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Friday, November 26, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nick & a journey through time and space

Meeting Nick is always a journey across time and space.  Over bulgogi, kimchi octupus and cold noodles in a Korean restaurant set in a colonial shophouse in downtown Singapore, we dug the hard ground of Orkhon Valley of Mongolia for the remains of ancient Turks, visited the Yakuts of Sakha and the long-lost Republic of Tannu Tuva, played chess in Kalymkia, reminisced over German mansions in old Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) and the Poles of Vilnius/Wilna, debated about the Turkic/Iranian origins of Samarkand and Bukhara, explored Chinese settlements on the island of Lingga, Sumatra and wandered about our own dubious ancestral origins as conquerors and slave traders.
  



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Zanzibar Chest by Aidan Hartley

The Zanzibar Chest

The Zanzibar Chest
By Aidan Hartley


From Amazon.com:
Hartley, a frontline reporter who covered the atrocities of 1990s Africa, embarks on a journey to unlock the mysteries and secrets of his own family's 150-year-colonial legacy in Africa, and delivers a beautiful, sometimes harrowing memoir of intrepid young men cut down in their prime, of forbidden love and its fatal consequences, and of family and history, and the collision of cultures that defined them both.

BUY THE BOOK FROM WEECHENG'S AMAZON STORE: http://astore.amazon.com/weechengcom-20/detail/1594480117 

I love this book. Despite having a busy week, I rushed through it in less than a week. My only complaint is that the author attempted to do too much. The stories of his life and that of his father's friend Davey are just too different to jell well in this book. And his love affair with Lizzie seems totally out of place.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Video: WWII Remnants at Red Beach, Betio, Tarawa, Kiribati

Many remnants from WWII remain on this bitterly fought beach of the war.  Wee Cheng points out the remains of tanks and landing craft that still remain there in July 2010.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

SHS Tour of Hong San See

Hong San See, the temple of Nan An County clansmen in Singapore, is the recipient of the prestigious UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Excellence in 2010.  Today, Dr Yeo Kang Shua, the conservation-consultant for the temple's restoration project conducted a lecture cum tour for members of the Singapore Heritage Society.  

Sgtravelcafe 10 Dec 10 Gathering: Nairobi-Zanzibar & Sulawesi

Pat Lee will be presenting "Of Wildebeests, Roof of Africa & Stonetown - A Journey From Nairobi to Zanzibar", while Soon Khai will be presenting the month's Brief Moments "Celebes, a visit to Sulawesi". 

Date: 10th December 2010, Friday 730PM 
Venue: 2902 Gallery at Old School, Mount Sophia (Behind Cathay Cineleisure, Dhoby Ghaut).  
Address:  Old School, II Mount Sophia, Block , #B2-09
Time:  Door opens at 7:30pm (for usual potluck, socialising, networking, etc),
presentation will start at 8:40 pm.
(For potluck just bring a small box of pastry or a packet of noodles enough for 3-4 people or a bottle or 2 of soft drinks). 
PLEASE NOTE YOUR ATTENDANCE BELOW SO THAT THE ORGANISERS HAVE A ROUGH IDEA HOW MANY ARE TURNING UP.

More about Old School: http://www.oldschool.sg/

See maps:  http://www.streetdirectory.com/asia_travel/travel/travel_id_4064/travel_site_21372/

On Google Map/iphone4, type "Old School Singapore"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ancient Temasek had a city wall...

The 2nd British administrator of Singapore, John Crawfurd, wrote in 1822 while walking around "the walls of the ancient town of Singapore": "...the wall, which is about 16 feet in breadth as its base, and at present about 8 or 9 in height, runs very near a mile from the sea-coast to the base of the hill..."

Crawfurd wrote in the Journal of an Embassy from the Governor-General of India to the Courts of Siam & Cochin-China about the ancient walls of Temasek, which was soon after demolished by the British, which resulted in the misconception that there was no history in Singapore until their arrival.

Posted via email from Nomadic Republic2

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thoughts on the MRT this morning

As I rode the train to work, across a landscape of housing estates and malls, my mind was cruising a lifetime of love, adventures and disasters in Aidan Hartley's The Zanzibar Chest.

At work, I speak about discount rate and revenue recognition criteria; but my heart feeds on names such as Ouagadougou, Kinshasa and Nagorno Karabakh. I can't wait for the academic term to be over.

I remember the war ruins and abandoned bunkers of Stephanakert, Nagorno Karabakh, and nervous late teenage soldiers on the ceasefire line, barely a few years after the last skirmish of the 90s, still fresh in 2000. Maybe I was a war correspondent in my past life.

I love this phrase in the book: Your mind is like a junk shop stuffed full of curiosities: some of them priceless, others of no value whatsoever.

