Tuesday, August 29, 2006


UN Secretary General Kofi Annan walks Monday with Hizbollah MP Ali Ammar and Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora during a visit to a southern Beirut suburb (Reuters photo by Mohamed Azakir)


Trust me - I'm not a fan....!

I don't want any sniggering...but I am about to let you into a little secret... This coming Friday (in the name of duty) I am going to perform a fan dance...fortunately for all concerned...it is a team effort and I will not be torturing anyone with a solo performance of the Sugar-plum fairy with a fan!

Anyway, whilst rehearsing over the past few weeks it has crossed my mind that fans are quite useful accessories; other than the obvious ability to keep one cool; they can be used for belting out of step/time colleagues at appropriate moments! But I didn't realise they actually had a 'communication' use as well.

This weekend I watched 'A Good Woman', the movie version of Wilde's 'Lady Windermere's Fan'. The movie itself was quite average, I couldn't help feeling that Helen Hunt was somewhat mis-cast, and Wilde's classic lines were delivered fairly awkwardly - it just didn't flow or feel comfortable and Lady Windermere's Fan has some classic lines - so it was a shame....

I can resist anything but temptation.

It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.

During the course of the play/movie, a fan is purchased...at this stage the American temptress starts to spin her web around her prey...and she describes the secret sign language that was used when fans were a necessary part of a lady's dress.

With a very small amount of research (thank you Google) I found that this fan-language was not limited to the few gestures that were mentioned in the movie, but that it was almost possible to have a full conversation going with the man of your choice. Obviously the fans were predominantly used to communicate with men, and equally obviously it was a fairly one-sided conversation as the average man probably wouldn't have carried a fan (although the Pinoy skill of communicating almost solely with the eyebrows could have been quite useful in this case!).

So...a quick introduction to fan language:

1) THE FAN PLACED NEAR THE HEART:"You have won my love."

2) A CLOSED FAN TOUCHING THE RIGHT EYE: "When may I be allowed to see you?"





7) COVERING THE LEFT EAR WITH AN OPEN FAN: "Do not betray our secret."


9) SHUTTING A FULLY OPENED FAN SLOWLY: "I promise to marry you."


11) TOUCHING THE FINGER TO THE TIP OF THE FAN: "I wish to speak with you."

more 'signs' from here.

However, there seems to be a fundamental problem, the majority of lists of fan-language concur with the above list...however there are a few that deviate....from this site I learn that "Running her fingers through the fan's ribs means 'I want to talk to you'". I can't help wondering if this is English-English and American-English in fan language! This confusion does seem to me to have the possibility to cause a major breakdown in male-female communications (nothing new there then!)or a possibly embarrassing incident.

Given how bad my memory is for anything other than my full name and birthdate I know that if I had to communicate using this I would cause myself some huge embarrassment, lose out on a potential 'man of my dreams' or organise some secret assignation at the wrong time.... I have enough trouble communicating verbally in English without adding any other challenges to life!

On a more humorous note, going back to the fan dance, the boys involved in the fan dance are very good at flicking out their fans, now given that the 'flicking action' is all from the wrist, I am not accepting their 'It's from playing badminton' excuses!!!

So, think of me on Friday afternoon, providing a few minutes of totally unintentionally funny entertainment to my colleagues! That is of course, if I don't fall off the stage at the beginning, which given my perennial clumsiness is definitely a possibility!


Monday, August 28, 2006

Four Weddings and a Funeral

Viewing of choice last night.....and no, the irony is not lost on me!

Fiona: The truth is... well, the truth is, I have met the right person, and he's not in love with me, and until I stop loving him, no one else really has a chance.
Mrs. Beaumont: Oh, what a shame.
Fiona: Yes, isn't it?

Charles: Any idea who the girl in the black hat is?
Fiona: The name's Carrie.
Charles: Pretty.
Fiona: American.
Charles: Interesting.
Fiona: Slut.
Charles: Really?
Fiona: Used to work at Vogue. Lives in America now. Only gets out with very glamorous people. Quite out of your league.
Charles: Well, that's a relief. Thanks.

Fiona: Where's Gareth?
Matthew: Torturing Americans.
Fiona: How thoughtful of him.


The Chinese Correlation....

