Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A School in Shantytown

As we walked and explored this historic Shantytown which had about 29 itemised attractions, we stumbled upon a real school with an on-going lesson that was conducted by none other than the school principal himself. What luck!
We asked for permission to sit in on the lesson and the Principal graciously obliged.
The furniture, building and set-up were as they existed in the old mining days. D2, a Principal herself, thoroughly enjoyed the session and exchanged views and later addresses with the Principal.
The school kids were very well behaved and extremely attentive.
They impressed both of us with their eagerness to learn. overaged student in Shantytown School,Greymouth.
This is good proof that no matter what your age is, you can still ...LEARN!

GOLD! GOLD! GOLD !Shantytown, Greymouth

The West Coast Goldrush started in 1864. It started as a trickle and turned into a flood, as people from all over the world poured into this isolated bush clad wilderness. Many of the early miners and their families had to endure terrible hardships. There were many stories of those who struck it rich.
Here, at the entrance of the Gold Claim I stood, contemplating whether I should submit my plans for an early retirement from my work back home. After all, the good news is that the early miners didn't find all the gold. After an instant crash course in the skilful art of goldpanning, D2 and I began to pan for those little grains of real GOLD!!!
The work was made easier that day as the sluice gates were all still working properly, bringing rich alluvial soil from the mountain creeks flowing down the sluices.
My 1st few tries were horrible. I actually threw away the Gold!! I was not able to swirl the gold specks to the surface.
No " kung fu" as Chinese people would say. D2 didn't fare any better. Not until our expert gold panner, a nice fella, gave us both some close up demo of the "kung fu" that was somehow missing in our methods......that we both STRUCK IT ! GOLD!
Real GOLD ! Our separate gold was carefully removed from the pan and kept in a glass vial each. See me SMILING....I calculated that our Gold find should appreciate in tremendous value
over the next 200 years. Not too bad as a family heirloom for our future generations!
Today, the two precious vials of GOLD hold pride of place in my library shelf.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Greymouth, NZ

After our stay at Wanaka ,where we bade an emotional farewell to both D4 and DT who had to drive back to Dunedin in our rented car, we took the Atomic shuttle the next morning, proceeding to Greymouth. This is the largest town in the west coast region of South Island. Greymouth has a rich history that is steeped in Maori heritage. It is here that the Maoris came in search of the jade or greenstone [ pounamu ]. We bought some too.
The town developed as a result of the 1860's and 1880's Gold rush. Coal was also found here. From the town, you can see Mt Cook clearly to the south. The Midland line ( train ) runs through from here to Christchurch. The world famous train journey....the Tranz Alpine train begins and end in Christchurch.

We stayed the night at the Breeze Motel.
The next day we went on a special tour of Shantytown.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Arrowtown, Wanaka and a teahouse stop.

Picture source: Alpine Motel and suite from motel website.
Lake Wanaka from Tourism NZ.
Owl's pick: Arrowtown, Wanaka and teastop.
From Queenstown, driving in a North-East direction for about 21 km, we came to the historic township of Arrowtown. This place came into existence in 1862 when gold in fabulous quantities was found in the swiftly flowing Arrow River. Miners from all over the world flocked to the fledgling town. A shanty town emerged on the banks of the river but this was soon washed away in the spring when flood waters rushed through, with loss of many lives. As a result, the miners then constructed small cottages of stone and timber on higher ground, established churches and planted handsome avenues of trees. Their legacy today is a picturesque town that retains its old world charm through careful preservation of historic buildings and trees.
We enjoyed walking around the many shops and restaurants, went into some and bought some genuine "Arrowtown gold " in intricate gold-leafed black boxes and other stuff.
We bought DT and D4 some gifts from here to remind them of our love and of this unforgettable visit.
Wanaka [ Centre pic ]

From Queenstown, to Arrowtown, to Wanaka is about 112 km proceeding in a north-northeasterly direction. Wanaka is located on the south shores of Lake Wanaka, in west Otago.
Embraced by the Southern Alps, Wanaka is Otago's 2nd resort town after Queenstown. The crystal-clear water of Lake Wanaka, NZ's 4th largest lake, reflect the snow-capped peaks of Mt Aspiring National Park. Thus this town is a magnet for visitors who fancy outdoor adventure and indoor luxury.
D4 had made prior booking for us at the lovely Alpine Motel situated at 7, Ardmore Street. The lake was just across the road from where we were! So after checking into our suite, we made our way across the lake where some swans were coasting nearby. It was a very peaceful, scenic and tranquil town.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Queenstown, South Island

