Monday, July 31, 2006

In five days...

I managed to....

- Shop - aka support HKG's economy!
- Catch my breath on the ferry
- Enjoy the Pen, Ritz Carlton, Mortons, LKF...and avoid the Enterprise redecorating Wanchai!
- Laugh a lot with friends
- Became even more the 'smitten kitten'
- Watch planes at CLK
- Enjoy rain as only HKG can produce...!!
- Spend a fair amount of time with the blue-eyed boy
- Enjoy chocolate Martinis at Feather Boa
- Carry out a slightly unusual guided tour for a friend in town taking in...Ladder Street, Man Mo Temple, Museum of Medical Sciences, Cat Street, Western...and the walk around the Peak...
- See the 8pm fireworks at Disney
- Feel fairly homesick whilst spending a few hours in Disco Bay

Not a bad few days...


Fear and loathing on EDSA....

I have mentioned before a few things I am frightened I refer particularly to the unmentionable brown, shiny bugs....

Last night on my arrival back in Manila I managed to get a taxi with an extra of the unmentionable brown bugs... unfortunately at some stage between the airport and Shaw...I lost track of the bug...I went into panic meltdown and was terrified that it would find me in the dark...fortunately for me the traffic up EDSA was very light... the taxi turned left from EDSA into Shaw we were pulled over by the traffic police - apparently in my absence one can no longer turn left into Shaw from we were pulled over at the EDSA underpass and the driver had to get there was no way I was being left in the taxi with the bug on my I got out as well...much to the consternation of all concerned...anyway after about 10 minutes we were allowed to continue (now I just need to find out how to get home off EDSA...).

When I got home I was left with this irrational fear that the bug was in my handbag so before I went in the house I decided to empty my entire handbag on the floor on the corridor...and pushed Chairman Mao into my handbag to see if the bug was in there (allegedly cats are good at finding unmentionables!) this stage the next door neighbours came must have all looked a little bizarre!!

Fortunately I came home with no extra wildlife....who says I have no life??!!!!..So it's a little what??!!!


Only in Hong Kong....

would it be highlighted the bag was Gucci...!!!

A passenger was escorted off a Tokyo-bound plane in Hong Kong after she refused to put her Gucci handbag under the seat, disrupting the flight for more than an hour, a report said on Monday.

The Cathay Pacific plane was ready to take off but was forced to stop on the runway because the young passenger would not listen to a flight attendant's request, the Apple Daily reported.

After 15 minutes of argument, police officers, airport security guards and airline officials were called in to resolve the situation, but she still refused to give in, it said.

After an officer threatened to arrest her, the unnamed passenger finally agreed to leave the plane with her Gucci handbag, much to the delight of her angry fellow passengers who clapped as she was escorted off.

''It's not my fault, it was them who were too stubborn,'' she shouted as she was leaving.

The incident, captured on camera by another passenger and published on the internet, resulted in a delay of the flight of more than an hour.

from the SCMP


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pip pip cheerio...!

Blogging will be light to non-existant...I am leaving the cats to operate the microwave by themselves...and am off to the land of...

falling scissors

falling pipes

lightning strikes

democracy...or maybe not....

Fatty Pang and egg tarts.....'Flanked by small boys in loincloths fanning him with ostrich feathers, the rotund Brit shakes hands with adoring crowds of erstwhile subjects who throw flowers at his feet and offer him babies to kiss, egg tarts to gobble and intimate female apparel to sign. Fans clutching Patten memorabilia mob bookstores like followers of a young pop star, a glamorous actress or a charismatic religious leader offering hope – which, to old, overweight gwailos who failed to make it to the top, he probably does.'

Lights out

Disney Land

and just in case you thought my love affair with Hong Kong was is also the land of this.........

and this....

piccies from here


Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Monday, July 24, 2006

Meanwhile, back on the ranch....

Today was GMA's State of the Nation Address (more commonly known as SONA). For background and history on the SONA, MLQ3 has this post which is the follow up to last week's episode of his TV show, The Explainer. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the SONA.