From Travellers' Tales....apparently 'the more Chinese a country has, the richer it becomes'

Burma: 3% Chinese, $157 per capita GDP
Cambodia: 1.2% Chinese, $341 per capita GDP
Laos: 1% Chinese, $396 per capita GDP
Vietnam: 3% Chinese, $518 per capita GDP
Philippines: 2% Chinese, $1,021 per capita GDP
Indonesia: 3.1% Chinese, $1,100 per capita GDP
Thailand: 12% Chinese, $2,845 per capita GDP
Malaysia: 25% Chinese, $5,003 per capita GDP
Singapore: 76.8% Chinese, $24,620 per capita GDP


And another one...

Something new to read.....Blogging at FL250


Sunday, August 27, 2006

I didn't know I was looking for love, 'til I found you...

And that was the weekend...

Sitti is the vocalist du jour here at present...where ever you are you hear her music....which is no bad thing....however, as in such instances one song will always lodge itself in your brain and becomes the theme tune of a certain time....this time around the song is I didn't know I was looking for love.... and it just kept going round and round in my head this weekend!

The weekend consisted of nothing too strange or startling...a little archery, a lot of reading...some snoozing and an evening out with my two favourite men in Manila... that was Saturday...

When I was living in Jordan if guys I didn't know wanted to speak to me or if my own working team wanted anything un work related they would refer to one of men who were with me...(a for instance would be, at my leaving party, some of my guys gave me a gold necklace, they wanted to place it around my neck...when I told them to go ahead...there was much discussion and then they headed over to my boss and asked his permission!) anyway, late last night, in what seems to be fairly standard 'night out in the Philippines' routine, as the evening ended we went for a coffee (actually more like tea and hot chocolate). Whilst we were sitting there a group of students came up and started talking to one of the guys I was with....it seems that they wanted to interview me but were asking him first.....it did give me a flashback!

Today...a roam around Rizal Park, the Museum of the Filipino people and a wander around Ermita (more about this in another post when I can download some pictures) ...and then a movie, American Dreamz....which was very entertaining, although the last 15 minutes ruined it by verging on the ridiculous!

And now it's wind down time...added to the fact that I have an evil headache and have been carting it around with me all day....can't believe two beers could do that me...must be something else.....there's no way I am such a lightweight drinker already!


I do remember!!!

So..... my brother's pictures....from Wengen...to Manila....to Indiana.....to work as a memory jogger....lunch with two of my favourite men!!

Sent: Sat Aug 26 08:09:46 2006
Subject: Thought you'd like to see these...

My brother is (as I write) showing his wife Wengen, Jungfraujoch and Interlaken....thanks to modern technology I get to see the pictures fairly swiftly...and thought you might like to see them!

Have a good weekend!

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 07:59:51 -0400
Subject: Re: Thought you'd like to see these...

Amazing, and to think that you can them beam them to me and I can view them on a handheld wireless device while sitting outside drinking a mug of Yorkshire Gold tea, watching clouds form for a potential morning thunderstorm........ We're a lucky lot ! The picture of the train station sign with the hotel behind was such a memory jogger....remember lunch with E ? Outdoor cafe (of course...) So good to have memories.

Thanks for sharing. A


Saturday, August 26, 2006

It's really clever!!

My brother and his wife are at present touring around Europe...this afternoon I recieved a text from him telling me that they were just leaving Interlaken and going up to Jungfraujoch via Wengen. A few years back I worked a ski season in Wengen and loved it....it is one of the nicest corners of Switzerland...and I am incredibly envious...

So he decided to take some pictures for me....he then sends them to his mobile provider, Orange, and then I get a text giving me the details of how to download the pictures....it's pretty neat!!

The first picture is just outside Interlaken...to get to Wengen, one needs to get the train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, once you leave Interlaken the train runs through a valley with a river running through it...and this is the river...

And finally, the Aletsch Glacier.....from Jungfraujoch

No doubt there'll be more pictures on the way!!!


Bits and pieces....

Humour in Lebanon

Another story has Haifa Wehbe, the curvaceous bombshell of Lebanese music videos, dispatched by the Hizbullah leadership to Israel to conduct negotiations. She returns pregnant. When confronted about her condition, the anecdote goes, Wehbe insisted she was only trying to help: I thought I would get you another small hostage."


