Monday, February 26, 2007

And I always thought it was James VI....

Yesterday's movie viewing was The Last King of Scotland.

It is an excellent movie and well worth going to see. The violence/atrocities shown towards the end of the movie were a little too much for me....and resulted in a few nightmares last night...but still worth going to see.

Forest Whitaker was outstanding and deserves every possible award that could possibly be given him. His accent alone was amazing.

I did fret at the beginning of the movie as I was totally unprepared, I had no idea what the story line was and I realised I really had only the vaguest idea of Idi Amin's story and the history of Uganda...I like to be prepared when I go and see movies! I guess it's a control issue! So after the movie I trawled the book shops at Greenbelt and Rockwell and couldn't find a single book on Amin or Ugandan history...fortunately a friend is off to HKG today...he may just find something for me.



Friday, February 23, 2007

'cause they really sound similar!

And this news from Cebu....

....Brionne claimed the cabin crew misheard him when he said there was a "bunch of flowers," not a bomb, inside his bag.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

no time....!

I am hellish busy at the moment....and with no real end in sight... I don't even really have time to read or watch the news...

Bedtime reading last night was From our own Correspondent...this paragraph in particular sounded vaguely familia, this clip is taken from a column written by Charles Wheeler

Here in Washington, for example, there are stirrings in the Congress. Senators and others..... are beginning to find themselves in agreement on the need to provide checks on an executive branch that is able to take the country largely by stealth into an undeclared war, and keep it locked in conflict for years after everybody has agreed that the whole enterprise was a ghastly mistake.

The column was written in January 1973 and as such, obviously refers to the Vietnam War, however the last part of the sentence I think sounds familiar....



Friday, February 16, 2007

Washing one's dirty laundry in public....

Those of you who have been regular readers may be vaguely aware that I have a few issues with the concept of marriage....strange to relate one of those issues - thanks to my parents having such a well balanced set up - has never been the fear of messy, argued over finances.

Whilst my brother and I were growing up my mother didn't work...given where we were living half the time, she probably couldn't have done. However, all during that time and to this present father's salary was managed by both of them...and my mother never, ever had to ask for money...whatever she wanted was hers and I think throughout my entire life I have never heard my parents argue over money. My mother now works full time, both salaries get paid into the same account...and there's still no arguing...

However, reading two articles in the Daily Mail recently made me realise that maybe life is not so simple for everyone...granted, this couple are slightly different from the norm, in that the wife is the breadwinner....but still, the principle is the same.

Sidling into Lauren's office, I can feel my palms getting sweaty. As she drums her fingers on the desk, I have only to close my eyes and I'm aged 11, hopping up and down on one foot, pleading with Mum for cash to buy a Beano comic and a packet of gobstoppers.

But Lauren isn't my mum: she's my wife. We're supposed to be equals. I'm 39 years old and, by rights, should be at the peak of my career, adored by my kids, admired and pampered by my grateful missus. Instead, I'm a househusband with not a penny to my name.

That's why I'm here, cap in hand, asking for £10 pocket money to buy a round of drinks. No wonder I feel humiliated.

Like any woman, Lauren is utterly unpredictable. She might be the main breadwinner but, safe to say, she has definitely not lost this particular feminine streak. Some days her pink purse (yes, really) snaps open and she hands over a wodge of cash with no questions asked and only a dismissive wave of her hand.

Other times, one eyebrow will shoot up quizzically and I know I'm in for the third degree: 'How much money exactly? What's it for? Don't I know she's not made of money?'

All the wheedling in the world won't make a jot of difference when she's in this sort of mood. Slinking out of the door empty-handed, I feel like throttling someone - preferably my wife.

The Wife's story
The Husband's story



Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I have to say that Valentine's Day is not really a celebration I really get into the spirit of...and is definitely not my idea of a fun day at work.

So I was happy to be pointed in the direction of this appealed to my sense of humour!

However, not withstanding the above, the beautiful box of Godiva chocolates that was personally delivered from Brussels this weekend, was a lovely surprise!

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

In the olden days one used a scribe....

One of my male colleagues is not very internet savvy and is trying to conduct a rather long distance relationship - not a great combination in this day and age!!

This relationship entails rather frequent sending of flowers and gifts...for which the internet is quite useful....and this is where I come in....he comes to my office, I talk him through it, helping type where necessary and also adding my tuppence worth on the choice of flowers, gift etc etc.

It is always quite entertaining helping him out - he is Italian after all...but today's was more amusing than most. He was organising a flower arrangement for Valentine's Day...and when I just reiterated delivery for the 14th of Feb he said..."No, make it for the 13th, I want to make sure it gets to her before everyone else's"!!!!

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

This weekend's FT

It always makes me happy to see positive coverage of Jordan as a tourist destination....this past weekend's FT had one good article in the magazine and one hotel review in the newspaper....

For the magazine article, click here and then click the graphics to get into the magazine, then type 50 in the page section at the top.....

And hat can only be described as a rather snide review of the Ishtar Kempinski at the Dead Sea....

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Monday, February 05, 2007

News bites....

The definition of a true slapper!!!!

One line from this article about England's sporting hero does bother me...isn't that a line from a song

Graduate Miss Jenkins, meanwhile, had been working as a waitress in a cocktail bar in Majorca before meeting the player.

Somebody needs to explain to me how 2,600 of your turkeys suddenly dying is not something you would immediately raise the alarm about....

It's always reassuring to know that there are 47 criminals roaming around in Mindanao...even more reassuring is the sombre tone of voice the governor of Mindanao used when discussing the issue...."We were caught with our pants down," Emmanuel Pinot, governor of the Mindanao region, told Reuters news agency....only in the Philippines!!

