Most people don't realize the importance of the international 5-day weather forecast. Here's why we should be paying more attention.
During the last presidential elections between PNoy and GMA, some friends asked me whom I would support.
"Well," I said, "I'll support the candidate who can guarantee to consistently put Manila on CNN's and BBC's 5-day weather forecast. I'll even settle for a mention on the each network's daily regional weather forecast."
Needless to say the topic never even came up in any of the campaign speeches of either candidate. And my friends either ignored me as being frivolous or thought I was absolutely batty; nobody seemed to understand my oblique reasoning.
I was being deadly serious.
Think about it. Why do these channels provide weather forecasts? After all, local TV channels provide more extensive coverage. So why would you watch a BBC or CNN weather forecast? Well, you wouldn't...unless you were traveling. And who are the most frequent travelers? Businessmen. And to where do they travel? To the region's business centers. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the same cities always seem to hog the weather forecasts: Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur.
And that speaks volumes about Manila. The Philippines, which was poised to become an emerging tiger economy in the early 90s, has fallen so far behind its neighbors that it now ranks below Vietnam as a business destination. In fact, it doesn't even appear on this Wall Street Journal (SE Asian Edition) list of Asia's most attractive cities. It gets worse. This CNBC list of the World's Ten Worst Countries for Business has the Philippines down as the fourth worst country in the world to do business. Although I suppose a lot of it has to do with the welcoming committee as well as the corruption. CNNgo.com has NAIA listed as the 5th worst airport in the world.
So next time you watch CNN or BBC, note the weather forecast. Now you know why those cities always appear and Manila only appears sporadically. It's because those cities are frequent flyer destinations, they're business centers.
On the next presidential elections, ask your candidate if he or she can guarantee putting Manila on the weather forecast map. If the candidate looks at you and laughs becuase he or she has no idea what you're talking about, don't vote for that person. If, on the other hand, the candidate says "yes", it means that person has a plan to get the economy back on its feet. It means he or she has a plan to end corruption. It means there's still hope.