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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for May, 2011

And then what?

May 31, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Childhood, Rugby No Comments →

The British filmmaker Michael Apted has a continuing series of documentaries called The Up Series. It started in 1964 when Paul Almond filmed 14 British 7-year-olds from different socio-economic backgrounds. Seven years later Apted, who had been a researcher on 7 Up, looked up those same kids for a second documentary called 7 Plus 7. Since then he’s produced a new film every 7 years, featuring as many of the original 14 participants as he can get. The latest one, 56 Up, is expected this year.

It occurred to me during the recent Bahay Bata children’s centre tour of the UK that the Up series would be a good model for covering my subjects. Clifton College, Touraid and the Philippine Rugby Union through Coach Cullen took 15 Filipino children, aged 8 to 15, from disadvantaged backgrounds, and brought them to England where for ten days they lived with affluent British families and experienced a lifestyle completely different from their own.
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I had no idea

May 31, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Rugby, Traveling 12 Comments →

On-board announcement on PR 468. “We would like to welcome the Philippine rugby team on its way to Seoul for the A5N Division 1 championships. We also wish to congratulate Justin on his recent engagement to Patrice.”

I got an aisle seat in the first row of coach—more leg room, except that the guy next to me is fat. My ass could compete with the back of a truck, but this guy is vast: one of his asses spills over the armrest and sits on my lap. I feel bad for him, but not that bad. He tossed all the pillows, blankets, headphones and other crap onto my seat and when I sat down he looked offended that someone was sitting next to him.

Fortunately the flight attendant understands my need for personal space and finds me another seat.

Half past midnight, Hanyang University, Ansan

May 30, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places, Rugby, Traveling 4 Comments →



The Volcanoes arrived in Seoul at 1930 (Korea time is an hour ahead) and proceeded by coach to the Guest Residences of Hanyang University in Ansan. It’s a dormitory that looks like a good two-star hotel.



Dinner was at one of the many restaurants on campus: Korean barbecue.



The menu was meat, vegetables, meat, meat and meat. “They probably thought they were going to have a quiet night and then we appear,” Justin says.

The meat disappears quickly.

“Can we have more meat over here!” Michael D calls. “Never mind the vegetables, just bring meat!”

“No more meat,” says the waiter.

“I think they’ve run out of cows.”

“We need to find a McDonald’s, I’m starving,” Justin announces.

“Are you full?” Gaz asks. “I’m still hungry.”

While they hunt for meat I go to my room to file my reports. There’s internet in the rooms for about USD8 a day—but the cable is one of those old fat ones that won’t fit in my Mac! Aaaaargh. So at half-past 12 I trudge to the coffee shop across the street, which is closed but has perpetual wi-fi.

I find Patrice sitting in one of the outdoor tables in the dark, working at his laptop as fast as he can because the battery’s about to run out. And that’s how we conclude Day One of the Volcanoes in Korea: typing in the dark.

Our coverage of the Philippine Volcanoes in Korea is brought to you by Globe Telecom. Enjoy Your Globe. Your Way.

In which Madonna puts in a guest appearance

May 30, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Men, Music, Places, Rugby, Traveling 12 Comments →

We hear a lot about sexism in sports. We’ve never experienced discrimination on the basis of gender—we are lucky to work in an industry where the enemy is not men or women but idiots in power. As my Jedi master Teddy-wan has always told me, “The stupid must be terminated.”

It occurred to me today that as a female covering an extremely testosteronic activity I may encounter some discrimination. (Perhaps I have already been discriminated against, I just never notice.) After all I started the sexism by portraying the athletes as objects of beauty. And I have mentioned my ignorance of the rules of the game. That was months ago; trust me, I’ve learned stuff. It’s rugby, not quantum physics. Speaking of quantum physics, let’s bring in the Heisenberg indeterminacy principle: The presence of the observer affects the behavior of the observed. Whom no one would know about if the observer weren’t there.
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Our coverage of the Philippine Volcanoes at A5N Korea begins now.

May 30, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Rugby, Traveling 7 Comments →

The national men’s rugby team (24 guys), their coaching staff (3), manager (1) and the media (me) fly to Korea today on PAL 468 to Incheon airport. Last night I had a brilliant idea: national team, national airline, maybe PAL could admit the guys to the business lounge where they could be more comfortable and have a light lunch?

Can’t hurt to ask. I called my very efficient PAL contact, who forwarded my request to the people in charge.

She got back to me a couple of hours later. Unfortunately there is only one lounge in NAIA Terminal 2 and they can’t accommodate all 29 people because the regular business class passengers might be dislodged. However, they could admit the entourage.

I arrived at the airport at 12 noon and was having my passport stamped when the team arrived. By then there were long queues everywhere. I proceeded to the Mabuhay Lounge and saw this.

The larger inner room and the smaller outer room were also nearly empty.

I called my contact and asked again. Couldn’t the national team sit in the lounge of the national airline in the national airport?

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For the record the team does not have a problem with the lack of privileges accorded them. I have a problem with the lack of privileges accorded them.

Our coverage of the Volcanoes in Korea is brought to you by Globe Telecom. Enjoy Your Globe. Your Way.

Boombox, take 1

May 29, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Men, Rugby 2 Comments →

Using Photo Booth for Mac. (Eww must clean screen.)