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14 great tips for maritime expats in Metro Manila

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.

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.

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.

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.

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