Of a lady, iron and a speech

11 04 2013
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The headline. 09 April 2013. Singapore time.

A CHILDHOOD spent in the 80’s meant hearing quite a lot about Mrs. Margaret Thatcher – mostly from the evening news and the national broadsheets.  Mommy, my maternal grandmother, would often talk to us about her.  Usually, in the same breath, she would make references to the Marcoses and the Reagans whenever she mentioned the 11–year resident of Number 10 Downing Street.

The headlines a couple of days back read, “’Iron Lady’ of Britain dies of stroke at 87.”

Love her or loathe her, her impact to her country’s politics, not to mention the world, cannot be denied.  Personally, I had made one direct reference to her by way of that speech I delivered at that United Nations conference for students that I went to as a 16–year–old high school student.

The speech opened with a direct quote from the lady herself.  Up to this point, 22 years from when I first delivered that speech, it is something that I can recite, culled purely from memory.

Rest in peace, Mrs. Thatcher.

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The opening part of my now 22-year-old speech. I opened with a quote from the Iron Lady herself. My eldest brother helped me with this speech.

 

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Three surviving “Best Speaker” pins from Toastmasters International. I must’ve amassed a total of at least five. All these were won for impromptu speaking. You’d draw lots (“your topic or subject matter”) just before you go up to the front to speak. Everything is timed. So you’ve got to have an opening, a body and a closing… all under strict time pressure.

 

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Thank you, Mrs. Thatcher. May you rest in eternal peace.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





A stopover in Hokkaido on the way to the flat

3 04 2013

YOU NEVER ever forget your first.

The first time I was out of the Philippines, my destination was Japan.  I went there to speak at a United Nations international conference for students.  I carried with me a speech – the original draft of which I still have – with the most appropriate and beautiful opening paragraph courtesy of my eldest brother.

I was 16 years old at the time.  I still vividly remember walking up to the rostrum, faced the crowd and saw that everybody had their headsets on (for real-time translation) to listen to me.  “Just like in the movies (when heads of state would meet just before a disaster strikes),” I told my surprisingly calm self.  I was confident enough not to bring with me the printout of my speech.  Back then, I had unwavering faith in my memory serving me right.  And for the five days leading to the speech, I had had sufficient practice delivering impromptu talks at all the primary schools, secondary schools and the Ministry of Education office that we visited.

I think I got thunderous applause.  But nothing was louder than the one I got after singing a capella before the program closed.  Mine was the only musical number they allowed in what was a strictly formal event.  It was a last-minute addition too.  The organizers asked me to sing after hearing me do so at one of the schools we had gone to.  I was later approached by an Austrian violinist who wanted to offer me a music scholarship in Europe.

Why am I suddenly waxing nostalgic?  And of Japan of all places?  I blame it on Cold Storage.  I blame it on them for setting up this “Hokkaido” gastronomic festival of sorts at the open area of the mall nearest my flat.

I didn’t go to Hokkaido during that trip to Japan.  I went to Tokyo and Yokohama.  But if what I remember of all the gustatory delights I had in those two cities could at least be a faint figment of what the country’s biggest island offers, then I am all for shopping to my heart’s content.

I scoured all the racks radar-locking at anything that resembled my favorite Japanese cookie, the Fujiya Chocochip Cookie Cocoa Country Ma’am.  Apparently, it doesn’t trace its roots to the island.

But it wasn’t any reason to fret.  I love Japanese curry (Hello, Coco Ichibanya!) and there were a lot of choices on offer – scallop, salmon, clam, and octopus.  I equally heart ramen, so this I got in all its broth variations – shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce) and my all-time favorite miso (fermented soybean paste).  The closest I got to the chocolate chip cookie of my dreams was a box of sweet choco soft rusk.  And to top everything off – and to best end a day of nostalgia – was a tub of Hokkaido Ice Cream in Premium Vanilla.

This promotion runs until Friday this week.  And I can’t wait to go back tomorrow and stock up.

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Scallop Curry

 

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Salmon Curry

 

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Clam Curry

 

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Octopus Curry

 

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These are squid stuffed with rice.

 

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Sweet Choco Soft Rusk

 

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I got sold the instant I saw the tag line: “Only Hokkaido Taste”! This is the shoyu (soy sauce) ramen.

 

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Miso Ramen

 

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Shio (salt) Ramen and that cute Kid’s Ramen!

 

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There was only one freezer for the frozen delights. The tubs of ice cream each sells for S$ 9.30, and comes in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

 

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They were quite proud of the fact that only “Hokkaido milk” goes into the ice cream.

 

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Why settle for vanilla when there is PREMIUM vanilla?! This was the one I got!

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





The Best Man’s speech

24 03 2013

(I listened attentively while my friend Raoul was delivering his speech as Best Man at Sead and Mitzi’s wedding.  The very moment he was through, I liked a lot what he said that I knew I had to ask for a copy.  As it is always the case with me when I encounter, say, food I fall head over heels for, I turn to a persistent solicitor of recipes. So in this case, I had to have a copy of his speech.  It’s in the sincerity and the unpretentiousness, peppered with just the right anecdotes.  Here is his speech, published with his permission.)

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The Best Man, Engr. Raoul Masangcay, speaks as the newlyweds listen attentively. (Photo by Engr. Aris Gaduyon)

GOOD EVENING.  I’m Raoul.  I am really glad to be here on this occasion to celebrate this wonderful day with my two good friends.  But first of all I would like to raise a glass for the Zildzic and Nuda families for bringing us such a wonderful people together.  Thank you very much!

I met Sead five years ago during my stint in Folsom.  I had the chance to work with him because I needed his expertise.  Right?

The first time I met him, I already knew that he was a good person.  He is kind, very approachable, and easy to work with.  He just has this aura that will make you feel intimidated by him.  I think that is because he is too good looking.

Getting to know him more through our regular meetings and meet-ups (that is when he visits Singapore) I can say that he is a great man, a true born leader, and a very responsible person. I’m really impressed on how he manages the challenges at work and how he makes complicated things look easy to handle.

With such qualities, I am confident that he will raise a good family and will be a very good husband and a great father in the future.

Mitzi, you are really lovely and beautiful tonight.  I’m very happy that you have found what you’re looking for.  I know Mitzi as being a conservative person when it comes to a relationship.  Even back in Cavite I already knew she had suitors that couldn’t win her heart.  That’s why I was so excited when I first heard that she was dating Sead.  And that was before we were able to guess the person she was always talking with over the phone during our night outs and the person who always sends bouquets of roses.  That was very sweet!

When I found out it was Sead, I already knew that there’s a happy ending to this story.

“Marriage is not about finding a person you can live with.  It’s about finding the person you can’t live without.”  And I’m so happy that my two friends have found that person in each other.

I wish you two the very very best as you start this new chapter of your life.  I wish you both an eternity of happiness.

I would like to invite everyone to raise their glasses in a toast.

Here’s to a lifetime of happiness and love for Sead and Mitzi.  Cheers!

.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved