Several things make Manila and the adjoining cities in the metropolis a congenial place for expats. A friendly people who understand and speak English…beautiful women…great variety of food and entertainment…a relatively safe environment. However, Filipinos have certain quirks. Understanding them and their culture can make life more pleasant for the expat.
A badass song for today’s shipping world
I recently watched the Netflix TV series ‘Inside Man‘. The theme song,‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ by American singer John Grant, immediately caught my ear. Somehow it reminded me of certain players in the shipping world, particularly those who contribute in one way or another to the suffering of seafarers and other people.
Eight great quotes about beginnings to ponder upon
Humans have an instinctive need to celebrate beginnings — New Year’s Day, the birth of a child, the launching of a newbuilding ship, etc. Such events do not only mark the start of something new. They evoke feelings of hope, which is the one essential quality that separates man from animals.
Timeless quotes about charity for today’s shipping world
Charity is a great thing. It uplifts the human spirit and acts as an antidote to greed. Unfortunately, charity in the shipping world has descended to the level of propaganda, corporate almsgiving and media spectacle. The maritime charities drum up a particular issue (e.g., depression at sea), and large corporations, their conscience pricked, donate money to the cause. The whole cycle is attended by publicity.
Telling it like it is: Bold quotes from women about men
The following quotes, all from women, deal with the general subject of men. The authors do so with such frankness that the less enlightened males might feel offended. But given the fact that the world of shipping is still very much dominated by men and haunted by machismo, these quotes make for interesting reading — for men as well as for women.
Seven hard truths about today’s world of shipping
The years I’ve spent as an international maritime journalist and subsequently as a blogger have taught me many things. The world of shipping is beautiful, and there is no shortage of decent, respectable maritime folks. But this world that we all love has its bad side, which some may not see or try not to see. The truth hurts, as the saying goes.
A final word on the theft of seafarer remittances
This is my last blog post about the decades-old scam involving the theft of dollars sent home by Filipino seafarers. No, the problem has not gone away. On the contrary, dishonest manning agents continue to skim money from the remittances of the men and woman who toil at sea.
A look-back at two nautical songs by The Beatles
Of the many songs recorded by the English rock band The Beatles, only two had a nautical theme: Yellow Submarine and Octopus’ Garden. This fact is interesting and perhaps a bit odd. After all, the group had its beginnings in Liverpool, a maritime hub and port of registry of the Titanic. All four of its members — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — were born there. At any rate, the two songs are quite memorable. The melodies are charming; the lyrics, endearing.
19th-century words of wisdom for 21st-century seafarers
I had the good fortune recently of finding a book with the unassuming title ‘Proverbs’. Published in 1854, it was written by Rev. William Scott Downey, an American Baptist pastor before he became an Episcopelian. It is a slim volume of 110 pages or so, but it contains some nuggets of wisdom for today’s seafarers and other maritime folks. Here are 21 of Downey’s proverbs:
Five things most undervalued in the shipping world
People reveal their character as much by the things they value as by those that they don’t. The same applies to the shipping world. I have listed down five top things or persons which, in my view, have not received the importance or appreciation they deserve or have been neglected somehow by maritime folks, including journalists. On the other hand, there are certain things which are held very dear by those engaged in maritime business and commerce. I have listed those as well.
A deadly cocktail of cruise ships and coronavirus
It seems foolish, nay absurd, for anyone to holiday on a cruise ship amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But many people still do. They want to party, to celebrate life, against the backdrop of a beautiful blue sea. The celebration, however, can end abruptly when the...
The best of times in shipping has yet to come
What would you consider as the best of times in shipping? The answer, I suppose, will depend on the needs and expectations of those being asked.
Shipping lines would see sustained high freight rates as a godsend; crewing agents, an ample supply of ship officers; nautical schools, a spike in enrolment; and maritime charities, a continued flow of donations. All that, however, has to do with business. I would rather look at shipping as a culture — a conglomerate of general customs and beliefs that define its essential character.