This was early in the morning at our Wakatipu View Apartment in Queenstown. The front porch, garden hedge and everywhere outside were snow-covered. There was heavy snowfall the previous night and also during the day. As a result of all this wintry conditions, we missed one of the top highlights of a Queenstown experience...the Shotover Jet on the Shotover river. We had booked and paid the day before but on that morning we received news that owing to the inclement weather, conditions at the river were not safe for the jetboating activity.
Nevertheless, there were other interesting activities to occupy us during our stay there. As you can see, nothing could stop us from creating our own fun such as having snowfights. Here, D2 was about to launch a snow bomb at me just before I took the picture.
The bottom picture showed the surrounding view from our apartment. The roads were also snow-covered and much care and caution was required when driving over such conditions.

The Southern Scenic Route

With our very own rented car we made the best use of the beautiful and scenic roadways as shown on this map. You can pick up any number of copies available at most tourist destinations or attractions. The maps are free.
Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Southern Alps, this place was so named because" it was fit for Queen Victoria". Today, Queenstown is recognised as NZ's premier visitor destination and as one of the friendliest cities in the world. It has the reputation as the Adventure Capital of NZ. With earth, water and air, there is something to thrill any adventure seeker. Centrally located, it serves as a gateway to the Fiordlands and destinations such as Milford and Doubtful Sounds. Other attractions such as Glenorchy, Wanaka and Arrowtown are all within an easy drive.
We made our way to Queenstown to sample some of the highlights. It was in deep winter, with heavy snowfalls everywhere. DT and D4 had taken leave from their work commitments to join us in this episode of our trip. We had booked an apartment unit #4 at Wakatipu View Apartments at 14, Frankton Road for our stay. We had our own parking bay right at the front and it was very cosy and comfortable, with a kitchen attached.
In the morning, we had to move the overnight snow from our front porch area as well as those on the car. It was completely covered! The temperature was below zero degrees C. But we were all well insulated from the shopping we did in Dunedin...mostly polar/thermal inner clothings, gloves and socks. But the main thing that kept both D2 and myself warm were our special winter jackets which had been through thick and thin, from sub-zero temperatures, to some of the wettest and coldest regions we've encountered in our travels.
We had no worries for DT and D4 as they are veterans of the place.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Dentist Chair, Larnach Castle

The dentist chair at the Albatross Inn, Dunedin.
You can see the words on the notice clearly ...just click
on the photo.

D2, D4 and myself enjoying the beauty and the sparkling freshness of flowers,ferns,pines and other exotic plants in the extensive grounds of Larnach Castle, even in winter.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Larnach Castle, Guinness World record

Here are two more brochures which I've collected from the trip.
Dunedin holds the world record for the steepest street in the world.....Baldwin street.

Larnach Castle is a "must see" place on visitors to this region.

Our car, Baldwin Street, Larnach Castle

We rented this white Toyota Corolla for 5 days from NZ Rent a Car at 14, Harrow Street. It costs about 50 odd NZ dollars per day. The two certified drivers ....DT and myself. I took this snapshot of the car with DT, D2 and D4 while on the way to explore the Otago region. The vehicle Reg number is XA 1730.

Centre Photo:
At the very top of the Steepest Street in the world....Baldwin Street, Dunedin. In the background is a part of the city's skyline.( see my previous post ).

Bottom photo:
At Larnach Castle, New Zealand's only castle...overlooking the spectacular Otago Harbour, which is 1000 feet below.
This great castle was built by William Larnach in 1871 and completed in 1887. It took more than 200 workmen over 5 years to construct the main castle. Later, expert European craftsmen were imported to embellish the interior with the finest materials from around the world.
So who was William Larnach? He was one of New Zealand's most remarkable men. A successful landowner, Minister of the Crown, banker,financier and merchant baron, his lasting legacy was this beautiful castle and the lovely gardens covering 35 acres. Today, the Barker family owns it and they have lived there for over 3 decades. It is open to all visitors. There are admission charges. But it is a "must visit" site, IMO.

