Sacrifices to the Deans

I really struggle to work through all the BuBB's (uhm, Bond University bungles and bullshit), there are just too many of them over the years. And worse, they are all intrinsically sad, so it takes hard work from my side to turn them into something remotely entertaining you can read here.

Such as about another former Dean, let's call him, say, Gopal Gupta. Mr. Napoleon was a bit of a power person. Which was good clean fun to watch, because you could closely study the dynamics of feudalistic structures in small communities. Gopal just loved to create dependencies and favours. But the fun of this game decreases dramatically once you are dragged into this quagmire.

As it happened to me in summer 2000. I had applied for a hardware grant which Sun Microsystems had coupled together with a larger order of machinery Bond was going to place. So it was not really difficult to win this grant, which I had written together with my library liason Kate.

So one day we got a shipment of 5 (whoosh) Sparc V's (whooohoo). I had planned to use them as servers for the Linux cluster, but they came with monitors, mouse and keyboards for workstation use. So I told Mr. Napoleon:

Gopal, you can have the monitors, I have no use for them.

He answered:

No, no, this is your grant, you decide what should happen to them.

And since I am not entrenched into feudalistic behaviour, I did what he said, although not - in hindsight - what he probably meant.

After some investigation, I gave two monitors to the library; they needed some for their visually impaired customers. Two other monitors I gave to the multimedia people. The remaining monitor I kept for myself. I reported this to Gopal as response and that would be the end of the story.

So I thought.

Weeks later (I was on a consulting job in the U.S.) I received an email from Gopal. He wanted to know about the whereabouts of the monitors. I wrote to him that I did what he wanted, namely to decide where they should go. He claimed he never said that. And even if he had said it, that I must have misunderstood. And even if I had understood him correctly he had not meant what he had said. He obviously wanted to have one monitor for himself and seemed to have expected that I would have given him one.

So my advice for the week for working in a pseudo-multicultural organisation: If you happen to have a power-obsessed, feudal tenure system, give your bosses regular presents.

Like sacrifices you give to the gods. Yes, life here is very ... original.

PS: No, I didn't give him one. But I tried to explain to him that this is the 21st century. Not sure he liked that part.

PPS: Some weeks later I saw one of these monitors standing on his desk.

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Dear Robert, Thank you for

Dear Robert,

Thank you for making me famous in your Blog! I think perhaps my life is complete :) I am in fact, the very librarian you mention as helping in the writing of the submission.

I am still banashed to a far flung region of the world, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE - not sure if it was a result of the Sun grant. And yes, your blog is read far and wide, in all parts of the globe!

Kate

Anonymous | Thu, 09/13/2007 - 08:14

Whoa Kate! How very, very

Whoa Kate!

How very, very good to hear from you!

And, yes, I remember mocking you going to UAE when I
saw you in the library : You probably wanted more
sun, more ocean, more sand and palms.

So stay tuned in. More than 250 stories to go.

Anonymous | Thu, 09/13/2007 - 08:42