The elderly women of the Christian neighborhood of Ashrafiyeh regard Nasrullah as their new idol and sex symbol, goes one line, because he has taken them back 40 years

and from south of the border....something not so funny.

Russia doesn't count Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups.

It has always amazed me that Hans Holbein managed to get away with his painting of the 'Flanders Mare'...how he managed to keep his head in that debacle is a miracle....! An article about Holbein's work with the Tudors from The Daily Telegraph..


Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Devil wears Prada....

You can watch a clip here. The movie has some cracking lines, delivered incredibly well....

Miranda Priestly: Yes, move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me

Miranda Priestly: ...You have no sense of fashion...
Andy Sachs: I think that depends on...
Miranda Priestly: No, no, that wasn't a question

Miranda Priestly: The details of your incompetance do not interest me. Tell Simone I'm not going to prove that girl she sent me for the Brazilian layout. I asked for clean, athletic, smiling; she sent me dirty, tired and paunchy. And RSVP yes to Michael Kors' party, I want the driver to drop me off at 9.30 and pick me up at 9.45 sharp. Then call Natalie at Gloria's Foods and tell her no, for the 40th time, no, I don't want dacquoise, I want tortes filled with warm rhubarb compote. Then call my ex-husband and remind him that the parent/teacher conference at Dalton is tonight. Then call my husband. Ask him to please meet me for dinner at that place I went to with Masima. Also, tell Richard I saw all the pictures that he sent for that feature on the female paratroopers and they're all so deeply unattractive. Is it impossible to find a lovely, slender, female paratrooper? Am I reaching for the stars here? Not really. Also I need to see all the things that Nigel has pulled for Gwyneth's second cover.

If, after watching the movie you wonder to yourself if the rumours are true and Miranda's character is based on Anna Wintour, just read the prologue to this book to answer your question.

And on a vaguely similar subject, this is one movie screening that I think I would not have enjoyed!!!


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Oil, explosions and porn!

Quietly, too quietly, down in the south of the Philippines....miles of coastline and local waters are being covered in thick black oil, however the company that owns the tanker seems to think that things are on the up...it would be good if Petron were correct...

And not as large, but still terrible, thanks to the recent hostilities...Lebanon has an oil slick of its own.

Still in Lebanon, yet again the Hariri's step in to help rebuilding their country, of course there are political issues, however, it's a start....

Jordan is doing what it can to help its neighbours....in this case, removing the bombs embedded in Bierut's airport's runway....I just hope that in this instance they are right....

Commander of the corps, Colonel Zuheir Azzam, told The Jordan Times during a telephone interview yesterday that the engineers, who started work on defusing the bombs last Friday, extracted the three bombs late Monday, detonating them on waste ground outside the airport perimeter.

“The bombs were buried some eight metres deep in the runways, and the corps, in cooperation with the Lebanese army bulldozers, managed to dig around the bombs and remove them,” said Azzam.

He added that a fourth bomb of the same type remains buried nine metres deep in one of the runways.

“This bomb was not detonated or defused because directly under it lies a layer of water and the bomb is deep inside this water. Therefore, it was left in its place as it will not cause any damage and with time will corrode because of the seawater,” Azzam said.

The politically correct movement gets out of hand.....but it could get worse - I once had a very alarming episode with someone's mother and a porn channel in a hotel.....she was watching it....not me....honest!!!

And finally, maybe, just maybe, I need to stop giving my Italian colleague a hard time!!!


Sometimes it would be nice to be Hillary!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Del Boy...

thank you for the suggestion of a chocolate martini at Feather Boa this evening.... unfortunately, my present residence is not as close to Feather Boa as my old one used to be, otherwise I would I would have been delighted to take you up on the offer!!

A shame on many counts! Not least of which, this evening is one evening I could have done with going out for a drink!


Life returns to normal....what ever that may be...

The Jordan Times tells me that Taxi fares from Amman to Beirut have returned to 'normal'

Fares from the war-torn Lebanese capital to Amman skyrocketed from $100 to as high as $1,000 a taxi during the heavy fighting as people desperately sought to flee Israeli air strikes.


Out of the mouth of babes...!

This is too funny!!