A World famous logo

The fern leaf you see here is the Silver Fern of New Zealand. The logo of this fern is widely representative of New Zealand and New Zealanders. It is an image that all New Zealanders can relate to. This is because it is a very powerful and emotional symbol of inspiration when it matters. It comes from the leaf of the N Z fern....Cyathea Dealbata [ Maori name is ponga ]. Its top-side is dark green while underneath it is silver. In moonlight, the underside glows brightly thus providing excellent track markers in NZ's forests.
There are over 180 varieties of ferns in NZ. Only the Silver Fern has such qualities. The fern can grow to about 10 metres tall.
There is a long history of the origins and usage of the fern's symbol. It has been widely used in emblems for sports, business, trading, military units, currency etc. The NZ world cup netball champion team is known officially as the Silver Ferns while the famous All Blacks always have this on their rugby jersies.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Albatross Inn, Dunedin

Dunedin is the 2nd largest city in South island, NZ. It is about 5-6 hours drive from Christchurch. About 20 % of the population here are students. Most attend the nearby University of Otago which is one of the top university in the country.
The ambience and setting of Dunedin is very much of the Victorian and Edwardian style or era. By that, I mean the architecture, infrastructure and built-up areas. Nevertheless, it is a modern city with much history and heritage around most nooks and corners.
For our base accomodation, we were highly recommended to the Albatross Inn at 770 George Street.
It is a quaint but modern inn with superb service from the husband and wife owners who also displayed a well-meant, macabre sense of humour. As we entered the main door, we were greeted by a genuine, old world dentist drill chair and set-up. Hanging from the overhead dentist lamp was a clear notice that read,
" If you wish to make a complaint please take a seat and we shall be with you shortly !! ". So...I sat myself down, open my mouth wide and just then the boss owner came into view, smiled and pointed to the sign above me. And we all burst out laughing! On hindsight, I think it was an ingenious idea to put such a thing there. D2 and I really love that inn. The room we had overlook the main street below and gave us a bird's eyeview of the beautiful surroundings. It was cosy and had a homely atmosphere about it.

S'pore - Dunedin, a new Chapter is born!

While we were in Dunedin, we wasted no time in getting to know and meet DT's people...his mom,aunties, cousins and their spouses. We even met Millie, that beautiful dog in the previous picture ,that is part of the Judy and Karl family. Millie impressed us tremendously with her gentle,lovable and most pleasant nature. It was such a joy and an unforgettable experience to have taken her for a nice,long walk through the nearby park.
The 'getting to know everyone' dinner was held at a very nice traditional Chinese Restaurant in downtown Dunedin. It was a most memorable meeting and dinner that time. The food was very good served with Chinese tea. And by dinner's end we were all more than just friends.
DT and D4 made all the introductions.
I thought to myself....this is one of the nicest bunch of people D2 and I could ever hope meeting.

Interesting Brochures, Christchurch N Z

During our trips abroad, I prefer to collect and keep travel brochures of the local places, the cities, the sights and other highlights of where we've been and what we have seen and experienced.
Here are two examples.
Bella Vista Motel was a well-located motel in the heart of the city. It was where we stayed before we departed Christchurch for our return home. The couple running the place was very friendly and it was a nice experience for us.
City Centre Walks brochure offered 4 separate choices for walking tours, all highly attractive and interesting.
Using the itinerary outlined within we conducted our own walks, which obviously, being more easy-going and flexible, served us better.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Christchurch,Dunedin and north

Top picture: Right in the heart of Cathedral Square, which is the city centre of Christchurch, South Island,NZ. This whole place is so named because of the cathedral which is in the background. The Christchurch Cathedral is of Anglican origins. Four major avenues surround this popular destination . There are numerous attractions within the square and park. I noticed a huge statue of the famous Antarctic explorer Robert Scott nearby and went closer to read the inscription. He was one explorer that fired my youthful imagination about adventure, courage in the face of extreme adversity and heroism. Yes, I have read and re-read various accounts of Scott's Last Expedition. So, why was his statue erected here?
The base of his expeditions was nearby.
Christchurch is the largest city in South Island and has a population of about 345,000.

