Friday, October 22, 2010

STARTING OVER

TOKYO---Do you know what made me feel young again? (You'll never guess because I never expected it either!!)

A small flat in the middle of town.

I saw a real estate ad for an 825 sq ft NYC flat in the west 50s off the park and thought about how our tiny dog flat in Hong Kong had made me young again.
(A Manhattan flat will not hurt either!!)

I spent a few weeks in our completed dog flat in Hong Kong and perhaps because of the location and size, it has made me feel like a kid out of university. We really bought this place for the dogs and maids to live in while we spend time in Japan. Of course they had to give me a room!

I used to live in a flat three times its size in Repluse Bay where we faced the ocean and were surrounded by mountains and greenery. Had to take a taxi everywhere which is not bad considering a 20 minute taxi ride in HK is 'long."

I now take the bus to Central, which takes about 10 mins, because ít stops in front of our building. There are so many shops and restaurants on my street that I don't really need to leave my 'hood except to go to yoga, shop at Dries, Roger Vivier and Rick Owens. (More reasons to overfill my already tiny, cramped closets in the dog flat)

The great thing about 'playing house and pretending to be young" (take note PRETEND) is that I can still come home to dogs that have been walked, fed and brushed plus have home cooked meals that I don't have to prepare myself because I hate cooking.

Of course the cost of a flat will drain your bank account so not only will you feel young, you'll be broke which is just like it was when you were young!!

When I start feeling old in Tokyo and there is the tendency feel that way because everyone IS OLD and so polite, I can always decamp to Hong Kong. And when I feel Hong Kong is too uncivilised and dirty, I can always come back to Tokyo where garbage trucks are so clean they can be pale blue and garbage collectors wear matching jumpsuits (yes!! pale blue---amidst all that garbage!!)

Perhaps when we leave Tokyo a small flat in town would continue to keep me young...
*************************************************************************************
The Japanese lesson that has left me speechless:
It is not enough for Chinese and Japanese to have articles like 'the'' ,'"a"or ""an"". They have to make learning their language so difficult there are modifiers/measure words for everything from dogs, sheep, shoes, houses, cars, trees, people, etc...

RO-PON(G)-GI simply translates as 6 trees. PON is the measure word for anything long (trees, pens, ties, sticks, bottles) which does not exist in Anglo-Saxon and Romance languages (if you think un, une, den, der, dem is bad enough...)

The thing with Japanese, is the answer has nothing to do with the question. This is where Lost in Translation plays a bigger part than Suntory did in the movie.

Q: Nan (how many)----biki (measure word for 'smore animars)? (dogs and cats)
A: Everything from piki to hiki but only one ends in biki.

Q: Nan--bon (the ófficial' measure word for long things--see Roponggi example above)
A: Everything from PON to HON but only one bon.

Q: Nan ---ba (measure word for 'smore birlds"")
A: Wa, Pa but not Ba.

So I asked my tutor if there was an easier way to learn this system.
"Äh..that is Japanese counting. So answer is no."

The money is also so difficult to phrase (aside from count!) that the Bank of Japan is probably still counting money from the 80s. I'm afraid that they will find out that there will not be enough for everyone to buy a Chanel bag.

Monday, October 18, 2010

THE LONG AND THE SNORT OF IT


TOKYO --- In the last few years, American fashion has seen the rise of young designers from the Chinese-American community:
Jason Wu who created Michelle Obama's inaugural gown which was so frothy that you didn't know whether she was wearing the White House's ration of whipped cream or was going to the prom.
Alexander Wang who has smartly divided his business into main line ready-to-wear and a tee shirt line, T by Alexander Wang without diluting his brand.
And oh yes...there is one more known for....
uuhh..uhh...I have one of his jackets...spending his nights snorting coke and downing champagne till 6AM in Beijing that he didn't show up for media interviews?
Not a good look considering he's not exactly an established fashion superstar.
Might be time to look at the P n L statements.....
In the lines of 'The dog ate my homework," I saved Part 4's further credit scamming info in my other computer which is in the Hong Kong doghouse. I'll have to search through my emails or it will have to wait until I get back to Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, I leave you with this wonderful quote by Auberon Waugh in defense of notorious UK gossip columnist Nigel Dempster:
"If, as a famous person, you are in the habit of doing things which would make you ashamed if they were more widely known, then you have a clear choice. Change your habits, change your attitude to them or retreat from the public stage. The other course of action is to cross your fingers and hope Nigel Dempster never finds out."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

TOKYO--I saw this hilarous film on the plane from Hong Kong. I don't really like the very bourgeois subject matter of kids 'learning to embrace life'" before they even move out of the house. In fact, I hate anything that has to do with émbracing life'" such as Eat, Pray, Gag.
(I think I enjoy mine too much to look for something better)

Do you really have to go to India and not stay at the Imperial?

