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Aug 17

Next: White House yumburgers

Japan and its complicated relationship with the West is my Arab News column for this week.

But first, a world-historical event. My good friend Clinton Palanca releases his first short film, “Amber Dew,” marking yet another remarkable development in the career of the leading mind of our generation: writer! novelist! columnist! chef! publisher! film auteur!

The big news of course is that impeachment has gotten bogged down and that the House is pushing the theory that the Constitution permits the entire Congress to vote together, which would permit the votes of the House to swamp the votes of the Senate.

The punditocracy today has Greg Makabenta taking off from the appointment of a Fil-Am Executive Chef in the White House to examine the Filipino propensity to blame, blame, blame. Carmen Guerrero Nakpil says the oil crisis is the one thing not the fault of the President; Emil Jurado lectures the opposition on impeachment; Jarius Bondoc writes on Salvador Araneta’s “Bayanikasan Constitution”; Max Soliven points out the military is what matters; Armando Doronila considers the “Blueprint for a viable Philippines” a coherent alternative for the country; Michael Tan talks about the high cost of what he refuses to call Liberation in a poetic article that ignores the reality that all countries liberated during World War II were devastated (and preferred it to continued fascist occupation). Hot Manila reprints an article by a cleric who examines the President’s “moral relativism.”

The blogosphere has Jove tying the threads of the oil crisis, impeachment, charter change, and even the idea of a truth commission, together; PCIJ wraps up its coverage of yesterday’s House (un)proceedings (Paeng echoes something I said to friends yesterday: want to see the future Philippine parliament? Observe the House); Punzi extolls the abilities of the spokesman for the President’s defense team; Banketa Republique reprints Akbayan’s sheepish explanation for its publicity stunt at the House;

There are the perils of third world living: Perpetual Malcontent is irritated over being unable to use a less expensive DSL account for his business; Ronnel Lim bewails the inability of government offices to produce accessible data for ordinary citizens (and compares our procedures to Singapore’s “ruthless efficiency”).

On blog-related entries, Buzz Machine insists bloggers should be paid for their opinions; Leon Kilat ponders how blog headlines help or hinder readership.

The bloggers of Filipinos abroad make for interesting reading, whether it’s Love and Light discussing earthquakes in Japan, Dubai Chronicles recounting a LAN party with friends, or Palabok discussing the Australian system of identity points for immigrants.
In a cultural vein, Filipino Librarian points out a Filipino komiks page; and Rocketboy reviews Korean movies (complete with Filipino extras).

9 comments

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  1. taipan88

    I don’t know…but I feel Japan has nver been really free. The US has been insistent and kept on threatening Japan re: the beef imports which has been a lingering issue now. Basically, its economic in essence as they dangle before the Japanese the issue of security against NoKor.Siempre, Japan, having no nuclear capability, has to accomodate these imports.

    American beef sells cheap [half, sometimes less the price of japanese beef]. While a few buy them, most Japanese prefer local ones, regardelss the price.

    Old folks still keep the resentment and Ishihara Shintaro is as outspoken as he is an avid supporter of Asia-for-Asians.

  2. miron

    mlq, i hope you can check out my post in miron today. i’ve got something there for you (shocking, hilarous, must-see video!) re japan.

  3. masha

    saw the fil-am chef from a clip on the daily show. she recorded saying imagine?! you’re cooking for the #1 person in the world? oo nga naman… NOT!

    anyway, how funny that the inquirer considered her appointment as “breaking news”. what? because she’s fil-am? i thought breaking news was reserved for news with more gravitas.

    maiba ako, i have stopped reading philstar. its kid glove/pro gma treatment of the news and in its opinion columns make reading it a waste of time. the inquirer still has a mix of pro and anti gma so it’s still acceptable. but either way, i remind myself to be wary because the practice of envelopmental journalism is rampant.

  4. Alex

    Masha, trust me, Cris Commerford’s appointment is all gravitas. She is the first woman ever and the first from a minority group to be chosen for the post of White House chef. It was breaking news for all the major U.S. media, including the Associated Press, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Times and the major network TV stations. She’s being hounded by the media for interviews right now, but the White House doesn’t even want to disclose her vacation whereabouts in Mexico.

    The fact that she’s Filipina and born and educated in the Philippines should make it even more breaking news in the Philippines. And the fact that she got her culinary education, not in the more glorified culinary schools in the U.S. and Europe as is often the case with that post, but at U.P.’s Food Science department is a big deal. I think this part of the story has been lost. I hope U.P. gets more international recognition for this and may their food science program get more funding and international enrollment as a result. It’s good for the Philippines to be recognized by the US and the world for its people and for its education for a change.

  5. taipan88

    AMEN to that, alex.

    Cris’ appointment elevated the status of Pinays, at least here, where I live. Some Japanese friends called me to say they read the news. I feel they were happy for us, too.

    I AM PROUD TO BE PINAY, no doubt about that. BUT the issue of Pinays working as ‘entertainers” here and elsewhere have
    been treated as ‘necessity’ by the admistration, rather than keep our women at home. GOOD if they project a better image; TOO BAD if they just make us look cheap.

  6. Danielle

    I was happy to hear that Cristeta was appointed head chef after 15 years as assistant chef. It just goes to show that it’s not who you know. . . If only it was the same here.

  7. james

    Back in the 80’s, we here in RP were often treated to ABC Wide World of Sports where a very talented champion skater named Tai Babilonia was often featured. Later on, I visited the U.S. and was a bit shocked to learn she is half-filipina, and quite celebrated in the fil-am community. But the fact is almost totally unknown here locally.

    i believe when talking of filipina achievers,
    that her name ought to be right up there.

  8. MitaMS

    Alex,
    In all the news clips I’ve read of Cris C’s appointment, it was mentioned that she’s a graduate of the University of the Philippines. This appointment was not only important news for Fil-Ams but for women in the food industry and minorities as well and that’s why it was breaking news in the US too. She had competition no doubt, and she got the job based on merit. It’s interesting to note that a chef of her caliber – with experience in several top hotels in various cities in the US and also Europe – could be making twice as much as she will make in the WH.

  9. Alex

    Mita, I agree, the pay for that job sucks, but it’s heavy on glamour. Think about all the heads of states she’ll be arranging dinners for, and she’ll be responsible for the meals as well of the U.S. First Family, including Dubya. There’ll be lots of gossipy stories. When Dubya leaves the White House in a few years, she’ll leave, too, and write a bestseller about her White House experience and all the meals she cooked. She’ll do the interview circuit in all the morning and late-night talk shows. She’ll have a signature restaurant in Vegas featuring dishes she cooked for each head of state. She might even be guest at the Iron Chef. She’ll be worth millions by then. When that happens I hope she visits the Philippines and use part of her wealth to fund a school or something to help many Filipino kids so they could perhaps one day have the same opportunity she had. Not like our corrupt politicians and their cronies.

    I feel sick every time I hear Danding Cojuangco and Lucio Tan keep expanding their billion-dollar empires that they’ve built on the backs of poor Filipinos. I feel just as sick when I see Marcoses and Estradas holding high government posts while they hoard their ill-gotten wealth.

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