Thursday, August 31, 2006
Clark Field (Reuters): A teenager from Ghana stranded in a Philippine airport is living out a role played by Tom Hanks in the Hollywood film, The Terminal. Ayi Nii Aryee, an 18-year-old football player, has been stuck in Clark airport, a former U S airbase 70 kilometres north of Manila, for more than six weeks since Singapore refused to let him back into the country after a short break in the Philippines.
''I'm fine. I'm being treated well,'' said Aryee, dressed in a yellow football jersey and blue jogging pants. ''But it's very boring.'' Aryee visited a cousin in the Philippines while waiting for his student visa in Singapore to be processed. But the application failed and Singapore sent him back to his last embarkation point, the Philippines.
Without proof of a return flight, the Philippines will not issue Aryee with a tourist visa and will not allow him to leave the airport building. Aryee has appealed to Singapore to reconsider his visa application. He has refused an offer to fly back to Ghana. In the Steven Spielberg film, Tom Hanks plays Viktor Navorski, a traveller from a fictional East European country stuck in New York's JFK airport terminal after his passport is revoked following a coup back home.
In the big screen version, Hanks' character romances a glamorous stewardess played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. Aryee, who has seen the movie, said so far he hadn't had any airport romances. ''Nothing yet,'' he laughed.