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Vice Presidency of the Philippines – Latest

Robredo Vs Marcos, the Recount (ABS CBN photo composite)

Vice Presidency of the Philippines – Latest

The 2016 election for President and Vice President in the Philippines is a worthy saga on par with the adventures of the classic Beowulf.

In fact it is more exacting in parts as it has given not only the Philippines but the world Duterte, a charismatic man, though not to everyone’s cup of tea, someone who cannot be ignored.

This election had made famous Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines as its duly elect president and rather infamous with the rest of the world¬† ūüôā because of his bloody war on drugs.

The lesser role of vice president, though Leni Robredo was duly sworn as the winner, is still being contested due to alleged ballots tampering and cheating.

Bongbong Marcos had continually opined that there was a massive anomaly during the election.  His complaint had been finally heard by the Supreme Court and had started a recount in the last couple of days.

This new recount, which is done manually, had apparently not started well as four of the psychologically tested number crunchers have resigned.

Perhaps they have to look into the psychological form of testing as well.¬† ūüôā

I told you, it is all exciting.

Will Leni be able to stay?

Watch this space.

 

Schadenfreude 2017

Schadenfreude 2017

It is 2018

To look back at 2017, I think I would forgive Donald Trump if he ended 2017 with a good belly laugh and a bit of sniggering.

Let’s face it, Hollywood award ceremonies from January onwards ended up being about Donald Trump, how barely human he was and why he was such an abomination to American mankind and to a lesser extent, the world.

All kinds of insults were thrown at him.  Barely anyone in Hollywood, were left standing without a bad and negative word or two against The Donald.

The great Meryl Streep was at it, Whoopi Goldberg was at it (I think she even mentioned about leaving USA for good if The Donald wins the presidency).  Ashton Kutcher was at it, even Kerry Washington was at it. The vociferous Ashley Judd also had a say.  They all had a say.  They ridiculed him, they dehumanised him, etc.

And then come October 2017,  the most shocking thing slowly unfolded right in the very middle, the very heart within Hollywood.  Their stalwart, most influential man, Harvey Weinstein, the Geppetto of Hollywood was reported as an alleged serial rapist and habitually engaged in sexually harassing young actresses; the growing list included Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Ashley Judd came out and confessed how she was also a victim from the heinous and most disgusting sexual predator that is Harvey Weinstein but she loves him and understand that he was sick and he has to get treatment. Huh?!!!

Anyway, Harvey Weinstein proclivities with young actresses started in the early 90s. Apparently it was an open secret in Hollywood.  Casting Couch is alive and well.

And yet no one came out to warn anyone about Weinstein before it blew over in October.   It is an open secret but everyone secretly pretending they know nothing, including Ben Affleck and George Clooney.  Meryl Streep is practically mute in crucifying Weinstein, compared to the speeches she gave against The Donald.  Hollywood certainly look after itself.

There are more than 50 victims who have now come forward.

Hollywood seemed to have turned a new leaf against The Donald.¬† They don’t create as much noise now.

Let’s wait for the coming Oscar later in March.¬† Will they say anything against the Donald or will they castigate Harvey? We shall see.¬† I have never looked forward to the Oscar as much as Oscar 2018, which by the way will be the 90th year anniversary.

Hollywood you clean your backyard.

 

 

Duterte @ Manila Hotel

The President’s chopper, photo by PH Morton

Manila Hotel, photo by PH Morton

Duterte @ Manila Hotel

I was so annoyed when we finally got to our hotel.  We were staying at the Manila Hotel.

Almost halfway the long drive of Manila Hotel, our uber was stopped.  Apparently it can no longer go past that point as the President, Rodrigo Duterte, was currently at the hotel attending the 2017 ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nation) conference.

It was a muggy night and rather dark everywhere.  So I complained that it was unfair to hold a meeting in an expensive hotel and putting customers out who paid good money.  I suggested, why not hold major conference in CCP or PICC or even Folk Arts Theatre?!!!

I have to say the hotel security guards as well as the presidential guards were all politeness and apologies.

We walked all the way to H20 hotel and then to Manila Hotel by foot in the dark!!!

Along the way, we noticed a helicopter, which was heavily guarded.

So again, I went mental about too much expense when Malacanan Palace, the official residence of the First Family of the Philippines, was just around the corner.

Peter very sagely reminded me of the horrendous traffic in Roxas Boulevard. ¬†The President would have been seating in traffic for too much time that he probably doesn’t have from his busy schedule.

Ooopps, Peter was so right.

A chopper is the best presidential tool to overcome ‘tanginang’ traffic!!! ¬†ūüôā

Duterte Vs USA Special Relationship – None!

Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte Vs USA Special Relationship – None!