Centre picture: Dunedin
This is one place, one city that has captured our hearts. It is truly beautiful and breathtaking. The heart of the city lies on relatively flat land, west of Otago Harbour. In the late 19th century it was actually a swamp that was eventually drained off. The spectacular Dunedin skyline is dominated by a ring of 7 hills, remnants of a volcanic crater. In the city centre is the famous " Octagon", a popular draw for all visitors. Here, we noticed many students of the nearby University of Otago, hanging out amongst the cafes, eateries, quaint shops, malls,galleries etc. It is full of movement and life. DT and D4 proudly took us around the University where they both had studied in. It was a picture -book setting. If I could be young again and given a chance to study in a university, this would surely be my top choice. D2 and I just love the peace and lovely setting and everything within easy reach.
In Dunedin, we located Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world. In the Guinness Book of Records it says the gradient is 1 in 2: 9. Walking up that street makes you dizzy. It certainly requires much effort. Walking down is also peculiar and funny. So, many people try running down the street....quite effortlessly, if you can somehow keep your balance!
This street is close by to where our dear friends, the Turners DT, Nick and M live.

Bottom Picture:
A snapshot of an old farm barrow in the countryside.

Monday, October 22, 2007

New Zealand June 2000

Welcome to one of the most beautiful country in the world.....New Zealand!
Back in year 2000 June, D2 and I headed that way to meet up with our daughter D4 who was working there after her graduation. We also visited the Turners who were close to D4.
Our flight took us to Christchurch before we boarded a local connecting flight to Dunedin. It was a small propeller driven plane that carried about 10 persons. Although very noisy inside, it afforded all of us spectacular views throughout the journey. We could even see revellers on some chartered boats waving at us....and we waved back! The pilot even asked whether we would like to see sheep grazing in the open fields.
Just imagine for a moment. We pay so much for international flights and get to see nothing!
Here, the fare was really cheap and it was the BEST plane ride we had in terms of the enjoyment factor.

Autumn was over and winter had begun. We rented a car for our self-exploratory adventure. After meeting up with D4 and DT, we began to enjoy the wide open space and the famed NZ outdoors especially the coastal regions.
The 1st picture shows the wild and rugged coastline of the Otago peninsular region, a region famed for its oceanic/coastal wildlife. The huge Royal albatross colony is centred at Taiaroa Head. And not forgetting the little quaint yellow-eyed penguins.
This whole region is teeming with wildlife and lots of outdoor activities. We took in some of the" must join "Eco-Tours after reading about them.
Quote from famous David Bellamy;
" In my opinion, the Otago Peninsular is the finest example of Eco-Tourism in the world."

The 2nd picture was at the 45th Parallel.
What is this whole thing about the 45th parallel?
Well, it is the theoretical halfway point between the equator and the south pole. So, this east -west line of the south latitude marks the point. In the southern hemisphere, it passes mostly over open ocean. Exceptions are where this same parallel crosses over the Aysen Region of Chile, and Chubut Province of Argentina.
In NZ, it crosses the South Island just north of Oamaru.

Monday, October 15, 2007

No Ordinary Killings...Savage Butchery !

This past week was a week of reflection, recollection, thoughtful dedication and in memoriam to my beloved late mother-in-law, who crossed over to gloryland at the ripe old age of 94. We had a well-organised lying-in-state and after the cremation ceremony, conducted a simple yet dignified sea burial off the peaceful waters at Changi Channel ( Changi Point ) for her remains and also that of her late husband, who had gone on before in the 80's.

Last night, I had received some 10 horrific and most gruesome photos of some recent victims
of the Burma uprising. It had come with a take a few deep breaths before viewing.
It was good advice. Although I'm not squeamish nor easily terrified by most anything, it still took some getting use see such inhumanity, cruelty beyond belief, butchery beyond comprehension in those pictures.
I have decided, for the moment, not to display them here openly for one simple reason.
And the reason is I do not wish to cause any severe discomfort to anyone's physical or mental state. They are that gory!

