Saturday, 31 October 2009
Adrian Rogers, 1931
Note: This is one of the reasons I am working in Singapore and not New Zealand
I can only image Marconi's excitement and sense of achievement when he made the first successful wireless transmissions in Italy in 1895, changing the face of human communication forever.
We have come a long way from then but in recent times the age of open communication has been suffering some king hits.
For those expatriates living far away from their country of birth there are times when one wishes to catch up on what is happening in their nation of origin. For me these occasions are rare but I do like to keep in touch with antipodean developments.
From 1979 to 1981 I lived and worked in Goroka in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Shortwave radio was a boon and many an hour was spent listening to Radio Australia to learn what was happening 'down south'.
Radio New Zealand International with its ever decreasing presence in the Pacific was not much use and I recall that in the evening it was the Chinese stations that jammed the airways.
This is my fourth year living in Singapore and the only radio that we listen to is the BBC. At least there we get a balanced menu of international news and opinion. The Chinese stations still dominate the evening airways as they did thirty years ago.
With the advent of Internet radio you would have thought that listening to radio stations in New Zealand would be an easy matter and for the first couple of years it was. I could also catch up with the local television news which was streamed live from the two main NZ channels.
This year has seen a great leap backwards for internet radio with most of the stations I used to listen to in NZ are not longer available. The reason given: international copyright of content.
The upshot is that open radio or television access to an All Blacks rugby game for any New Zealand expatriate is now a thing of the past. With media now largely in the hands of a few international conglomerates this trend is likely to continue and it is the culture of a country that suffers.
The Aussies though are still beaming their internet radio around the world which makes me wonder if New Zealand is not being just a tad politically/commercially correct when it comes to transmissions?
I am a person who believes in open international communication and views the commodification of culture and media as something distasteful. And yes, I resent the fact that I can no longer follow my favourite sport on internet radio and now have to pay to get streaming rights to a rugby match.
Mr Marconi is no doubt be turning in his grave when the subject of 'international copyright issues' are mentioned.
Or perhaps not .... as interestingly Marconi became a fascist in his native Italy in his later years and the fascists were all in favour of media control.
In this respect it would appear that little has changed.
Friday, 30 October 2009
It is not yet fully into the rainy season when the temperatures drop a couple of degrees but at least the cloying humidity is dissipating a little.
SU is to the be the name of the new university that Singapore is building. The Singapore University of Technology is being headed by a US university professor on secondment from M.I.T.
The irony is of course that the new SU campus is situated on the grounds of the previously proposed UNSWAsia which was originally planned to open about now; that is before the Vice Chancellor in Sydney beat a hasty retreat.
Tomorrow we are going via the Farrer Park MRT to visit the new eco mall - City Square. Energy conservation is now being enthusiastically promoted by the government and this one of the malls that is built on eco principles. The toilets use little water for instance; which should be a revelation after a curry in nearby Little India.
There is also an eco-roof that harnesses solar power and rainwater, of which we now have an abundance.
Farrer Park is an area of historic interest as it was here that Singapore's first racecourse was built and where the island's aviation history began.
As I write this I am aware that my friends in New Zealand are experiencing yet another 'late winter cold snap' even though they are supposedly in the middle of Spring.
It is going to be quite a wrench to the system re-adjusting to the chilly temperatures when we finally head south again for retirement. My wife can't wait!