For a full rundown of the afternoon, MLQ3's blow by blow account is informative...and amusing...I'm not sure if I am supposed to laugh at something that is supposed to be so important....but I did! Amusement factor provided by two things...firstly the description of the 'appreciative' noises from the audience...
lusty cheering
delirious cheering
happy hooting
really happy hooting
happy, happy, hooting
orgy of cheering, hooting
final orgy of cheering

and the second thing...this line..."More goodies: new generators, more roads, etc, not sure why it made me laugh...but it did!

Truth be told, Manolo, made me laugh twice today....the first time was early this morning reading his column about the SONA in today's PDI...'it will be like that scene in “The Gulag Archipelago,” where, after Stalin had concluded a speech, the nomenklatura began to clap—and couldn’t stop clapping, because the first one to stop would be seen as disloyal and might end up being shot!'

The PDI's sona site also has a running account of the events of the afternoon, with some background information on the main points.

And finally, I may be wrong, but I get the general impression that what the people want is for GMA to no longer be president...."I am not here to talk about politics, I am here to talk about what people want."


Hong Kong fashion update...

This summer - scissors, last summer - windows.


As you do....!!!

"I'm doing meet some naked Scots"

There must be better ways...!!!!


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Traffic control with humour and a smile

Over lunch the other day I was told about how pedestrian control used to be done, the 'Manila way'....

It goes something like this...(and this was told in relation to the Edsa Shaw junction)...pedestrian control was carried out by MMDA employees who stood at the intersection with bullhorns...and if people jaywalked the MMDA employees would pick them out by description...along the lines of..."Oi, you, you in the red shirt and blue jeans with the long hair", as the jaywalking pedestrian stopped, the MMDA employee would carry on..."Yes, you...what do you think you're doing, go back to the pavement"....

So at this point the jaywalker would return to the sidewalk where they would be 'punished'...this could be anything from an on the spot singing the national anthem through the bulhorn!!

It sounds like an excellent way of controlling pedestrians....a little labour intensive...but still excellent...particularly singing the national anthem by way of punishment....more countries should do this...

One of the things that is interesting about Manila traffic control is the human aspect of the control system as opposed to traffic the end of my road there is a convergence of about 5 roads....and in the middle is a human traffic controller...and he or she organises the traffic flow, the pedestrians and greet their usual 'pedestrians', of which I am one...and in the midst of doing this they also manage to collar the taxis needed for the pedestrians gathering on the corner.... traffic controllers work through all weathers, stand breathing in the awful pollution of the city and still smile and greet people....only in the Philippines....

I am also told that there are dancing traffic controllers in Quezon City.....I think this is something that needs investigating...!


Friday, July 21, 2006

Always on my mind....

As of Wednesday evening, Israeli attacks had killed at least 292 civilians in Lebanon, while Hizbullah rockets had killed 13 noncombatants in the Jewish state. Lebanon has approximately 3.5 million people. On a per-capita basis, that means that as of Wednesday, the rough equivalent of 9/11 has happened every day here for eight days.

Western media has dropped the ball by failing to tell the real story in Lebanon, from The Daily Star.

This is actually an issue at all times in the Middle East....when I moved to Jordan in 2001, the 2nd Intifada was just picking up steam and it wasn't pretty....however, talking to my parents in England who were watching the British news and reading the British papers...the Israeli's were portrayed as purely defending, I am not defending in any shape or form the suicide bombings or the terrorist attacks on Israel by the Palestinians, however, the sheer 'extra' brutality of the Israeli's was never shown and my weekly conversations with my parents became a trading of information from the Arabic media vs the Western made for some quite interesting comparisons...particularly with concern to the imagery used.


And so it continues....

My family and I differ a fair amount on politics...not enough to divide the family...but enough to foster a few healthily 'heated' brother is normally pro-Israeli...and I, for whatever different reason, am normally pro-Arab...note, it's not a religious issue...but a 'people' issue! However, on the phone last night, my brother expressed horror at what the Israeli's are doing to Lebanon...a serious over-reaction, I think he termed it, damaging an amazing country that was just beginning to drag itself out of the pit of despair from its last wars...and really through no fault of its own...

