For centuries the dream of many has been to create wealth out of nothing. In the Philippines, stories of Yamashita’s gold (or even Lim Ah Hong’s) still encourage people to go off to the countryside with their metal detectors. I suspect this may prove to be a modern equivalent of alchemy: the hope of turning base metals in to gold. But there are other more viable ways to turn nothing … Modern day alchemy
It’s almost a year since President Aquino’s visit to London in 2012. Arriving on the Queen’s Silver Jubilee weekend, the President felt some of the heritage and tradition that makes the UK a top draw for overseas tourists. And for his part, the President helped get the message out about all the fantastic things the Philippines has to offer British visitors. He posed on board one of London’s famous red … If you build it, they will come
Tomorrow, the 3rd May, is World Press Freedom Day. I confidently predict that this will be marked by the Star (and a number of other publications) appearing on my breakfast table as usual, featuring a wide range of stories. Some of them will interest me, some will amuse and some will annoy me. That’s part and parcel of living in a free society, with a free press. That’s the Philippines. … The Philippines – safe to speak
23 April was the feast-day of England’s patron saint, St George. Not surprisingly, St George’s Day is not a big deal in the Philippines. The greater significance of this date here may be 23 April 1946, when Manuel Roxas was elected to be the first President following independence. But even in England, the largest of the United Kingdom’s four nations, St George’s Day receives less attention than those of Scotland’s … Patriotism or nationalism?
Commentators are currently lining up to bestow catchy names on the Philippines economy such as “star performer” and “tiger”. Not so long ago, it was more common to hear negative descriptions such as “the sick man of Asia”. Sentiment and “brand” matter enormously. With the death of Lady Thatcher, the global media has been looking back on a period in the 1970’s when commentators liked to portray the United Kingdom … What drives economic prosperity
Life in Britain this week is dominated by the death of Lady Thatcher, Britain’s longest serving Prime Minister of the 20th century. The mood was summed up when our present Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that we had lost a great Prime Minister, a great leader and a great Briton. Like the Prime Minister and the leaders of our other two main political parties, I was born in the 1960s. … A great Briton
The latest session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) began in Geneva at the end of February. The Philippines and the UK were founder members of the HRC. The Philippines is currently one of 47 of Council members who are elected on a rotating basis by the UN General Assembly. Term limits mean the UK is not currently a member of the Council but we are hoping to … Human rights are universal
I’ve written before about the Chevening Scholarship scheme and its aim of identifying future leaders in the Philippines. My Embassy team has recently been interviewing potential scholars. A number of important and interesting trends have been revealed. The first trend is in the quality of applications received. The task of deciding the “winners” was incredibly hard. There were more excellent candidates than available scholarships. The second was the diversity of … Forecasting the future
In the next week or so, the members of the United Nations have an opportunity to agree an historic Treaty that would make a lasting difference to people across the world. It’s not front-page news most of the time, but the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is within our grasp – and, with it, comes a chance to make a major contribution to the security of humankind. It will help to ensure that … Arms Trade Treaty or what?
On 8th March the world celebrates international women’s day. On the one level, it is a day when we celebrate the private roles played in life by women: mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and grandmothers. But it is also a day when we need to reflect on the roles women play, and are allowed to play, in societies more generally. Discussion of gender equality can sometimes be limited to the rights-based … International Women’s Day