I am sure that this place houses a rather nice selection of wines....none of that naff Jacob's Creek Chardonnay for 3.99 a bottle!

Virgin Medical Services anyone...?

And a picture from my mother...after the recent storms in the UK...this was her view driving home....I'd drive pretty slowly faced with a garden shed in the middle of the road!!!

The bad press of the ASEAN summit is still lurking, it ain't over until the little ladypays!

Hong Kong's special brand of way

Best title for an article...A quick push, a scream and splat, no guesses who that's about...!!!!

Given that I carry either no handbag or a teensy weensy one...this article makes me feel good!! And the only reason I really carry a bag is to put in the car keys of a certain gentleman who feels it unsightly to put his car keys in his trouser pocket!!!!

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Paris, New York, London........Dubai??

Reading this article about Ferran Adrià's latest sentence jumped out at me...

'Rather than following the well-trodden celeb-chef path of cloning El Bulli in Japan, New York or Dubai...'

How times have changed....the fact that Dubai now rates in amongst the desired cities for fashion, travel and now food; would make the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed al-Maktoum very, very happy.

I lived in Dubai from 1976-1979 (before anyone tries to age me through this...I was at school there!). The Dubai I remember is one of miles of desert, camels, wind towers and the Creek. When the airport was one tiny little terminal with fans to cool the interior, arriving there on a Gulf Air flight and descending onto the tarmac to walk to the terminal was like walking into a fan assisted oven. There was one international hotel - the Intercon on the Creek, later the Sheraton on the Creek opened and then just before we left the Hilton at the Sunley Roundabout was being built. Jebel Ali port, town etc didn't exist....our first address was House No. 1, The Beach, Jebel Ali....there were four pre-fab houses on the beach, where now stands Jebel Ali port.

So, in the space of 30 years Dubai has turned into a world class city where chefs like Gordon Ramsey open up outposts of their culinary kingdom and chefs like Adrià know where Dubai is and actually consider the city as a viable location... It is amazing what some vision, a little bit of money and a willingness to try anything can achieve.

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2 years on....

5th February marks two years of Madame Chiang's scrawl....funny how these blog things have a life of their own!!!


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Manila for beginners...

This weekend I played host (briefly) and tour guide for a day to a friend of mine over from HKG for an interview.

I've learnt in the past that showing off Manila for a first time visitor means drawing a very fine line between the reality and the glossy sheen that can fool people into thinking that Manila is clean, organised and sophisticated...which can happen if visitors glide around Makati shuttling between their nice hotel, Greenbelt and Glorietta for shopping, nightlife and dining.

Given my visitor was here for an interview I also had to make sure she knew what the basics for shopping were like, supermarkets, chemists and bookstores being the priority....however, at one stage we did seem to get rather immersed in shoe shopping - which given where we were is probably entirely appropriate!

The day tour of Manila that transpired went something like this....Breakfast at the Philippine Plaza, Glorietta & SM Makati, Greenbelt, with lunch at the Museum Cafe, a quick stroll from the Philippine Plaza past the Coconut Palace, the Folk Theatre and the CCP (aka a whistle stop tour of Imelda's edifice complex, followed by a quick whip around Fort Santiago and Intramuros, a gander at the Manila Hotel, drinks at Cafe Ad, a gentle stroll through Malate (past the Hobbit House) to the Hyatt Casino for dinner at the Fireplace...

Fortunately for everyone, traffic was minimal (except for my trip from home to the Philippine Plaza..what the hell are all those road works on EDSA - it took about 45 minutes from my house to Makati!), taxis were all well behaved and weather was glorious....

And a few photos from the Philippine Plaza...

the ill-fated Manila Film Centre


Mall of Asia

The Manila Hotel

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

How not to treat your first ever tourist....

On my many (and climbing) visits to Cebu I try to make it to at least one historic/cultural/educational location each time...this trip I finally (and I emphasis finally, because this place is just at the end of the road where I normally stay!) made it to Magellan's Shrine...

So this is where, the first man to circumnavigate the globe (albeit not all at once) met an untimely's rather unfortunate is the first real tourist that the Philippines has ever had...and they finish him off in a rather gruesome way. Not really something you can use for the DOT's next advertising campaign! But the guy responsible for killing Magellan has been honoured with city being named after him...and it seems a fish!!!

Past the shrine was something else I wanted to see up close and personal....about 7 or 8 months back the Big Foot studios put in an ostrich run.... with 5 really is quite cruel to put so many big birds in such a small enclosure...but they seem happy enough and almost tame - although I won't be sticking my fingers anywhere near the wire, any time soon!! They really are quite the strangest birds!!

Although I was down there for four days this time, I really didn't do anything too stressful other than read copious amounts and periodically move from the apartment to the pool and back again! Saturday night was the 'late night' out...going back to this grill restaurant I really like; Koana Grill.... a friend's son's 16th birthday old did that make me feel....unfortunately by 2am I had been so badly bitten by something hanging around my left ankle I was scratching furiously and decided it was time to on to almost my favourite part of all trips to Cebu now...a late night visit to Abuhan restaurant..... Now the thing is here, I don't really eat the food, I just scoop up all the gravy from the sizzling pochero....I can't even begin to tell you how good it soon as anyone mentions Cebu I can almost taste this gravy.... Addictive? I think so!!!! In my considered opinion the gravy at the first Abuhan is better than Abuhan Dos....but I'll need to go back and keep assessing it!

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