Yes, Hezbollah is based in Lebanon, yes, Lebanon has not disarmed Hezbollah as dictated in resolution 1559, yes, Israeli is greatly threatened on all fronts at present. However....Hezbollah's (although disputed) funding, support and possibly instructions are more likely to come from Syria and Iran than from Lebanon itself...

So Lebanon is being "torn to shreds" breaks my heart to see this happening to this beautiful country...

Robert Fisk has written and 'elegy for Beirut', printed in the Independent, shown here in full on Ajnabeeyeh

The anger that any human soul should feel at such suffering and loss was expressed so well by Lebanon's greatest poet, the mystic Khalil Gibran, when he wrote of the half million Lebanese who died in the 1916 famine, most of them residents of Beirut:
My people died of hunger, and he who
Did not perish from starvation was
Butchered with the sword'
They perished from hunger In a land rich with milk and honey.
They died because the vipers and
Sons of vipers spat out poison into
The space where the Holy Cedars and
The roses and the jasmine breathe
Their fragrance.
And the sword continues to cut its way through Beirut.

and then later....

And then, most disgraceful of all, we leave the Lebanese to their fate like a diseased people and spend our time evacuating our precious foreigners while tut-tutting about Israel's "disproportionate" response to the capture of its soldiers by Hizbollah.

I have been watching the evacuations with interest...a few days before the Iraq war started and the threat of WMD from Iraq towards Amman (an apparently likely scenario given the connection between Jordan and the US), the evacuation of foreigners and non-essential staff was fairly swift...the British embassy was very organised and very us the precise time when borders would close, the last flight would leave the country and when the British embassy would cease to operate...myself and my two British colleagues chose to stay behind...and the way the embassy dealt with it was very professional but also fairly basically came down to 'Ok, well you're on your own'....It is a fairly big decision to make...and I guess it becomes a different decision if you are responsible for anyone other than yourself...

And so it continues...the UN is only now pointing out the possibility of War Crimes on both sides...and Kofi Anaan is demanding a ceasefire....the word 'tragic' doesn't even begin to describe what's happening in the region.


Its in the way we communicate....

Yet again this rather odd world we inhabit amuses me....last night with a few e-mails and a couple of text messages, we managed to organise my brother taking the blue-eyed boy flying in England on Sunday brother flies little planes and the blue-eyed boy flies big planes.... bearing in mind they have never met before, it should be an interesting morning...shame I can't be there!


We come in peace...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

No translation required....

My brother kindly sent me two CD's of the Russia holiday which I missed....there is something very depressing about looking at pictures from a holiday that you should have been on....particularly when it is with your family....

Anyhow, one picture in particular has given myself and a few others a few moments of amusement - at least a few seconds distraction from the horrors of watching Beirut and Lebanon being levelled.

I'm thinking that Yeltsin didn't get to go there too often...!


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Finally something I can agree with George Bush on....

"...get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over"

Bush and Blair discussing trade, sweaters, knitting and the Middle East crisis


Sunday, July 16, 2006

On the ground in Lebanon...

Back to Iraq is blogging from Beirut, his new home base...

the following paragraph of his, from this post, is so must be hard now to tell the difference between the new damage and the old damage...

Walking and driving around the streets, I noticed a peculiar trait of Beirut: it’s not always possible to know what’s old war damage or new damage, and what might just be run down. Beirut is ramshackle and delightfully dilapidated in some parts — mostly the poor Shi’a parts, which are also the main target areas. It’s an interesting challenge to remember that that balcony which appears freshly shorn off is actually from 20 years ago.


Saturday, July 15, 2006


War and Rebirth.

Full circle? I hope not.....


String 'em up....

Another (dis) honour killing in England...


Friday, July 14, 2006

"Half a calamity is better than a whole one"*

The following scrawl is not a well constructed post...just thoughts...and very rambling ones at that...

