One oddity of living in the Philippines is that if there is a crank or ne’er do well wandering the face of the earth there is a pretty good chance he or she will end up here sooner or later. Such has been the fate of probably the greatest chess player of the 20th century, Bobby Fischer, who was arrested last week on his way to Manila.
Other recent high profile oddities identified recently in the archipelago of the strange have included Elf Aquitaine “bag man” Alfred Sirven (who washed down his cellphone SIM card with a glass of white wine when he was arrested – ah les francais, always true to type). Just as well old Saddam was picked up before he left the country, otherwise he’d have been sipping a cold San Miguel sooner or later.
The decline of Bobby is really sad though. For you young ‘uns who missed the “chess match of the century”, it is almost impossible to convey the significance of his 1972 victory over Boris Spassky. As I recall, this symbolic battle between the superpowers was on the TV news every night. How bizarre then to find to find this spearhead of the “free world” commenting on Philippine radio on the 9/11 attacks:
"This is all wonderful news," he raved. "I applaud the act. The US and Israel have been slaughtering the Palestinians, just slaughtering them, for years. Robbing them and slaughtering them. Nobody gave a shit. Now it's coming back to the US. Fuck the US. I want to see the US wiped out. Death to the US."