I hope that next time the Barnsley Delegation is in town, we get to meet this young lady!!!


I've been tagged...

Mia,Your wish is my command!!

1. One Book That Changed Your Life
Lonely Planet Guide for Hong Kong - go figure!!!!!!

2. One Book You Have Read More Than Once
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

3. One Book You'’d Want On A Desert Island
The Complete works of Shakespeare

4. One Book That Made You Giddy
In all honesty - I don't think I've ever read a book that made me giddy...I don't think I'm a 'giddy' kind of person...!!!

5. One Book That You Wish Had Been Written
E@L's book!

6. One Book That Wracked You With Sobs
None.....see it's true - I am cold and without emotion!!

7. One Book You Wish Had Never Been Written
None....even if I didn't like it...someone would and I could never deprive anyone of reading material!

8. One Book You're Currently Reading
Anne Boleyn - Joanna Denny

9. One Book You’ve Been Meaning To Read
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson - (easy to answer, was just talking about it last night...and yet again left it on the shelf!)

10. Now Tag Five Bloggers
Help yourself!!!!!


"Don we now our gay apparel...."

Last weekend a column appeared in the PDI which left me somewhat shocked...then a response was printed....

Today MLQ3 has compiled links to the two follow up columns and also to the response from the local blogosphere - makes interesting reading.

Given the openeness and how accepted the gay community is here (as opposed to Jordan and HKG), it is not surprising that one person's column has drawn in such a reaction.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Tie a yellow ribbon......

Whilst being driven through the dark streets of Manila the other night...I noticed that the trees down the central reservation of Roxas Boulevard had hundreds of yellow ribbons tied around them and in their branches (unfortunately being on a blind date I assumed that whipping out my camera for a few photos was not really the done thing!!)....

Today marks 23 years since the assassination of Ninoy Aquino on the tarmac at Manila International airport(later renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)). Aquino was returning home after years in exile, he was a threat to the then failing Marcos regime and as such 'someone' decided that Aquino had to be removed from the scene.

To welcome Aquino home, his supporters tied yellow ribbons around the city as a signal of support and welcome...

I'm comin' home, I've done my time
Now I've got to know what is and isn't mine
If you received my letter telin' you I'd soon be free
Then you'll know just what to do if you still want me
If you still want me

Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree

Aquino had an idea of what was coming; on the plane on the way home to Manila he said "My feeling is we all have to die sometime and if it's my fate to die by an assassin's bullet, so be it."


Sunday, August 20, 2006


One of the many differences between HKG and Manila is the film scene/industry.

In HKG locally made movies are churned out an incredible rate, the cinemas usually have two or three locally made offers to see and they have subtitles (not always incredibly accurate!) so those of us whose Cantonese is not so good can at least follow the majority of the movies...

Here in Manila, there is a small local movie industry, however, unfortunately for me I am an incredibly bad linguist and therefore the fact that the movies here don't normally have English subtitles means I don't go and watch them....

..until last night....when Torn & Frayed texted me and asked if I wanted to go and see 'Kubrador'..after clarifying that there were subtitles...I agreed...(you can read Torn & Frayed's take on the movie here)

'Kubrador' is the Tagalog word for a 'bet collector', in this case someone who collects bets for Jueteng.

The movie follows the main character, Amy, played by Gina Pareño, for three days, and gives an insight into the gritty life in the many alley ways of Metro Manila. Whilst sitting in the cinema the feeling is not so much that of watching a film...but more of a documentary. It is incredibly well filmed and there are so many touches that make it so real...the lack of vivid colour that so many films have, the way the camera follows the characters down the streets and alleyways - not in the usual smooth movements of the more main stream films; but in a jerky, human way...as if you were walking right behind the character..

There were so many things in the film that made it so typically Filipino, the towel that Amy carries with her all the time - most of the time tucked around inside her shirt collar, the way the son in law was holding the notes folded through his fingers whilst selling the newspapers, Amy's almost reverential treatment of her umbrella, the scene in the alleyway of the kids performing dance steps to music, the sari-sari store that Amy's and her husband have, the image of the 'useless' husband, the alms collecting....

