Hu’s On First — The First USP Facility in China, That Is

What's that they say about the three signs of aging?  The first one is memory loss, and I forget the other two -- which is a light-hearted way of saying mea culpa for heretofore failing to call attention to the U.S. Pharmacopeia's (USP) recent opening of its newest global facility in Shanghai, China. In pursuit of its global mission "to promote the public health by disseminating authoritative standards and information for medicines, other health care technologies, and related practices used to maintain and improve health and promote optimal health care delivery around the world," USP has previously established service centers in Basel, Switzerland and Hyderabad, India. The Sept. 8 festivities to inaugurate the Shanghai facility involved numerous Chinese government officials; representatives of various Chinese medical, pharmaceutical and business associations; and USP executives including Dr. Roger L. Williams, executive vice president and CEO; John Fowler, chief global services officer; and Dr. John Hu, international vice president-China. I mean no disrespect whatsoever to Dr. Hu, but upon seeing his name I could not help but call to mind this amusing twist on a classic Abbott and Costello routine:

Hu's On First

(a reported conversation between the President and Secretary of State )

[with apologies to Abbott and Costello]


George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening? Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China. George: Great. Lay it on me. Condi: Hu is the new leader of China. George: That's what I want to know. Condi: That's what I'm telling you. George: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China? Condi: Yes. George: I mean the fellow's name. Condi: Hu. George: The guy in China. Condi: Hu. George: The new leader of China. Condi: Hu. George: The main man in China! Condi: Hu is leading China. George: Now whaddya' asking me for? Condi: I'm telling you, Hu is leading China. George: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China? Condi: That's the man's name. George: That's who's name? Condi: Yes. George: Will you, or will you not, tell me the name of the new leader of China? Condi: Yes, sir. George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he's dead in the Middle East. Condi: That's correct. George: Then who is in China? Condi: Yes, sir. George: Yassir is in China? Condi: No, sir. George: Then who is? Condi: Yes, sir. George: Yassir? Condi: No, sir. George: Look, Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone. Condi: Kofi? George: No, thanks. Condi: You want Kofi? George: No. Condi: You don't want Kofi. George: No, but now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk. And then get me the U.N. Condi: Yes, sir. George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N. Condi: Kofi? George: Milk! Will you please make the call? Condi: And call who? George: Who is the guy at the U.N? Condi: Hu is the guy in China George: Will you stay out of China?! Condi: Yes, sir. George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N. Condi: Kofi. George: All right! With cream and two sugars. If the U.S. President were, in fact, to be confused about who's who in the Chinese government, I would find it hard to blame him for this particular lapse. Not only is Hu (Hu Jintao) the President of China, but Wen (Wen Jiabao) is the Premier. Let's not go there, OK? -HP