Tuesday, September 30, 2008

IT'S DA ECONOMY, STOOOPID!!



REMEMBER THE DAYS WHEN THE US DOLLAR REALLY MEANT BIZ-NEZ???

(Try using it in Europe...)


I'm not here to comment on the fiscal package that the US Senate failed to endorse today. I want to say that they should follow the example of Sweden in 1996 when the government provided funding but took stakes in banks, thus nationalizing them.


But Hank Paulson and Jamie Dimon I am not. If I was, I wouldn't be a lowly blogger.


ANYWAY----from yesterday's Financial Times....And if you read this, you will agree that WE DO live in interesting times....


'...But, as one European head if state explained at an off-the record breakfast, the discrediting of an open market democracy is dangerous for all the countries of what we used to call the west. 'It is very damaging,' he said, 'Some people are trying to see this as a failure of western values, of capitalism overall. When I met African leaders this week, some of them said to me, 'Maybe we should follow the Chinese model, instead, authoritarianism seems to work for them.'"

-Chrystia Freeland

US Managing editor


At the risk of sounding inconsiderate----I admit I am. Children have never been my cause. The only cause they give me is cause for alarm if ever I find out I was pregnant or if they barf on my rugs. I agree with this except in instances where my dog food is poisoned. (Iams and Pedigree were not our brands, anyway) And I don't use milk powder or buy Barbie.


....It is assumed that the US can borrow without limit. In fact, the US has a budget constraint--less binding than that of other countries, to be sure, because of the dollar's reserve-currency status and other factors, but there nonetheless. This limit is about to be tested and if the global capital market decides enough is enough, the challenge confronting the Treasury and the Federal Reserve will make even last week's exertions seem mild....

The next administration's fiscal options are vanishing before our eyes, Somebody should tell the candidates and the country."

-Clive Crook

FT columnist


O--yan..mga 'anonymous' commenters and people opening blogs behind pseudonyms..maybe YOU GUYS tell the American peeps because I don't think the next Prez is about to say anything.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

QUOTE OF DA WEEK


I usually do not choose a quote about myself but this week, I have decided to single out this quote from a reader about me simply because it is so true. I am interested in many things but I just like bullshitting more because it's easier and more people are interested.

At a dinner party last night we talked about quantum physics and Lama Rinpoche, the second highest Lama in Tibetan Buddhism. You can guess who the first is---NO NOT Steven Seagal who 'found gold in Manila' ---The Dalai 'friend of Richard Gere' Lama.
Of course, I was VERY quiet at dinner.
Oriellini said...
"You are such a brilliant writer,fashion icon and tounge-in-chic who could write about global economy,fashion,gossip and still watch Entourage and Master Showman at the same time.
Bravo darling..."
I also watch the World at War, History of Britain, Earth, Blue Planet and Top Gear and of course I read everything including soup can labels.

Since we have ran out of Birch Tree Milk Powder, and these days Seiko 'ang wallet na maswerte' ain't doing a good job, Oriellini is going to have to take home China milk powder which he can use as cemento nalang to build his house. Just add water!

WHO DYA THINK REALLY SAVED THE WORLD?

DA ROCKER FROM IRELAND WHO TOURS THE WORLD RAISING MONEY FOR AFRICA AND HAS MET ALMOST EVERY WORLD LEADER?
He also advised hick and rifle-toting Republican vice-presidential nominee on travel and foreign policy since she has only been abroad for the first time, to two countries in the last year: Eye-Raq and the Kuwaiti border. And no, I don't think she passed by Duty Free or Villa Moda.
Unfortunately his plans for Africa never came REMOTELY close to the thriving businesses developed by China with African locals. "MATE! Doncha know that you don't give a man fish but teach him how to fish (ask Sarah Palin about bear hunting) . Bribing government officials along the way helps, too.
THE SAGE OF OMAHA WHO COUGHED UP 5 BILLION TO SAVE GOLDMAN SACHS?
and still had the appetite for that sundae!
Wasn't an act of altruism but who cares because the markets went up...well, slightly.


