Thursday, December 31, 2009

1st Singaporean woman to reach South Pole

(Photo: Unk Dicko's photo archives )

Sophia Pang becomes first S'porean woman to reach South PoleBy Imelda Saad, Channel NewsAsia Posted: 30 December 2009 1929 hrs

SINGAPORE: Singaporean Sophia Pang, a mother of three, has become the first woman here to reach the South Pole. She joined six other participants from Commonwealth countries - Cyprus, Ghana, India, Brunei, New Zealand, and United Kingdom - to complete the gruelling journey. The group had set off from the Antarctic coast on November 19. They met their target to reach the South Pole on New Year's Day. The triumphant team faced biting temperatures of up to minus 40 degrees Celsius, as they skied 900 kilometres to the South Pole. The expedition marks the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth. - CNA/sc

They made History !!!

Unk Dicko and all my regular blog visitors would like to say.....

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S !

to all the team members of the all-women Antarctic Expedition for their great Achievement.

And especially to Team leader Felicity for having inspired this dream come true and not forgetting Singapore's very own....SOPHIA PANG for not only her courage but for her unforgettable and remarkable achievement in getting a major sponsor for the expedition.
We await more news of their great story.
Below is the latest news from their website.

Felicity's podcast in writing :

"Hello this is Felicity reporting that at 23:09 on the 29th of December the Kaspersky Labs Commonwealth Antarctica Expedition arrived at the Geographic South Pole. We're all standing around the mirrorball that sits at the South Pole and surrounded by the flags of all the Antarctic Treaty Nations with the South Pole base in the background and standing next to me is Era Al-Sufri the first Bruneian ever to ski to the South Pole. Next to her is Stephanie Solomonides, the first Cypriot ever to ski to the South Pole. Next to her is Reena Kaushal Dharmshaktu, the first Indian woman to ski all the way to the South Pole. Next to her is Sophia Pang the first woman from Singapore to ski to the South Pole. Next to her is Kylie Wakelin, the first woman from New Zealand to ski to the South Pole. Next to her is Helen Turton who has fulfilled a long-held ambition to ski to the South Pole and I've also fulfilled an ambition to take a team of inspirational women all the way to the South Pole.
I'm incredibly proud of the team and I think the feeling that we're all feeling right now is that if we can do this then you can do anything that you like to and that's the message that we really want to send to everyone. There's so many people that we need to thank for being able to stand here right now. First of all our friends, family and partners who've put up with so much disruption in their lives to let us do this and then there's all the volunteers who have given so generously of their time and their energy to help us organise this. And finally of course to our wonderful sponsors Kaspersky Labs who has made this dream possible for us. Thank you to all of you.
We can't wait to get home and share all our stories with you all and we're going to be doing that over the next couple of weeks but first of all we're all off to get a good sleep and to have something really good to eat. Love to everyone at home. We're all incredibly happy and we're standing here, 7 women at the bottom of the planet with a biggest smiles on our faces right now. Thanks to everybody out there for supporting us and getting us here. Thank you. Bye."

Huge congratulations to The Kaspersky Lab Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition team which arrived at the Geographic South Pole at approximately 23.09 Antarctic time on 29 December 2009!
More updates later!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sophia Pang...a few hours from History!

An extremely bold, daring and adventurous Singaporean lady is set to become the very first female Singaporean to conquer the South Pole in a matter of hours as I post this updated story.
Sophia Pang and her all women team, known collectively as the Kaspersky Commonwealth Expedition to the South Pole, is only 6 nautical miles ( as the crow flies ) from their historic destination...the POLE!
The team has made very good progress over the frozen region and yesterday Sophia celebrated her birthday nearing destination's end. It should be one birthday she will never, ever forget. On behalf of my friends from the Serangoon Send-off party, may I wish you Sophia, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Will be keeping tabs on that historic moment from now on....
You can check my earlier post with photos by clicking....Here.

Here is the latest news update from the official Expedition website.

Latest Expedition News

Check the team's progress
29.12.09 Happy Birthday Sophia

The goal is in sight. Literally. They can see the South Pole and I can think of worse ways that

Sophia could have spent her birthday.A quick practical bit before we let Steph (Cyprus) give us the interesting stuff. Firstly, they are roughly 6 nautical miles from the South Pole. The map on the Progress page is approximate, so might look a bit off on the last day or two. Second, they are taking the day off to prepare for this evening's live lecture at the National Geographic Store
via satellite phone. So, despite being a stone throw's away from the finish line, there will be a slight
delay in the arrival.
The tension mounts!
Anyway, over to Steph for today's update.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

China confirms it is Cao Cao's tomb.