When my brother and I were younger (much younger!)and were being subjected to long car rides...there was a very strict demarcation line down the centre of the back seat of the car...and eventually one of us would stray over the line for one reason or another the other and serious scrapping would ensue which would only be ended when my mother weighed in threatening all sorts of awful punishments... usually the least of which would be being put out of the car immediately...and given we were usually driving through some desert or another that threat normally stopped us.

Watching Israel and her neighbours at the moment I can't help wishing there was a strong enough 'parent' who was willing to do something about the problems.

I watched with horror yesterday as the BBC replayed pictures of Beirut airport's runways being bombed...the Lebanese are incredibly proud of their was built after the civil war ended..and was a tangible sign that things were on the up for their incredibly beautiful country.

I am not coming down particularly on one side or another - ok not strictly true...I am with the Lebanese and the Palestinians.....but, my head says that what the Israeli's is doing is the only thing they can do to protect themselves, albeit they are seriously overreacting....but - my heart cries for the Lebanon and for Palestine...

Israel has always been a ferocious opponent and has proved in the past that she will fight to protect herself...Palestine and the Lebanon are the unfortunates who have, for various reasons, been stricken with having 'terrorist' groups operating within their social and political structure. Hamas and Hezbollah are both organisations that have behaved atrociously in the past (and present and no doubt the future) and both cause their own countries incredible harm. Hamas was voted into power in Palestine...really on the basis of the organisation and infrastructure they offer as opposed to the terrorism they offer....Hezbollah have 14 of their members in the Lebanese parliament, yes they were voted in, but don't forget Hezbollah is backed by Syria and Syria only really left the Lebanon last year.

Lebanon has been living under a constant dark shadow from its neighbours...Syria occupied Lebanon and had Syrian forces patrolling its road and countryside for many many years. Israel is constantly threatening presence.

The pictures above shows Israeli helicopter gun ships patrolling the Lebanon coast....whilst I was working in Beirut, they did this twice a day....once at about 8am and once later in the afternoon....these pictures were taken about 20 minutes north of the centre of Beirut. Nothing like a little intimidation before breakfast.

I hope that King Abdullah of Jordan will be heavily involved in behind the scenes negotiating...I just hope he can manage it with same skill as his father did so many times before.

Do I have a miraculous, unfortunatly not. I do know that Hamas and Hezbollah have to be removed/destroyed/taken apart before peace can exist in the Levant...I do know that I fear for Jordan....if this escalates into all out war...Jordan will suffer terribly.

The picture above is taken from Umm Qais in Jordan (at the north-eastern tip of Jordan), the water to the left is the Sea of Galilee, the land to the right is the southern tip of the Golan Heights...further to the right (out of picture) is Syria...obviously to the left (also out of picture) is the Israeli border

So much for the 'Promised Land'.....and the land of Milk and Honey.



Thursday, July 13, 2006

Appropriate quote of the day...!!

".... I'm a woman! We don't say what we WANT! But we reserve the right to get pissed off if we don't get it. That's what makes us so fascinating! And not a little bit scary."

Sliding Doors


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

World without end....

And the list keeps getting added to...New York, Bali, Jakarta, London, Madrid, Amman, Bombay.....where next?

The reaction of world leaders, almost in reverse order of the violence of the due retribution.

And in Hemlock's words....
'Authorities were initially reluctant to accuse any particular group. It could be anyone. Quakers, say.'


Voices of Angels...

Last night I was taken to listen to the Philippine Madrigal Singers at the CCP...

The performance was amazing...whilst I cannot really appreciate/understand the technicalities of what I was listening to...the resulting sound was quite incredible...


Monday, July 10, 2006


What the hell was he thinking?

from the BBC


A year on.....

A year ago today, I left Hong Kong for Manila....

A year on...what are my thoughts....

Manila still doesn't rank as one of my favourite cities...and it has not displaced any of the cities in my top ten ,although, I have become quite fond of it in a 'black sheep' sort of a way. For me there are two main issues with Manila that don't endear it to me....the first - it's not really a beautiful city...and secondly it lacks substantial things to see and do....However, as most people will say, travelling and living overseas is not so much about the country but the people you meet there, and in this, Manila surpasses a fair few places I've lived. I've met some people here, who already, I know that when I leave Manila I will really miss.

