Thursday, 20 February 2014

Sook Ching - A Japanese Study of Singapore War Atrocities

Civilian War Memorial in War Memorial Park
Quite by chance I came across an interesting article by Hayashi Hirofumi, professor of politics at Kanto-Gakuin University and the Co-Director of the Center for Research and Documentation on Japan’s War Responsibility.

The appalling atrocities committed by the occupying Japanese forces on the citizens of Singapore, goes a long way in explaining why the older Chinese in Singapore do not trust, nor wish to have any contact with, the Japanese.

My interest in this relates to a request for information from the late Dr. Alan Hayton who was the father of my closest high school friend.  He studied medicine in Dunedin with a Dr Ross and the latter was subsequently posted or went to work in Singapore.

Dr Ross has two claims to fame.  The first was that he bravely rescued a person from drowning in the waters off Singapore. This was apparently featured in the Singapore papers of the time.

His second moment in history was a much sadder occurrence.  He was one of the medical staff massacred by the Japanese while staying with his patients in Alexandra Hospital.  Dr Hayton asked me if I could find out any details of this event but alas I could not at the time of my residence in Singapore.

While the oppression of Europeans has been well recorded, the details of Sook Ching, the pre-planned slaughter of local Chinese men by the Japanese, is a little more sketchy.  Professor Hayashi Hirofumi is certainly no apologist for the war crimes perpetrated again the Singaporean Chinese, but he does draw upon Japanese sources to broaden the picture of what actually transpired.

His article is well worth reading and slams the Japanese Government for their history of denial and quite deliberately excluding any reference to Sook Ching in Japanese student texts.

It has also just been announced that China will officially recognise December 13 as a memorial day for those who were massacred in Nanjing by the Japanese invaders.
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Sunday, 16 February 2014

Asian Golfers In The Ascendant

Golfer Lydia Ko in action.
Source:  LPGA
One of the passions of Singapore, besides food, is golf.  That is, if one can afford the cost of playing the game which George Bernard Shaw once snidely described as "typical capitalist lunacy".

The cost of playing golf in Singapore as in other parts of Asia is very expensive and a club membership is coveted and sometime traded.  Despite this prohibition golf has become an all consuming relaxation and competitive sport for many.

Which leads me on to the admission that in recent months I have become rather an avid followers of the Women's LPGA.  Now while some of you may assume, quite erroneously, that it it the sight of lithe young women that proves the attraction, it is in fact the success of the Asian women golfers that has attracted my attention.

In particular the remarkable achievements on the New Zealander of Asian descent, the sixteen year old, Lydia Ko.  In the LPGA ranks the Koreans and Taiwanese perform extremely well and young Lydia at the tender age often outshines her older compatriots.

This has been recognised two days ago in New Zealand when she was named New Zealand's Sportsperson of the Year, the youngest ever to achieve this honour.

Her elevation to the professional ranks and her previous prowess as an amateur playing against professional has been nothing short of remarkable.

What many of us really appreciate is not only is this teenager a sporting prodigy she is also unassuming, well-mannered and a good sportswomen overall.  Sportsmanship is more than just performing on the course, and she has it all.

As I write Lydia Ko is sitting two shots behind the joint leaders of the Australian Womens' Open, with the final day at hand.  We shall have to wait and see what transpires but she will surely maintain her world number four ranking after another great performance in this, her first year as a  professional.

After Australia the tour heads to Thailand where the playing conditions will no doubt be just as hot as Melbourne, but with humidity to match.  One hopes that there will be no thunderstorms during the tournament which often temporarily curtail play on Asia's links.

Being struck by lightning while playing a shot with a five iron is not something one would want to contemplate!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

New Art - Solar 3

Solar 3
Roger Smith - Feb, 2013
Copies available here
I've always found the idea of harnessing energy from the sun appealing.  Harnessing creative energy from sun-based technology also has its attractions, and this image developed from such a beginning.

Monday, 3 February 2014

New Walk, New Photographs

A morning stroll produced these results:

Down Memory Lane
Roger Smith - Feb. 2014
Get a copy here

The Right Path
Roger Smith - Feb, 2014
Get a copy here

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Killer Litter vs Kitty Litter

Killer Litter and Kitty Litter - T-Shirt

The dangers of throwing objects from the high floors of Singapore's HDB estates!