So my question is: Would you rather have money or fame?
(Raissa Molina --RM-MR of the Star (it rhymes!)--- would never think of such an intelligent question)
I know my answer: MONEY

Because Ari Gold, as much as I wish he was my agent, would only be able to do 'this much' to get you your next gig. AND a table at the Ivy.



















Monday, September 22, 2008

ABOUT TIME....

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/21/opinion/edcohen.php

The Fleecing of America by Roger Cohen

Today's IHT has the above editorial that questions the silence of foreign economies amidst the collapse of large financial institutions in the last two weeks. I have highlighted some noteworthy paragraphs below but as much as the author thinks the new powers should help,what he did not bring up is the point that these same economies have propped up the American economy long enough (DECADES!!) not only with private investments but also investments in the US Treasury.

Okay here's the Hollywood version for you power lunchers at the Ivy:

You are Marky Mark pre-Entourage or Ed Burns pre-The Wire. You put in all your ideas and pitches and invest heavily on production for say, Universal or Paramount. But meanwhile, you do Entourage and the Wire for TV on the side with some people from school or the neighborhood.

Paramount or Universal meanwhile, has not released a single hit but Brad Grey keeps putting out 'blockbusters' (where the only thing that goes bust is the studio) with lots of publicity and expenses but very little income.
But Paramount being Paramount, you keep an office on the lot for the prestige and the hope that one day you will benefit from this alliance.

BUT THEN Entourage and the Wire become big hits on TV without Paramount's help.
Meanwhile, Brad Grey and Paramount are having tough times and have difficulty funding new films.
You---aka Ed Burns and Marky Mark--- have done really well with your TV shows.
Will you help finance a movie with Paramount knowing you have all these hits on TV?

I wouldn't!!!

Now we know why Steven Spielberg and Sylvester Stallone are looking to India.
'Cuz in India, even after Rambo 17 dies STILL in 'Nam, he can be reincarnated. It's part of their religion!

(Now for the real story...)
.......Yes, folks, the cash is elsewhere. Asians have been saving rather than spending. Their consumers are in better shape. Their banks are in better shape. The China Investment Corp. (CIC), a sovereign wealth fund, is sitting on $200 billion (and a 9.9 percent stake in Morgan Stanley) while China's central bank is managing another $1.8 trillion in reserves.
And what have we heard from the new centers of wealth and power - China, India, Brazil, Russia, the Gulf states - about America's financial agony over the past week? Zilch. Well, not quite. When asked about the crisis, Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian president, said: "What crisis? Go ask Bush."......


.......The world has changed in the past decade. There's been a steady transfer of wealth away from the United States in a shift most Americans have not yet grasped. But there has been no accompanying transfer of responsibility. New powers are free-riding as if it were still the American century.......

But toxic mortgage-backed securities were pedaled by plenty of foreign banks. And the decision to pour $85 billion of U.S. taxpayers' money into the rescue of American International Group (AIG), the insurance giant, followed appeals from foreign finance ministers to Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, to save a global company. Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, told me: "Paulson said he was getting calls from finance ministers all around the world saying, you have to save AIG. Well, they should have been asked to contribute to the pot."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

JEWELS THAT ROCK



As a fashion reporter in Hong Kong who spends most of her week visiting with luxury good houses including watches and jewellery, (I hate to say that it but) I am finding it harder and harder to say "WOW!" until last week when I attended the trunk show of Kolkata-based jewellery RAJ MAHTANI. http://www.rajmahtani.com/
At the very top end of the market, people are no longer looking for iconic designer products. The super rich of the world (and I would like to think the super stylish) have gone off hankering for the "It" bag, the 'statement accessories' from shoes to necklaces or the recognizable dress. These days, that market which is relatively unaffected by economic tsunamis, is looking for something of extremely high quality that is at the same time individual, bespoke and uniquely theirs.
(Mahtani's people did not want to release really nice photos to me because I was told 'Everything is one of a kind and our clients hate it when they see thier pieces in magazines." This is similar to what Kaiser Karl told me about the haute couture, "If we have a movie star wearing haute couture, I know we will not be able to sell that dress privately." Haute couture starts at 50,000 euros for a day dress or suit.)