The film leads the viewer through the money collection for jueteng, from the bottom to the top of the pyramid....from the one Peso bets to the scene at the treasurer's house of coins being shovelled into sacks and piles of P1,000 notes being put into envelopes for bribes.....just a small part of the huge net of jueteng that covers the Philippines.

There are a few small injections of light-heartedness...someone searching for Erap's grave at the Manila North Cemetary on 1st November and one of Amy's neighbours choosing his cock's birthday as his lucky numbers for jueteng provided enough humour for me.

The saddest thing was the fact that the cinema at the Mall of Asia had only about 10 people in it....this is a home grown movie, that has won awards overseas and yet no one was watching it....could it possibly be because the film is an incredibly accurate slice of reality for a huge part of the population of the Philippines (particularly Manila) and therefore does not provide the required escapism that one is normally looking for when going to see a film?

It's definitely not a nice and fluffy film, but it isn't gory or gruesome and I managed to watch the whole movie without having to hide behind a chair! And as far as I am concerned that is already a mark in its favour! I can honestly say that it was the best film I have seen so far this year....and I wouldn't say no to seeing it again...

"Your cock has a birthday?"

more info about the movie and pictures from here


Saturday, August 19, 2006

I have been indulged....

I was taken out for a lovely dinner....and then....the ultimate luxury....I have been driven around Manila at night.... around Quezon City (finally), the UP Campus there (second campus in less than a week!), down to Manila, through Chinatown, along Roxas Boulevard, back up to Malacanang Palace gates and then home...!

I live by the rule that one should always try everything at least once....tonight...my first ever real "date"...and to add to the interest factor...it was a "blind date"....and no before you ask...there was no labrador!


Who needs enemies with friends like this....!!!!!

As I mentioned a while back I write a family blog...just to keep friends and family updated....being rather busy at work I haven't updated since March...yesterday I did a few updates with lots of pictures...including a very rare one of me.... now a lot of people haven't seen me for a while...and in that time my hair has grown somewhat.... and this comment came in from a very good friend of mine...

If I remember correctly, your hair, when even longish, is incredibly unruly (read: rat's nest in need of renovation during a hurricane just after experiencing a b&e from decidedly messy robbers: )

Actually it's a very accurate description under normal circumstances...however, for some reason, Manila seems to agree with my hair and at present it is fairly controlled and even vaguely glossy!! However, I am keeping a wary eye for nesting rats!!

Thanks Sweetie!!!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Actually now you mention it....!

This morning's taxi experience....:

Taxi pulls over to the side of the road, I open the door, tell him where I want to go, he says ok, I get in....
He turns around to me and says..."Just one moment ma'am, I need to urinate"...so he hops out the car and goes and has a quick pee against the tree next to the taxi...
Being British I just sat and stared resolutely out the window in the other direction...

This evening's taxi experience....

Taxi Driver (TD): So are you here with your family?
MC: No
TD: Are you married?
TD: Do you have a boyfriend?

- Long pause whilst the driver thinks about this information....then....

TD:So do you have...a...a...sorry, can't think of the word....a Filipino that comes to your house to help you....
MC: Do you mean a helper?
TD:No, I mean someone that comes to help you with things...
MC: Do you mean a domestic helper...?
TD: No,...sorry, can't think of the word, have seen a film about it.....

- Another long pause......

TD: I know...do you have a gigolo?
MC: Snorted laughter...and then stunned silence.....


Words of wisdom from 'Coupling'.....

Sally: You know what "I'll cook" says? It says, "Let's have sex."
Susan: No, that would be, "Come and spend the night with me."
Sally: "Come and spend the night with me" says, "Let's have sex." "I'll cook" says, "Let's have sex and I'll cater."


And another in the "I wouldn't kick him out of bed....." series!

INXS Concert last night - Brilliant!

Will write more later when I have time.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

'East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet'

"Hizbollah suffered a defeat in this crisis"


an "historic victory"

Do the statistics tell us who, after 34 days of beating the hell out of each other, actually 'won'?

Lebanon deaths:
About 1,000 - mostly civilians
No precise data on Hezbollah dead
Israeli deaths:
Soldiers: 114 (IDF)
Civilians: 43 (IDF)
Lebanon displaced:
700,000 - 900,000 (UNHCR; Lebanese govt)
Israeli displaced:
500,000 (Human Rights Watch)
Lebanon damage:
$2.5bn (Lebanese govt)
Israel damage:
$1.1bn (Israeli govt)



Monday, August 14, 2006

I knew someone would say it better than I ever could...