Below is the latest report from the People's Daily online citing 6 reasons by the
Cutrual Relics Bureau (CHINA) in support of this tomb belonging to Cao Cao.
Six reasons the tomb belonged to Cao Cao
15:43, December 29, 2009

Archaeologists also found 59 engraved stone plates logging the name and amount of the articles buried in the tomb. Seven of the plates logged weapons "often used by the king of Wei", or Cao Cao. On Dec 27 of 2009, National Cultrual Relics Bureau made an announcement that an ancient tomb discovered in Anyang, Henan province was assured to be the tomb of Cao Cao, a renowned warlord and politician in the third century, after a year's excavation. There are 6 main reasons (which) make archeologist believe the owner is him.
First: The scale of the tomb is quite large at nearly 60 meters long; the coffin chamber's form and structure are similar to known royal noble tombs of the Han and Wei dynasty, and this suits Cao Cao's identity; the tomb was not sealed by earth, which is similar to the description of "no seal and no trees" given in documents.
Second: The unearthed artifacts, portrait stones and other relics carry clear character of Han and Wei dynasty, in which Cao Cao lived.
Third: The location of the tomb is exactly the same as recorded in documents. According to relevant history books, Cao Cao died in Jan. 220AD, and his body was escorted back to Ye City in February before being buried at Gao Ling. Gao Ling was at the west of "Xi Menbao's Temple". In addition, in another document unearthed in 1998, the location of Cao Cao's tomb was clearly points to this spot.
Fourth: According to Cao Cao's will he was buried with no precious jewels, instead wearing only normal clothes. What we found in the tomb has exactly verified this point: although the tomb chamber is quite large in scale, the decoration is simple with no murals; weapons, a stone pillow and other things can all be proved as daily tools thanks to the words on them; Cao Cao wore delicate jades on a daily basis..
Fifth: The stone memorial tablet and pillow, which were carved with the characters "Wei Wu Wang (魏武王)", are the most conclusive evidence for the identity of the tomb's owner. As we know, Cao Cao died with the title "Wei Wang (魏王)", and his son added his title -"Wu Hang Di (武皇帝)". So the name carved on the stones was how Cao Cao would have been addressed at the time.
Sixth: Archeologists found a pair of bones belonging to a man, who died in his 60s, approximately. As history records, Cao Cao died at 66 years old.
By People's Daily Online

TOMB and Skull of Cao Cao...found!

I was relaxing before the TV 2 nights ago, when one news item caught my undivided attention.
The breaking news said something about the tomb of legendary Cao Cao having been unearthed.
Immediately, I signalled to D2 to join me as we both devoured the full story coming from China Tv. The video footage showed a portion of the skull said to belonged to Cao Cao himself and other artifacts.

To me and surely to other history buffs, this is simply awesome news!
As a matter of fact, in my visit to the historical 3 Kingdom area of Central China in 2008, I had asked this question many times, " Where was Cao Cao buried? Has his tomb been found? "
Right until the time we were in Hubei province, no one has supposedly found his tomb yet.

However, tomb robbers somehow managed to locate his tomb in December last year and were picking out stone tablets with inscriptions of Cao Cao's name and royal titles on them. They were somehow caught by the authorities and that was how the govt discovered this ancient burial site.
As Cao Cao was made Emperor of his Wei kingdom, the experts believe that there are probably many more burial mounds and chambers of other notables surrounding his tomb. It is indeed a major historical find.

I am awaiting more updates and reports.

Below is the story from the Daily Mail, including the pictures.

Cao Cao: Chinese archaeologists uncover vast tomb of infamous 3rd century ruler
Daily Mail ReporterLast updated at 1:52 PM on 28th December 2009
Chinese archaeologists have found what could be the tomb of Cao Cao, a skilful general and ruler in the third century who was later depicted in popular folklore as the archetypal cunning politician.
Archaeological officials say Cao's 8,000 sq ft tomb complex, with a 130ft passage leading to an underground chamber, was found in Xigaoxue, a village near the ancient capital of Anyang in central Henan province.
Historians say Cao Cao's outstanding military and political talents enabled him to build the strongest and most prosperous state in northern China during the Three Kingdoms period in 208 to 280 AD, when China had three separate rulers.
The austere interior of Cao Cao's tomb. He ruled the Kingdom of Wei from 208 to 220 AD.
Several agate decorations (l) were found in the 1,800-year-old tomb in central Henan province .

