Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
You can only use your camera without flash.
This is to help preserve the many delicate and fragile items put on display.
Over this 5 months, I noticed that many visitors to this blogsite of mine have been particularly attracted to the story and pictures on the " Sword of Gou Jian, King of Yue ". This included many, many overseas visitors from USA, Europe, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and also Asia. There were also visits from well-known universities and leading organisation from both the USA and UK, as well as Europe.
I have no idea why there is so much interest over this subject or perhaps certain aspects of the subject. However, I can only guess that it could have originated from the same interest that first attracted me....the Sword of Gou Jian!
It is TRULY a most FASCINATING story worthy to be made into several top TV serials and even big screen movies.
In coming posts I shall put up more pictures and reports of artifacts which can be found within the place.
They are worth seeing.
Friday, December 26, 2008
In my earlier post on the subject of Hanging coffins, I had given some insights, plus actual snapshots of those we saw while cruising the Gorges. You can read it here.
These exhibits describe the background and showcase some of those coffins and skeletons recovered while the 3 Gorges Dam project were undertaken.
Many of those caves and cliffside openings where these Hanging coffins were found, were affected by the development of the project...as the Damming of the Yangtze caused the water level in the river to rise dramatically. Not all were affected. So,those that were had to be saved as seen in this case depicted here.
Why did the ancient people in those ancient culture took such a laborious route to preserve their dead?
It was no easy task to do what they did.
So WHY indeed?
Pictured here are actual relics of that ancient culture that is often called the "people of the Hanging coffins".
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Here is Harry Belafonte singing "Mary's Boy Child "....one of the best renditions ever!
Unk Dicko would like to wish all my friends and visitors alike .....
BLESSED CHRISTMAS .
MAY PEACE, JOY AND GOOD TIDINGS COME YOUR WAY !
PS: By this same time, next year 2009.... I hope you will all get a chance to hear my very ownYoutube video clip of selected lovely Christmas Carols and songs using my Ukulele and and guitar too !
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Since then, we did not meet again as a group until today. This was our 1st Re-union at the official Briefing conducted at the Council of 3rd Age office at 10 am this morning.
Henry Quake, the CEO of C3A warmly welcomed all 7 of us back to the fold. He gave us an Overview of our anticipated role and function as the official Ambassadors for the C3A, particularly in the run-up to the many activities and programme for 2009.
Specifically, he requested for our active participation in the 1st Major Mega event of the year...the 50+ SINGAPORE EXPOSITION which is scheduled for the 10 and 11 January 2009 at SUNTEC CITY.
This Mega event is expected to draw some 70,000 visitors and these magnificent 7 will be involved in the Main Booth of the EXPO....the C3A booth.
What our role will be exactly is still being worked out. But among other things, all of us will represent the C3A as their Ambassadors in Q and A sessions on promoting active ageing and an active lifestyle. There will be different roles for some of us.
After Henry Quake's overview, Mr Lim Chee Kam who will act as our "Manager,gave us more info through a PP presentation.
Ms Phyllis Choo, AD of C3A added her input.
We were given some exciting news...the C3A intends to form an "ACTIVE AGERS WINNERS CLUB" which will include the 1st batch of winners from 2007 and ourselves from 2008. They hope the club will be a strong foundation of active Ambassadors whom they can rely on for added impetus and more.
Re: The January 2009 EXPO
Unk Dicko has been invited by C3A to give a TALK about "How senior citizens can make use of the internet and I T to enhance their lifestyle."
INFOCOMM DEVT AUTHORITY has also similarly invited Unk Dicko to give a TALK on his personal experiences and to share his expertise on BLOGGING and the internet with the seniors and retirees.
1 and 2, inside the C3A Meeting Room.
3 and 4...Tang W Kee and Unk Dicko
Monday, December 22, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
There are numerous videoclips on Youtube on the 3 Kingdom Period. One of the most popular serials was produced in China and shown in Singapore where it had a huge following, some years ago. I have uploaded an episode about Zhuge Liang summoning the East Wind at the Battle of Red Cliff.
There have been many serials and movies made about the 3 Kingdoms. But by far, this particular series and the actors and actresses chosen to perform the various roles and characters seem superior to all the other versions. This is the view I garnered from many online sites and forums sharing feedback and observations.