Nevertheless, the story of such depraved and evil brutality should not remain hidden.
The story should be brought to the attention of all civilised people everywhere.
If any of you visiting my site here wishes me to forward you the pictures, just send me your contact email address at the "comments" box and I will gladly oblige.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Land of Cherry Blossom

Last December, D2 and I, together with 3 other friends took a relaxing holiday in Japan where we took in the major sights of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. Since it was already winter the weather was cold. Snow had not begun to fall yet in the city or in the countryside. But the wind was chillingly cold.
Everywhere I looked, I noticed the Sakura tree had long started to shred its leaves which had turned brown. Naturally, the beautiful Sakura flowers more popularly known as cherry blossoms ,were missing. Nonetheless, even in winter, I have a deep admiration for the sheer popularity of this tree...for it was the locals who asked, " do you know what a Sakura tree looks like in winter?" as they pointed excitedly to the surrounding trees.
It seems they are everywhere!
My first visit to Japan, the land of the cherry blossoms and the land of the samurais, was back in June and July 1972 ( exactly 35 years ago ) when I was then the Leader of the Singapore delegation to the 2nd ASIAN YOUTH VOYAGE and the 1st ASIAN YOUTH CONFERENCE at Naha, Okinawa. ( I will have a major post about that journey and adventure later ).
This sample of leaves was collected from a famous temple in Kyoto.
I often collect samples of fauna, flora and other interesting tidbits of geology, geography,history etc...and in my spare time, turn all the collected items, plus the photos,receipts,tickets, bills and other stuff, into a singular travel journal.
In upcoming posts, I shall delve into my collected journals and share the contents, pictures and recollections of many trips, over many,many years across many countries.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Grandeur versus Horror

The Strand Hotel, Yangon, Myanmar

Monks in thousands marching in peace
During our June visit, our host had highlighted certain sights and places we should not miss. Taking the cue, we made preliminary plans for our daily itinerary. It had to be a flexible plan as we were in the middle of the monsoon season with heavy downpour daily. We went through a few of such rain storms where poorly maintained roads, choked and broken drainage and sheer mass of vehicles, caused considerable jams and havoc on the roads. One afternoon, after having lunch in the city centre, we proceeded to the Yangon Port area as we wanted to go across the wide Yangon river on a ferry. The ferry, which can take hundreds at a time, takes about 15 minutes to get over to the other side. The locals pay the equivalent of our 10 cents ( kyat in Myanmar currency) but as foreigners/tourists we paid 2 US $ each! It is the same for the top pagodas like Shwedagon and Sule. Locals enter free, we paid 5 US $ each. When I asked to whom the fees go to. I was told ....."the military".

After our river crossing, we headed across the port area for one of Yangon's most famous landmark....The STRAND hotel, located at 92 Strand Road. This is in the main commercial and diplomatic district. It is little surprise that an obligatory Yangon tradition is to have afternoon tea, a quintessential English distraction, at this opulent stop. The Strand, built in 1901 by the Sarkies brothers reminds us of our very own Raffles Hotel...gracious,elegant, with its high colonial columns, high teas and starched linen. Restored to its former glory, this Victorian-style regal gem of Yangon sits on the waterfront, displaying all the charms of the 20's and 30's in lavish fashion. No need to ask if it is 5 star quality. Those who have sampled her offerings may even give her a 6 rating!

We settled ourselves down at the Strand Cafe. Believe it or not, there were no other visitors save us. A lone musician was playing the Myanmese harp and xylophone and we tipped him generously as we were the only audience! The music was strange and haunting. It could be echoes of the past. Sitting under the archaic whirring ceiling fans and in such a redolent setting, I could never have imagined nor conjured up the images and horrors of such as we have witnessed in recent days. At least not that ....soon! What D2 and I had seen and experienced was nothing compared to what is taking place right now in Myanmar.

The tea or drink at the Strand cost 4 US $ each. A plate of noodles 9 US$. The suite is about 500 US$ ++ per night ( cheapest ). There are only 32 suites, no rooms at all. Why are there so few tourists at the Strand or even elsewhere? If you visit the Lonely Planet website or read their latest guidebook on Myanmar the answer is pretty clear. The country has been labelled as a "pariah" state by the west and Europe. No, not referring to the local people but the military regime in power. And Madam Aung San Suu Kyi made repeated calls for tourists and others not to visit Myanmar as an anti-junta stance. As a result, most westerners, Europeans and others in the Asian-Pacific region skip Burma in their travel plans. In a country where most people are poor and where even those who work for the government earn less than 1 US dollar a day, it does not come as a big surprise that life in Burma is very hard. Even well-qualified doctors in their dilapidated hospitals earn 80 US dollars a month only. Many have to moonlight to survive.

