Attending the One Young World Summit in Bangkok was always going to be a struggle. Mainly due to the fact that the 1300 delegates had to dress in their traditional National wear for the opening ceremony on Wednesday night.
''Colourful, relevant and pronounced'' is the brief from the organisers. How apt. But how unBritish.
Us Brits, and in this case, English never do ''colourful'' well. Whenever we dress down at my office in London, if you even think about wearing anything buy navy, grey or black you're either on the ''hunt for Nemo'' or named ''Joseph with his technicolour dreamcoat''.
So I had done some research on English national dress, and also asked a few of my peers.
Google has some interesting suggestions, the first alluding to the colours of St George. A full outfit consisting of chain metal head gear, a long red cape, shield and double edged sword. Long black leather boots and a St George flagged dress. Cheers, but I'll tell you one thing - I gave that one a miss.
Suggestions also include:
1. A wife beater with union jack pants, fully covered in Stella beer
2. A queen's guard - hat and all
3. Margaret Thatcher
4. A single pork scratching
All pretty unhelpful, uninspiring and self-deprecating. Could my only option be to revert to the Uganda National dress? The birth place of my father. Apparently his birth in Uganda makes him Ugandan and by default, makes me 'half-Ugandan'. I've never got that. Half-Uganda? Which bit? You'll have to guess.
So the Uganda national dress is a full length 'dress', multi-coloured with tribal sandals. Being a pretty customary, 25 year old white British male I'm not sure how well I could pull this off. Maybe at a fancy dress party which the One Young World Summit certainly isn't. I suppose I'm also worried I'll end up with negative press, which my employer would not be particularly happy about, just like our dearest Prince Harry received from the party he attended dressed as an inappropriate Nazi.
In any case, the opening ceremony was spectacular - 1300 delegates 'all aboard' (!) 10 boats for a ceremonial procession down the Chaophraya River before arriving at The Royal Palace, Sanam Luang. Fireworks, food and frantic networking commenced throughout the evening went into the early hours with the local beer flowing.
I was selected by my employer as a future leader and the Summit, which has now been running for 5 years, bringing the 'most valuable young talent from global and national companies, NGOs, universities, other organisations and individuals to one place'. Impressive hey?
Apparently Richard Branson was going to be there and I wonder what his national dress would be - in fairness I could see him dress in the St George's attire. But he'd get away with - not sure whether that's because he's worth billions or because he literally doesn't give a hoot about what people think.
You'll be please to know that I went against the Uganda national dress, I'll need quite a few of those traditional English Stellas before I ever pull that off.....