The afternoon was given over to Bacchus as we sung to the sirens, drifting imperceptibly towards the forbidden island of Mindanao, borne on Neptune’s wake. By the time we arrived in Zamboanga at 11pm, I had lost all apprehension of Mindanao, lousy reputation notwithstanding, and the concept of spending the next two days cowering in my hotel room seemed not just cowardly but a trifle bizarre.

Off the boat I was shepherded by a group of passengers who were working doing PR for a soap company, and one of their brood, a transsexual called Jenn, chaperoned me to my hotel ( a night and a room the size of a shoebox) and then we went out for a drink in one of the marvellous tuk-tuks they have here, which are a motorbike and sidecar-type that I’ve never seen before.

Genres: Comedy Actor: Lauren Miller, James Wolk, Ari Graynor, Justin Long, Lawrence Mandley, Eddie Geller, Josh Ruben, Steven Shaw, Mimi Rogers, Don Mc Manus, Mark Webber, Nia Vardalos, Kevin Smith, Sugar Lyn Beard, Seth Rogen Director: Jamie Travis Country: USA Actor: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan Mc Dermott, Katherine La Nasa, Sarah Baker, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Brian Cox, Karen Maruyama, Grant Goodman, Kya Haywood, Randall D.

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Any church, for that matter – but particularly the one which Zakaria is a member of: one in which unfairness, sexual discrimination and intolerance of beer, dancing, kissing, pre-marital sex, homosexuality and apostates (not to mention brutal penalties for offenders) is coded in a seventh-century law that can never be amended.

Not exactly propelling the human race forwards to utopia is it? Anyway, after all that dry politics I was in the mood for some nice wet beer.

But, you know, Zakaria wasn’t a loony, he handled my difficult questions well, and he was obviously sincere in his belief in a better future for Sulu.

I just wish that he wasn’t doing it for all the wrong reasons: the last thing this world needs is yet another nation in which the church and state are inseparably and inexorably entwined.

I think there are some animist tribes that may well have a chuckle at that one).

Independence struggles that involve the protagonists murdering innocent civilians hardly (if ever) work in this day and age: just ask Hamas, Eta or the IRA – the national governments tend to just dig their heels in.

I entered the canteen/karaoke bar and the Filipinos on board (and pretty much everybody was Filipino) just wanted to do what Filipinos do best: attempt to get me drunk. The San Miguel following like warm frothy waterfalls, I soon joined in with the spirit of things (my collective noun for Filipinos is a ‘Karaoke’) and began warbling some half-remembered tune.

The microphone had broken by this point, but that wasn’t going to stop me.

As on the ferry from Pulau Batam to Jakarta, I shared a large-ish cabin (only this one had bunk beds) with about forty or fifty other people.

It was a nice communal atmosphere and everyone who spoke a bit of English was happy to sit and have a chat with me, amongst them was a guy called Zakaria who was the Secretary General of the Foreign Relation Office of the Sultanate of Sulu. The Philippines are unlikely to give up an oil-rich region of their sovereign territory without a fight. The document that Zakaria gave me says they want to set up a Sultanate, not a democracy: a tough sell, even to the UN. The document also says that they want to enforce sharia law over the inhabitants of the Sulu islands.

I thought that Magnolia was pretty flimsy writing-wise, and I also thought that it got way too much undue attention when it came out. It's been mentioned here before, but the art direction is stunning.