Movie Review: The Maze Runner

 

The CAMPI motor show crowd throws a giant party

Every year, car enthusiasts mark their calendars for a very special occasion. Organized by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI), the annual Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) is the best venue for carmakers to connect with the general public. This year's PIMS will be held at the Word Trade Center in Pasay from September 18 until 21 and is open to the public. To generate buzz weeks prior its kick off, CAMPI boozed and shmoozed with its media friends at an exclusive get-together at The Fort. Also in attendance were the biggest names among local carmakers who were bullish on the Philippines healthy appetite for new cars. Compared to neighbors in Asean, the Philippines is already in fourth place as the region's largest private car buyer after Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Unfortunately, owing to political unrest in Thailand—a manufacturing hub—and the Philippines smaller industrial base, recent data from the Board of Investments (BOI) revealed manufacturing is not enjoying much growth for the second quarter or Q2. Local carmakers have keenly felt this particular doldrum. “Our activities depend on the support of the government,” says Atty. Rommel Gutierrez, vice president of Toyota Philippines' corporate affairs group. But for the 2014 PIMS, showbiz splendor mixes with testosterone as chrome, Go-Kart rides, and ravishing promo girls are in abundance under one roof. And yes, there will be a lot of cars too.

 

Ang Li in concert: the pianist, not the director

She might not be super famous, but she's a force of nature onstage. The vivacious female pianist Ang Li is also a bit of an enigma. Barely 29-years-old, the legend (read:press release) goes that by age four she was already tickling the ivories. Born in 1985, this means she began formally training as a pianist at age four while students were fighting and dying in Tiananmen Square. Li's place of birth has never been revealed and her parents involvement in her long transformation into a virtuoso is vastly understated. At least she admits mother and father were a musical couple and as a child she liked to accompany them on piano when they sang. The Li family had the means and connections to enroll their daughter in Juilliard, which maintains a long-term program for hosting Chinese students. By the time she was in her teens, her homeland was enjoying its golden decade of historic GDP growth. Li currently ranks among the Top 30 pianists in the world. She has concerts in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Lincoln Center under her belt as well as shows in many world capitals. Among Li's accomplishments is performing with symphony orchestras across five continents. She tours North America, Europe, and Asia every year and is now returning to the Philippines. Yes, she's been performing here regularly since 2012. Li once again took the CCP by storm on August 31, albeit with style, and is holding court with the Piano Teacher's Guild of the Philippines at UST this month. Since 2013, Li has been sponsored by Steinway and Sons, whose pianos she admires for being “extraordinary” and “memorable.” This is coming from a mistress of the art who practices at least three hours a day. Everyday. The girl sure likes her Steinways.

 

Medical Malpractice Law still years away for Filipinos

(Top) Christine Jacob, Robert Su, Danilo Chiong, Dr Ted Herbosa, Lorna Tolentino, Edu Manzano, Dr Tony Leachon, and Martin So (Bottom) Open forum at the launch with (from left) Dr Herbosa, Lorna Tolentino, Edu Manzano, Danilo Chiong, and Dr Leachon During the open forum of the Watsons Generics launch, China Business asked Dr Ted Herbosa, Undersecretary of the PHL Department of Health, the following question: “With the President having the support of Congress, the impetus to enact laws comes from Malacañan. Is the Medical Malpractice Act in President Aquino's radar? Does he plan to make its enactment part of his legacy?” Usec Herbosa replied, “Patient's rights are more important,” and that there was a need to educate patients. Although he admitted, “I think, in time, we will really have to push [the Medical Malpractice Act], he said that under current laws, “You can sue your doctor. There have been [decisions] by the Supreme Court. But to make that a priority, we may have to push the others first.” Herbosa explained, “The sin tax became a priority because it was both a health bill and a revenue raising bill. Then we also passed the RH Law (Reproductive Health), and we got that after several years.” Dr Tony Leachon, president of the Philippines College of Physicians, chimed in. “Let me answer that for the medical community. At this point, I would not support the Medical Malpractice Law because of the inequities in infrastructure.” Dr Leachon pointed out that in the US or advance countries, “you have doctors and CT scans in every corner. But, for example, you have a headache and you're in a Yolanda-stricken area with no CT scan. Should you blame the doctor for this inequity?” Leachon said that unless the Philippines fixes three problems in the area of healthcare—infrastructure, human resources, and processes—a Medical Malpractice Law will get no support from the local medical community.

