Wednesday, 25 September 2013

New Print - Napoleon's Dream

Napoleon's Dream
Roger Smith, 2013

Napoleon's Dream (framed)
Roger Smith, 2013
Framed and unframed versions are available here.

Why Napoleon?

Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign (1798 - 1801) was an opportunity for the artists and naturalists in his entourage to record the 'weird' and wonderful' creatures that they observed along the way.  These renditions included bats and snakes.

The 150 hand-picked scientists, artists and engineers who accompanied the 55,000 troops of the Armée de l'Orient to Egypt  were known as the savants.
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A Strong Singaporean Woman In Power

Why is there a presumption that Singaporean women are somehow inferior to men when it comes to leadership?

Most of the Singaporean women I have met are highly suited to such a cause; intelligent, articulate and with a passion to make the country succeed.  Some like Mdm Halimah Yacob (who I watched on local television) are already in politics and others I have met professionally are not, but should be encouraged to be.

You may well ask why I pose this question in the first place?

There has been a report today in TodayOnline which covers a recorded conversation with PM Lee.  In it he is reported as saying:

I think Singapore will have to get used to the idea that you have people come in, you have a leader who has not been there quite such a long time, you have to operate in a different sort of way but he can make it work”.

The issue I have is with the last part of the statement “he can make it work.”

Now while I realise that this is but a small snippet of a broader conversation about leadership succession (and probably a Freudian slip), one would like to think that field will remain open for female candidates to take the reins in the future.

And that future might be as the next Prime Minister after the incumbent, Lee Hsien Loong,  steps down.
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Thursday, 19 September 2013

Today's Art Print - Men Hanging On

Men Hanging On
Roger Smith, 2013

Men Hanging On -  close up of the original
Roger Smith, 2013
I felt in a surrealistic mood today so composed the digital art print from my image bank and historical archives.  The concept of men hanging on both literally and figuratively appealed to me.

You can purchase a copy of this print, framed or unframed here.

Sell Art Online
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Monday, 16 September 2013

They Don't Build Them Like That Anymore

I had momentarily forgotten that Singapore once had a thriving car industry but then I recalled the Old Ford Factory; today better known as the place of the British surrender to the Japanese.  The pre-war 1941 Ford Mercury Club Convertible featured in this video was built in Bukit Timah in 1941, shortly before the Japanese invasion.

It has had a chequered life surviving the Japanese Occupation, life in Batavia (Jakarta) with the Dutch, and even further afield before arriving back Singapore. And, at the age of 72, it is still drivable.

The car was taking part in the Motoring Heritage Day staged besides the even more historic (and thankfully retained) former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.  Good to see the National Heritage Board busily engaged in such activities.
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Sunday, 15 September 2013

A Bum Deal With Mooncakes

Mooncake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is the time of year when a double-yolk, lotus paste moon cake dominates my thoughts.  In fact it is a far more tangible reaction than a mere thought; I have consumers four of them in recent weeks.

The Mooncake festival is one of the Chinese mid-Autumn festivals that retains a huge following globally which is god news to those of use not born into the tradition.  Mine is a mere culinary acknowledgement based more on a sense of taste rather than a deep cultural understanding.

That said, I am a 'traditionalist' in the sense that I prefer the older style mooncakes and forgo the more modern variations.

This partiality also applies to shape so I found it somewhat disturbing to learn that this year a Hong Kong company will be offering buttock-shaped mooncakes for sale.  The intricacy of the patterns on traditional mooncakes are part of their appeal and present them otherwise is a bum deal, both in the literal and actual sense.

Cheeky bum-shaped mooncakes created ahead of Singapore full moon festival - Mirror Online
I must also acknowledge that I have been jumping the gun in eating my mooncakes, as the festival itself doesn't officially start until later this week - on September 19. This happens to be the fifteenth day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar.

Not that officials in the Chinese government will be distributing much joy at this time of year.  Their party has clamped down on such gift giving.

It should also be noted that the Hong Kong company who dreamed up this years novel Spring festival treat are the lifestyle label Goods of Desire (GOD for short).  So given the juxtaposition of the doughy hand on the buttock above right, could one rightly refer to it as the 'hand of G.O.D.'?

What ever you call them, the new derrière delights hold little appeal for me.  I re-state this in the full knowledge that my next sampling of white lotus paste, double-yolk mooncakes will be as tasty as the first I tried; the saltiness of the duck egg  a culinary counterpoint to the smooth, sweet texture of the lotus.

Pricey and calorific as they certainly are, mooncakes are a must at this time of year.
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Thursday, 12 September 2013

NUS is Asia's Number One

Shaw Foundation Alumni House
I was delighted to learn that the National University of Singapore (NUS) has risen in the latest global university rankings and is now Asia's #1 university.

It is a credit to the strategy put in place by the current and former Vice Chancellor and their respective teams.  The investment in top quality professorial staff and research has sure paid dividends; it's really about academic rigour and gravitas.  Having the support and expectations of government is also a prime motivation and reason for the rise in recent years.

NUS's elevation augers well for Singapore's future as its educated population are its greatest asset.

Well done NUS and I retain fond memories of my friends and former colleagues at NUS's Alumni office. (pictured above).
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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Today's Print - Elevator Drawing

Elevator Drawing
Roger Smith, 2013
This what it looks like unframed and still on a small scale.

Prints are available here - just $US $9.70

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Finger Food on SIA for China Tourists?

Is there any truth in the rumour circulating in some Singapore circles that tourists from Mainland China will be expected to eat their in-flight meals with their fingers in the future?

The 'ruckus' has been caused by the latest incident involving Chinese tourist were they attempted to steal the "family silver".  In this case 30 stainless steel cutlery sets from Singapore Airlines.

While the inflight staff may not make a fuss about the odd teaspoon that is not returned, wholesale tour group looting made the stewardesses concerned very angry; and rightly so.  The boorish behaviour was compounded by the fact that having been asked to return the cutlery the group in question refused to do so, and it was only the intervention of the tour group leader that changed their mind.

Mind you having personally witnessed the eating habits of Mainland China tour groups in the Genting Highlands I am not surprised by this attitude.

As the South China Monring Post reported:

"The incident follows a number of reports this year on bad behaviour overseas by Chinese travellers. This includes a widely reported incident where a Chinese boy carved his name on a 3,000-year old precious relic during a trip to Egypt.

This prompted China’s deputy-premier Wang Yang to state publicly that Chinese tourists should improve their behaviour overseas.

He said such bad behaviour included Chinese tourists speaking loudly in public, carving characters on ancient relics, and disobeying pedestrian traffic signs.

Last year, US shopping website LivingSocial sponsored a poll which ranked the Chinese at second place, after Americans, as the “world’s worst tourists”. Some 15 per cent of respondents said Chinese tourists were the most obnoxious in the world."

It is little wonder that the 'Singapore Girl' of Singapore Airlines fame is finding it difficult to maintain her balance and composure in the face of such bad mannered and ill-disciplined passengers.  But the 'Singapore Girl' of SIA poster fame is also being gracefully retired from the airline's advertising.

She is being replaced by a new tag line "The Lengths We Go To".  In the light of incident with recalcitrant Mainland China passengers perhaps the slogan should be appended?

"The Lengths We Go To With China Tourists"  has a certain ring of truth to it.
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