I can't disagree with those views.
Pic: Zhuge Liang holding a fan and ill Liu Bei.
Their leader and later emperor was Liu Bei. He had many able men and generals under his command. But the 3 most important to him were his 2 blood brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei...and his prime minister Zhuge Liang.
The scene depicted here showed a dying Liu Bei entrustring his sons to the total care of Zhuge Liang.
Such was Liu Bei's devotion and high esteem for his beloved P M.
Below..I reproduced a portion from the famous book" Romance of The Three Kingdoms" describing this scene.
At the First Ruler's command the attendants raised Zhuge Liang from the earth. With one hand the dying man brushed away the falling tears, while with the other he grasped Zhuge Liang's hand.
61 And he said, "The end is near. I have something more to say as to a close general."
62 "What holy command has Your Majesty to give?" said Zhuge Liang.
63 The First Ruler said, "You are many times more clever than Cao Pi, and you must safeguard the kingdom and complete the great work. If my son can be helped, help him. But if he proves a fool, then take the throne yourself and be a ruler."
64 Such a speech almost startled Zhuge Liang out of his senses. A cold sweat broke out all over his body, and his limbs threatened to cease to support him.
65 He fell on his knees, saying, "I could never do otherwise than wear myself to the bone in the service of your son, whom I will serve till death."
66 He knocked his head upon the ground till blood ran down.
67 The dying man called Zhuge Liang closer, and at the same time making his two sons come near, he said to them, "My sons, remember your father's words. After my death you are to treat the Prime Minister as you would your father and be not remiss, for thereby you will fulfill your father's hopes."
68 He made the two Princes pay to Zhuge Liang the obeisance due to a father.
69 Said Zhuge Liang, "Were I destroyed and ground into the earth, I should be unable to repay the kindness I have experienced."
70 Turning to the assembled officers, the First Ruler said, "As you have seen, I have confided my orphan son to the care of the Prime Minister and bidden my sons treat him as a father. You too, Sirs, are to treat him with deference. This is my dying request and charge to you."
71 Turning to Zhao Zilong, he said, "You and I have gone together through many dangers and difficulties. Now comes the parting of our ways. You will not forget our old friendship, and you must see to it that my sons follow my precepts."
72 "I shall never dare to give other than my best," said Zhao Zilong. "The fidelity of the dog and horse is mine to give and shall be theirs."
73 Then the First Ruler turned to the others, "Noble Sirs, I am unable to speak to you one by one and lay a charge upon each individual. But I say to you: Maintain your self-respect."
74 These were his last words. He was sixty-three, and he died on the twenty-fourth day of the fourth month (AD 222). A poem was written by Du Fu on his death.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
If you were born in 1938 you would be 70 years old today. Many people born way before that year are still around today. They could be in their 80's or 90's now. If you were born after 1938, during the war years or post-war period, that is from 1945 onwards, you would have lived through a most interesting period of Singapore's history.
Singapore was a British Colony and governed by the British. The British Empire was at its zenith before the advent of WW2. After the war, they still held sway for some time as emerging nationalistic cries for freedom and independence sprouted across Asia, India and Africa.
In quiet Singapore, life slowly got back to normal amidst much hardships caused by the death, destruction, turmoil and upheavals that resulted from WW2. Unk Dicko went to school for the first time in his life...missed 2 years due to family hardships, so only enrolled in Primary One at 8 years old. My parents sent me to GES...Geylang English School. As a kid in school, I remember many things still. One of those things was learning to sing that majestic-sounding song or hymn,.. " LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY ".
It was such a stirring piece when the full music was played and we sang it fervently, with great show and spirit. I can still recall the words of the song today.
Land of hope and glory, mother of the free
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider, shall our bounds be set
God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet ( x 2 ) .
The video above vividly recaptures the mood and ambience of the Singapore I once knew...images of rickshaws, amahs, barbers, the "kweilos" enjoying themselves, old Ford cars, S'pore River, tongkangs and sampans, the Padang and so many other nostalgic sights and scenes.
Watch it, only 11 minutes and with music set in those times too ! Then tell me how you feel.
From last month, I was and am also a resident guest Blogger as INFOCOMM 123 Silver Ambassador at their I T portal. You can see their banner and widget above.
