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Bramovich: Caveat emptor, gentlemen

After waking up this morning, sitting down at my computer with a cup of coffee and seeing yet another accusatory expatriate stoush occurring in one of the myriad Facebook groups where keyboard warriors type before they think, I came up with an idea for a column.

The particular vitriolic rant to which I’m referring culminated in at least three butt-hurt retirees throwing their toys out their cot. Doing the usual thing that people do in situations like this and first announcing to the 100s of other keyboard bashers watching the fight that they had the hump and were leaving the group. A threat they then made good on (remember the kid at school that nobody liked anyway who used to do things like that when he wasn’t getting his way?)

The way many expats in the Philippines seem to view signing in to their Facebook account

As I gingerly meandered deeper into my News Feed the brawl continued. With blows being traded like “I’ll sue you for libel” and a few more limp-wristed “I don’t want to play any more, I’m leaving so there, huh!” posts.

This left me thinking that I really wished I didn’t need to be a member of these viper pits, which I only am because they result in the odd story idea.

Then I thought that I might go to the effort of blocking a few of the people who were responsible for the mess on the floor of my Facebook feed. Finally I did the only sensible thing, closed Facebook after I hit my weekday-limit of 15 minutes on the site and moved on to more productive ways to fill my time.

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What was my next mistake of the morning? Checking my email. As is my fashion I first checked the accounts relating to PLN to see if anyone had sent in a super-duper story idea overnight. I had three.

Story idea number one, funnily enough, related to the very same melee I described above. It was from one of the participants who wanted me to run something about how he had been wronged and slandered on Facebook. I let out a sigh and hit the delete button. Quick tip: Call your lawyer before you call a journalist. If I was irresponsible enough to write something like that, and my editors irresponsible enough to publish it, then we’d all be in hot water.

Story ideas numbers two and three were heartfelt tear jerks from a couple more old guys who had shockingly come to the Philippines only to be ripped off by girls a quarter of their age. It never ceases to astound me how guys in their 60s and 70s revert to their teenage years when a relationship falls apart. If things don’t work out, pop your zits and get on with your lives.

Suggesting that every girl in the Philippines is a scammer just because you got ripped off is a bit like suggesting that every female in the United States is an idiot because of anomalies like Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Palin. I’m sure if you’re American you wouldn’t want people thinking that about your sister, daughter or mother, would you? Just for the record, my wife doesn’t deserve to be tarred with that brush either.

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The reasons I didn’t roll with story number one, though I did in a way, this piece has been largely about it (although I didn’t do what I was asked and name names in a one-sided accusatory tell all) are two-fold.

First off it’s not interesting. I’m left scratching my head wondering what my editor might choose for a headline. “Man trolled on internet bleeds from anus”, perhaps? The second reason is legality. See if I put my byline on your slanderous, one sided story then it’s me who is breaching Philippine law. Although you’re also legally culpable as my on-the-record source.

That said, it’s mainly about reason number one. I’ll be more than happy to report on the story when you get charged in the courts (after five years banged up in a prison that makes Syria sound like an appealing spot for your next holiday while you wait for a trial) and imprisoned because you let your Red Horse do the typing though, now we’re start to look newsworthy!

Speaking to the second two (very similar) items in my inbox this morning. Again, I’d say they’re not really that interesting. Again I’d say that they’re potentially a legal nightmare. I’d also add this. Yes there are pretty young girls scamming dirty old men in this, and other countries. Caveat emptor, gentlemen.

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There’s a reason that lithe 18 year old bombshell wants to jump your wrinkled bones. It’s either because she’s starving and wants someone to look after her, she’s on the game and wants to rip you off or perhaps just unhappy with her life and has “grass is greener” syndrome (somewhat ironically the same syndrome that probably has you in the Philippines in the first place). As you’ve probably discovered by now the grass isn’t greener here, just a slightly different shade of brown. As you well know, she could do a hell of a lot better.

On top of that I’d have to get her on record to tell her side of the story. I’ve become involved in a few of these situations in Asia over the years. Occasionally as a mediator and other times as scribe. Only once has proper investigation led me to a scammer. Every other time it was a relationship bust up with two grown adults tossing mud at each other like three year olds fighting in a school playground. The young vixen was invariably the more mature one.

So, after finding myself bereft of anything to write about, I wrote about being without a story to tell. It’s still more interesting than the adolescent tirades that graced my inbox this morning.

There are women here to do scam and even murder their husbands, have a watch of the story of Steve Davis below.