Tuesday, July 29, 2014


From October 1972 through until June 1975 I served an extended tour in Singapore.   During that time and for reasons still unknown to me I was made Military Assistant to the Minister of Defence who, by dint of circumstance, was also the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Arthur Faulkner was old style Labour in the MJS tradition.   He had been a fighter pilot in WW2 and was a Past President of the Labour Party.    AF was easy to work for and treated me well.    I had considerable respect for him and his abilities.

And so it was on one of our trips away that we ended up in Manila as official Guests of the Philippine Government where AF was to 'turn the sod' on our about to be constructed Embassy building.     Midway during the visit we were guests of honour at a formal dinner at the Malacanang Palace hosted by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.   It was a glittering occasion with 200 or so of the Government elite filling the room along with the NZL delegation of 6 sans me bringing up the rear.    We were told there would be 'entertainment' provided during the course of the meal.

The entertainment started straight after the entree.   There was silence in the room as Imelda stood up and launched into a rendition of 'Home on the Range'.  Now, one of my favourite TV programmes was/is 'Allo 'Allo and devotees of that series will well recall the ability of Madam Edith to charm her patrons with song.   I have to report that Imelda could not hold a candle to Madam Edith.    More remarkable was to see 200 of the Philippine elite stand up (some on their chairs) and applaud like their lives depended on it (probably did) and call for more.

And there was.  One more then and two after the main course and again before dessert including a remarkable 'I'm dreaming of a White Christmas' and each time the audience cheered wildly and again called for more.    Protocol dictated that the Minister and the Ambassador should clap politely.   All Derek Round (NZPA journalist attached to our party) and I did was to put up our hands and beckon a wine waiter for refills of some very average wine.    It was a very long and certainly unforgettable night.

I think that after forty years it is probably safe to tell that particular story.   No, I was not invited into her bedroom to see her shoes.  


Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Those old time Labour identities must be turning in their graves as they watch their party destroy itself.

The Realist. said...

Did any of your part get pissed perchance?