The Strand is by far the best Yangon luxury hotel offering a vintage experience.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A heart of GOLD !

Photo taken in 2002 at owlet's graduation.
In my very 1st posting on this blog, I recounted the story of how I lost a Parker Pen which was a gift from my late father, while on my 1st train journey to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, in 1963. That story was aired on the programme 'Travellers Tales'on RSI 93.8 Live ,in August this year. Then three days ago, while retrieving the mail from my postbox, there was a little gift box mixed with all my mail. It was a Parker Pen gift box and with that a card was attached.

I was bewildered. The package was not even registered. It must have been delivered by hand. However, before I opened the card to read its content, I made a guess to myself that it could be from "owlet". Bingo! It was from "owlet". In his own writing, he opens up the thread of the story about the pen, in which he had so thoughtfully engraved these touching words ," remembrance of Dad ". When I opened the box and saw as well as held the pen in my fingers, I could feel tears welling up in my misty eyes. For lo and behold it was so uncanny. This pen is almost a carbon-copy of the one I had lost! In size, colour and shape almost identical. Lost for a moment, my mind travelled back 44 years. How proud I was that I had a top quality pen tucked safely in my shirt pocket. The other equally well-known pen name then was Sheaffers. It was always between these two in my younger days.

Owlet is a former student of mine who was unlike most students. He was never content to simply learn things from the syllabus or between the books. He much preferred the experiential aspects of education, active learning and absorbing bits and pieces of acquired wisdom rather than chunks and more chunks of book knowledge. He always asked lots of questions of me. He is still asking lots of questions today.

All I can say for now is that I am most touched by owlet's thoughtfulness and maturity. And if owlet happens to read this, I can assure him that THIS Parker Pen is going on no train or plane journey or anywhere. Neither will I ever clip it on my shirt pocket.

Instead, I will put it together with my other treasured memorabila, in a nice display corner of my home, where

it will always have a story to tell.

And the story begins with....." A heart of Gold ".

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Burma's Only Real Hope....

1. At the Port of Yangon 2. At a noodles shop in Chinatown, Yangon

UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi ( source: UNIC Yangon ) 2 days ago.
Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of Aung San who is still regarded by most Burmese as the real hero of their nation. After successfully negotiating Burma's independence from the British in 1947, he was tragically assasinated that same year when Suu Kyi was only 2.
Suu Kyi was educated both in Burma and abroad.
In 1990, the military junta agreed to have the 1st free election in the country. Under her leadership, her party which she founded the NLD ( National League for Democracy ) won a major landslide victory at the polls. According to protocol, she would have been the Prime Minister. But the military, who also participated in the elections, were soundly beaten and following that humiliation , declared the election results "null and void". She was again placed under house arrest and has been in detention ever since.
The junta led by Sr General Than Shwe refused to hand over power and was widely condemned by all quarters of the international community.The military crooks pulled the carpet from right under her. And since then, the country has gone downhill. In her most famous Speech, "Freedom From Fear " her 1st sentence begins.......
"It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those subject to it. "
In 1991, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her peaceful, non-violent struggle against the military dictatorship.
She remains Burma's only real hope for reversing the country's fortune and putting her on a path of democracy.
Some recent reports have pointed out the similarity between the Philippines People Power struggle that eventually toppled then President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. That too was led by a lady, Corazon Aquino., who assumed the presidency after Marcos fled.
The People Power movement was strongly backed by the nuns,priests,bishops and cardinals of the respected and powerful Catholic Church.
At the height of the demonstrations against martial law imposed by Marcos, he vowed to crush the protesters with his tanks.
But where the protests in Burma failed, time and time again, the one in Manila succeeded owing
to one major,critical factor. And what was that? Gen Fidel Ramos was the head of the Philippines Constabulary( Police ). He threw his weight and that of the entire police legions behind the Church and effectively behind the protesters.
He became a new hero of the Filipino struggle against oppression and tyranny.
But here in Burma, the picture is quite different.
The military regime controls the Senior monks who are appointed by them to control and oversee all monks in the country. They have no independence of control.
Those who do not cooperate are removed.
This is common knowledge among Burmese people.
After all, the evil generals run a totalitarian system.
Latest reports today stated that the P M Gen Soe Wein has died of luekemia [ ].
[ However on 5/10/07 apologised on their site for the earlier inaccuracy. Apparently the ailing PM is still alive but in a critical condition and is not expected to pull through. ]
There will be some re-shuffling of the 12 merry men of Than Shwe.
Yes....there are 12 in the ruling junta.
All should PRAY hard that one day, in the not too distant future, one or two of these"dirty dozen" will be
another Fidel Ramos....and he will be the new hero of democratic Burma!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Latest.... Burma's Killing Field. Shocking if true!

