to make his life easier, and certainly safer, that there is no moral line he will not cross.

I’m not talking about the political animals who serve in his administration – those in front of the cameras, those used to speaking the words people want to hear, those scrabbling to pacify the man’s every perceived slight, to temper his tantrums. I couldn’t care less about them. 

I am thinking of men and women who have worked in the White House, some I’m sure for many years and through many administrations. The men and women who change the sheets, who cook the meals, who dust the furniture and hoover the carpets. The men and women in the background who make sure the wheels of arguably the best-known home in America turn without a single crunch of a pebble. And while I’m at it, the men and women charged with literally taking a bullet for the president. What right does he have to disregard their health?

To flaunt his power by belittling those who are cognisant of the dangers of a virus that is devouring the country with rampant disregard to who it infects. To flout the mandates of mask wearing and spew his vitriol over those nearby. His braggadocio knows no bounds.

By all accounts his arrogance and hubris, his complete disregard for others are behaviours learnt from his father.

My father has been dead for ten years but his words and his actions as I grew up have never left me. Don’t ever forget it is the people, often behind the scenes, who make our lives easier, safer, more pleasant who deserve our utmost and unbridled respect.

So mr president, I repeat, phuck you!

16 responses to Begging your pardon, sir,


    I love the picture!



    Well said, Apple. Best Regards. A. Hauswald, Houston Texas

    Liked by 1 person


    Kudos! Bravo!! Good for you. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person


    exactly!! sweet picture

    Liked by 1 person

    Peg Ingebretson October 6, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    I, literally, couldn’t have said it better myself, Apple. Thank you for using your voice for all of us who, just when we think we have seen it all and he can’t surprise us anymore, are aghast at his blatant disregard for everyone but himself. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person


    Splendid! Sentiment just right, so well crafted, even if I disagreed with you I would have understood. But how can any disagree??? All it takes is for good men to remain silent…

    Liked by 1 person


    Very well said Apple as you have summed up how we feel and I’m sure millions of others who witnessed his bizarre, selfish behaviour this week with as you say, no regard for those around him. I hope Americans will see him now for who he is and not elect him to be President again.

    Liked by 1 person


    Thank you, Apple, for this heartfelt and well-crafted essay. Similar to you, having grown up in the Philippines, my parents had help with the house, the garden, cooking, driving, and looking after the kids. Our help were each an important part of our family and ended up being life-long friends. Yes, they served behind the scenes, but were indispensable, my siblings and I agree. Trump’s disregard for those working behind the scenes shows a lack of recognition and empathy for the “others” in our lives. I’m counting on those of us who long for a change of values and behavior in this country to vote in November. This just can’t continue for another four years.

    Liked by 1 person


    Thanks Apple. I can feel always feel your generous spirit, dignity and fight!. Now I know something more of why that it is.


    Liked by 1 person


    Well said Apple. As I sit here feeling reasonably safe in Western Australia where we have had no community transmissions of Covid for months. I do worry for friends in the US and hope they will not vote for that clown.



    Well done Apple – your observations are as usual so true. The arrogance and stupidity of the person who America is calling The President never ceases to amaze me. I do so hope there are enough sane people around when election time arrives. My love and my kindest thoughts for you and all the family during these difficult times.

    Liked by 1 person


    Very well said Apple.

    Liked by 1 person


    A well written and beautiful sentiment. You’ve always had a flair for your outlook on life! It has been a privilege to know you…


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