Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Manila: A Foreign POV

It's refreshing to hear stories from foreigners about your home town, country. Be it one of their best experiences, or one of their worst, you have to take it all in. Even if they would tell you the things you've grown accustomed to, the same things that you complain & rant about, the very same reasons that would make you burst your hate or thoughts on the social media.

'MANILA' by Paulo Correa

Their views and thoughts about Philippines can be honest, sometimes brutally for some, but it's the truth. I have no issues hearing the not-so-good feedbacks from other people because I too know the pros and cons of my homeland. 

No, this is not about the late Lee Kuan Yew talking about the Philippines.

These are some of the comments of a patient I have come across recently. His work entails him to travel to eastern parts of Asia to visit and check on the satellite companies in countries like Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Philippines. (I DID tell him I envy him. Not just once.) He would stay for at least for a week in each stop, and he does it twice in a year. (I think I subconsciously submitted by CV to him that day.)

'What do you think about Manila?'

'It's great. I stay in Makati. I love it there. The people are nice. I stayed in the Peninsula, it was fantastic.'

'Any favourite food they forced you to try out?'

'To be honest I can't recall all the dish names, but the food is great. I love it. And the beer too!'

'What do you like about the job, particularly the visits that you do?'

'I love how each city and country presents a unique perspective and flavour. How Tokyo is so busy, how lovely and hot it is in Manila, how the food is spicy in Singapore etc.'

'Yeah, the Manila weather is crazy.'

'True. When it is hot, it is really boiling. And when it rains, it floods so badly.'

'What's one thing that you can think of about Manila that is bonkers?'

'I once tried to use the underground (He was referring to MRT), and when I went through the entrance, I saw the guards carrying heavy firearms, like armalites. I was like, seriously? I know it can be bad and unsafe out there, but firearms at public transpo? I asked the guards and they just laughed with me.'

Hey random bystander, hands up!



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Sunday, March 22, 2015

The 2015 Eclipse (That Never Was.)


Last 20th of March 2015, there was a solar eclipse. It was meant to be seen and observed like this:

Taken from Svalbard, Norway. 
Image from here.

I have never seen an eclipse before, so I thought it would be best to try and spot it from the skies as I was on the way home. And that's when I recalled that I am still in London.

I uploaded it in my Facebook and captioned:
Reporting live for the Eclipse on this side of England. 
The sun is pretty covered 100%, amazing. #whatissun

That is straight from my phone. I think I was aiming at the sun. Or wherever it was at the time. So there I was standing for a few minutes and shrugged my shoulders and just 'watched' the eclipse from my twitter feed. Then the hilarity of it came shortly.

A friend of mine commented: It's daylight? It hasn't happened? That's cloud lol.

Few minutes later, a friend from Southampton shared me her fantastic view:

Eclipse from Southampton. Wow.

Fam sent me their take from Belfast:

Belfast solar eclipse. Astounding.

My twitter feed had a feast on this 'British Solar Eclipse.'

I love that it was cloudy. It's just so *us*, you guys. #eclipse2015
Even the media took a jab at it:

It was a great non-event where a score of people all felt losers at the same time.
But let's not fret, the next eclipse according to the scientists will be in 2026!

The next one? 2090!

Let's get ready shall we?

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Thoughtpic: Before I Die I Want To...

I have always been observant with the most minute details. 

My attention and gaze can be shifted quickly depending on the situation and the environment I'm in. Whether a book cover that's being read by an office guy in the train, or the fancy restaurant sign on the street that I find amusing. 

I especially try to keep my eyes peeled for street arts or graffiti. London has tons of them, and not all are necessarily Banksy's.

There's this particular alleyway in Borough Market that is entirely unique and eye-catching. It seems like a random 'freedom wall', but starts with a thought-provoking line: 'Before I die I want to...'

Here are some of the writings on the wall at that day:

'...live with no regrets.'

'...visit New York.'

'...pay Stuart back.'

'...fall in love for real...'

'...see the Northern Lights...'

'...learn to relax.'

Here's hoping Stuart will be able to get what's his due soon.

What's more interesting is how this project started. Upon checking the details, I have come across the website of the creator, an artist named Candy Chang. Here is the story, as directly from the site:

Interactive public art project that invites people to share their personal aspirations in public space. After losing someone she loved and falling into depression, Chang created this experiment on an abandoned house in her neighborhood to create an anonymous place to help restore perspective and share intimately with her neighbors while remaining an introvert. Meant as a singular experiment, the project gained global attention and thanks to passionate people around the world, over 500 Before I Die walls have been created in over 70 countries, including Kazakhstan, Iraq, Haiti, China, Ukraine, Portugal, Japan, Denmark, Argentina, and South Africa. The Before I Die book is a celebration of these walls and the stories behind them. 

Sometimes death is such a painful reminder of things, people and lives. Everything that we have now can be meaningless once our time is up. So right now, ask yourself what you want before you die.

Reflect on your life.

It doesn't always have to be a gargantuan task like changing the world or saving lives. It could start as something small and simple, like realising that life needs to be lived. You could be saving somebody's life by sharing your life story.
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