The very forward thinking Mahtani comes from generations of Indian court jewellers who started their business in the 1800s. His designs, which range from 3000 USD to 3 million USD (his most expensive piece to date), is not for the faint of heart in style or pocket book.

In fact, he says to me matter of factly, "How can people think I am like Gem Palace when they do mostly small pieces?"

He brings a rock and roll sensibility to traditional Mughal design by using oversized colored stones and diamonds mostly cut in table-cut style which may have been an ancient style of diamond cutting probably from the 1700s in Europe when diamonds were first used to adorn royalty and aristocracy.

There are several things that make Raj Mahtani's jewellery collection fabulous and so perfect for contemporary lifestyle. First it is so original no one else will have what you have so you don't stand a chance of seeing 'the right thing on the wrong person."

Second, despite how huge the jewels are, if I had one of his bib neckalces, I'd wear it during the day with jeans and a tee shirt and no one will even begin to estimate how much it is. (Sometimes because big is unbe-fuckin-lievable, it becomes perfect for everyday wear. I once tried on a 56 carat diamond and thought I could walk out of Sotheby's and no one would rob me. Likewise with the Van Cleef piece made of 20 carats of diamonds on a mink choker. Who would know? They were so huge they looked costume!).

Third, Raj Mahtani is a destination: Kolkata. Not exactly on the tourist trail so it is hard to get to. Either you go there or you wait for him to show up in your 'hood--Singapore, London, Hong Kong, Moscow. Next year he plans to open shops in London and Moscow.

(New York jewellers Verdura and Seaman Schepps have the same strategy. Verdura does not even have a street level boutique)

And finally, he uses precious stones in an irreverent yet very stylish way. Don't you find it so outdated to see someone wearing diamonds in a manner so precious (usually at weddings) looking like she spent all her money on her diamond choker while her dress (usually in cheap chiffon) comes from some local made to order designer? Or off the rack bridge?

Or carrying a Birkin but wearing a knock-off Marc Jacobs dress from the stalls in Causeway Bay?

And shoes from Admiralty? Don't even get me started!

I HATE THAT LOOK.

Nothing screams 'Third World fashion'/office girl look more than that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

MARRIAGES-not what they seem?

When I read the review of this book early this year, I bought it immediately but did not start reading it until two nights ago. It sat on my guest bedroom night stand together with a book by the Seventh Dalai Lama, another on death and reincarnation, two books on communicating with animals and a Verdura tome (and 'Essentials" brochure--as if!) whose contents I can only dream about.

As you can see, this little book of less than 200 pages could easily get lost among the other more exciting books. But then something happened on my way to pull out my Lanvin coat in the guest bedroom....

This is one of DA BEST books that I have ever read. The story of a husband being gay is not unusual but the time (the Fifties) and the race (black) of the main characters make the story most unusual. But there's MORE.....Don't you already love it???

This quote from the book jacket (unlike Alicia Santos-Daniels, I QUOTE, not plagiarize) summarizes the journey of this great read that kept me up till 3AM last night:

"......It is written in prose that makes you want to slow the book down and read passages over agian, but it also has a plot that makes you want to race ahead and stay up all night until you know what happens in the end.' -Colm Toibin, author of The Master

I don't think I will ever be able to write as sharply as Andrew Sean Greer.

The book itself did not make me cry.

But it did made me think and my thoughts made me cry.

