A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 09, 2015
“Ex-presidents are like Chinese vases—beautiful, valuable, and near-useless”

An antique Chinese vase is delicate and valuable, but it’s too expensive to put flowers in it. Former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos said in 2007 that “ex-presidents are like antique vases: everyone knows they’re valuable, but no one knows what to do with them.”

“Ex-presidents are like Chinese vases: beautiful, valuable and also near-useless” was cited in 2012.

Felipe González, who served as Prime Minister of Spain from 1982 to 1996, was credited with the saying in 2006 and in 2013.


Wikipedia: Felipe González
Felipe González Márquez (Spanish pronunciation: [feˈlipe ɣonˈθaleθ ˈmarkeθ], born 5 March 1942) is a Spanish social-democratic politician. He was the General Secretary of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) from 1974 to 1997. To date, he remains the longest-serving Prime Minister of Spain, after having served four successive mandates from 1982 to 1996. His ascension is generally seen as the last step in the path to Spain’s re-instatement of democracy which commenced with the death of Francisco Franco in 1975. After losing power to Partido Popular’s José María Aznar in 1996, he briefly continued to lead the PSOE but was ousted following a controversy regarding illegal actions his government had taken in the struggle against ETA.

The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT)
Oppenheimer: Chile’s departing socialist president speaks out
Andres Oppenheimer
Published March 11, 2006 12:01 am
This weekend, when Chile’s Socialist President Ricardo Lagos steps down after six years in office, Latin America will lose its most outstanding sitting head of state.
(...)
Quoting former Spanish head of state Felipe Gonzalez, he said that ‘’former presidents are like those big Chinese vases that some people inherit: They are valuable objects, but nobody knows where to put them, because they are a nuisance. Therefore, it’s better to be unnoticed.”

The Santiago Times (Chile)
LAGOS: FROM PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC TO ECOLOGIST
By Editor
Published On : Fri, May 4th, 2007
Former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos was appointed as a UN special ambassador for climate change this week.
(...)
Lagos has said that ex-presidents are like antique vases: everyone knows they’re valuable, but no one knows what to do with them.

Financial Times (UK)
GLOBAL INSIGHT July 23, 2012 4:09 pm
Latin America dogged by former leaders
By John Paul Rathbone in London
(...)
Nowhere is it easy to step down from being the “most important” person in a country to being a “formerly important person”. The old joke is that ex-presidents are like Chinese vases: beautiful, valuable and also near-useless. For some, the psychological comedown is too much.

Yale Daily News (New Haven, CT)
LEONEL FERNÁNDEZ: Former president, pragmatist, book enthusiast
BY JORDI GASSÓ
Friday, April 12, 2013
(...)
Q. Master Brenzel heard you say that the world’s best job is that of an ex-president. What are the benefits and drawbacks of this role? What do you think are the responsibilities of an ex-president?

A. It’s almost a figure of speech, to say that being an ex-president is the world’s best job. Here we can visualize what the former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González once said: Ex-presidents are like Chinese vases — everybody appreciates them but they don’t know where to put them! [Laughter.]

Miami (FL) Herald
January 28, 2015
Andres Oppenheimer: Ex-leaders can play a big role in Venezuela
BY ANDRES OPPENHEIMER

(...)
My opinion: As opposed to the old joke according to which ex-presidents are like Chinese vases — they are very important, but useless — Pastrana, Piñera and Calderón have proven that former presidents can play a big role in helping free political prisoners and restore democratic freedoms in Venezuela at a time when the region’s biggest governments are looking the other way.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Wednesday, September 09, 2015 • Permalink