 

Rodgrigo Duterte, the outspoken incumbent president of the Philippines has clarified his relationship with the United State of America during a press conference in Cotobato City.

Duterte was particularly dismissive of Philip Goldberg, the former US ambassador to the Philippines.  Apparently Philip Goldberg during the election starter mouthing off, giving interviews against Duterte left, right and centre. (click here for what the interviews were about)  Duterte found this stunt by Goldberg inappropriate for someone who was an ambassador and a foreigner at that.

The US treats the Philippines as if it is still its  lowly colony.  Aids to be given are under innumerable conditions such as curtailing the war on drugs.

He liken US aid giving and its many conditions ¬†similar to dogs on leash, tethered so tightly that they can’t get to the slice of bread the master throws far enough for the dogs to keep trying but to no avail.

Filipinos do not want to be disrespected.  The Americans are so free and easy with their words which is anathema to Orientals dignity and pride especially to Filipinos.  Loosing face is tantamount to being slapped.

Therefore, the US can keep their aids and assistance.  Duterte said that China is willing to give assistance, so does Japan.  Russia invited Duterte to talk, everything the Philippines need are in Russia.  He just need to come and get it.

He further advised the US to look for another country that can stomach the US treatment.  Filipinos are not so starved that they are willing to have their dignities trampled over.  They will survive.

A New Era in American Politics

A New Era in American Politics

 

Here in London, we stayed up to 4am watching the excellent BBC US Presidential election results coverage. We saw  the incoming results from what has been such a diverse and as many found, a divisive U.S. campaign, which has now ushered in a new era for American politics and governance.

Normally those from other nations may not bother to stay up to the wee small hours  to watch such. However the the two candidates involved and the known baggage they brought with them to the campaign, did make this election race a fascinating spectacle for many around the globe.

clinton-2016-e1443548623177

Hilary Clinton the favourite, an experienced  party apparatchik,  who seems to have been around since her husband Bill was President over 15 years ago was the Democrats candidate. Her role as the powerful Secretary of State under President Obama, was regarded by many as a stepping stone to the White House but in the end this counted as nought.

mr-trump-yellow-tie

 

Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman who had  never held any political office and had  failed   badly in a Presidential bid in 2004, was the rank outsider.

He imposed his formidable personality on the election race, sweeping aside fellow Republican candidates and in effect bulldozing his way to be the only rival to Mrs Clinton and the Democratic Party.

The televised debates between Clinton & Trump were at times acrimonious with enough mud slung to make a decent sized football field!

They made compulsive viewing, more so than any other previous presidential  debates.

History was being made.

Mrs Clinton had policies planned that  she put to the people.  Mr Trump was rather vague on the same. He however  made some big bold  promises to fix the big issues, not heard of before by the people.

Mr Trump’s antics and comments during the campaign will become the stuff of ¬†legend.

Any other candidate who acted his way, would have been bundled away, never to be seen again!

It was understandable that Mrs Clinton and the Democrats, initially thought that with the at times bellicose Mr Trump as her rival, election to the Presidency would be straightforward.

It became clear that Mr Trump in his rousing election speeches and promises during the debates, tapped into the visceral anti establishment mood felt by the majority of  US citizens.

These disaffected citizens turned out en masse to vote for someone whom they see as a ‘new broom’ to sweep away over 15 years of ¬†distrust in the political system, the ¬†stagnation of the economy, jobs and the continued involvement in foreign conflicts.

Mr Trump had no political baggage and to use a cowboy analogy ‘shoots from the hip’.

In computer parlance ‘WYSIWYG’ (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get). This was so refreshing to many voters, fed up with dissembling anodyne politicians.

His various peccadilloes and outrageous statements did not matter to his voters.

As ¬†with the quote attributed to ¬†Oliver Cromwell nearly 400 years ago, ¬†we get Trump ‘warts and all’, nothing is hidden.

Noting the similar feeling between many British and US people, ¬†Mr Trump mentioned the momentous UK exit vote from the EU and said he would do a ‘Brexit’ 1000 times over if elected. He did!

Malaca√Īang Palace, Philippine President’s Official Residence

Malaca√Īang Palace, the residence of the Philippine president

Malaca√Īang Palace, Philippine President’s Official Residence

This very grand palace by the rather stinky Pasig River is the Malacanang Palace, which is the official residence of the incumbent president of the Philippines.

The newly elected president is the popular Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who was unanimously chosen by the people during last month’s election.

Now, for 6 years, he will be Malacanang Palace’s official tenant.

Duterte sold himself to his Filipino constituents as being very modest and with simple taste.  He is not one for grandeur and excess.  In fact, he does not want to be called president but would prefer to be known by the humbler title of Mayor.  ( He was a mayor in Davao for more than 20 years).