1.Betel nut seller 2. Ferry crossing at Yangon river
3. Poor boy selling cold water

According to the latest Daily Mail (UK ) News, 2nd Oct 2007, a senior Intelligence officer working with the Ruling Junta has decided to defect after he refused to be involved in the clandestine dirty work, now going on deep inside Burma's jungle in the north. According to HLA WIN ( his name ) he was to accompany thousands of detained monks and other protesters taken into the deep jungle and there shoot and bury or dump them. He could not bring himself to do so and taking his son with him, fled to the refugee border of Thailand to escape and seek refuge. He reported that all the monks and protesters had been shackled and dragged deep into the jungle. There they were all killed and their bodies dumped.

It does not come as a surprise to me that the evil regime has chosen the deep jungle as the new "Killing Field "for those who oppose them. The jungle's canopy provide the perfect cover against any spy satellites overhead. Some satellites have already captured clear images of their fortress-like bunker Hqrs at Naypyidaw. Obviously they wouldn't want such mass killings to be recorded and shown to the outside world. Brutal killing, heinous torture and state -sponsored terrorism against their very own people is the signature trademark of Than Shwe and his murderous clowns.

Many more horrific and brutal stories are posted on the internet. I am reminded of the "mad and murderous" reign of Idi Amin of Uganda after he deposed President Milton Obote while the latter was in Singapore for the Commonwealth Heads of Govt Conference.

A BBC team visited 7 monasteries and found no monks in any. Now, at least we know where they could have ended up. But they won't kill all monks. Those released were defrocked and sent home to their villages or communes. Others will remain locked up and languish in the regime's jails for a long time as punishment and warning to all in Burma.

Latest Update:
This piece of news made it to the top stories on BBC news tonight, 3rd Oct 2007, on TV.
I caught the whole story. The BBC reporter was interviewing this defector. He said he was a major and was i/c of a unit of men who were given orders to massacre the monks in deep jungle. He spoke in his own voice, pointing to details on a map. His face was hidden for security reasons.
I do hope that the UN and other international bodies that have the power to investigate further take notice and launch some preliminary fact-finding before the evil generals erase all evidence of their monstrous crime.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Latest.. 200 monks brutally murdered.

On 27th Sep 2007, it was reported that the regime sent their specially-recruited and trained "thug units"which comprises some of the worst criminals /barbarians they can scour from all over, injected them with a special drug which ,according to witnesses who have been set upon by these"zombies", have reddish-looking eyes and who do not look like normal human beings anymore ,once they are unleashed.... they were sent to Ngwe-Kyar Yan monastery, on the outskirts of Yangon on Wei-za-Yan-tar Road. There, backed up and surrounded by fully armed military units, these zombies broke into the monastery which houses over 200 monks. All the monks were roused from their sleep, lined up against the wall and each monk had his head bashed into the wall. Blood flowed freely and everywhere.
When all the monks were thus killed, bodies were loaded onto lorries and driven away...later to be dumped into rivers. Some of these corpses have surfaced and are floating on rivers as can be seen in the photos (Source: ).
Of the cold -blooded massacre that took place, only 10 monks managed to escape by hiding in different places. They are living eye-witnesses to the MONSTROUS CRIME that had taken place. Villagers around that area, as practically everywhere else in Myanmar, could do nothing to prevent the killing of their beloved monks. They too were aware of the great tragedy within their midst.
Note: the details of this incident were sent out, attached with a desperate message to tell the whole world ,"that the 200 monks were not detained and sent to jail but were brutally killed inside their own monastery and their bodies later dumped into rivers."