Monday, December 28, 2009

Book - The Commonwealth of Knowledge.

Three books that don't seem, by their titles, to be related, but read in tandem have an amazingly illuminating effect!!! What a happy accident!!! And from a Sinapore libary some more!!! Stephen's missive is a bit too much of a rant for me, but it does suggest that The Last Revolution IS the last because it will never end!!!! He would have done well to leave off 'The making of Modern Britain' me thinks.

Then there is James Hutton, a fellow Revolutionary, pulling the plug on "creation"!!!! Amsterdam, London and Edinburgh have to answer for the world as it is today, a work in progress.

The beginning of globalisation? Arguably.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Why Should I cry for You?

Know Sting's 'Why Should I Cry for You?'?  This at a time of remembered loss.

Old Bali

Found in the East of Bali.  The place where the ancient Balinese people's power base used to be. 

It really is this green, still very rural.  Figures people the fields.  No machines.  The lady is picking small pink flowers for market and in the background are rows of groundnuts. I sat just looking at it for ages.  The landscape seemed alive with people.  And just so impossibly green.

And this is the reason that it is still a rural idol here,  well as seen by an alien from another planet,  Singapore!!!!  Mt. Agung.  At over 3000 mts it is the highest of Bali's active volanos.  Last time it lost it's temper badly in 1963/4,  over 2000 Balinese lost their lives.  Check out

And down to the coast on the southern most tip of the island.  No black volcanic rock here.  All sedimentary rock,  pushed up no doubt by a bubble under Bali.

But the last word on Bali has to go to these guys.  Cute,  yes?  Oh no they are  not!!!!!!.  They are a thiefing gang of violent, antisocial thugs!!!!!  They nick anything and everything.  Within 5 mins Kok Wan had her hat stolen and Gek her glasses........ lifted right off her nose! Unfortunately for Gek,  the incompetant little tow rag dropped her very expensive, new, vari-focals over the cliffs edge, never to be seen again.  How come we could be mugged a monkey the size of a cat?  Who rules this bloody planet?????

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bali - Mount Batur trip.

Lunch in the cool mountians  with Kok Wan.  Well, on the rim of a dormant volcano, actually.  Very misty, it being the rainy season and all.

But we were in luck.....the sun broke through.  The lake is in the bottom of the huge crater.  Infact the crater is so big it has two smaller volcanos inside it.  No pic cos' of the mist on left of lake.  Long drive for a white out.

Gek has a new camera.  Lumix FS15 with 12 Mega Pix.  That is 4 more than mine.  Not that I'm envious or anything.  Size doesn't count, right?  Need proof? OK, which pic is 12 and which is 8?  I still love my camera.

But on the way back we stopped off at a coffee plantation.  These coffee beans have passed through a weasel!!!  What you are looking at is the equivalent of Vietniamese Weasel coffee....Balinese Luwak coffee.  I know,  but I didn't ask!!!!

But there was a man happily roasting some for the tourists.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bali - Imagery

Imagery figures large in Bali.  And striking it is too.

Fancy this jumping out of your headlights on a dark night!!!  Who needed Tolkien?

Palaces have story boards  showing what happens to those who transgress the divide and moral law.

A frightening world of spirits and demons. 

Bali - Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres

A Belgium artist who "discovered" Bali in the 1932.  Discovered Balinese woman I think.

He painted this before he left Europe for S. E. Asia.

During the Japanese occupation of Bali in the Pasific war,  he was reduced to using sack cloth on which to create his art.

The museum's painting were displayed behind glass, hence the unsatisfactory pics.  For a clearer idea of his art please follow the link to

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bali - Beach life

The beach.  Much like any other beach.  Empty though.

And some beautiful sun scapes.

We took lunch at a multi star beach resort.  T'was very nice too.

Modern art by acident ...........a very active sand crab and a very dead fish collaboration!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Grey Headed Fish Eagle.