There is still much to share about these 4 fulfilling months.
But duty calls as I want to complete my China story. So here it goes.
After passing Qutang Gorge, we had an early dinner on board our cruise ship. Soon our cruise ship arrived at the jetty at BAIDI City. This is a city very deeply connected to the 3 Kingdom stories. At about 6.15 pm, we boarded another boat that took us across Baidi city to the opposite side, a town called Fengjie town or "White Emperor Town". We then boarded a bus for a 10 minute journey to the place shown in these photos. This is a "Must visit and must see" place as this whole temple complex was set up in commemoration of the great Loyalty and friendship of the 3 famous brothers Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Chang Fei and their brilliant military advisor Zhuge Liang. The buildings and grounds have a very long history. One of the Ming emperors was moved to build it in their memory and honour. The top picture: Me and D2 at the beginning of a long walk and tiresome climb to the top of that hill behind us.
Centre Pic: The climb up is very long,winding and steep. Many cannot make it without using the services of these sedan chair carriers. It requires 2 strong men to carry one person up. They charged about 30-40 yuan perperson. There were 2 huge caucasian ladies who tried to haggle the price down to below 30 Y. The carriers refused to negotiate. Rightly so, in my opinion. Not only that, they assessed the "size" of their baggage[ 2 ladies] and upped it to 50 Y...take it or leave it.
The 2 ladies sighed and left it and started walking up. I was behind them and could see they were really unfit and struggling with each footstep. They could have collapsed at any time! I advised them to take the sedan. Don't save such money. Spend it! They quickly signalled to the 4 clever carriers who were actually following close by, knowing full well their services will be needed shortly. The ladies breathed easy but not so the 4 carriers...they were grunting and groaning and complaining about the 2 elephants they were carrying!
At the end of the climb, we appeared at the entrance of "The Zhuge Liang temple".
Picture: D2 and Shirley our personal guide.
Friday, December 12, 2008
In the light of continuing and non-stop terrorist attacks by mainly misguided Islamic fanatics
around the world...it would be PRUDENT to read the views of this German.
The views expressed below also apply to other religions and certain forms of government.
This is by far the best explanation of the Muslim terrorist situation I have ever read. His references to past history are accurate and clear. Not long, easy to understand, and well worth the read. The author of this email is said to be Dr. Emanuel Tanay, a well known and well respected psychiatrist.
A German's View on Islam
A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism. 'Very few people were true Nazis,' he said, 'but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.'
We are told again and again by 'experts' and 'talking heads' that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslim! s just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectra of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.
The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.
The hard quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the 'silent majority,' is cowed and extraneous.Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.
China's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.
The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving'?
History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.
Peace-loving Germans,Japanese,Chinese,Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.
As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.
Lastly, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand. So, extend yourself a bit and send this on and on and on! Let us hope that thousands, worldwide, read this and think about it, and send it on - before it's too late.
Emanuel Tanay, M.D
Related post: S'pore's 1st terrorism victim. Read here.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
These men were part of the Indian SWAT team.
Two innocent persons shot and killed at the Railway Station. Many were killed. What wrong had these 2 victims done to the terrorists?
More dead and seriously injured at the Station. So many killed by just 2 terrorists as shown above in the top photo. What GREAT HARM or WRONG have these victims committed against the terrorists?
All those who died were brutally murdered including our own Ms Lo Hwei Yen.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
It has been a year plus since I started this very blogsite in Sept last year. And what an exciting journey and learning experience it has been for me.
In these pages, my aim was and still is the same...to record, archive and share my wide travel experience and adventuring, as well as the many astounding real -life incidents that came my way.
Reflecting on my blogging so far, my estimate is that I have only touch on not more than 10 % of the resources and material that I have accumulated. With one personal blogsite, I can only do so much....I realised.
That's why I started this "Wise Owl" blog in the 1st place after our Family blogsite...the Yippies.
So, here's the latest update on my various blogs and some notes.
1. The Wise Old Owl @ http://www.uncledicko.blogspot.com/
[ My main, personal blogsite on which I blog on almost daily. This will contain both past and current topics of interest.]
2. The Yippies
[ This is a private family blogsite not opened to the public unfortunately. There are
about 20 family members in it...although most of the posts have been by unk Dicko.
