New British ambassador a fan of Maya, Sir Chief; speaks in Filipino

BY PAUL MICHAEL CAMANIA JARAMILLO


The United Kingdom’s new ambassador to the Philippines, Asif Ahmad, has added Filipino to his foreign language portfolio, enriching a tongue that has gone around the world in his 14 years in the British foreign service. 

The new British ambassador is also active on the social networking site Twitter.

“Kasi para sa lahat ng diplomat, ito ang bagong initiative ni William Hague. Ako’y nagsimulang mag-aral ng Tagalog sa London sa loob ng pitong buwan. Ngunit ang pang-unang guro, siya'y nagkasakit. Nagsimula ang ibang guro, si Janice Pabida, siya ang magandang guro.” 

A confessed linguist, Ahmad said he also knows how to speak in English, Bengali, Urdu, Kutchi, Farsi and French. 

In an interview with ABS-CBN News’ Karen Davila, Ahmad said he is a fan of the top-rating Kapamilya daytime show 'Be Careful With My Heart' because of its unique plot. 

“Oo [nanonood ako ng] isang serye na tungkol sa isang yaya at kay Sir Chief… Magandang kuwento kasi ito ay pagkakataon na ang isang yaya mapaghusay ang kanyang buhay.” 

Asked if he understands its story, Ahmad said: 

“Konti lang sa dialogue. Lahat ay love team at iba’t ibang shot.” 

Appointed as Britain’s Ambassador to the Philippines last July replacing Stephen Lillie, Ahmad said he is in awe of the Filipino spirit which "never gets dampened.” 

“What I find funny here is that people are just going about their normal lives. They can find funny things in everything that they do, through traffic or through patiently waiting for a jeepney or when it’s really a very wet day. Nothing can dampen the spirits here. The best example I can give you, one member of my team during the floods actually waded through the water to get to work. She was the happiest person. She even apologized because she was wearing wet clothes.” 

Ahmad has been to the Philippines a couple of times prior to his appointment as ambassador. First, as director for Asia, in charge of UK Trade and Investment, and later as the head of the team in London that covers Britain's foreign policy interests in Southeast Asian countries, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.
  
Buti pa ang kinatawan ng Britanya, magaling sa wikang Filipino. Daig pa niya ang ibang mga tunay na Pinoy!

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