Petty Pata antics over an Emeritus

Posted: Tue 13 Jul, 2010 12:00 AM
By: TTR weekly

Criticising the US immigration policies is nothing new, but when a former Pacific Asia Travel Association CEO and president, Lakshman Ratnapala, attempted it in his Travel Talk email despatch, recently, it raised eyebrows for entirely different reasons.

Veterans of PATA immediately were on the attack, not on behalf of Uncle Sam, but to take the former PATA CEO to task for awarding himself a lofty and honourable title.

In his email newsletter, the hapless Mr Ratnapala signs off as “PATA President Emeritus” a title usually bestowed on retirees to allow them to circulate at cocktail parties and bend ears with stories of the good old days.

PATA veterans have always thought that handing out awards was definitely part of their sacred territory. They have jealously guarded the honours of life membership, fighting off any attempt even by the association’s management to have a bigger say in the selection. Fall foul of an angry veteran and your name will never be etched in gold in the PATA Hall of Frame, no matter how much money you spend on a membership and attending PATA events.

Whatever sins a former PATA CEO might have committed adopting a self-appointed title, without the blessing of PATA’s fathers, is just not cricket. In fact it is an unpardonable outrage or so the Veterans of PATA would have us believe.

Mr Ratnapala hails from Sri Lanka, a great cricketing nation, so he would understand references to what is acceptable on the playing field and what would be frowned on in the club house.

One leading PATA veteran, resident in India, noted that the “phenomena of President Emeritus” was an illusionary title that Mr Ratnapala gifted to himself about five years ago.

“The only people who can object are in PATA Headquarters. I think it is the chairman or the CEO/president of PATA who should take cognisance of this and either initiate the action soon, or take it to the Board of Directors at the forthcoming Macau meeting,” the veteran member suggested.

Mr Ratnapala had the last word in an email communication when he said “events like this reflect human nature. Nothing less, nothing more.”

He didn’t mention if he would continue to be a President Emeritus, or not, but until PATA declares otherwise he appears to be entirely in his rights to stick the title on his email newsletter and business cards. It also sounds eminently more important than a “retired” or “redundant former president.”

There is doubt at all that the title “Emeritus” adds a ring of respect to a business card and could encourage a cheerful “hello President Emeritus,” from someone who needed a new pair of reading glasses.

Thankfully, PATA resisted the temptation to adopt military titles or he might have embraced the title RET Air Chief Marshal only to be shot down by an irate Australian PATA member for impersonating an Air Force officer.


sources:TTR weekly

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