Politics, government and it is chaotic in the extreme. A year on, I can't profess to be more knowledgable about any of those three subjects. I know who the main protaganists are and I am now more aware of key happenings in Philippine political history. When I first arrived I knew of GMA, Marcos and Garci....! For an outsider the political scene and the vagaries of government could be seen as vaguely amusing...and for most visitors that drop in and out of the country and who see brief snap is amusing. However, once you have been here for a while, it all becomes incredibly tragic as you realise the influence that all this pushing and shoving in the higher echelons, has on the average Filipino. Something's got to give.....

Pride...Filipinos are incredibly proud people, more so I think than any other nationality I have lived amongst. They want visitors to see and experience the best that the country can offer...and if a visitor does experience something perceived as giving a negative impression on the country, there can be much head shaking and covering up of the incident. A classic example of this was one night we had dinner together and the conversation had covered the subject of the lovely pink urinals in Manila and the incredible number of men who just unzip and pee by the road (the incidence of men peeing by the side of the road is far higher here than anywhere I ahve ever lived!) is something I have got used to and really I hardly register it anymore...but the next day we were out in the car and we drove past a stationary taxi with its driver taking a 'comfort stop'...the guy sitting in the front seat of our car just shook his head and I knew that it was just the sort of thing he didn't want me to see....My work colleagues are also intent on ensuring I only see the good parts of the Filipino character...and not the more emotional side! For my part, I don't care....every country has its good and bad...and you really can't appreciate the former without the latter.

Sunsets...who would have thought that Manila could produce such spectacular sunsets on a regular really is my favourite time of day here.

Language...I have never lived anywhere where communication was so easy. The standard of English here (although dropping) is makes life so much easier...and so much more entertaining as it is easier to pick up on topical jokes, local humour and the constant teasing that happens here. One of the only challenges I have faced here have been to do with the accent is very British and it has proved to be quite a challenge for some people to pick obviously the pronounciation of words can be different, a case in point.... a few months back I received some flowers - I asked my secretary to organise a vase to put them in...when I came back to the office a few hours later there was still no vase, so I asked if there was a, no problem came back the response. By late evening, I still had no I asked which point my secretary said "What's a 'vase'", stumbling over the British I repeated the word as Americans would say it...and all was suddenly clear!!! The English used in the Philippines is definitely not English English, not really American is Filipino English...they have taken the English language and made it their own....there are certain words and phrases used here in ways that I have never heard them used before...'endorse', 'gimmick' (granted, spelled as gimik), 'push through', 'go ahead', 'every now and then', 'for a while' (only really used on the telephone), C.R. (every country has its variation on what to call the rest room...unfortunately I have adopted so many of them that now when I ask for the toilet I just reel off a list of options until I hit pay CR has also been added to the list!) and ref. And there are some I have never heard of before - 'ber' months, aggrupation, ..... all part of the learning curve!

Shopping (aka Malling)....if I thought shopping was part of the culture in Hong Kong....compared to Manila...I was wrong......the amount of time shopping or wandering around in malls spent by the average Hong Konger is, I am fairly sure, surpassed by the average, it is an art form.

Eating....same as shopping....Filipinos manage to squeeze in more opportunities to eat per day than any other nationalities...the morning and afternoon merienda adds two more 'almost official' meals to the day. Food is also a constant presence in the office, over and above, the five meals a day! I haven't taken to Filipino food in quite the same way as I took to Arabic or Indonesian food.... there are certain things that I like (chorizo sausage), some I really dislike (sisig)...and some I can't quite get my brain around...chief amongst the latter category would be Ensaymada .... at its most basic it is a brioche bun topped with sugar icing and grated cheese...I have tried to get used to them....but I can't - they do come with a variety of different fillings and toppings...but the whole sugar/cheese thing is just something that doesn't work for me!