Yesterday morning, I read this column wondering how on earth someone could think like that....I spent most of the day thinking about and how I could/would answer it...nothing I thought of did my sense of injustice justice (does that make sense?!), so fortunately someone else has stepped up to the base with an excellent response.


Laguna de Bay

Laguna de Bay...one of Asia's largest bodies of inland water, a surface area of around 949 square kilometers, an average depth of 2m and about 8 hours driving to get around the whole lake with a few well chosen stops...in other words...the perfect day out....

First stop (other than for buko pie and empanadas) was the UP campus at Los Banos - particularly the National Arts Centre (with a detour through the UP college of forestry and natural resources - well worth a quick drive thorough)....The National Arts Centre theatre (designed by Leandro Locsin) has an incredible setting at the foot of Mount Makiling and overlooking Laguna de Bay - it really is very peaceful, very beautiful and very isolated.

this sign says it all...however, maybe someone can explain why all the names on the sign look as if they have been cut out and replaced...

and another surprise...this little chapel hidden on the hillside...just beautiful... I don't really have any intentions of getting married, however if I were to ever get married there was always only ever one place I would consider using and that was Stirling Castle's Chapel Royal, however...this little chapel is now very firmly the second option....just gorgeous. Unfortunately my photos do not do it justice.

Lunch at Gallery 83 - excellent, would highly recommend it...particularly the chicken with coconut and mustard leaves and the pako salad.

This beautiful church was unfortunately locked but we did manage to walk though the office area next to it and see the indoor courtyards...note to self, 'when you drop your camera on the paving stones - don't swear quite so loudly'!

This post deserved more photos...but I was too busy watching the scenery.....and only really took photos when reminded to...!


Sunday, August 13, 2006

It's not fair...!

Top Gear only lasts half an hour...its the only tv programme I have to watch every week...and its only 30 sodding minutes!!!!!


words of wisdom...

Today is my grand-father's 85th birthday....

he's a bit of a lad...and still going very strong at 85...

at the end of my brief call to him I said "Goodbye and be good"....his retort.."and if I can't be good, I'll be careful...and if I'm not careful I'll buy a pram!"!!


Environmental awareness.....

Yesterday, whilst driving out of Manila I saw a convoy of about 20 to 30 cars with balloons, posters and decorations streaming off them...

It was obviously an environmental awareness programme of some description, covering both sea and land. However, it must be the first time I have ever seen environmental awareness being promoted using a convoy of cars...


Reserved parking...

I could never find anywhere to park my broomstick before, now at least we witches have somewhere reserved for us...


It made me laugh....

From the FT magazine last weekend.

Leda and the Swan


Yesterday's reading material

He's just not that into you.....a much needed, gentle reminder of a few facts of life....much needed as this is the song constantly running through my head at the moment...


Friday, August 11, 2006

"It's a self-preservation thing...."

Hunger, love, pain, fear are some of those inner forces which rule the individual's instinct for self preservation.
Albert Einstein


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Stop the world I want to get off....

I keep mine in a box....

...but I haven't had one for a while!


Only when I laugh....

One of the things I appreciate about living in the Philippines as opposed to elsewhere in Asia is the sense of humour...it is constantly present...and constantly quick...given how well English is understood in the workplace here it is possible have ongoing banter all day....it makes the work day far more enjoyable...the sense of humour here is very quick and can be fairly brutal...

The other day I came into work wearing a very crushed skirt...I hadn't realised how badly creased it was when I got dressed....now, given events at work over the last few months I haven't really been getting out too much....so when I walked into the office that morning, my colleague looked at my skirt, looked at me...and then said..."Bloody Hell, your skirt looks like it getting more action at the moment than you are"!.....I think that will be my favourite line from the Philippines!

Whilst browsing the Asia Sentinel this morning, I found this article..with this closing paragraph...