I also hate anything having to do with cheap travel, dirt and ugly clothes, all of which Eat,Pray, Gag and Cemetery Junction have. A Single Man this is not. But I LOVED Cemetery Junction because of the dialogue and how an otherwise bourgeois idea usually for sappy rom-coms turned into something funny and honest.

The film is directed by Ricky Gervais and written with Stephen Merchant--great British music from the 70s and because it is a 'period' film, it makes a great opportunity to be politically incorrect-- smoking, drinking, racial, social and sexual prejudice ---which makes great dialogue.

"....think about pulling all the foreign birds. They won't understand a word you're saying..."

"Why would I want to go to Africa? It's full of black people...""

"French eat snails, horses, etc.The only thing they won't put in their mouths is a toothbrush."

It is far from the Mad Men screenplay which is not accurate to the times and (I am convinced)was created only for booze and cigarette sponsorship and for retail advertising catering to fat-ish, anti-fashion figures who need Spanx. In other words, the moderate missy market who think that the size 12-16-girls Dove commercials are aspirational.

If you don't aspire to a size zero, what future do you have with Alaia? OMG!! Life without Alaia?? Bury me in Lanvin!

If you want accurate dialogue and costumes, watch Julian Fellowes'' Downton Abbey, Cranford or Lark Rise to Candleford. If you want stupidity, watch Gervais' and Merchant's new TV series Än Idiot Goes Abroad." Hilarious even to those not well-travelled.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

ABOUT A BBBOY 3 (of MAY-BE 4)

Whose wallet is this? Is it possible for a Philippine resident with no net worth to acquire all these cards? (Just asking...)

I didn't think there was going to be so much material on this one lousy tip. This is what happens when research is involved. I know some people think it's better to be a fool than a cheat but I wouldn't want to be either.


For a few months, this extremely lively anonymous gossip site was the daily guilty pleasure of many people from the Philippines. I loved it, everyone I knew loved it and you would have loved it until you became a target of humiliation and Perez Hilton-pilfered scrawls and robotic, computerized moves.
But the joy of bitching came to an acrimonious end when one minor local stylist challenged chikatime's identity on her blog and another local Philippine site http://www.donavictorina.blogspot.com/ blew his cover. Politicians, socialites and celebrities all wanted to sue him (maybe they did!).

Before this identity crisis, anyone who had an axe to grind with anyone went to chikatime and got their story published. One source downloaded everything on the Boy connecting him to credit card reports and scams and turned over all this evidence to chikatime not knowing he WAS chikatime!!

I can only compare this to turning over photos of Anna Wintour on a bad hair day and trying to get them uploaded on style.com. Needless to say it was over between the Boy and the Scout before you could even swipe your Visa. I'm sure the paperwork was not recycled. It's probably locked up somewhere like in the prison next door to his house.

BRAND IDENTITY
You have to start somewhere SOOO....
Like Darwin's theory it had to start down under at Australian Fashion Week where his plane ticket (business class, I believe) was paid for by another blogger who was already broke yet still got blackmailed. I wish I knew how to take advantage of people like that.

At that time, I remember telling the Boy that doing this particular fashion week would be good for his profile and 'worth the expense' but I didn't think he would do it at the expense of someone else!!

In between fashion weeks, parties and sweetie-dahhlinks there was the odd 'I forgot my wallet can you lend me 20 bucks' or 'I got pick pocketed can you lend me a 100'--and I'll wire you the money. But a) the money either never came, b) check bounced and he never spoke to lender again.
BUT he still seemed to be able to 'get around.'

Many are wondering..How does he manage to travel so much now?

(Credit cards only get you so far--maybe that's why he has card albums full of them?? He himself claims that 'you can only use stolen cards once or twice..." Aha--so THAT'S the secret!!)

For someone who knows the fashion media, the answer is easy. The brands pay. Getting to every party, every show, every event is paid for by brands and PR companies if they are guaranteed exposure. You can even luxury hotel-hop on brand expense accounts. This does not happen only for fashion but in the watch and jewelery sector where they do Paris, Basel and Geneva.

But remember the Boy had to do all of the above before he got to this point where he is today.