Cao Cao as he was portrayed in an adaptation of the historical novel Romance Of The Three Kingdoms
Experts say the male was Cao, who died at age 65 in 220 AD, the elder woman his empress, and the younger woman her servant.
The report said among the relics found were stone paintings featuring the social life of Cao's time, stone tablets bearing inscriptions of sacrificial objects, and Cao's personal belongings.
Tablets carrying the inscription 'King Wu of Wei', Cao's posthumous title, were seized from people who had apparently stolen them from the tomb, the report said.
'The stone tablets bearing inscriptions of Cao's posthumous reference are the strongest evidence,' archaeologist Liu Qingzhu, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted as saying.
'No one would or
could have so many relics inscribed with Cao's posthumous reference in the tomb unless it was Cao's.'
He was the final chancellor of the Eastern Han dynasty, before going on to form his own state during the political turmoil of the Three Kingdoms period.
He died in 220 AD in Luoyang, the capital of the Eastern Han dynasty, and was posthumously named Emporer of the Wei state that he founded.
His father was the adopted son of the chief eunuch of the imperial court and Cao was a minor garrison commander before rising to prominence as a general when he suppressed a rebellion, which threatened the last years of Han rule.
Characters based on Cao are depicted as shrewd and unscrupulous villains in traditional Chinese operas and in one of China's best-loved historical novels, 'Romance Of The Three Kingdoms'.
In the fictionalised account, Cao says: 'Better for me to wrong the world than for the world to wrong me.'
A stone with engraved-paintings that depict life in China nearly 2,000 years ago
A stone tablet carrying the inscription 'King Wu of Wei' found in the tomb

The common saying in Chinese 'speak of Cao Cao and Cao Cao arrives' is the equivalent of the English expression 'speak of the devil'. Cao was also a prolific poet.
From the tomb complex, the bones of three people and more than 250 relics have been unearthed in nearly one year of excavation work, Chinese archaeological officials were quoted as saying.
The bones were identified as the remains of a man aged about 60 and two women, one in her 50s and the other between 20 and 25 years.
Experts say the male was Cao, who died at age 65 in 220 AD, the elder woman his empress, and the younger woman her servant.
The report said among the relics found were stone paintings featuring the social life of Cao's time, stone tablets bearing inscriptions of sacrificial objects, and Cao's personal belongings.Archaeologists believe it is likely there will be many burial sites in the surrounding area.
The tomb was discovered in December last year when workers at a nearby kiln were digging for mud to make bricks.
The discovery was not reported and local authorities knew of it only when they seized stone tablets carrying inscriptions from some tomb raiders.Read more: more:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Be adventurous and brave!

After our return from a most memorable winter holiday in 'freezing' Europe, it took quite some time for us to thaw out and for the normal rhythm of living in Singapore. I have not been able to get back to blogging yet as I am doing a major re-organisation of my resources and was also kept busy with many other important matters.
Just when I was about ready to do a major update on the Siang Lim Park story, somehow this computer of mine decided not to co-operate. When everything was switched on, the screen did not open up. Except for a messsage that read," No input signal "...there was no other response.
I checked and rechecked all the external wirings and connections were not running loose. Everything seemed to be in perfect order. signal, nothing!
My wifey D2 suggested that maybe it is time to get a new system. That's the easiest way out of a problem for most people.

However, I figured differently. No, my 6th sense tells me that there is basically nothing seriously wrong...except that I just couldn't put my finger on what the problem really is.
Again, I was tempted to call the computer shop personnel. But I desisted until I myself had done some DIY checks and tests.
Until just now, I have never opened up the CPU of my computer before. But like a new adventure, I just had to try. Labelling all the various wires and input terminals and drawing a diagram of the rear portion so that I can later re-connect all properly again, I began to unscrew and open up the side panels...just like what my computer engineer friend will do.
Patiently, I checked through all the various parts and boards, all internal wiring and connections.
Nothing seems loose or out of place...but the eye can deceive.
Taking my screwdriver, I tightened all the internal points and then
connected all the wired points to the power. Switched on. It blinked red and blue ( the correct signal for starting-up ) and continued in that fashion. I knew things will be OK !
When my homepage came up....I felt completely relieved and elated!
So, as I had sensed correctly...there was nothing really wrong with my computer system.
BUT HAD I NOT BEEN BRAVE ENOUGH TO OPEN UP THE CPU AND LEFT THINGS AS THEY WERE...I just might have joined D2 in concluding that it was indeed time to spend money for a "new" system or send it for "repairs" when there was nothing to repair ( you get my meaning? ).
I'm certain many of you out there have similar experiences.