Texting - if it became an Olympic sport...the Philippines would clean up...actually the rest of the world would just not bother entering contestants. It is not only the amount of texting that goes on, it is the speed at which people text and the whole different language used....sometimes I need a translator just to decipher a text from a colleague! I think a lot of my friends are surgically attached to the keypads of their phones!

Alcohol gel - I have never lived anywhere that uses such a huge amount of alcohol gel! Every desk has a bottle, many people carry a small bottle in their hand bags...and supermarkets carry a huge variety of different producers. At the end of a particularly bad day at work, my colleague said he needed to get out for some fresh air...I said I needed some thing I know, one of the girls in the office passes me a small bottle of alcohol gel...when I frowned and asked what it was for...she said 'well you said you needed alcohol'... and she was serious!!!

Manila has proved to be the most challenging of all the places I've lived in to settle in and feel a part of the city....but one year in, it does feel a little like home...but that is entirely due to the people I've met!


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Troubled waters...

After writing this post yesterday, about my visit to an art exhibition focusing on the Pasig River, today I found this column from the SCMP

Troubled waters

Manila's mayor is trying to beautify the banks of the city's most important waterway, the Pasig River. But if he wants his efforts to amount to anything, he should really be doing something about the river itself.

Once upon a time - possibly during that age when humans, elves and dwarves lived in harmony - our poets and musicians competed to celebrate the Pasig's beauty. Now, their choice of descriptions would be rather limited. Specifically, it would be confined to that family of words that includes "sludge" and "cesspool".

From the mouth of polluted Manila Bay, the Pasig winds its polluted way 25km through six cities before finally connecting to the huge, polluted freshwater Lake Bai. Stop me when you've noticed the pattern.

The mayor wants to clear stretches of both embankments, creating spacious riverside areas for strolling. I'm just guessing, but I think that after taking one long look at - and a short whiff of - the river, most people will hasten to do their strolling elsewhere, such as inside a huge, air-conditioned mall.

Black and ominous, the Pasig is plied only by cargo barges and lighters. There are no pleasure craft - nobody delights in boating through fetid waters amid rubbish and the occasional corpse. Any swimmer would emerge from its waters darker and slimier than when he entered.

Many might find it hard to imagine that, in the Spanish period, the river - Ilog Pasig in Tagalog - used to be a stately stream, its water so pristine that people built bathhouses on its banks. Its tidal channels, or esteros, controlled flooding; people used the network to travel by boat to nearby provinces.

The well-heeled built elegant, tree-lined mansions along the river.

The Pasig system has been wrecked and polluted over the years by residents and scores of companies dumping untreated waste water and assorted rubbish directly into the water. Just a few months ago, I saw one estero clogged by an evil-looking armada of discarded, fast-food polystyrene boxes.

Every so often, the government announces a programme to clean up the river, with no visible effect. A project started in 1997 is supposed to make the river suitable for boating by 2008. Who knows, perhaps they're planning to work really, really quickly. I could be wrong.

The government has also said it's planning to resume a ferry service that it stopped years ago. That would be something to look forward to, as it would allow commuters to avoid the city's maddening traffic. Having taken the ferry, I can heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to see the river from an unusual perspective.

Just don't forget to bring a gas mask.


Would you like chips and sauce with that?

Yes, I am Scottish, and yes I am fiercely proud of my country.....however there is one area that does rather make me blush with shame.....certain areas of the cuisine for which cities like Glasgow are known for....

What provoked this train of thought on another grey and blustery day? That would be MLQ3's post on 'Weekend brain enhancement'. In particular, this link, about beer battered hamburgers, which if you follow it through takes you to step by step instructions on how to make this culinary 'delicacy'.

However, the aforementioned burger is not as bad as it can get, because it is lacking one further vital ingredient...another bun. And yes, I have seen this in a chippy in Glasgow...a burger in a bun, deep fried in batter and then placed inside another bun before being ready to eat. Other horrors include deep-fried pizza (love the comment at the bottom of the page about 'eating the pizza raw'!!), deep-fried mars bars/twix/snickers/creme eggs ...insert chocolate treat of choice! and deep fried haggis (aka scabby dick!!!!) .....