(Have you had a Balenciaga charge today?)

Check out this link and put your Barbara Kaminski straw hat on:

Let's say Dior flies you to Paris first or business class and puts you up at Le Bristol. LV will call and say you can come to the show and they'll move you to Crillon. Or some PR company/group will cover your plane fare and hotel and ask you to attend all the shows of its clients. All food and parties are also fully paid for. Then there are the free clothes and the heavily discounted items. As in HEAVILY. I have bought things selling at retail for USD 10-20,000 for a mere USD 1-3,000.

The beauty of this arrangement is that not only do you get to fly for free but you accrue air miles which you can then use for your personal travel. A round trip from Asia to Europe or America gets you a free flight within Asia. So it is really not impossible for a working and travelling couple to take their entire family (plus servants) on summer and ski vacations AND hang in the first class lounge. My vote goes to the one by Marc Newson for Qantas in the Sydney airport. Beautiful Oz light and looks like a hotel lobby.

I met some netrepreneurs who told me that it is virtually impossible to generate any advertising revenue through blogs because they are merely 'single pages.' Advertising is profitable only via online media where they have multiple pages. Real money, of course is made through merchant websites or 'aggregates,' that is, links between merchants and consumers.

There is also talk that being very tech-savvy, he manipulates the number of hits on his website. But what do I know? I'm merely a messenger.

I'm still trying to figure out whether or not and how to break Part 4 to ya because I have some images and screen shots that I can't use due to copyright laws.

I'm not looking for anyone to believe me but no one believed Harry Markopolos, either.

To those who wonder if I am jealous, I suggest you find out more about me. While I don't like to discuss my lifestyle (and parade my closet and travels) publicly, you can always call me and I'll tell you what my life (as a bitch) is like. I MIGHT tell you what skeletons I have in my closet/s. Very likely clothes from the days when I was as thin as a skeleton.

You can also ask my friends. Or my enemies.

Why, you COULD even ask the Boy himself. He'll tell ya!
























ABOUT A BBBOY 2 of 3

Don't you wonder where people REALLY get their money? (I DO!) Because there seems to be a hell of a lot sloshing around. To this day, some money comes from work, marriage, inheritance and/or investments. Lately it seems to be credit (good, bad or lose your house Uggly) and the reliable-as-long-as-you-don't-get-caught scamming.

I'm not saying every blogger is into scamming, okay. Just some. Okay, maybe ONE.

IN THE BEGINNING....

Knowing what you know now about The Boy's living conditions (and by no means do I look down on him for this), let me take you back several years (circa 2003-2008?) before Dolce and Marc came calling.

He set up an online travel agency which has since been de-listed by IATA. At around this time he did single trips to New York (where he stayed with a criminally not sexually handcuffed Marc Jacobs staffer), China (Great Wall), France (LV, Eiffel), Russia, wherever!

(Not very much travel in my opinion. I know people who travel long haul and/or 6-8 hour trips every other week)

He could have done this with his travel agency or he could have done this at the expense of clients of his then-agency. (There was a time when online and phone sales at Saks and Amazon were flagged because customer cards were compromised. It happens to the best of us)

According to www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/creditcard.asp, credit fraud is very easy to do. All you need is a phone (to harrass people with) and a computer with internet connection (the better to 'harvest' emails and credit and identity info with, my dear..). I can't tell you more but you can go on snopes.com then give me the one-page executive summary.

And everyone knows hackers are based in third world countries in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe but cards scammed are from developed countries where credit lines are larger.

PROJECT RUN-AWAY

A style spy said that after the taping of Philippine Project Runway, he invited a designer and two models to an upmarket local restaurant and proceeded to order several bottles of wine which the Philippine production company was not prepared to pay for since they ain't NBC. The Boy stuck them with a bill of close to USD 1,000 which was a fierce bill to swallow even for the wealthy and especially bitter if you were planing on buying fierce Givenchy heels. It must have been a slow day for credit scamming.

The network sent him marching in Crocs after that.

When he was a little known blogger, he flew three members of the Philippine media to HK in exchange for a spread in the country's biggest paper. They were put up in a boutique hotel and he went on a major shopping spree which included a new Birkin.

He used a credit card to pay for it.

It didn't bear his name.

Thank Gawd it didn't bear mine, either.
Yours, perhaps?

YOU'VE GOT MAIL!!!...from India.

Then there was, as one source said, "..all that mail from India..."
They certainly weren't invites to the Taj Mahal, I can tell you that.
Project Runway India, perhaps?