This site began in January 2007. The articles, pics and posts within are solidly good ]
3. Serangoon our Kampong @ http://www.serangoongrls.blogspot.com
[ This is a new blogsite which I created for the Grassroot leaders of Serangoon Gardens .
It is meant to be a Team Blogsite for any number of the GRLs. Presently, I am the
Site Administrator. I intend to appoint 2 suitable GRLs to be co-admin with me. ]
4. Unk Dicko's Storeroom of Wisdom @ http://www.uncledickostore.blogspot.com
[ I just created this special blogsite as I wanted very much to share with one and all
lots and lots of interesting stuff...many of which are what I term "GOLDEN GEMS" or
" GOLDEN NUGGETS".
Treat it as if you are going on a Treasure Hunt !
You are bound to find some guaranteed Treasure along the way!
In here, you will find the A to Z of many topics and subjects.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Husband of hostage killed in Mumbai recalls last few agonising hoursBy Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia Posted: 03 December 2008 1851 hrs
Singaporeans mourn tragic death of Lo Hwei Yen
Shock and grief at Singaporean hostage's death
Singaporean hostage killed in Mumbai
Husband of hostage killed in Mumbai recalls last few agonising hours
SINGAPORE: Their final few weeks of marriage were truly the best time of his life. Breaking his silence for the first time, husband of Singaporean hostage Lo Hwei Yen killed in the Mumbai attacks, Michael Puhaindran gave an insight into the life of the 28-year-old.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
We spent about an hour there and before we left went once again to pay our most humble respects at the casket bearing Hwei Yen's body. She was serene and peaceful and clothed in a red cheongsam.
I mentioned to Puhaindran that D2 my wife, would have come with me too. But right then, even as we were there talking, she is in Chengdu, the state capital of Szechuan Province, China. With her expertise as a Principal, she helped set up a new school in the aftermath of the Great Earthquake. She was there for the Opening of this newly built school and to further enhance the teachers, the set-up and other know how.
( See my blogpost on the Szechuan earthquake at archives 2008 ).
I told Michael " We are here to show our support. I knew your father a long time ago. Try to be Strong".
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
This is a Tragic story of a 2 year old miraculous survivor of the MUMBAI Massacre.
It really pains my heart to read this. But the evil that was done must be exposed and publicised as much as possible. It is yet another awakening call for all of us, for governments and especially the so -called "Intelligence Services" ( some are obviously not so intelligent after all ).
He is only 2 years old, loved and cherished by his youngish parents. But what trauma and harrowing nightmare this sweet, innocent child had endured and seen...no one will ever know save GOD. And I just wonder HOW THEY WILL ANSWER TO THE RIGHTEOUS GOD, one day, for this GREAT EVIL they did.
For right before his eyes, his mother and father were brutally murdered by the COWARDS that came into his peaceful home.
Yes, the terrorists are COWARDS of the worst kind when they take on innocent and defenceless people...like killing Ms Lo Hwei Yen, one of our own innocent citizens.
Pictured: Tears of the two-year-old boy trapped in Mumbai Jewish centre as his parents were murdered.
What horrors has this two-year-old child seen? And how much does he understand?
His face wracked with sobs as he cries for his mother, tiny Moshe Holtzberg has had a miraculous escape: He was inside the Jewish centre stormed by Islamic militants during last week's Mumbai attacks.
His rabbi father and mother were both murdered by the militants. Moshe was rushed to safety - drenched in blood - after his nanny found him crying by their bodies.
Clutching a toy basketball, his face contorted by tears, this is Moshe Holtzberg at today's memorial service for his parents. The two-year-old orphan's rabbi father and mother were murdered in Mumbai's Jewish centre
Horror scene: Blood spatters the walls inside the Jewish centre where Moshe was trapped as Islamic gunmen killed his parents during last week's attacks
He only turned two this week. Today he attended the emotionally-charged memorial service for his parents at a Mumbai synagogue before being flown to Israel.
Now he is safe in the care of his mother's parents - but what effect the trauma of his horrifying ordeal has had on him remains to be seen.
'I don't know that he can comprehend or that he will remember seeing his parents shot in cold blood,' said Robert Katz, a New York-based fund-raiser for an Israeli orphanage founded by the boy's family.
