Cecil Paris, physician, mentor and friend to many triggered this piece. Articulating it proved harder than expected until I read Giovanni Bonello in The Sunday Times of Malta on lawyers in business.

Paris was, to my mind, the most knowledgeable, experienced, bedside-mannered physician of his age. He was without parallel among his peers and the personification of discretion, humility, modesty and courtesy. Arrogance was alien to him.

He was politically correct before they invented the concept. But he always called it the way it is.

We live in an age where cash is, effectively, the only currency.

Successful endeavour in any field, especially in the professions, is neither applauded nor encouraged. When its fruit is reaped, it is instantly and contemporaneously fuel for envy and the basis for grovelling and patronage. These elements are rife across Maltese society. The more deep-rooted they are the greater the greed for this particular local brand of ‘success’. It is a vicious circle that breeds viciously, interminably and incestuously.

There is no interest in delineating lines between a profession and a business sector because borders pose a real risk to eliminating the prospect of ‘success’.

The importance attached to the exclusive preservation of one’s patch increases at a rate directly proportionate to the diminution in the importance of being earnest.

Truthfully, everyone is entitled to have a real shot at achieving success but within a set of rules that guarantee a level playing field other than simply cosmetically.

I sincerely trust the above analysis to be completely incorrect. But I am most uncertain that is the case.

By any measure, Paris stood for all that a gentleman is. He talked with crowds and kept his virtue. He walked with kings – nor lost the common touch. Neither foe nor loving friend could hurt him. All men counted with him but none too much.

And he certainly filled the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds’ worth of distance run.

He was a giant among men and when giants in our midst pass on they deserve to be remembered because they are few and far between. They leave a legacy to society which only the blind, the malicious and the unintelligent are brave enough to refuse.

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