| WALL OF FAME: David Cameron with students from Beijing at the Great Wall of China
David Camerons China syndrome
Well, here is the latest subject for an English essay: compare and contrast David Camerons current trip to China with his previous one to India in July.
These days trips by world leaders are all about jobs.
While President Barack Obama was in India letting the folks back home know he had confirmed orders worth $10 billion and created 50,000 new jobs for Americans, the British Prime Minister was signing deals worth £2 billion between UK and Chinese companies, including a £750m agreement to supply Rolls-Royce engines to a Chinese airline.
Compared with six ministers who came to India with Cameron, the British Prime Minister took three to China.
Cameron had to raise the issue of human rights with the Chinese without appearing to lecture them. He also urged the Chinese not to artificially hold down the value of the Chinese yuan the result has been a dangerous tidal wave of money going from one side of the globe to another.
But the most unexpected problem that arose was peculiarly Anglo-Chinese.
Members of the British delegation, Cameron included, wore red poppies to mark Remembrance Day on November 11 when the British honour their war dead.
The red poppies outraged the Chinese who were reminded of the humiliation of the Opium Wars of 1839-42 and 1856-60 when the British used gunboats to force the Chinese to accept the opium trade.
Cameron had an option upset the Chinese by continuing to wear his poppy or face the wrath of voters back home by taking his off.
A Downing Street source said: The Chinese informed us it would be inappropriate to wear poppies because of the Opium Wars. We informed them that they mean a great deal to us and we would be wearing them all the same.
| Lens wars: Snappers at Rashtrapati Bhavan
Srichand Hinduja is back from India and given me an account of his brief exchange with President Barack Obama at the economic summit in Mumbai.
SP believes Obama can win a second term but only if the President listens to him on how to create jobs his oratory is great but he does not have the people to implement his ideas.
SP thinks that the trip has gone very well both for India and the US. India has got very good mileage out of it. For the first time, the Americans have been able to understand what is India!
Behind the scenes, though, there were tensions because the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, felt American correspondents and photographers were being denied adequate access by Indian officials there were a couple of unseemly slanging matches when Gibbs threatened to pull Obama out of a press interaction.
A total of 700 press passes were issued, I learnt from Jay Mandal, who had come from New York and had a ringside view of the Indo-US rows.
Jay has been invited by S.M. Krishna to cover the external affairs ministers China trip. Somehow, one cant see snappers fighting to get a good position.
(Not) being Indian
The engaging quality about Samantha Naidu or Sam as she prefers to be called is that she can be refreshingly honest.
Sam, an academic in London, was born in Durban and describes herself as an African of Indian heritage.
India was somewhere I felt I had to go to for spiritual reasons, says Sam, whose ancestors were indentured labourers who migrated from south India, probably somewhere near Chennai, to South Africa.
President Jacob Zuma emphasised last month that a most important date is November 16, 2010. This will, when traced back to November 16, 1860, mark 150 years of the arrival of Indians in the beautiful shores of our beloved country, South Africa.
The irony is that Sam, who grew up in the harsh apartheid years in the 1970s and 1980s, is now hankering to return to an academic job in South Africa. South Africa is my home, South Africa needs me.
In 1997, she went to India for her first and only trip and spent six months in the country.
I traced some of my relatives, I have nothing in common with them, she declares.
In India, she travelled for part of the time with her then white South African boyfriend. The way people looked at me, you got the sense you were being morally judged. I did not like that about India.
On returning to London, she did a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) on the prose writings of diasporic women of South Asian origin who had adjusted to their new lives, sometimes with great personal loss and sacrifice.
Sam has just written a biography of Navi Pillay, the South African-born UN commissioner for human rights, with whom she identifies strongly.
Sam apologises. I am sorry I dont have too many positive things to say about India. But I will say there is no place on earth like India I have never experienced anything like it before or since for the extreme polarities, the extreme beauty and the extreme ugliness.
Say it again, Sam: there is clearly an important book inside her on an Indian not being Indian struggling to get out.
Potty about Potter
We know that Christmas is not far away because we have just had the world premiere in London of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One.
There was an engaging innocence about the early films when Harry, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley had yet to discover the magic of hormones.
Daniel Radcliffe admitted he had changed a lot in the 10 years he had been playing Harry.
In the new film, Hermione is seen kissing Harry in a hallucination sequence.
The little Hermione was my favourite girls like her should be let loose at Doon. But for some time now the marketing men have been trying to turn Emma Watson, who is now all of 20, into something of a sex symbol.
It is reported she bewitched her fans by wearing a barely-there dress, a skimpy black lace mini-dress with a feathered skirt.
The author, J.K. Rowling, who was also at the premiere, confirmed she was considering writing more books about the wizarding world but they would not feature Harry Potter.
Most families with children will see the new Potter film when it is released on November 19 and do so again next year for part two, and who knows, there might be sequels and prequels because, as with the James Bond franchise, the movie makers wont want to part with a magic formula.
The point worth noting is that Ian Fleming wrote 14 James Bond novels but there have been 22 mainstream Bond movies.
Gopalkrishna Gandhi is doing a face to face with the audience at the Nehru Centre in London where he was the first director from 1992-96.
How would Gopal have introduced himself had he still been director?
Ladies and gentlemen, please warmly welcome a very special guest. Mr Gopalkrishna Gandhi is the author of Gandhi is Gone. Who Will Guide Us Now? The book is about his grandfather but it might just as well be about himself now that he is no longer Governor of Bengal.