Well well well - I reckon this month is 'poke the belgian in the face' month !
I knew my last post was going to be trouble ;-) That'll teach me (I'm sure a lot of people are having a laugh now!)
I kind of suspected someone, somewhere in the world would be offended by it. The world has become a small place, and cultures differ.
Hey, I like to eat horse meat stew with my fries and mayonnaise on the side - I know this is completely not done in some parts of the world - some prefer ketchup
In parts of the world it's perfectly legal to carry guns and it's part of their legacy, it's part of their constitution - so I respect that.
What I don't like is my situation being exploited by certain people who are frustrated with the UKOUG.
This certain person - who we will give the fictional name 'Dom' - turns my small incident into a 'vicious attack'… man - I'm lucky to be alive if I read all this. He then goes on into explaining, 'how everybody is against Americans'… he and his wife were verbally threatened when they were once abroad (they were called 'yanks').
Well - what can I say - I'm pretty sure that's not a pleasant situation when you're in a foreign country, I can't deny that. But I actually happen to like Americans as some of my best and dearest friends are yanks ;-) (Which is not an offensive word where I come from - but again cultures differ)
Anyway - 'Dom' has done a pretty good job filling in all the blank spots of my story, took out all the irony out of it, sprayed some assumptions on top of it, and came to the bizarre conclusion that all overseas conferences are very dangerous places to go to - and UKOUG in special.
The fact that I got attacked, has nothing to do with the UKOUG. It could have happened anywhere. But thinking of it, I'm kind of glad it happened in Birmingham. Birmingham, like a lot of UK cities has a vast network of CCTV cameras. So the police knew perfectly what had happened. When I would have chosen to press charges, police could have easily arrested my attacker just by following his whereabouts on the CCTV cams. And they came in between before serious things happened, I was pretty chuffed about that.
'It's a scary feeling being disarmed and knowing that you are defenseless in a foreign land. In many countries you cannot even carry a knife to protect yourself, and Americans attending Oracle conferences abroad are at the total mercy of criminals. But it's not just Americans who get singled-out for attacks.' (Dom)
Duh … what can I say … I'm speechless.
Ok let's assume for a minute I was attacked in the US at some Oracle conference. I probably would have reacted identical, as quite honestly, my adrenaline was pumping harder than a Bee Gees remix of 'staying alive'. Following Dom's logic, the attacker in the states would have probably carried a gun or knife - which probably meant, he would have shot me *and* the police would have probably arrested me too. And therefore you should not attend any Oracle conferences in the US Puh-lease!
Or assume you're attending an Oracle course on a cruise ship and the ship is attacked by pirates - what to do … I might just as well stay home then.
The fact is that 'Dom' probably has a score to settle with the UKOUG for whatever reason and he's taking my incident out of context to make his point - 'UKOUG doesn't like me - UKOUG bad '.
Anyway - I'll be attending the UKOUG next year as it is simply the best Oracle user conference out there.
(and it'll stay that way until someone starts a conference at a ski resort - I'm thinking Solden, Austria )
I've been promoting UKOUG among my colleagues and this year the company had sent 7 people (including one of the directors) - which is more then we send to the OOW in San Francisco. So, this incident is *not* going to stop me or the company from coming over. Hey, especially with the British Pound at it's all time low this was a sweet deal (oh -now you're sorry you didn't switch to the EURO ;-) ).
Instead, we had a good laugh, a bucket of ice at McDonalds for my eye, and a pint to wash down my bruised ego
Kurt Van Meerbeeck
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