Getting over Glenda
It’s not often that you are expected to attend a show in a typhoon. Even less often are you expected to write a show daily in the eye of the tempest, but last week that is just what I did.
For the first time in some 15 years the Philippines has held a defence and security exhibition as the country’s government looks to bolster its defences not only against possible external threats but against mother nature itself. So in many ways Typhoon Glenda (or Rammasun to all those not in the archipelago nation), which was the first to hit Manila in eight years, was a fitting tribute to some of those aims.
It is also the first and last time that I let an Irishman persuade me to walk through the streets in the midst of gusts of wind that were at times more than 125mph. One particularly fun moment came when I caught a detached electricity cable swinging towards me from the corner of my eye.
However, despite the need to close the exhibition on the first day for safety reasons, it was clear that there is business to be done in the country. Opening the exhibition on 17 July to a revised schedule, President Benigno Aquino was keen to stress how his government had halted the slide in capabilities of the Philippines armed forces and released an estimated P40 billion to modernise and upgrade the capabilities of the military in the last four years. Neither is the spending at an end with exhibitors vying for a range of outstanding requirements.
Sometimes they had to do that vying in the dark as the instability in the power grid after the storm and problems with the World Trade Center’s generator caused a few blackouts. But the high level Philippines delegations took all that in their stride.
Despite those setbacks most of the exhibitors seemed to have been pretty happy they attended. They saw the people they needed to see and they got a good understanding of the remaining requirements. The cheap beer and the smiling welcome of the Filipinos themselves also probably helped.
But back to the typhoon. I can safely say that having now written and published a show daily in a raging storm it’s a bit of an extreme sport, and miles more interesting than those pansy complaints by some show dailies when their chalet might get just a little bit flooded at the odd air show.
Chalk one more down to experience here at Shephard Towers.