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Brasilia
13 Nov, Tuesday
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Wailing at 2 in the Morning

THE sound of a wailing fire alarm is hardly a nice way to be jolted out of one’s sleep, especially at 2 in the morning. But that is exactly what happened to me on Friday morning.

“What the fuck!” I said to myself as I got out of bed and fumbled for the light and door. My flatmates were in the hallway as we stood there bleary-eyed, our minds trying to process that there might be a fire in our small building, all this while the shrill whine of the alarm continued to wail incessantly.

“Should we go down,” I asked stupidly, knowing full well that in case of a fire we are supposed to assemble at the trash shed that stands only ten feet in front of our building out in the freezing cold.

We all returned to our rooms to put on sweaters and our coats and walked downstairs. My flatmates brought their wallets and passports with them. I, sensing it was only a minor alarm, left everything in my room. Assembled in the tiny entrance of the building with our mailboxes were the women who live across from us, and the naughty guys who live downstairs and who always shriek and talk loudly when we’re trying to read our assignments.

“Is everybody here?!” bellowed the huge, bald security guy, who was banging on the doors of every room to wake everyone up and make them assemble in the entrance. A white guy with a huge Afro stood shivering in the hallway, while another flatmate of his shuffled into the entrance with his comforter wrapped around his body and head Eskimo-style.

After a few minutes, the security guy took pity on us and said we could go back up. The alarm continued wailing for a few minutes and then stopped. I turned off my light and flopped into bed. I couldn’t get to sleep for a while, the alarm having disturbed my deep sleep.

The next morning as I leave the building I can still smell the burnt cooking oil from a student cooking a late, late meal that caught fire and had caused the alarm to go off. When I tell my other classmates what happened, they raise their eyebrows in surprise and say, “Cooking at 2 in the morning?”
“Yes,” I reply. “Can you believe it?”
****
HURRAY! George Galloway, the Respect MP, has finally been voted off Channel 4’s Celebrity Big Brother reality TV show.

Galloway told reporters that he wasn’t receiving his salary while making a fool of himself on British television by acting like a huge cat, walking around on all fours. As if that is supposed to make his constituents feel better about it!

“I just wanted to be able to reach at least half of the show’s estimated viewers,” said the MP who also recently had the libel judgment in his favor upheld after he sued The Daily Telegraph newspaper for alleging that he had accepted money from Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the 1980s and 1990s.

I managed to watch a bit of Celebrity Big Brother last weekend in London and found it to be just as inane and silly as other “Big Brother” shows I have seen, including Pinoy Big Brother. I don’t know how Channel 4 manages to pull in more than 4 million viewers per episode when it airs that show, which is considered excellent since Britain is much smaller than the US.

All you see when watching these type of shows are paranoid participants talking about what so-and-so said or did to them or someone else. It’s all so banal and boring! I don’t find it interesting in the least.
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US and Saudi Rebuff President Arroyo

AN interesting story in Friday’s Daily Tribune quotes former Senator Francisco Tatad saying that US President George W. Bush and Saudi King Abdullah have both refused to receive President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in February, when she is supposedly desperate to be out of the country on the EDSA People Power revolution anniversary.

This is not the first time that both Bush and Abdullah have said their schedules are too full to fit Arroyo in. It happened last year in late September when she was in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly meeting. Then Bush was “too busy” to meet her privately, though Arroyo did shamelessly manage to grab a photo opportunity with him in the hallway of the UN building, making the Philippines look desperate to get America’s attention.

It was on this same trip, actually on her way to New York, that President Arroyo was supposed to stopover in Riyadh and meet newly-crowned King Abdullah and large groups of OFWs working in the Kingdom.

Plans of her Saudi stopover were leaked to the press by an overeager Malacanang Palace, as neither the Department of Foreign Affairs nor Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom Bahnarim Guinomla could confirm the trip.

It seems that the Palace was so eager to push the Saudi trip through that they thought leaking it to the press would make it happen, even though their own envoy and DFA could not confirm it.

Well, I suspect that neither Bush nor Abdullah like feeling like they are being used as props in Arroyo’s political battle to remain in power. This is most probably why both declined to make room for her in their schedules. That plus the fact that Arroyo is indeed facing a constitutional crisis at home for refusing to step down after the “Hello Garci” scandal and practically her whole cabinet resigning last year.

Instead of trying to wrangle a meeting with the Saudi and US leaders, Arroyo would do better to fix things at home first. No one likes to feel like they’re being used, and they certainly don’t like leaders who are politically desperate. Desperation is the ultimate turn-off.
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Technical glitch: I can’t seem to upload pictures from the University of Nottingham, that’s why my blog has been picture-less lately. I think it’s because of the Internet Explorer browser that is on all of their computers. Do I need to use Firefox instead? Computer-savvy readers, let me know!
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Coming next week: My trip to the House of Lords, plus a review of Steven Spielberg’s new film Munich.

Comments (2)

  • Chas Ravndal

    I am happy to hear that it was just a minor burn. Anyways, the student that was cooking around 2 am probably might be very hungry or so.

  • Chas Ravndal

    I got ur email!!!

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