Sunday, 24 May 2015

Today's Art - Golden City

Golden City
Roger Smith 2015
On Canvas
Copies available here.

Golden City - Framed
Copies available here.

Somnolent Singaporeans & High Tech Dogs

The narcissist fantasy that is the 'selfie' took another blow recently; quite literally.  The blow in question followed a fall off a two metre cliff and death by drowning for a non-swimming Singaporean.

According to Channel News Asia the ill-fated Mohamed Aslam tried to take a selfie on a Balinese cliff and lost his footing after being hit by a wave.

Much as I love my photography, the site of groups and individuals forcing their way into the limelight with upraised smartphones leaves me cold.  And I suspect their joy is transitory as there is not real visual dissection of the scene that surrounds them - just group, point, click and move away.

So prevalent have selfies become that the inventor of the 'selfie stick' must have made a fortune. These invasive rods are a danger to objects and people around them; most museums in the world have quickly moved to ban them.

Photo: Straights Times
All this selfie taking and smart phone fiddling is also bad for the health.  A global research company has found that less than 20% of Singaporeans get the required 8 hours of sleep required to stay healthy.

A thousand people between the ages of twenty and fifty nine were surveyed and half of the student cohort slept badly because their brains were still buzzing from using their smartphones or tablets before going to sleep. What ever happened to the glass of warm milk and a good book before bed?

Singapore is described "as the third most sleep-deprived city in the world" with two other Asian cities, Seoul and Tokyo taking the dubious honour of ranking first and second.  The soporific Aussies in Melbourne fared much better, being identified as the best rested.

Not that technology alone makes for snoring MRT passengers.  Work stress, the lack of a good bolster and the oppressive heat of Singapore all contributed to less than happy slumbers.

Not only are we hell-bent on damaging our health through over stimulation of our brains, we are now inflicting pervasive technology on our pets.  But in the case of the Dogtelligent Connected Collar your pooch now can experience the joys of "virtual fence and leash technology that gently tugs, activity trackers, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, ambient temperature sensors, and an ultrasonic micro-speaker to correct barking".

Let's just hope there are no severe electrical storms around when you decide to take your dog 'walkies'.  If there are we are a likely to get a new definition for the term 'hot dog'.

Actually when I think about it, these same collars may have great potential when applied to human commuters on the MRT.  Sleepwalking to work could be achieved with ease.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Trobriands No. 2 - Today's Art Work

Trobriands #2
Roger Smith - 2015
Prints available here.
In the middle of writing my book on living in Papua New Guinea in the late 1970's - early '80's, I felt motivated to produce this work based on traditional Trobriand Island design elements.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Today's Art Work - Turn To Clear Vision

Turn To Clear Vision
Roger Smith - April 2015
On Canvas
Prints of the above are available here.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Retracing Houses I Owned

With the advent of Google's Street View it is relatively easy to see how places we once inhabited have survived or developed into something completely different.

The first house I acutually owned was in Waana Street on the Ohau Channel between Lakes Rotorua and Rotoiti.

The trees that I planted in the mid-1970's can be seen at left, just past the white house on the corner.  They have bushed out somewhat!.  This area has many fishing baches as the water are well stocked in trout.

I kept a dinghy and outboard motor pulled up on the shore at the far end of Waana Street and used to go trolling when the mood took.

In the 1980's my wife and I bought and lived at 50A Scarborough Road on Scarborough Hill in Sumner, Christchurch.

A beautiful spot overlooking Sumner Bay, with the garage on the road and steps down to the house (which is hidden at left by the trees).

Monday, 23 March 2015

Rest In Peace Lee Kuan Yew

"Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him. Or give it up. I've spent a whole lifetime building this and as long as I'm in charge, nobody is going to knock it down." - Lee Kuan Yew (1980).

I feel privileged to have lived in an era where a great man took a small nation and made it really special.  I am of course referring to Singapore and the vision and drive of its modern day founder, Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away today, aged 91.

He was a man I admired greatly and one of the key reasons I decided to make Singapore my home for a period of 5 years. Yes he had his detractors, but even they would have failed to emulate his drive, vision and passion for the country.

Singapore has lost a great man today but fittingly as it celebrates its 50th Anniversary, they have gained a first world nation; all thanks to LKY and the citizens who worked under his stewardship.

My sincere condolences to the Lee family at this time.

Lee Suan Yew, Mr Lee Kuan Yew's youngest brother

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Ajunied Is Love!

Get the T-Shirt here.
Singapore's MRT is world-class and Aljunied was a stop on the East West line that I often used.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Singapore's Biggest Dig

Singapore's biggest archaeological excavation is taking place at Empress Place, in a 1000 sq m area. The dig has so far unearthed 400 kg of artifacts and deposits and will end on April 9.

This is great to see; keeping Singapore's material heritage safe for further generations and study.  The whole Empress Place site is rich in history.  Not just during the British tenure but well before, when Iskandar Shah ruled, some 600 years ago.

The National Heritage Board records that'the The site is more than 1,000 sq m in size — about the equivalent of 10 four-room HDB flats.'