The chick is quite grown now.  And I am pretty confident that they are Grey Heads, which is rather special!!!.  The chick was standing on the edge of the nest just before I swung my camera into action.  Flapping his/her wings  very strongly. OK, lets call him/her young Eddy.  The first photo I have of Eddy was taken 26 days ago.  Amazing how quickly it has grown.  Be doing a stake out now untill I get a wing flapping shot.  Wish I had a more appropriate camera.

Piece of history.

The old Singapore cable car gondolas have been auctioned off as part of a refurbishment of the system. The cable goes from Mount Faber to Sentosa. Kok Wan put in a winning bid for one. It now has a good home in her garden . got our photo in the Straits Times,  don't you know!!  Also in the picture is David, an artist. Check out his work at


David Khor and Kok Wan have been very supportive in our efforts to raise money for the Lotus Children's Centre. Thank you both and all of you who have helped by buying stuff from our project. Link. From the Nov. and Dec. art and craft fairs at MAAD we have managed to raise around $2000 dollars.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Eddy is still in the nest, after over 2 months. I think his parents must be wanting him to leave by now!!!!! Go feed yourself!!!!! Eddy does look a little skinny. But all his baby feathers seem to have gone. Very smart in his new suit. Looks a real raptor now.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Shop House update.

Doesn't look much different does it??  But I have been putting in the hours!!!!  Follow link to for more detail.

And of course Gek has been busy,  this time with felt jewelry.  For more follow link to  There is another MAAD Fair this Sat and  Sun, 5th and 6th Dec., to raise funds for the Lotus children in Mongolia.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Book - Little England.

I have a habit of reading several books at the same time. No idea why. I just do. Now is the time for the English. Enough of China already. So,

Our friends view.

Our writers
Blowing our own trumpet.
Our deviousness.

Our Pugnaciousness.

Well, quite a mix, but do they tell us who we English is? Not for an Englishman to say I guess.... but a non brit wouldn't get through the first book!! Guess,that says it all really.

Book - Xanadu

Xanadu. Man's latest. Guardian review. I think he really sets out to debunk the idea that Marco Polo didn't visit China...... which he does convincingly I think. Marco was only 17 years young when he left Venice for China with his father and uncle for whom this was a return visit. They came back to Venice 24 years later when Marco would have been about 41 years old. 5 or 6 years after that he was taken prisoner in the Venice/Genoa war and whilst a captive, an opportunist 'hack' writer ghosted Marco's 'stories', in few months. Well, what can I tell you? No surprise the book had a few blurring of facts with fictions then!!! A good read, of course. Still tracking down Attila the Hun.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Eagle feeding.

Really annoying not to get decent pics, but the chick is being fed red meat. I think they are Grey Headed Fish Eagles. If they are, they are quite rare. Found a sound clip of their call at

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Building Singapore.

Wonder if he has told the engineers he has moved their creation?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Halong Bay Caves

Some of those shear sided islands in the bay are hollow.

Wildly lit by coloured lamps,

which do highlight the extraordinary forms.

By way of contrast,  an uncoloured lump of limstone.

The island we visited had two seriously big caverns.  The story is that the Vietnamese fleet hide the stakes used to impaled the Chinese war junks in this cave.  I believe it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Halong Bay Islands

The bay area is big.  Tourist boats ply a fixed route(s) so you cannot avoid them.  There are so many sightseers.  This is a hawker's boat.  Pulls up to your boat and tries to sell you  fruit.

Very dreamy.  A series of steep sided islands with mists that blurr and do give you a sense of depth.   The Vietnamese fleet beat the Mongolian invading fleet in the bay by driving wooden stakes into the river bed for the chinese junks to impale themselves on as the tide went out.  Dem Mongolians turn up all over the place!!!

I must have a thing about eagles. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Halong Bay Boats

We had boat identical to this ourselves. Just 5 of use.

A sun deck with potted plants.

Dinning room. There more crew than passenges. The food was scrumptous but I will have wait for Richard's food photo's to display here.

Richard's pic arrived.

Bigger boats have live on accompadtion for over night trips round the bay.