It’s not true that all Filipinos can sing wonderfully, although it’s easy to believe it at The Library. Is is true, however, that Filipinos are far and away the funniest people in Asia. They have a strange convention, easily spotted on television shows, of telling jokes entirely in English—until they reach the punch lines, when they switch to Tagalog. It’s a tribute to The Library—its energy, irreverence, the exceptional amount of talent squeezed into such a modest space—that foreigners who don’t know a word of Tagalog can be seen nearly falling out of their chairs at every joke.

and it wasn't until I read the part about the punch line being in Tagalog that I realised that it's true - and how used to it I am already!...the whole (and sometimes quite lenghty) joke is, more often than not, told in English and the closed in Tagalog....the end result being that I sit there surrounded by people screaming with laughter with a rather bemused look on my face....fortunately one of my colleagues will notice that I am at a slight disadvantage and will do me the honour of translating!

I am now resigned to laughing at jokes well after everyone else....


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The air that we breathe....

It seems that the results of the lights out campaign were disappointing....with most people pointing out the fact that in Central it was really only the Legco building that switched its lights off....

picture from the SCMP

however, it would be interesting to see pictures comparing DB, Lamma and Kowloon...

The govt. made its feelings known by not either cancelling or delaying the Symphony of Lights show;
saying such a move would send a "misleading message" to the public and create "adverse publicity" for the leading world city.
. I would hate to be the one to break it to them, but the bad air is creating enough adverse publicity without the govt. adding to it by seemingly not doing too much about the problem.

According to the SCMP....Some restaurant-goers in Lan Kwai Fong said they chose to visit dining outlets that were joining in to support the campaign and did not mind having candles used for light bulbs for the 180 seconds.....wow, candle-light for a whole 180 seconds...!!!!

What ever the result, something really must be done to solve the pollution problem...when I was in HKG two weeks ago with colleagues from Manila, seeing the island from Kowloon became an excercise in incredibly good eye sight...instead of being able to point out specific buildings I pointed to a vague grey mass and said something to the effect of the island being 'over there'...I can tell you that it is embarassing to have to explain that Hong Kong (a supposedly first world city) has a hard time remembering what really clear blue skies look like and now has warnings to remind the sick, elderly and young children to stay indoors on certain days of the year.

On a personal note...my mother frequently suffers from chronic bronchitis as a result of her few years in HKG, I know that I start wheezing and coughing after a few hours back in town...and on a slightly less serious note....is it not strange that whilst living in Hong Kong Chairman Mao (one of my four legged furry fiends) has to have regular injections for bronchial asthma but whilst living in Jordan and Manila he is as fit as a fiddle....?

The HKG blogosphere is quiet so far....I shall look forward to seeing what pearls of wisdom they have to drop later on...particularly Hemlock who anticipated the three minutes of darkness like this...

In apartments from Happy Valley to Discovery Bay, families will dine in total darkness, painstakingly trying to convey their food from their plates into their mouths without dropping any into their laps, smearing it against their cheeks or stabbing their lips with their forks. In the bars of Lan Kwai Fong, Filipino waitresses carrying trays of drinks will emit high-pitched squeaks in order to find their way through the crowded blackness by sonar. In hospital operating theatres, surgeons will grope for scalpels and swabs while using sense of smell to locate and remove malignant organs. Pilots on their final approach to Chek Lap Kok, seeing the landing lights vanish, will depend on memory to find the runway – the moonlight, of course, being masked by the smog.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The blogging connection....

So...the Lights out in Hong Kong happened...

I waited for the regular media to update with pictures of Hong Kong plunged into darkness...I have so far waited in vain....however...thanks to Hong Kong or Bust I can see these pictures......from that angle doesn't seem to be too many people subscribing to the idea....


Monday, August 07, 2006

It's all in the planning...

I'm in the process of indulging in one of my favourite past times...planning a trip...

This is not a major expedition...just a trip up north....north of Luzon...

My plan at present is to fly up to Laoag and then work my way down to the rice terraces and then on to Baguio....and then fly back to Manila.

Early stages...but my dining room table is covered in maps, guide books and bits and pieces I have picked up over the year...my favourite table set up!


It does seem to be taking rather a long time....

I wouldn't kick him out of bed.....

DVD viewing for last night's entertainment...Yes, I am shallow...but who can resist that smile....??!!!!!

Come Undone


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Some ideas sound better in my head...

One picture from my trip to HKG...