Duterte had been commuting to Davao city, after a day’s work from 1pm to 12 midnight each day rather than sleep at Malacanang Palace.

Before, we say our ahhhs¬†and awws in admiration for his modesty, simplicity, no fuss and total lack of delusions about grandeur, ūüėČ apparently the reason Duterte would not sleep at Malacanang Palace was because he is afraid of ghosts. Allegedly Imee Marcos, the former First Child of Malacanang Palace during Ferdinand Marcos Regime, scared Duterte shitless by confirming the existence of at least five ghosts of former presidents at the palace.

hahaha

I bet Duterte was just in a jovial joking mood. He is not afraid of no ghost! ūüôā ¬†One thing, though, Duterte should stay at the Malacanang rather than commute to Davao City for at least three reasons (in my opinion).

First, he is putting himself into unnecessary danger of flying everyday.

Second, he is causing airspace traffic. As it is, flying in Manila is a frustrating experience due to monumental delays.

Third, as a president of the Philippines, he should be an example to the people; flying every day creates high level of carbon footprints, which is a danger to the ozone layer. Air pollution is no laughing business, just look towards Beijing!

If he really that scared, get a cavalry of priests for thorough exorcism.

The Blind Beggar Pub

The Blind Beggar Pub

 

he Blind Beggar Pub Whitechapel London E1

The Blind Beggar Pub Whitechapel London E1

The Blind Beggar Pub is a famous East End Pub in Whitechapel, East London. Sadly many pubs are closing in London and England because of taxes and the fact that most people now prefer tp buy cheaper

Sadly many pubs are closing in London and England because of taxes and the fact that most people now prefer to buy cheaper alcoholic drinks in supermarkets and cut-price shops to drink at home. These closed pubs end up being demolished or converted by property developers into apartments and flats. Such is the building boom in London that  houses & former commercial property are now being turned into apartments to make a quick profit on sale or rental. We have lost three local pubs each over 100 years old to such in the last few years.

These closed pubs end up being demolished or converted by property developers into apartments and flats. Such is the building boom in London that  houses & former commercial property are now being turned into apartments to make a quick profit on sale or rental. We have lost three local pubs, each over 100 years old, to such in the last few years.

Numerous history and convivial social meeting places are now disappearing from the London landscape and culture.

The Blind Beggar was built in 1894 on the site of an Inn dating from 1654.

Notable events in its history include where William Booth preached his first open air  sermon then forming a Mission that led to the founding of The Salvation Army.

The first modern Brown Ale ( my first beer when a teenager) was brewed and sold in the pub which was then part of Manns brewery.

The pub’s name is linked to a popular legend concerning a local connection with a knight, who was the son of the famous Simon de Montfort , an Earl, who rebelled against King Henry III in the 13th century.

His son Henry de Montfort,  lived in a grand manor house in the area. One story  of the legend  is that de Montfort was wounded and blinded at the Battle of Evesham and was left wandering and with no memory.  He became  a beggar. He was found by a nobleman’s daughter, who married him. Their child, Besse, could not find a husband as her father had no status, as he was the blind beggar of Bethnal Green. At that time, a woman needed a sizeable dowry to be able to marry a suitable husband.  Marriage was a way of bringing wealth and prestige to a union of families.high-classNoblemen,

Noblemen, merchants, and  knights courted her but when they found out that there was no dowry they all left, except for a lone Knight, who was not concerned about a dowry and loved Besse as she was; as herself.

This union was blessed when Besse’s father revealed that far from being the poor beggar, he was a rich nobleman and so rewarded the Knight.¬† As Shakespeare would have said: “All’s well that ends well” ūüôā

Now, what captured my imagination to the Blind Beggar many years ago, is my interest in major historical crime cases of London.

In March 1966, a murder took place in the Blind Beggar, which later became part of London crime legend.

Ronnie Kray, the twin brother of Reggie, the notorious, infamous and any other ..’ous’!¬† Kray Twins¬† walked into the pub and calmly took out a pistol and shot and killed another criminal, George Cornell, in front of a few witnesses.

The Kray Twins

The Kray Twins (Reggie & Ronnie (front)

Ronnie Kray had a long-standing score to settle with Cornell, who was apparently as ruthless as the Krays, but who was nowhere in their league.

Such was Krays power & influence in the 1960s London’s criminal underworld, many involved¬† kept quiet about the Twins activities for years before they were arrested and sentenced to 25-30 years in prison.

There have been many books about the Krays & by the Krays too, which are interesting to read, if one is interested in major crimes.

Two movies have been made about the Krays too.

They are truly legends in the criminal history of London.

It appears from current on-line reviews  that the Blind Beggar today is a shadow of its former standing as a popular east end pub.

I hope the pub remains as a pub for many years to come as London cannot keep affording to lose such culturally important pubs.

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