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March 21, 2006



didn't realise we pinoys had so much in common with the poms, haha. Wonder what the Philippines would be like today had the Brits stuck it out here (the brits held court in the philippines for a couple of years back in the 18th century, didn't they?).


Fix the trains first. Then maybe I'll believe that Brits are capable of managing grand construction projects and mass events.


Gonzo -- I've often thought about that. You'd be playing cricket for a start. I guess the broad outlines of 20th century Philippine history would have been the same if Britain rather than America had been the colonial power though. Japan would still have invaded (as it did the British colonies of Malaya and Burma). However, I guess there would have been important cultural and political differences. The Philippines would have inherited a parliamentary democracy (the very kind de Venecia is encouraging now). The links with Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia would have stronger (as the elites would have been educated together in the UK). The pubs would be better. You're right, it's an interesting "what if" question.

Carla -- Ha, ha. I thought you might say that. Actually the appalling state of the railways illustrates the three points I am making quite well. (i) The Brits have just given up on the railways, whereas the French recognize that their clean, fast and efficient system adds great prestige to their country. (ii) Ever since Major privatized the railways, successive Tory and Labour transport ministers have tried to convince a sceptical travelling public that a solution to their woes lies around the next bend. (iii) And of course the Railtrack fiasco is the ultimate public--private disaster.


Do you really think that the French have more national pride? Tsk, tsk. Very unpatriotic of you, haha. Yes, the Metro and the TGV are excellent, can't help but compare. (China's got the mag-lev, how cool is that?) Then again, the roof of one of the terminals at the Charles de Gaulle airport collapsed a couple of years ago, killing a Chinese tourist, didn't it?

Latest train (actually, tube) horror story: I was in London when the damned thing just stopped about 3 stations away from my destination. They just told us to get off, no explanations whatsoever.

A few weeks later, I heard that railway staff wanted to strike for better pay. Better pay?! For late trains and lousy service?! Pantranco buses are more punctual and they don't throw you out before you reach your destination! And they don't cost £128 for a 2.5 hour ride (the original price quoted at me when I tried to book my tickets at certain times of the day). Olympics 2012, hmp.


Carla -- This one's for you.



Bwahaha! (That's hysterical laughter for Pinoys.) Thanks, I got a laugh from that after yet another horrible tube experience just last night.

Same story: Northern line again, train stopped two stations short of my destination. They said service would resume, so we all waited around for about 15 minutes, after which they announced that service was suspended for good. And the icing on the effing cake: the tube people could NOT tell me which bus to take! Which is how I found myself wandering around north London at 11 pm. Wished I had a bazooka, I really did.


When I lived in London the Northern line was called the Misery Line. I see nothing has changed.

Graham Earnshaw

The mob rules France. They cannot pass any important labour legislation in Paris without strikes and social disruption. They lack the courage or the political will to change their society or government. No French Margaret Thatcher will emerge to save them only posturing peacocks like Chirac and De Villepin. Paris is a backwater compared to London, the most international city in the world. But the Northern Line could do with improvement, I agree.

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