And if you don't believe me....National Geographic has done some research.

For an amusing insight into the 'delights' of food north of the the following post from What's new Pussycat....

In order to balance the opinion. I have had some amazing meals in Scotland, both in the cities(mainly Edinburgh) and up in the Highlands and Islands. Given that Scotland is also home to some of the finest produce good restaurants should be the norm (this being one of my favourites). So it is not all scary deep fried food in Scotland, but unfortunately, as always, the bad stuff is more entertaining!


Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Power Gods....

Bit of a disjointed week this..... the electricity Gods saw fit to stop power supply to my building sometime on Tuesday when I got home in the evening, I had no power.

Now, I am the lightest sleeper known to man, someone sneezes five blocks away and I'll wake having to endure the noise of Shaw Boulevard with no 'white noise' from the fan or the a/c meant no sleep on Tuesday night. So Wednesday at work I was not my usual sweet and well tempered self.... On my return home on Wednesday night I discovered there was still no power and no chance of it coming on any time I decided to make alternative arrangements and hightailed it to somewhere quieter down the road..

Thursday evening I called the building's admin office before heading be told there was still no I stayed with my previous night's arrangements.

Friday evening, I realised I had to come home to check on the as an added benefit I had been promised electricity.. and mercifully there was....along with two rather disturbed kitty cats...they hadn't been enjoying the rather violent thunderstorms...Chairman Mao has a rather disturbing tendancy to hurl himself at the window in order to try and catch the lightning....when I am home I can stop him....left to his own devices I am guessing he rather hurt himself over the last few days!

Today was my day of freedom so I celebrated by doing nothing until the afternoon, when I organised myself enough to go shoot some arrows - fortunately this time not hitting anyone...... and then I struggled through the traffic to Greenbelt to the Ayala Museum to see the exhibition Ode to the Pasig River..some lovely paintings...but if I had to choose would be this one....

Also highlighted in the exhibition is a suggested plan for the rehabilitation of the Pasig River and its banks...from Palafox Associates, it looks lovely....but not sure how realistic or achievable it is.....but it would be nice to be surprised.

So...the end of my day off sees me sitting in my bean bag, surveying the lights of Manila ahead of me, sipping my Mango Rum liqueur and listening to Nancy Sinatra, two snoozing moggies in my lap.... and thinking that in two days I will have been in Manila for a year....does it not go quickly?!


Will the real Madame Chiang please stand up....?

Reading Indy's post about Keeping it real sentence in particular struck me....

So how honest are you when you type? Is this the one place you are really you, or is it just a digital version of the masks we wear through life?

I always like to think of myself as portraying a very honest representation of who I am to everyone I meet....however, just recently a few comments that people have made to me (in RL) I realise that obviously I too wear a few masks....

The most recent comment when a colleague didn't want to show me a funny video he had received in an e-mail....for the simple reason that he thought I was a bit prudish.... Seriously, of all the words I have ever had used to describe me...prudish was never, ever one of them....quite the opposite really..... So I decided to clarify the description with someone I have worked with in the past...and although at first she laughed at the description (actually, snorted, is probably a better description of the noise she made!), she then said that the image I portray at work is definitely one that is very serious, reserved and not nearly as open minded as I am really....or alternatively she suggested I may have been on my best behaviour in a bid to impress the person concerned....

Either way it seems that even unintentionally I have been presenting a few different masks to the world...


Friday, July 07, 2006

One year on....

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The theory of nation building....

"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer."
Frank Zappa

I guess we need to test the theory.....

The Philippines: beer - check; airline - check; football team - check; nuclear weapons - no

England: beer - check; airline - check; football team - allegedly; nuclear weapons - check (shared with rest of the UK)

Jordan: beer - no; airline - check; football team - check; nuclear weapons - mercifully, no

Hong Kong: beer - check; airline - check; football team - check; nuclear weapons - no

Iraq: beer - no; airline - check; football team - check ; nuclear weapons - depends on who you are talking to!!!

