Saturday, 3 November 2012

Modern Miss - MRT Drawing

Modern Miss - MRT
Roger Smith, 2012

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Today's Drawing - Strathmore Drive

Strathmore Drive
Roger Smith, 2012

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Presidential Ambitions and A 40-Year Coincidence

Not that I am overly interested in either of the two personalities that are striving to sit in the Oval Office after next week, but I do find this ever-changing polling graph of interest.  The margin between the two candidates seems incredibly small if such polls are to be believed.


Although the chart is labelled 'Really Clear Politics' the reality is that politics are usually anything but clear. It is the nature of politics that there are winners and losers but which ever party gets in, America has a tough road ahead.

Of significantly more interest to me is the change in Chinese leadership that is taking place at the moment.  What a contrast in style it is from the hoopla experienced in the USA.  The Straits Times has an excellent section on the issues and the challenges that they face.

They are labelled the Lost Generation because of what they missed out on during Mao's Cultural Revolution.  As correspondent Peh Shing Huei puts it, they had no childhood, no education, no family and, in the eyes of many, never felt happiness.

How has this shaped their attitudes, their global vision and their capability to take on the challenges China faces. We shall have to wait and see.

The reins will be handed over on November 8th to Vice-President Xi Jinping, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang and other members of the fifty plus generation.  First they will need to navigate their way through the shoals of factional in-fighting and it will be 350 top cadres of the Chinese Communist Party who decide the final make up of the top table.

It is a once-in-40-year coincidence where both the China and US leadership changes at the same time.  It all makes for an interesting month or, if politics is not your thing, switch to the Shopping Channel.
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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Cruising On

News that the Singapore's Marina Bay Cruise Centre has officially opened in good news.  As a person who has enjoyed several of the Star Cruises I well remember the problems the country faced a couple of years ago when they were unable to berth larger vessels.

Cruising is a multi-million dollar industry and having the capability with the new terminal to dock ships of up to 220,000 tons and measuring up to 360 meters in length, Singapore is well placed to build on its determination to be the cruising hub of South East Asia..

To me it is just another example of the nations 'can-do' attitude.  They don't spend years being bogged down by resource consents and bureaucratic red tape; they simply make a government determination to pursue a goal and get on with it!

 

$S500 million might seem like a huge sum of money but they will get a great return on this investment as as 'The Little Red Dot' cements itself as the home port for  several of the major cruise lines in this part of the world.
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Friday, 19 October 2012

Today's Print

Learning To Fly
Roger Smith, 2012

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Morning Rambles In Queenstown

It's not usual that I feature the photographic portfolios of other photographers on this blog but the exception is the work of Frank Starmer.

Frank lived in the same condo as I did,Queens, which is as its name suggests in Queenstown, Singapore.  I would often seem him trudge off in the morning with his camera gear and tripod as he went in search of insects and particularly spiders.  He is still doing so and generously puts his work online and allows non commercial sites to share it.

Bee Harvesting - Frank Starmer

Morning Butterfly - Frank Starmer

Hoverfly - Frank Starmer
I always find it interesting that two photographers in the same environment can respond to their surroundings in totally different ways.  Frank takes macro images using special lens to capture the structure and colour of nature while I chose to focus on the broader visual aspects of Queenstown.  Both in our own way recording the things that inspired us about Singapore life.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

What Goes Online, Stays Online

There an old adage "What goes online, stays online" and once you have written something on Facebook or dispatched a 'rant' via email its is forever in the public arena.

This is a hard lesson that Amy Cheong, a swiftly sacked assistant director of NTUC membership, has just learned.  When she vented her spleen in a derogatory Facebook posting about Malay wedding on a void deck I doubt that she realised the full implications of what she had just done.

Singapore is very determined to maintain racial harmony and the lessons of past history have not been forgotten.  A racially cohesive society that welcomes diversity is a more productive, happier and more governable society.

The Police have subsequently issues an arrest warrant for Ms Cheong on the basis that here comments "promote ill-will and hostility between different races in Singapore".  To her credit she has at least apologised for her insensitive post.

So why was she motivated to make the comments in the first place?  Apparently she found the noise for the HDB void deck where the Malay wedding was being held, too much to bear.

Communal living in HDB blocks does mean you are in close proximity and affected by the actions of others. When these intrude on one's own peace and calm then it can be stressful.  Ms Cheong has belatedly admitted that this is no reasonable cause to be derogatory about another race.

Harmony has to be continuously worked at; it could well mean putting up with food smells, celebrations and customs that are alien to one's own culture.

But I would also like to think that there is a quality of mercy in any civilised society and that this serious indiscretion will not forever ruin a life of someone, who had presumably up until this point been a contributor to the greater good through employment with NTUC?

Channel News Asia report the Director of Singapore Internet Research Centre at NTU, Professor Ang Peng Hwa, as saying: "In this case because the community reacted, in a way she has been punished. Because people sort of know now, this lady probably wouldn't be hired for a front-line job."

He went on to say that such incidents will likely occur again and this is probably correct.

...and on a different tack entirely I came across this satirical cartoon which poked gentle fun at the need to build up Singapore's population.


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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Protectionist Rubbish And Deadly Contests

I'm up front about this; I own a Huawei phone.  This according to a US Congressional Committee report now makes me a contributor to the global security risk.  What a lot of rubbish!

Even the US media seem to have cottoned on the the idea that this pronouncement might have more to do with trade protectionism than any actual risk.  According to the Wall Street Journal Huawei are routinely shut out of the US takeover market on one pretext or another.

It seems to me this is all about politics, especially with the lead up to the US Presidential elections which are taking place in a few weeks time.

I have no plans to change my mobile on the basis of shonky evidence and I suspect that there are many others just like me.

Meanwhile in the "Land of the Free" people's minds have been taken of the subject of unemployment, poverty and pestilence by the introduction of novelty events such as the South Florida Roach eating contest.

The winner, one Edward Archbold, consumed dozens of the live bugs as well as an entree of worms and is not surprisingly now deceased.

No one spared a thought for the cockroaches, which according to the report were from an inventory of insects "that were safely and domestically raised in a controlled environment as food for reptiles".

You may well ask, what prize would motivate a presumably sane human being to participate?  The grand prize was....a Python.

The deceased only other 'claim to fame' was a prior arrest in 2004 on a charge of indecent exposure.  He now has even more exposure but didn't live to see it.

I can't see this style of event catching on in Singapore any time soon  given the size of cockroaches one finds in the tropics.  Those that manage to secrete themselves in the back of a Hawker stall are particularly rotund, as was the one that ran across my legs in an eatery off Orchard Road a few years ago.

Fortunately the NEA is rather strict about such matters so I can't really see the Great Singapore Roach Contest ever rivaling the Great Singapore Sale.

Still I would love to have been there to have taken a photo of the contest action using the camera on my Huawei phone.  But of course that would never have happened as it is potentially 'bugged'.
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