For anyone who ever wondered "Why did he/she do it?" (and haven't we all? Especially me the social detective!!!) , I highly recommend this book. (of course, the book doesn't answer the question but explores why these things can't be answered)


Friday, September 12, 2008

WE'VE BEEN HAD!! (well, sort of)


James Harding is the editor of The (London) Times who has written this book on the American political PR company Sawyer Miller. This company has been the driving force behind international elections and the image making/smearing, crisis and control PR of Shimon Peres in Israel, Kim Dae-Jung in South Korea, Lech Wales in Poland AND the Philippines very own CORAZON AQUINO. Big time!
One of the issues of "The Week" wrote:
The firm sought fledgling democracies where they could teach candidates their tricks of the electoral trade. THEIR GREATEST TRIUMPH CAME IN THE PHILIPPINES, WHERE THEY HELPED CORY AQUINO UNSEAT THE MARCOS REGIME IN 1986. TACTICS INCLUDED ADVISING AQUINO TO WEAR YELLOW SO THAT CROWDS COULD SHOW THEIR SUPPORT BY WEARING THE SAME COLOUR, AND PRE-EMPTING MARCOS' ATTEMPT TO RIG THE VOTE BY TAKING A CRUDE EXIT POLL AND DECLARING VICTORY."
Howzzat boys and girls and gheys? Don't you just feel tricked by the 'woman you love?", the same selfless widowed heroine who ALLEGEDLY was praying under her bed? Maybe Sawyer Miller wasn't returning her calls fast enough that day.
In fairness, we all know Marcos would have cheated in that election anyway. It's 'would have' because now we know there was a 'crude exit poll' which could have been right to begin with.
The fashionista in me nevah wears a color that doesn't suit me so I was never part of the yellow-wearing brigade which was also the same color of street sweepers during Marcos' regime. Ailing brands like Dooney and Burke and Etienne Aigner should hire these people to wean the public off their tarnished images. Rallies are also not my thing because I hate being in the heat.
That's it for me and politics. I leave the rest to Donia Victorina and Gorrell.
On a more exciting note, shall we play the Baby Momma game before the weekend?
Aren't you guy DYING to know who the Baby Daddy is?
WHELLL----I can only speculate but..... Guessing game lang ito, ha?? MAAYYY-BEEE, bay-beee. Oh like the film "Maybe Baby."
Give me a B-N-O but it's not Bang and Olufsen.
He is a sugar daddy who really made his money in sugar and not Equal (that, and being a Marcos crony) . Yes, Milly, some sugar daddys can really be naturally sweet!
And finally, he could be a Benedictine but judging from the existence of a child, potentially not a monk! Oh--I take that back because in the Spanish Times friars did father children.
As Dr. Jose Rizal said, "Adios mi patria amor!"
As our friends of the late Chikatime would say, "Yan Lang Pow!"
Have a spectacular weekend, step out in your best Plains and Prints or Folded and Hung and don't choke on the Andok's.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Take the bullies by the horns

Isn't this a great image? (Spoiled by poor photography)
It's an ad that I saw on the tube for stonewall.com, an organization that fights homosexual bullying....
Hard to believe that exists in England.

What did I miss?


It will probably be hard for you-s to believe that I am NOT a fan of Sex and the City. Not the TV series. Not the movie. If a script is merely as quick as I am, then I feel I have wasted my time. If a show is not aspirational enough (ie I have lived it, am living it or may live it in the next few months), I am not interested.


Truthfully, I only watch SATC at the dentist only because the other choice is Lion King. If it was Rock n Rolla.....Then I wouldn't be at the dentist, would I?


Why be interested in what you already have had?


WHELL..boys and girls and gheys, I only saw SATC last night, with no sound and with Chinese subtitles. For blockbuster fluffy films, the cheapo in me always feels that I should wait to see them on the plane so I get to see them 'for free!" (Look what it got me!)


Let me 'splain why I ended up having to strain my eyes between reading Chinese characters and looking at the clothes which looked like Cher and Diana Ross concert cast-offs.


The entertainment system in my 'cabin' did not work. Never mind that you can have four pillows, that they can prepare eggs to your taste (yes! like freshly fried or scrambled), that they can make your bed and make you lie in it....There was every conceivable service and comfort but entertainment. At least for me.


Thank God I still had my eyesight after the film so I could stare at the walls...(No, I read!!)


I complain about airlines because I hate being faced with unpleasant surprises such as in the HKG-LDN sector where one of the engines caught fire and we turned back. (CX, however, was very efficient and we were delayed only two hours)


Now this.