Posted via email from Nomadic Republic2

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cosplay at Anime Fair, Suntec City, Singapore

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosplay

Cosplay (コスプレ kosupure?), short for "costume play",[1] is a type of performance art in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea. Characters are often[citation needed]drawn from popular fiction in Japan. Favorite sources include mangaanimetokusatsucomic books,graphic novelsvideo gameshentai and fantasy moviesRole play includes portrayals of J-pop and J-rockstars, Taiwanese puppet charactersscience fiction characters, characters from musical stories, classic novels, and entertainment software. Any entity from the real or virtual world that lends itself to dramatic interpretation may be taken up as a subject. Inanimate objects are given anthropomorphic forms and it is not unusual to see genders switched, with women playing male roles and vice versa.
Cosplayers often interact to create a subculture centered around role play. A broader use of the term cosplayapplies it to any costumed role play in venues apart from the stage, regardless of the cultural context.


I stumbled onto a huge Cosplay fair at Suntec City today. Had a field time taking photos of the fantastical costumes.


Random Singapore (14 Nov 2010)

SHS Visit-Practicum to the National Art Gallery Archaeological Site (II)


SHS Visit-Practicum to the National Art Gallery Archaeological Site (I)

Still remember what you learnt about Sang Nila Utama, the legendary founder of ancient Singapura?  The Malay classic, Sejarah Melayu, told us that SNU, an exiled prince from Sumatra, chanced upon a lion on the white sandy beaches of the island of Temasek.  he decided that this was a good sign and decided to settle and founded the kingdom of Singapura, meaning Lion City.  The kingdom of Singapura had a string of 5 rulers. In the 1380s, Parameswara, a refugee prince from Palembang, Sumatra, arrived here, and was given refuge by the 4th king, Paduka Seri Maharaja.  Parameswara repaid the favour by killing his benefactor and seizing the throne, becoming the 5th and last king of Singapura. Singapura was a vessel of both the Javanese Majapahit Empire and Siamese Ayutthaya Kingdom.  The Javanese overlords of Singapura invaded to revenge for the killing of their vessel, thus forcing Parameswara to flee to Melaka where he founded the much more renowned Kingdom of Melaka (which was more longlasting with the protection of China's Admiral Zhenghe).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sgtravelcafe 12 Nov 10: SW USA & Montenegro

As with before, we had a good time.  About 25 turned up for the interesting sessions on SW USA by Fred Lee and Montenegro by Nick Lum.

Sgtravelcafe 10 Dec 10 Gathering: Nairobi-Zanzibar & Sulawesi

Pat Lee will be presenting "Of Wilderbeests, Roof of Africa & Stonetown - A Journey From Nairobi to Zanzibar", while Soon Khai will be presenting the month's Brief Moments "Celebes, a visit to Sulawesi". 

Date: 10th December 2010, Friday 730PM 
Venue: TBA
Address: TBA
Time:  Door opens at 7:30pm (for usual potluck, socialising, networking, etc),
presentation will start at 8:40 pm.
(For potluck just bring a small box of pastry or a packet of noodles enough for 3-4 people or a bottle or 2 of soft drinks). 
PLEASE NOTE YOUR ATTENDANCE BELOW SO THAT THE ORGANISERS HAVE A ROUGH IDEA HOW MANY ARE TURNING UP.

Directions: TBA
 
PARKING: TBA

See maps:  TBA

On Google Map/iphone4, type "TBA"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bought 15 books...

Guess what? I stumbled on a Borders sale at atrium of orchard central. Very good range of history and non fiction titles mostly for $10. I bought S$160 worth and got S$30 worth free Borders vouchers.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Intrigued with the exotic ports of the Archipelago

At an ACM talk on South Asians in Malay World 15-17th Century...I was intrigued with tales from exotic ports in remote parts of Indonesia. How I'd love to visit places such as Banjarmasin, Makassar, Ternate, Tidore, Banda, Ambon, Kupang...

Posted via email from Nomadic Republic2

Friday, November 05, 2010

Random Singapore

National Museum: Pompeii Exhibition II

National Museum: Pompeii Exhibition I

Little India Deepavali Bazaar (II)


Little India Deepavali Bazaar (I)

Today, I visited Little India's Deepavali Bazaar at the extremely narrow Campbell Lane.  This visit once again confirmed that Little India is ethnically the most colourful area in Singapore.  The colours, smell and liveliness are simply intoxicating.  In fact, exoticism is never too far in Singapore.  One just has to open one's eyes and look around.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Keppel Straits & Vivocity


Sunset at Keppel Straits between Singapore main island and Sentosa. Some theories say that the mediaeval world's greatest fleet under Admiral Zhenghe once sailed through here on the way from China to Africa.