23 (Thu) August 2018
Grilled Prawns with Laing in Coconut
by Chef Jessie – Rockwell Club
It is upon us: the Fourth Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentarian Forum on Global Health – Thursday to Friday. Enhancing the Role of Parliamentarians in Securing Sustainable Financing and Strengthening Legal Frameworks for Universal Health Coverage. HLE (Health Law & Ethics) trusted yet again with organizing the high-level, high-profile, high-stakes event (see most recently 8.232 Sukiyaki) – so we (KH + KF) must be doing things right. It could make us or break us this year, being in Manila, including the first day at WPRO, all eyes on us.
At the end of the day, a colleague turned to me and said, “Congratulations! Hard part’s done. You can relax.” I looked at her in horror, in genuine horror, and replied, “You just jinxed the whole thing.”
Minutes later, I arrived at the dinner venue to discover, horror fully realized, that the caterer had failed to bring any alcoholic beverages – no beer, no wine – just service water and cheap sugary iced-tea. Their defense: they had never been asked to bring alcohol. Apparently, Filipino functions by default are dry, and so alcohol comes only by specific request. “Does. This. Look. Like. A. Filipino. Function?!??!?!”
Morbidly embarrassed by perhaps the dumbest mistake of my career, I explained the situation to the Philippine Senator who is co-chairing the meeting. Without a blink, he called over the police captain – we have a police division securing our every movement during the meeting – and ordered him to deploy his men to buy out all the beer and wine in every convenience store across the neighborhood. Half an hour later – about halfway through the dinner – they came back with boxes of booze. Now that is power!