Perhaps I should adapt the attitude of one of my friends who often takes PAL> He says, "With PAL you expect the worst so when you get something--ANYTHING--- good, it's a bonus." Well, before, with PAL, if you arrived at all, they were doing you a favor. Then if you were a day late, that was service. These days you line up for tickets like Bryan Boy did until he figured he should have just gotten in line for the Madonna concert. It was shorter.


Probably because I was angry that I couldn't see SATC in its original language, I started to notice flaws in the film. First of course were the clothes which I hated and which only seemed to scream, "I have no intention of looking attractive in these clothes except to homosexuals."


Now for my questions:

1) Doesn't Mr Big have ANY friends?

2) If he was so rich, why did he make Carrie pack and crate everything herself?

3) If Carrie was so fab, why did she have a pink floral terry tea towel from Mongkok in her house? (Samantha used it to hold champagne in the scene above) Could it be Cath Kidston?


Now for what I loved:

1) all the wedding dresses especially the Lanvin pleated one

2) Miranda's Norma Kamali red swimsuit and the Escada leather multi-colored mosaic woven beach bag (I thought of waiting for the sale last season but I guess I forgot to follow-up)

3) Carrie's fluffly bomber in the reuniting scene with Mr Big--Valentino??

4) Samantha's kimono when she was preparing sushi---Etro?


Since we are on the topic of fashion.....

I was at Alexander McQueen on Old Bond Street on Monday and the stuff was absolutely beautiful. I wish I could have bought everything in the store even if I will never lead a fabulous life.


Clearly the credit crunch has not hit his end of the market because on Monday the place was full of people (and their dogs) with some women asking, "Is everything in?", "Do you remember

what I signed up for this season?"



Well, the only thing I've signed up for is vaccinations for India. YYHHUUCK!!!


There was a long black column with a throwback scarf with gold facing perfect for my book party when I hit the NYTimes bestseller list.


There was a strapless paisley gown that would be perfect for my book signing at Elton's country house.


There was an over the top gold and red matador jacket perfect for ANY DAY!! And more jackets to go with everything!


Hahahaha!!!


OOHH--and a little bird in pegged trousers told me that my favourite bootmaker Georgina Goodman 'consults'---read supplies--- for the shoe lines of Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen (whose boutique is right across hers also on Old Bond Street).


A sad day for a fashionista. I had to pass on a black top from Givenchy that drowned me in ruffles because my husband (he of the "7000 euros? Is it made of gold?" school of birkin) said I looked like a Victorian widow. I think that IS the LOOK!


I guess I will have to wait for the sales and wear it only in the company of homosexuals.


Thank God he didn't come with me to the Barbican to see House of Viktor and Rolf (until 21 Sept) or he'll be totally creeped out by conceptualism. It was just too fab for words.




Tuesday, September 9, 2008

SOON AT A CINEMA NEAR YOU-S

Last night I saw the new Guy Ritchie film, "Rock and Rolla." Un-be-fuckin-believably good fun!
The premiere was sometime last week around the corner from my hotel but since I wasn't invited, I watched the interviews and red carpet footage live ...from my hotel room!!! Mr Madonna seems like a really nice guy! He doesn't even 'own' a car, preferring to get around by bike.

I LOVE THIS FILM---it's stylish (especially the lighting and opening credits), snappy, snide and simply swell because it is rude about everything from immigrants to homosexuals, no one is spared!
I usually watch Guy Ritchie movies on DVD with subtitles because I can never understand what they are saying (Cockney, the language of da British 'hood)
But this time, since I was seeing the film in an English-speaking country, I had to see it without subtitles but I guess I didn't really miss anything since everything started and ended in "fuck."

These days I find it hard to see a film on an uncluttered screen. You kids should go to the opera in HK--there are so many subtitles that the libretto is not projected on top of the stage but on the side in English, Chinese and Italian. It's like attending an auction where worldwide currencies come on the monitor.

