Always a delight to have around

FVR channels Harry Potter with his lens-less eyeglasses. Photo by Elton Lugay

By Cristina DC Pastor

Since retiring from politics, former President Fidel V. Ramos has published a total of 22 books: six coffeetable books, four books of his speeches, and 12 books of his columns written for Bulletin Today.

“All good stuff, all current and contemporary, all (written in) long hand,” he said in a relaxed tete-a-tete with the FilAm media held at the consulate boardroom.

At 83, the Philippines’ first military general president spends much of his time writing, traveling, giving lectures, and looking at world events through his vast experience as a politician, world leader, diplomatic analyst, soldier and author. His latest book, “Trustee of the Nation – the Biography of Fidel V. Ramos,” is an authorized biography written by retired Professor Emeritus of the Fletcher School of Tufts University Dr. Scott Thompson.

Another book, dedicated to his father Narciso, is set to be published in November.

“It will be launched November 11, so it’s 11-11-11,” Ramos wisecracked. He’s not writing it; a friend, Dagupan publisher Melandro Velasco, is.

It’s always nice to have Ramos come visiting. He brings with him a bon homie characterized by folksy humor (corny sometimes, but when a president delivers a joke, you have to politely laugh), a wellspring of insights, and the occasional good-natured jabs at journalists. (“What are they talking about at the UN?…You don’t know?”)

Sustainable development versus growth. Long-range, sustained growth versus boom-and-bust. “Unfortunately, with our experience after 1998, it’s mostly boom-bust, very short-term,” he said, stopping short of sounding critical of any administration after his.

Ramos is like the grandfather you want to have at parties. He may give a short lecture about how great he is, but after that you all gather around for a snapshot, a quick hug or more of his jokes. Not all funny, but as long as he’s still cracking jokes you know all’s well in the Motherland.

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