In conclusion, Hong Kong is obviously a country in it's own right...and not just an SAR! And...against all the odds - Iraq is still a real country.....


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

es tu?

It seems as if the French could finally be putting the whole vous/tu thing to rest....

Given that my first educational experiences were in the French schooling system, using 'vous' et 'tu' correctly is second nature to me...however, I'm not sure I could ever take it to the extremes that Chirac does, who still addresses his wife as 'vous'!

Using 'vous' when speaking to someone brings on a whole different mind set and attitude and as such I know I would find it rather limiting to 'vouvoyer' in an 'intimate' situation!

For some bizarre reason the 'du/sie' in German doesn't hold quite the same significance for me...possibly because it wasn't instilled at such an early age and also because those that I had to vouvoyer were normally people in authority and scary teachers wielding metal rulers with which to strike you over the knuckles if you dared to tutoyer them, even in error!

The French really can be scary if you get their language wrong!

....actually come to think of it...the French can be really scary, period!


Monday, July 03, 2006

Seperation anxiety!!!!

If it wasn't the blogosphere I might take it personally...everyone seems to be going to pastures new/cleaner/more interesting....

E@L is off to Libya via London...personally I think going to Libya is a fairly extreme measure to take to avoid dealing with a crumbling domestic infrastructure...but at least he has clean underpants!

Mia has taken off for fresher pastures...where there does seem to a slightly limited amount of furniture.

Skippy is moving will have limited radio contact

Dusty has left Blighty for Down Under...

Scorpy is off for what seems to be a well earned week away...

Torn & Frayed are still not back from whereever...?

And the Hound is topping all of them and taking a holiday within a holiday....


Sunday, July 02, 2006

And now for something a little different......

I guess we all assume that losing one's virginity is a right of passage that happens at the latest, by your late 20's.....more often than not before!!

However, reading this blog it would seem that maybe that's not actually the case...and 'older virgins' are more common than I would have thought.

There do seem to be some doubts as to the authenticity of the blog. But I think that is grounded in the fact that maybe most people assume that in today's day and age in Western society it is so unlikely to find someone who at the age of 40 is still a virgin (movies not withstanding).

It seems this guy's biggest problem is that all the women he gets involved with assume he has some level of sexual experience and he is terrified of telling them he hasn't..... So, girlies,.....assuming you are in your late 20's upwards...would the fact that a man is still a virgin or very inexperienced put you off?

If you are still a virgin by choice and want to stay that way, do you even date? If so when would be a good time to tell the person you are dating? Perhaps some would see it as a challenge and others as a turnoff - for me it might not be a deal breaker if all other parts of our relationship were good - at least for a while....... I'd be willing to give him time and hopefully nature would take its course! Then of course one would hope that we could make up for lost time and that he was a fast learner; let's face it, the first (few) time(s) you have sex with a new partner it is never completely perfect....that comes with time. But I would require a little forward this stage in life I do 'assume' that there is a certain level of experience present...!

However if you feel the time has come (excuse the pun!) where you want to throw off that mantle, do you try to find someone special to be with or use first time frights with someone you are less emotionally involved with?

Obviously when all is said and done it is a fairly huge thing to be carrying around with you as you progress into your thirties and forties...


Some things never change!

The strangest things take over after midnight....last night I had this sudden urge to watch Duran Duran videos, no, best not to ask why - I have no idea!

Anyway, I decided to unearth my DVD of all their videos (yes, I do own one), unfortunately it is missing (no, my favourite DB don't have it!!) so I had to resort to the internet...desperate times call for desperate measures! There are a surprising number on YouTube!

One of my always with Duran Duran videos, the video makes no sense at all and just gives yet another opportunity for Simon Le Bon to show just how bad a dancer he was!

Why is it my favourite...more the song than the video....maybe because my first boyfriend dedicated this song to me...for the simple reason that it contains the line:

'Dont say you're easy on me, you're about as easy as a nuclear war'

Apparently, some things don't change!