 

Tsuneishi Cebu execs reveal future plans

On the cusp of their 20-year anniversary, the joint venture between the Aboitiz family and Japanese shipbuilder Tsuneishi are setting new goals. Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu) Inc. (THICI) occupy the sprawling West Cebu Industrial Park-SEZ in the sleepy town of Balamban, Cebu, along the picturesque Tañon Strait. Since operations began in 1994, what used to be a single wharf is now an enormous manufacturing facility several times larger than Balamban. According to THICI president Hitoshi Kono, of its 13,000 employees in the Philippines, 70% are local hires. During a press briefing to mark THICI's 20 years in the country, PEZA director general Lilia de Lima revealed THICI is obligated to sell 30% of their products and services locally. This condition is part of THICI's long-term strategy for Asean, which includes building inter-island transport vessels. “Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, their economies are growing fast and they need smaller ships, so we're now starting” says managing director Kenji Kawano. But, Kawano adds, these plans are tentative and the only progress so far is a new shipyard in Indonesia. Today, THICI builds 21 ships a year—mostly bulk carriers—in three categories: Handymax, Kamsarmax, and the 180,000-ton Capesize that are designed for crossing the Cape of Good Hope. By the end of 2014, THICI would have launched 200 ships from their Cebu shipyard. Tsuneishi is also preparing to deliver new classes of smaller, more fuel-efficient ships in the 34,000 to 45,000-ton range. Another goal is increasing output from 30 to 35 ships per annum in the near future. Tsuneishi, or Tsuneishi Holdings Corporation, is an almost 100-year old Japanese maritime firm that ranks among the top 10 largest shipbuilders in the world—all of whom are in East Asia. Aside from Cebu, Tsuneishi maintains shipyards in Zhoushan City, China, and in Tadotsu and Fukuoka in Japan. True to its Japanese values, Tsuneishi Holdings actively promotes its various CSR programs (tree planting, recycling, etc.) and its community-driven employee amenities. One Japanese manager quoted in a Tsuneishi brochure recalled his favorite company perk in the Philippines. “I used to dive every two weeks and had about 300 dives in three years,” said veteran employee Nabuo Sagawa about his time working with THICI. Before his transfer to Japan, Sagawa took advantage of an uncommon bonus: “I was given the Revitalizing Leave and I traveled to Palau by myself and enjoyed the beautiful sea.”

China Business–Philippines

How I saved money on my last trip to China

MANILA—Full disclosure: EastWest Bank is an advertiser.

But I wanted to write this story a month before they decided to advertise in China Business. See, I finally found a way to get rid of my forex headaches when traveling overseas.

Headache number one is having to stash multiple currencies at whatever current buying rate there is at the time of your travel. And then, you have to sell any leftover currencies at a loss when you come back home.

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Youth games pits China against world

For two weeks in August, teenagers from more than 100 different countries took part in the second summer Youth Olympic Games.

Best described as a teen-friendly counterpart to the regular supersized Olympics and its excesses, the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games is low key by comparison.

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Call for Entries to the MET Open 2014

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila announces an open call for the MET Open 2014, a curated benefit exhibition that will showcase artworks that best represent contemporary Filipino art. MET Open 2014 endeavours to discover new creations that take various forms extending our visual experience of the society we live in today. This exhibit is slated from September 15 till September 27, 2014.

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No Facebook? No Problem.

I'm now sitting on the steps of a bus in Minqin county, Gansu province, very far into northwest China. Except for the chatter of five gentlemen a dozen yards away and the singing of birds overhead, it is a quiet afternoon.

Such moments of solitude are rare for a journalist covering China under an official itinerary—which makes this brief isolation more precious.

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The Car of the Future

The average university student may be thinking about the next finals exam he is about to take. But while Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk was still at university, he was thinking about the future of humanity.

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Cars

When I worked for a big commodity trader in Hong Kong a few years ago, we had a young risk manager who used to sit in front of multiple screens all day long looking at multiple parabolics.

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