....in my continued search for a suitable dragon for a tattoo, a few years back, I mentioned to a friend of mine that maybe I could use the HKG dragon...where upon she responded that I could have it tattooed on my bikini line and on the other side the slogan "Live it, Love it", with a small addition of "Live it, Love it, Shag it"...

So as yet, no tattoo!!!


"It's good news week.."

The repatriation of OFW's from Lebanon continues to be somewhat chaotic...I could be way out of line here...but it seems the RP govt. is happy to have the remittances from the OFW's help the economy here...but when the govt. needs to help the OFWs...that's another story.

The bombing of the bridges on the coastal highway in Lebanon, takes the war right to the doorstep of where I was working...I am now at the stage where for the first time in my life I cannot watch the news....the BBC has not been on in my house for about a week now...I can take it on the net as it seems just that bit more removed...

And in today's FT....how the war affects the region...Jordan in particular from a tourist perspective, the hotels in Amman may be full with Lebanese and expats evacuated from Beirut...but that does not help the bedouin in Wadi Rum and Petra, the hotels in Aqaba and the traders in Kerak and Madaba.

Another "honour killing" in Jordan....

The victim, a 22-year-old divorcee, was shot six times at the family home at around mid-night on Thursday, the source told The Jordan Times.

The suspect allegedly shot his sister in front of his parents and siblings following and argument concerning her alleged “immoral behaviour,” the source added.

“The suspect then headed to the nearest police station and turned himself in and handed the pistol allegedly used in the murder to officers on duty,” said the source, adding that the youth claimed to have killed his sister for reasons of family honour.


the victim became the 10th woman murdered this year in so-called honour crimes and the second to be killed within the space of a week.

On July 29, a 26-year-old Jordan Valley woman was hacked to death by her 69-year-old mother and sister after delivering a baby out of wedlock.

The victim delivered a baby boy on the day of the murder.

Mayon Volcano looks as if she is getting rather excited...or experiencing 'quiet unrest'...and I thought the Brits were the masters of understatement...(Captain Oates..."I am just going outside and may be some time")

When Hong Kong screws up....it does it properly. Should it have remained at T3, should the Airport Express have been closed, should the airlines have done more to help their passengers...these questions can be debated until the cows come home...but it would be nice if all concerned could learn from the incident so next time around we don't look like we have the most incompetent airport in the region...

I love dogs and when I when I am settled somewhere with fields and open spaces and clean air...I shall have one or two...however, one should never, ever underestimate the power of a dog to turn nasty, any dog...at any time...

The Scottish accent can be hard to understand...and that's coming from a Scot...albeit one with no accent... I used to work with a Hong Kong Chinese girl who had spent the majority of her childhood in Glasgow...and to be honest...I could very rarely understand immediately what she said...it would take a second or two for me to get what she had said...amusingly enough she apparently spoke Cantonese with the same Glaswegian accent...it's a miracle she ever got anything achieved at work!!! Those of you who have read Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island will remember this..

And on a lighter note...in England....a 'Masturbate-athon'...seriously!And who ever said the English were conservative??!!


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Not a good week for CLK......

The Civil Aviation Department is investigating an incident Saturday in which a Dragonair Airbus and a Northwest Airlines Boeing 744, both bound for Japan's Narita Airport from Hong Kong, came within a vertical distance of about 300 feet [90 meters] and a horizontal distance of 3.5 nautical miles of one another.


In another incident, Wednesday, Dragonair cargo flight KA590 bound for Shanghai from Hong Kong at 12.02pm returned and landed without incident at 2.01pm after one of the aircraft's three hydraulic systems failed.

from The Standard

And then today...the typhoon causes all flights in and out of CLK to be redirected/delayed/cancelled...

and from CX...

Cathay Pacific regrets the inconvenience to all passengers who were hoping to travel to or from Hong Kong today. The airline’s top priority now is to return to normal services as soon as possible. The airline cancelled the arrival and departure of all flights to and from Hong Kong until 0900 tomorrow morning (Friday, 4 August) following excessive winds in and around Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok today. Strong southeasterly winds and gust levels that do not permit safe arrivals or departures have been experienced throughout the day.

I know here in Manila, we took in a fair number of the flights unable to make it into HKG...as did Cebu....where the blue-eyed boy ended up!!!