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At Large

Death of a ‘badass’

Timing and method mark the twin deaths of fashion accessory designer Kate Spade and chef and food documentarian Anthony Bourdain.

Coming just days apart, Spade’s and Bourdain’s passing also throws light on the growing problem of suicide, brought on in many cases by depression. The pair’s passing was especially poignant because no one — outside of their circle of friends and loved ones — were aware of the demons they were battling. Spade, so those in the know tell us, was well-known for her “happy” bags in bright colors and quirky designs. Bourdain, who had become a global explorer of world cuisine, was best known for his “badass” persona and tart observations about fellow cooks.

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To Filipinos, though, Bourdain is best remembered for his vocal support and promotion of Filipino cuisine, with some saying he helped launch the current international interest our native dishes enjoy. Apart from raving about the “best pig” he had ever tasted during a feast of Cebu lechon, Bourdain also was a lover of Filipinos as a people. In one “Parts Unknown” episode, he expressed his belief that Filipinos are the world’s most generous and giving people, based on the overseas workers he had met, including his daughter’s nanny.

With Tony Bourdain’s passing, Pinoys have lost a friend and champion, and foodies a wise guide and guru.

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We at the Inquirer also bid goodbye to Marixi Rufino Prieto, who retired Friday as board chair. Her daughter Sandy Prieto Romualdez, though, stays on as president and CEO.

The Rufino-Prieto family took ownership of the Inquirer at a time when this newspaper was ready to make the jump to a full-fledged top-circulation paper, which meant an infusion of a significant amount as investment. It has since grown into a diversified multimedia company.

Personally, I remember Ms Marixi as unfailingly gracious and generous. Once, when I had written about how the new Inquirer building’s posh surroundings seemed a bit intimidating for sloppily attired journalists, she took me aside and reassured me: “Remember, you are all free to come here in your most comfortable attire.”

She is remembered for being such a lady, but the best tribute we can pay her is to remember how, through political storms and state intimidation, she proved to be an indomitable force who believed most strongly in a newspaper’s main reason for being: to tell the truth and promote the public interest. Godspeed, Ma’am Marixi!

Proud “tita” news. Florianne Jimenez, better known to her immediate family as “Bopeep” though she prefers the cooler-sounding “Bo” these days, recently presented a paper at the 2018 Rhetoric Society of America Conference which won for her the Gerard A. Hauser Award from the organization. The recognition is presented to an outstanding graduate student essay, which Bo wrote as a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The paper has the rather controversial title of “The Sounds of Home: Ambient Sound and Necropolitics in Two NPR Podcasts.” It focuses on the US National Public Radio’s coverage of drug-related extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, with Bo arguing “that ambient sound and podcasts offer new possibilities for distant audiences to consider violence.”

Congratulations to Bo and to her parents Jim and Peewee!

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Visiting the country, meanwhile, is Prof. Marc Andre Gagnon, an expert on the political economy of health and advocate of universal pharma care in Canada. In his meetings with healthcare providers, universal health advocates, stakeholders and policymakers, Gagnon will touch on the theme: “Essential Medicines for All: Addressing

Access, Equity and Regulation Issues.”

Hosting Gagnon here is Likhaan, a local women’s health advocacy group, which says the exchanges with Gagnon are “necessary and urgent given the high and increasing out-of-pocket expenditure for medicines and the WHO’s and DOH’s calls for Universal Health Coverage by 2030.” His visit is part of an information exchange program between Likhaan and its partner in Canada, Inter Pares, supported by Global Affairs Canada.

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TAGS: Anthony Bourdain, At Large, Depression, Kate Spade, Marixi Rufino Prieto, Rina Jimenez-David, suicide
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