Expat

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pirates, Warhol & Merienda

Yesterday the best beloved and I headed off along with the rest of Manila to catch the latest of The Pirates of the Caribbean movies, At World’s End. To say this is a popular movie is an understatement. Glorietta Mall, The Greenbelt and Power Plant Mall between them have 22 screens of which 14 were showing Pirates.

We elected to go to the Power Plant and arrived 30 minutes before our desired screen time only to find that we were lucky to get into the next screening and hour and 20 minutes later. This did give us time to indulge and have a merienda at Seattle’s Finest, cheese cake, ham & cheese croissant which were ok I guess and a couple of lovely mochas for $8.50. Interestingly for dinner after the movie we had Chow King Chao Fan take out, a firm family favourite, which for 3 servings cost $4.00, there was a hungry mouth waiting at home.

As with the other 2 Pirates of the Caribbean movies, At World’s End is a vehicle for showing the excellent comic acting abilities of Johnny Depp. The rest of the cast push the plot along in a pretty much B grade fashion not stepping out of their assigned stereotypical roles. Sort of matching the cheese cake & croissant had earlier, Ok, but nothing to write home about.

Depp’s, Captain Jack Sparrow is the laconic anti hero we have come to expect from the earlier movies, but given more screen time to do some solo physical clowning of the first order. Which underscores the self referential line from the film, “Is it planned or does he make it up as he goes along?” which is the hall mark of all good comedy.

Pirates is not totally froth and bubbles with its grisly open sequence and attendant voice over which brought thoughts of George Bush’s America to mind. Was this Disney Corp’s nod to their dose of cold feet that saw them let Fahrenheit 911 slip through their fingers? This opening reference was soon lost in the rock ‘n roll that ensures a healthy return on investment.

No doubt Pirates will be a multi-million dollar earner, whether it will set any box office records is yet to be seen. Unlike the Warhol’s “Green Car Crash” which went for $71.7 million at auction and, if the New York Times is to be believed, his “Turquoise Marilyn” which went for $80 million in a private sale, both in the same merry month of May.

Ah well, back to reality, a $20 afternoon of entertainment and food was value for money, can the same be said for the fat wallets as they wait for their bubble to burst? Pass the rum please.

The Power Plant Mall

Friday, May 25, 2007

Manila Sunset

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Taken from the North EDSA MRT Station, the up side of pollution is the sunsets and the sun rises.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Waiting

We have all done it, sat on the group W bench and watched others being processed before us, even some who came in after us (who do they know?). The question that plagues me is what does she know to be so relaxed?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Lull Before the Storm

The lull before the storm has descended, the singing and promises are no longer heard on the streets and the traditional messages of shampoo and vitamin enriched food supplements have reclaimed the air waves. It is the day before Election day, the pollies have had to put a sock in it after 3 months of beating their chests to give the 45 million Filipinos registered to vote, the chance to think about their choices.

And choices there are a plenty. A couple of days ago a couple of sample ballot papers landed on the door step, the best beloved and number one son are registered voters. Your humble scribe, being a Kano with only permanent residency status is ineligible, not that I mind all that much, just reading the sample ballot paper and its attached information made my head hurt.

There are 12 senate positions up for grabs for which there are 111 hopefuls and voters must write the names of their chosen ones on the ballot. No tick or number a box, but writing the 12 names. When I think about the scrawl that passes for my handwriting it is for the best that that level of confusion is avoided in the tally room.

Next up is the party list for the Congress. One choice here for a designated spokesperson from a Political Party/Sectoral Organisation/Coalitions Participating in the Party List System to get their bum on an upholstered Congress seat. There are 93 to choose from, ranging from 1-United Transport Koalisyon via the Bago National Cultural Society of the Philippines and The True Marcos Loyalist (For God, Country and People) Association of the Philippines, Inc through to the Youth League for Peace Advancement.

Ok, the left hand column of the ballot paper is done. Next is a vote for your Gongressman/Representative, one choice to be written in here. Which for the Makati City 1st District is a 2 horse race, Oscar (Oca) Ibay and Teodoro (Teddy Boy) Locsin. And, yes the nicknames, in the brackets, are included on the official list of candidates.

Next up for Makati voters is the position of City Mayor. There are 3 candidates, the incumbent Jejomar (Jojo) Binay, businessman Elias (Eli) Dulalia and Senator Manuel (Lito) Lapid. In the Philippines a senator can only serve for 2 consecutive terms (12 years), then they must find themselves another job for a while before they can line up for another decade plus 2 years again. Congressmen, City Mayors and City Councilors can only serve for 3 consecutive terms of 3 years each before they too must find themselves another job.

After choosing the City Mayor, Makati City 1st District electors get to select a City Vice-Mayor which this year, like the Congress Representative, is a 2 horse race. This is followed by writing the names of 10 City Council members from the list of 25 hopefuls.
If you live in a province you also get to choose a Governor, a Vice Governor and 5 Provincial Board Members.

Once all this has been completed the voters thumb print is affixed to their ballot paper and they are free to go with their purple thumb showing they have exercised their democratic mandate. Once it is all done and dusted in about a week’s time with results posted then the accusations of impropriety will flow thick and fast. But for today and tomorrow, Election Day, Filipinos can enjoy a sober time of reflection and exercising their franchise, literally, as the selling, offering, buying, serving and taking of intoxicating liquor is banned under the election rules.

Friday, May 11, 2007

North Street, Manila


I'm not really into sunsets, but from time to time one comes along that is hard to resist. What do you do, click, process and post.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

What’s in a Name

It seems that if you raised a goodly amount of cash for George W Bush to fund his elections into the White House you were elevated to the lofty and exulted position of a Bush Ranger. From an Australian perspective this is an interesting accolade. For a bush ranger is a foot pad, a highway man, a thief. Who said there was no truth in politics?