Aquino Eyes up Presidency

The Philippines is one part of South-East Asia I have not visited yet. I’ve heard it’s a beautiful place and they have some very interesting martial arts there, too. They are also in an interesting political situation which led me to this article on the Al Jazeera website. The headline was the first thing that caught my eye:

Aquino eyes Philippine presidency

When the author uses ‘eyes‘ in this title, he means ‘intends to pursue‘. Quite often, we use it as a phrasal verb ‘eye up‘ meaning the same thing.

There’s also some interesting vocabulary in the first paragraph where it is mentioned that Benigno Aquino would ‘run‘ for president. When we talk about ‘running‘ for a position, we mean trying to be nominated or selected for that position.

The next interesting phrase is in the third paragraph when it the place where his mother was ‘sworn in‘. When a president is ‘sworn in‘ he or she makes a vow to be loyal to the country and strive to be a good president. It’s basically the point at witch he or she accepts the presidency.

In the following paragraph, there is another interesting expression when the author mentions a forty-day ‘period of mourning‘. To ‘mourn‘ is when people show sorrow of grief about a someone’s death. Mourning customs and traditions vary but it is very common to wear black clothes during this time as an indication that one is ‘in mourning‘.

There is some more interesting vocabulary slightly later on in this paragraph:

He is set to lead the opposition Liberal party in the May 2010 polls, with Gloria Arroyo, the current president, mandated by the constitution to step down at the end of her six-year term.

The first interesting word here is ‘mandated‘, meaning ‘ordered’ and the other is the phrasal verb ‘step down‘ meaning to resign and allow someone else to fill the position. We sometimes use ‘step aside‘ to mean the same thing.

In the next-but-one paragraph, there are some more interesting words:

Joseph Estrada, the former president and movie star who was ousted from power in 2001 and subsequently jailed for plunder, has said he wants to run again.

In this paragraph, ‘ousted‘ means forced out and ‘plunder‘ means stealing. In this case, I believe it was government funds that he was alleged to have stolen.

There are just two more words I would like to look at in this article. The first is ‘tycoon‘ meaning a very wealthy, successful businessperson. It’s quite similar to the word ‘mogul‘ as discussed in this post. The last word is ‘polls‘ which we have also seen before in this post about the recent elections in Japan.

Japanese Elections

It’s an interesting time for politics in Japan at the moment. In the run up to the elections, there have been some good, detailed articles in the world news, too. This one on the BBC News website caught my eye over the weekend because it contains some interesting words and expressions.

The first word I noticed was in the title:

Japan votes in landmark election

When we talk about a ‘landmark‘ we usually mean a famous place or building that is is easily recognised however, in the example above, it means an important event. When we use the word ‘landmark‘ to talk about important events, we usually mean that the event will cause some kind of big change.

Another word seen a few times in this article is ‘poll‘. Here are some of the different ways it is used:

  • opinion poll – a survey used to find out what people think about a particular subject.
  • media poll – an opinion poll organised by a media company.
  • exit poll – a survey based on asking people who they voted as they leave the place where they have voted.
  • polls – places to vote.

The next interesting piece of vocabulary is in the third paragraph where it is mentioned that ‘turnout‘ is expected to be high. In this situation, ‘turnout‘ is the number of people who vote. We can also use it as a phrasal verb and say ‘lots of people turned out to vote’.

There’s another interesting word a little later on in the article where the author talks about the current ‘economic malaise‘. ‘Malaise‘ usually means to be ill or or generally in poor health so ‘economic malaise‘ means that the economy is not strong or not doing particularly well.

Further on in the article, the phrase ‘status quo‘ is mentioned. As well as being the name of a group of ageing rockers, it means the current situation or existing state of affairs. It’s a phrase more often used in political commentary than in everyday life.

Near the end of the article, Mr Aso is quoted talking to a ‘rally‘ outside Tokyo. In this situation, a ‘rally‘ is a large meeting of people either supporting a politician or protesting against something.

There’s another interesting phrasal verb in the last paragraph where Takashi Mikuriya is quoted as saying:

Most voters are making the decision not about policies but about whether they are fed up with the ruling party,

To be ‘fed up‘ means to be annoyed, upset or irritated by something. It’s a really common phrasal verb used often by native English speakers all over the world.