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Jose Abeto Zaide
Jose Abeto Zaide
Below the Line He is a retired diplomat with nearly 40 years service home and abroad. He last served as Ambassador to France and Unesco. His two other missions were in Germany (our last Ambassador to Bonn and first to Berlin) and in Austria. He was DFA Chief of Protocol and on different times headed the European and Asian desks.

Let his fingers do the talking…

Like the old PLDT yellow pages tagline, “Let your fingers do the walking…” Or our national artist Mang Enteng Manansala’s quip, “If I could write, I don’t need to paint…” Concert pianist and recording artist Dr. Abelardo Galang II, traipsed over the Louis XV Steinway at the Francisco Santiago Hall of the BDO Corporate Center to bring to fore Giovannia Benedetto Platti, Frederic Chopin, and Franz Liszt. Medicis and cognoscentis came last Saturday to the 16th anniversary presentation of the Metro Manila Concert Orchestra, which was a benefit for the Payatas children. After a masteral degree from the Musashino Academia Musicae in Tokyo, he added another one from Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. Abel earned his doctorate in music from the Technische Universitãt Berlin with a grade of a flat 1.0 …

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Some are smarter than others

(Ed: With the author’s apologies to Ricardo Manapat’s book with the same title but with the appendage “the history of Marcos’ crony capitalism’). Man Smart, Woman Smarter. Eugene Torre was a 22-year-old mophead when he became the first Filipino chess grandmaster at the 1974 World Chess Olympiad in Nice, France, on 27 June 1976. Fast-forward to today: 40 years later, Janelle Mae Frayna became the first Filipina chess grandmaster. Braulio Tansinsin wrote that Janelle’s older brother taught her the basics of chess; so she became a national master at age 11, woman international master at age 18, and woman grandmaster this year at age 20. Janelle Frayna is a cum laude candidate in BS Psychology at FEU. That’s right, the woman is, uhh, ¯smarter, that’s right…that’s right! — Harry Belafonte. U-Turn for Miss Universe? …

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Caveat lector

Old Latin, translation into English: “Reader beware”. In the United States today, according to an errant source who broadcasts freely, “There are 1,500 newspapers, 1,100 magazines, 9,000 radio stations, 1,500 TV stations, 2,400 publishers owned by only 6 corporations (General Electric, Newscorp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS)”. It continues: “ABC News executive producer Ian Cameron is married to Susan Rice, National Security Adviser; CBS President David Rhodes is the brother of Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications; ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman is married to former Whitehouse Press Secretary Jay Carney; ABC News and Univision reporter Matthew Jaffe is married to Katie Hogan, Deputy Press Secretary; ABC President Ben Sherwood is the brother of Special Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood; CNN President Virginia Moseley is married to Clinton’s former Deputy …

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No more poverty by 2040

The Manila Bulletin headline last Friday may be the battle hymn of President Duterte for his 25-year development plan for the country. Poverty would be gone by 2040, together with those of us over 60 years old and above. ...And possibly, gone, too, are most of present-day smokers 40 years and above. *** On 17 October 1987, over a hundred thousand who responded to the call of a French Catholic priest gathered at the Trocadero Plaza in Paris to honor victims of poverty, hunger, violence, and ignorance Father Joseph Wresinski founded the All Together in Dignity (ATD) Fourth World Movement, echoing the “fourth order” of the French Revolution (the poorest of the poor and the uneducated who were left out and denied the vote for a new Constitution). His own roots in poverty fed …

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Partnering with neighboring Taiwan

The representative of the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Dr. Gary Song-Huaan Lin and his lady Sophia hosted the 105th Double Ten Day, last Monday, October 10, 2016, at the Sofitel grand ballroom. It commemorates the Wuchang Uprising of October 10, 1911 (10-10 or Double Ten), which led to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty and the founding of the Republic of China. Prominent among the overflow crowd which included senators, congressmen, mayors, and diplomatic corps was former President Fidel V. Ramos, whose advice as elder brother to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on his first 100 days reverberates among pundits. (The second slipper, Part II of the ex cathedra message, is yet to drop as of this writing.) PDu30 acknowledges the former President to be the prime mover in persuading him …

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Change, remain

“The more things change, the more they remain the same.” (Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose) — Jean Baptiste-Alphonse Karr One of the revered icons of the diplomatic world is Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, foreign minister of France before and after Napoleon. Excerpts about this former man of the cloth turned diplomat: “After the final departure of Napoleon, Talleyrand managed at the Congress of Vienna (September, 1814 — June, 1815) to transform the French diplomatic position away from being that of a defeated power in the eyes of the Allied Powers to being one of Europe’s historic major powers. He was able to depict Napoleon and Bonapartism as the enemy and the restored King Louis XVIII as a legitimate monarch who should be treated fairly by the other powers in …

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Headliners and some second thoughts

Duterte on church bells: Are bishops angry? Distracted by the tolling of San Sebastian church bells during his speech at the Bacolod Public Plaza, President Rodrigo Duterte quipped, “Ginabagtingan ka na ng kamatayan. Galit ba ang mga bishops? Mangadye ba ta? Is it 6 o’clock? 5:28 pa man (Death is now ringing its bells. Are the bishops angry? Are we going to pray? Is it 6 o’clock? It’s just 5:28 p.m.) Church bells toll when the Angelus is prayed at 6 a.m., 12 noon, and 6 p.m. The bells also ring ahead of a mass schedule. The President has had several exchanges with Catholic bishops who criticized his ways in dealing with criminality. Some parishes centered their sermons the other week on Duterte’s lament asking, “Where is God?” when people go through hardships …

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Double ten and great added value

Last Wednesday, my RFID pre-paid sticker for the expressway had a hiccup, twice — on the way to Makati, and again on my return home. The first time en route, the bar didn’t lift. I pulled out my card and the toll booth lady only had to zip it to read the validity. On the way back, it took much longer. Motorists behind started honking because the toll booth operator couldn’t get a reading on my card; so I had to pull out of the queue. The supervisor needed to phone the main office, which confirmed that the card I had refilled 24 hours earlier was fully tanked up. These hassles happen to many RFID subscribers (unfortunately it seems when one is in a hurry). Although our toll franchisees charge more …

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True confessions

President Rodrigo Duterte apologized “profoundly and deeply” to the Jewish community, saying that his reference to the Holocaust in the context of his war on drugs was to hit back at critics who had likened him to Adolf Hitler. Duterte said he recognized his comments had caused outrage among Jewish communities, but insisted his mention of the Nazi leader was to deny the comparison his detractors sought to portray him. “…There was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million Jews murdered…I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community ....but the problem was I was criticized, using Hitler comparing to me.” Among previous mea culpas of PDu30 were naming the wrong persons in his druglord hit list and wayward cuss words in the direction of …

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John Gordon, SJ

On World Teachers’ Day, a senior citizen recalls high school moments and early years thereafter: The best years to many must be high school - old enough to wear long pants, beginning to notice girls at parties, more basketball, getting up in the world without the responsibility. Fr. John Gordon, a rolly-polly Jesuit, must be what Robin Hood’s Friar Tuck looked like. No mean bone in him, no wonder that he was one of the most sought after in the campus. (Three Hail Mary’s at the confessional.) We discovered him in his class Shakespeare and English writers. He had his own choice short stories mimeographed; and we felt that the time passed too swiftly when the bell rang. He took us to class nights and an unforgettable excursion to Taal Lake; from brackish waters …

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