British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Anwar Ahmad visited our office recently, and we got to know the cool chap a little bit. Appointed to his current post in July last year, Ahmad held court among the editors-in-chief of Summit Media and shared his office's ongoing "This is Great Britain" campaign. The Embassy kicked off the campaign by assigning January as the British Food Month, to be followed in February by the British Fashion Month.
We suggested a British Motoring Month and the Ambassador seemed to take quite an interest. We really hope he can make it happen, considering Jaguar and Land Rover are the Embassy's official partners in this campaign. Aside from these two very English car brands, Mini, Rolls-Royce and Bentley are already doing business in the Philippines. (We're not sure if Morgan's distributor is serious with its operations here; last we heard of them was during their brand launch, where they gave away press releases lifted directly from our website.)
Imagine a motorcade of strictly British automobiles flying the Union Jack on the expressway. That should be a far louder statement than any British dish or clothing item can deliver, don't you think?
Anyway, the new British Ambassador seemed like a pretty easygoing fellow. We asked him to pose for a photo holding our December/January issue, and the first thing he checked was the cover. Seeing a German SUV on our front page, Ambassador Ahmad quickly flipped the pages to look for a British car. Fortunately, we had a feature story on the Rolls-Royce Ghost. Satisfied with what he saw, he gamely (and elegantly) posed for a snapshot.
Before he left, we just had to ask him this: What car serves as his official ride in the Philippines?
"My official car is a Range Rover," he told us. "But my personal car--you know, what I take to go around on weekends--is a Mitsubishi Fuzion. I drive a Jaguar back home, and the first time I drove the Fuzion, I thought, 'This is definitely not a Jaguar,'" the Ambassador said, chuckling.
Judging by what we saw during our meeting, it looks like the British Embassy is in very capable (and kind) hands. We look forward to working with the Ambassador soon; Top Gear, after all, is British, in case you've forgotten.
Photo by Vernon B. Sarne