'When the baby emerged with the nanny, he had blood stains on him,' Benjamin Isaac, secretary of the Indian Jewish Federation, said.
'Thankfully it wasn't his blood. But we knew someone's blood had already been spilled.'
Last Wednesday, two gunmen had stormed the six-storey Nariman House, which housed the centre in Mumbai's Colaba area.
Bullet marks cover the walls of Naiman House, showing the intensity of the firefight when commandos burst in in an attempt to free the hostages
The house is at a nondescript address on a small street - but it is close to the plush hotels and railway station which bore the brunt of a string of attacks by the heavily-armed militants.
They took eight people hostage inside Nariman House, including the wife and child of Israeli-born Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29.
The young rabbi arrived in Mumbai in 2003 to run a synagogue and Torah classes as part of the worldwide Chabad-Lubavitch Movement.
Moshe's nanny, Sandra Samuel was on the first floor of the building when the gunmen arrived. She locked herself in a room in a desperate bid to stay alive.
At one point she heard Moshe's mother Rivkah screaming "Sandra help!" Then the screaming stopped, and it was quiet, Mr Katz said
'The whole night I heard gunshots and loud blasts,' she said in a statement to police.
'Next morning it was quiet for a while, when I heard the baby crying.'
Moshe's grandmother Yehudit Rosenberg and member of the family's domestic staff console him during the service today
Samuel quietly unbolted the door, and went up to the second floor where she found Moshe crying, his pants drenched in blood, next to the bodies of his parents.
She picked him up and dashed out through the blood-spattered rooms to safety.
A handyman who worked for the family also managed to escape.
As the siege of the building dragged on, elite commandos were dropped by helicopter onto the roof of the building, the same men who would later blast their way through the centre, ending the stand-off after almost two days of intense fighting.
But by then the militants had killed the remaining hostages, including Holtzberg and his 28-year-old wife, Rivka.
At a police station on Thursday, Moshe sat clutching a grimy doll surrounded by Jewish volunteers, while Samuel described her horrifying ordeal.
He has since been handed to his maternal grandparents, Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg, who flew to India from Israel with members of ZAKA, Israel's non-governmental rescue-and-recovery organisation which specialises in collecting human remains to ensure a proper Jewish burial.
His nanny Sandra flew to Israel with him after today's memorial service 'so at least he has someone he knows and recognizes and loves,' said Mr Katz.
Describing Moshe's reunion with his grandparents, Mr Katz said: 'It was pure raw emotion, tears of joy, tears of sorrow, incredible emotion - understandably out of control.'
Fewer than 5,000 Jews remain living among India's billion-plus people, but the faith has a long history here, with the first established community thought to have been formed in the south-western state of Kerala before AD 70.
The photograph shows the inside of Nariman House after the commando operation
The attack on Nariman House pitched Mumbai's tiny Jewish community into the the glare of the world's media and its members say they now feel vulnerable.
Israeli officials say the Chabad centre was targeted for being Jewish. A Los Angeles-based member of the movement said there was no knowledge of specific threats prior to the attacks.
But he said there had since been reports the gunmen had rented an apartment in a nearby building at some stage, something also reported by Indian media without quoting sources.
'Actually, we have been very concerned for sometime now,' the Indian Jewish Federation's Isaac said. 'We had been expecting something like this.'
For the moment the community's are thoughts with Moshe.
The toddler has one older sibling who has Tay-Sachs, a genetic disorder particularly prevalent in Jews of Eastern European origin. He is permanently hospitalized in Israel, Katz said. The couple's first-born child died of Tay-Sachs.
In a sad coincidence, Moshe's grand-uncle, Rabbi Yitzchak David Grossman is founder of the Migdal Ohr, which says it is Israel's largest facility for orphaned and disadvantaged children.
The Foreign Ministry said the government would arrange official funeral send representatives to the ceremonies, as it does for victims of attacks at home.
'There are going to be thousands of people at this funeral,' said Mr Katz.
'This couple wasn't living in the West Bank. They weren't settlers. They weren't occupying anyone's land. They were killed because they were Jews, simple and plain.'
'The boy's security is of utmost concern to us,' said Jonathan Solomon, a prominent community leader.
'He had been crying. He is too small you see, and all this must be affecting him so much.'