The Golden Cockroach

This story combines name-dropping, a certain degree of disgustingness and a uniquely Philippine quality.

Some years ago, probably in about 1992 or 1993, we had gone to visit my father-in-law, Fred Elizalde, who lives in Manila. Many of us went out one evening to a rather posh restaurant, I forget which, though I do recall that Imee Marcos was there, daughter of Ferdinand and Imelda (and also that she asked Cat if she could act as her lawyer in London…).

Anyway, at one point, I noticed a large, fat cockroach scuttling down the doorjamb and, without thinking at all, whisked a roll from the bread basket and threw it at the cockroach. It hit it square on and knocked it to the ground, at which point – with no pause in the flow – a waiter came through the door and trod on the poor beastie with an audible ‘crunch’.

It just happened that everyone had witnessed this and the impression was one of unparalleled skill and dexterity, as the whole thing had a flowing, Zen-like quality to it (if killing a cockroach can be in any way Zen-like, which seems improbable). Spontaneous applause followed, and the cockroach was taken away, dipped in gold and presented to me before our return to London. It was mislaid and has only just turned up again, hence the story and picture.

Only in the Philippines.

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