Wednesday, December 20, 2006

gone eatin'

SW and D are now in Oz (Melbourne, specifically, as I write this) and seem to have embarked on an eXtreme eating and drinking campaign. It wasn't supposed to be like this, it's just how it happened. SW takes advantage of the plentiful summer food so as to survive the lean winter months.

The point is: very few posts between now and our return to the Phils.

I leave you with the lovely image of the remainder of the lechon (spit-roasted pig) after my work Christmas party on Wed 13 December...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

oh dear...

He's at it again. From Migrants need to learn mateship: PM in the Sydney Morning Herald:

A new citizenship test for migrants is not a step towards reintroducing a racially discriminatory immigration policy, Prime Minister John Howard says.

Mr Howard has announced migrants wanting to become Australian citizens will need to sit English exams and pass multiple-choice tests on Australian society.

The 30 test questions, drawn from a pool of 200, will cover topics such as history, system of government, sporting traditions and mateship.

To me, this reeks of reactionary nationalism. You can't bloody-well test for "mateship" (however the hell you define it). Surely this is self-defeating? The whole point of Australia's supposed ethos -- the thing that Howard believes makes Australia so damn great -- is that people can be whoever the hell they want (provided they don't harm others etc etc). This is like saying "we're going to force you to be who you want to be."

Or something.

Isn't forcing values onto people defeating the whole point? That's what I'm trying to say, I think.

You will embrace Australian values (whatver they happen to be; we'll let you know when we've finalised them) and you WILL ENJOY YOUR LIFE AS AN (Anglo married-with-two-kids) AUSTRALIAN.

Howard also says:

You say 'How do you test it?'. Well, I'm not going to start canvassing what the test is."



Sunday, December 03, 2006


A title that befits the majestic terror of a typhoon, I believe.

Another update -- though it sounds like this has been getting some press outside the region. (And I suspect that EXTREMELY few people rely on SW for their news ... nevertheless, I will press ahead.)

Anyway - a couple of news reports here and here.

To sum up, Durian hit the Bicol Region (a few hundred km southeast of Manila) hard, especially the area around Mayon Volcano, which threatened to erupt a couple of months back. It didn't, but a lot of ash built up around it. When the typhoon hit, a lot of the ash and debris came down as mudslides and killed at least 400-or-so people (but with around that number still missing).

Here's a striking photo of trucks buried in mud with Mayon in the background. It's by Manny Marcelo of the Philippine Star newspaper. (I really should know if I can legally put this on my blog, but I don't.)

Hopefully that's the last typhoon this season, though I've heard that meteorologists are expecting one more.

Friday, December 01, 2006

going south

SW thanks those of you who offered wishes of safety from Typhoon Durian. The rest of you can ROT IN HELL FOR ETERNITY. You know who you are.

For those who DO care , the bugger veered south and missed Los Banos, thankfully (thankfully for people in Los Banos, anyway -- people south of here may feel differently). It was still forecast to whack into us until relatively late last night but in the end we just got a bit of rain and some gusty winds. We have lost electrickery for now, but I can't imagine it'll be off for long.

In the end (for me), Durian was little more than an excuse for a very pleasant dinner with D, C, and Belgian J&I (who crashed in our spare room because their house is about a metre away from the edge of a ravine and after the last typhoon that hit here, they didn't want to move house the fast way. (Please read that last bit -- "move house the fast way" -- in a Rodney Dangerfield voice.)

A few places were fucked up, of course. I haven't see many reports yet, but one on CNN said:

A powerful typhoon tore through the eastern Philippines on Thursday with winds of up to 225 kilometers (139 miles) per hour, blowing away small houses, uprooting trees and cutting off power to thousands of homes, officials said.

Typhoon Durian lashed the eastern island province of Catanduanes early Thursday but later veered to the south with its eye likely to spare the bustling capital, metropolitan Manila. Forecasters, however, warned relieved Manila residents to still brace for potentially destructive winds.