Courtesy

We are often subject to body searches, baggage inspections, and identity verifications. At malls. At airports. At offices.

These are to ensure that no one carries ammunition inside, or goods or secrets outside. In other words, to deter terrorists and thieves.

It’s nothing personal, of course. When someone does not know me, I can choose to accept that (or not; the choice is mine).

When I’m invited somewhere, however, I assume that I am not deemed a security threat. Therefore, I expect that:

  • My and my belongings will not be searched or scanned
  • I need not leave behind my personal belongings
  • I need not carry an identity card

Please afford me this courtesy if you are inviting me.


For some months now, I’ve visited many corporate offices. The reception is comprised of security guards, a metal detector and a register. I’m given a tag and an escort.

I’m not fussy. I’m not worried about being greeted, for example. I’m quite happy to plug into a power socket and work on my laptop until logistics are sorted out. But when that happens at the security outpost with no sitting space, or outside the gate in the rain, it inconveniences me.

A few weeks ago, I was at Singapore, and visited a client’s office in slippers. One of them complemented my choice of footwear, and remarked that he had not yet risen high enough in the corporate ladder to afford this luxury. (There’s a series of stories behind my footwear that I’ll get to later.)

That told me something. After a long time, I now can afford this luxury. Especially if someone knows me well enough to invite me to their office.

I hope to point them to this blog post and request that security be arranged so that I can be afforded this small courtesy; be treated with trust rather than as a terrorist or a thief.

(If their organisation’s practice does not permit this, I’m happy to meet outside. Besides, our office is happy to extend warm hospitality.)