LET'S SHOP!!!
Despite his living conditions, he always managed to stay in the best hotels, paid for expensive meals and booze (except in the case of Project Run-Away). Meanwhile, he was extremely rude to people who were recipients of his 'largesse.' It was as if his ill-gotten generosity warranted him some kind of subservience from his then-friends.

One of my sources who travelled with him unearthed (take note, BY MISTAKE!!) a clear card book full of credit cards from various institutions issued under different names. I, meanwhile, noticed that his cards were not from first tier institutions like HSBC, American Express, etc. and what I saw were all from state-run American banks.

The source who went shopping with him noted that shopping was done as soon as boutiques opened and the whole spree would be over before noon. I have no logical reason behind this practice but I can guess. MANY GUESSES.

I do have a question which I pose to you discerning readers: How can a Philippine resident with no net worth acquire so many American credit cards?

May I introduce you to one Albert Gonzalez (please be my guest at Google and Wikipedia), a Cuban national of modest means who threw himself a USD 75,000 birthday party, had 15 credit cards and btw was the biggest fish in the ocean of credit fraud?

I'm telling you, I'm in the wrong business. There's no business like fraud business.

Later this week (if I get so frustrated because they don't have my size at Dries) ...Find out how anonymity bred animosity and how he really sweats glitter NOW.

Don't worry kids, the answer to all your questions in Part I will soon be answered!

Baboosh!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

About a BBBoy

No one wants to be seen as a poor judge of character so why didn't anyone in the fashion media bother to research? We are lucky to live in a time when Google has replaced the Dewey Decimal System yet when someone from the fashionable set (Marc Jacobs, are you there?) deems someone or something cool, no one checks.

The fashion pack is indeed a herd. Take the shearling aviator jacket this season--an 'investment buy' even if it makes you look like Quasimodo in an Elizabethan collar made of carpet remnants.

Enough ranting. Now for my story....

Before this fashion blogger from the Philippines was hosted by fashion brands and had a Marc Jacobs bag named after him, he had to position himself in cyberspace society and shop until his friends dropped him.

Like Bernie Madoff and Ken Starr, he used other people's money. Maybe he still does!!!

Like many of us, the Boy doesn't carry cash and always uses credit cards but the cards are not (quite) his. They could be yours, though.
He manages to use numerous credit cards under different names and has even blackmailed someone into paying for his first trip to Australian Fashion Week because the organizers weren't willing to fork over the cost for him to go down under.

He is a member of creditboards.com, a site for people with bad credit or those who want to acquire credit without collateral or a job. Or rich parents. He was active in one forum on "Getting a Sears credit card..." Last time I checked, there ain't no Lanvin at Sears. Maybe HnM.

Like Bernie Madoff and Ken Starr at the height of their popularity and wealth, he is sought after.

BBbbut things didn't start off that way...
He anonymously started a local Philippine gossip site called chikatime.com, got caught and had to close it down due to insistent public demand, insults and lawsuits that were hurled at him. Also "due to insistent public demand," Nokia pulled out of an advertising campaign. He was removed from the Philippine edition of Project Runway before its first season was ovah!

If that's not last season enough....

Unlike Bernie Madoff and Ken Starr, he is not smart enough to manipulate funds to finance multiple homes, yachts, art, jewels and dodgy investments. He merely spends on bags, shoes and incidental travel. Okay, small time. (If you steal, wouldn't you have to steal big 'because you're worth it?" How you gonna "sweat glitter?")

You would think he would want a lot more because of where he came from. I guess his Momma didn't teach him that you have to reach for the moon because if you miss it, at least you'll end up with stars.
(Mind you, I admire people who have no education and manage to go from rags to riches through hard work and not credit card scamming. After all, it is the success story of many immigrant familes)

He may have Globe Trotter luggage but a globe trotter and fashion connoisseur he is not.

His family is so far from rich that they not only live in the outskirts of Manila but in one of the poorest outskirts of the Philippine capital--think close to homeless, probably without a proper address. The Philippines is 80% poor and he falls into that category. And this is not 'a good look.'

The Boy is so poor that he lives in a shack made of aluminum siding (if it has not been washed away by recent floods) near the national maximum security prison.

His sister was so happy when she got an internship at a local radio station because they had a food allowance. Apparently, in their household, they have no money for food.

But they have LOTS of handbags. So how does he finance la vida nada?

Wait for my next post.

Baboosh!