Some great, new phrases I learned that DO NOT include the word FUCK:
sausages and beans (men's private parts)-apparently this is an old term accdg to my husband who studied Latin
a week in the snow - a week's worth of cocaine. I think Celine would have learned that here in London
Virginia killer sticks - this is the BEST! (for the under 25s, this is from Virginia Slims which was a cigarette brand marketed to women in the 70s--NOT in THEIR 70s!)

The bonus: Ari Gold from Entourage is in it as a rocker's manager, Stringer Bell (from the Wire) plays a thief--what else? and Super Hands (from UK's Peep Show) plays a drug dealer because he looks like one to begin with.

Although there is NO REAL story and it seemed like Guy Ritchie had to end the film fast before Madonna got home, it is a joy to watch because of the script, relationships (Thandie Newton's accountant character married to a gay lawyer) and characters (Roman Abromovich, anyone? and Russian goons).

Oh and I highly recommend career girls to see this and observe Thandie Newton's YSL-ish wardrobe so you girls can get inspiration and get some power dressing tips and STOP looking like oficinistas in P(l)ains and Prints.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

DA BABY MOMMA IS DA BOMB!!!!!


Now ain't Papa Brian DA MAN??? He really da man to break da baby momma story.
There's LOTS more where that came from, kids...ay--boys and girls..ay gheys...ay babies..ay mali!!!

Now a little about me and the baby momma's assertion that I am unhappy because I have no children unlike my more (re)productive relatives.
Unfortunately since da baby momma ain't in my inner circle, she does not know that I NEVER EVER WANTED TO HAVE CHILDREN. Just sex. Lots of it.
I disliked children from the time I was able to walk.
And unfortunately for da baby momma, she also had sex (perhaps a little too early and too suddenly not to think about birth control) and had a baby she probably (just MAY-BE) did not want to keep. I'm telling ya..being swept off your feet and into the bed only results in something you wanna sweep UNDER the bed.
At least I KEEP ALL MY DOGS in a manner only humans can be accustomed to!
I have to mention before the baby momma does, that I also had deer, owls, canaries, parakeets, a myna, a duck and an eagle in a past life.
YEP! My life is a real ZOO!

On a more continental European note, I was in Paris for the day and boy was it DIRTY!! If ever I go, I ain't evah getting down from the car!! Lanvin, Maria Luisa and Isabel Marant, come to (baby) momma....

Don't get me wrong. Paris is absolutely beautiful. I realized that Paris is truly feminine and London is its masculine counterpart. Just don't get out of votre voiture in Paris. Rome is merely an aging uncle that is starting to smell...

The Gard du Nord looked like a prison. When I held my ticket, I was expecting my name to be called next for the guillotine. Instead my name was called for a dry tuna sandwich at AutoGrill--gross!!!

So you can imagine how I LOVED the newly remodelled St Pancras station (see photo above) in Boris Johnson's London (ka-boarding eskwela of my husband). It looks like a mall/hotel and get this---the Eurostar arrivals had wood floors. They have Pain au Quotidien, the Belgian rustic restaurant chain sweeping Europe (there is a very charming outlet with a garden in West Hollywood).

I've been seeing such great improvements in London in the last two years ---T5, John Lewis and the Connaught now have airconditioning, the Savoy is getting a beautiful face lift and now this....

The former colonies are great, too--HK is always fab and Sydney has a drop dead beautiful Marc Newson first class lounge and Qantas is looking very spiffy down to their toilet kit with Korner beauty products and designer uniforms.
Okay--Cathay's free stuff are HORRIBLE!! The first class bag is from Ipanema looks like an African school project but the contents are Darphin (v good). The Business Class bag is nice--agnes b. with Murad or Dermalogica depending on the route (inbound or outbound--or rebound)
Don't get me started on the Shanghai Tang pajamas because I think CX does not know that Mao has already left the building with Elvis, Dodi and Diana and John Lennon.

O--shia--I better get going and start gathering all the news not fit to print....
And why was Mo Twister bullied by the Gucci Gang (uso pa ba ang Gucci dapat mag-Vanessa Bruno or Comptoir des Cotonniers na kayo, ha...Cheaper pa! ?)??? Don't they do enough bullying online?
Just asking......
Yan lang pow....