THE INTELLIGENT SINGAPOREAN

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Archive for April, 2007

Today’s Reads (May 01)

Posted by intellisg on April 30, 2007

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The Great Debate in Chernobyl! This Sunday at 8.00 pm.

Posted by intellisg on April 30, 2007

chernoblydebate1.jpg
Dear Valued Readers,

I have good and bad news for you. The good news is that another great debate will be held on the 6th of May this coming Sunday at an earlier time of 8.00pm (Singapore time).

The bad news is we have been kicked out from the “Great Hall.” I will not elaborate further except to say it is in part due to darkness colorful usage of language and Dr Chandra’s personal references.

But I am sure Chernobyl will do quite nicely to accommodate us all. We in the brotherhood did not encounter any problems making a booking in the town hall in Chernobyl. We have the whole town hall to ourselves (not that we needed any advance reservations). Read the rest of this entry »

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In Search of Noah (Travelogue)

Posted by intellisg on April 29, 2007

noah1.jpgThe skipper of the “Petrov” blared out.

“What can you boys do?”

“Anything providing you take us in your boat to Istanbul for our connecting flight.”

I try out my Jedi mind trick, by repeating the words,

“There is always a need for hands.”

Yahn, the Cypriot skipper looks at me strangely as if he just realized he talking to mad man. He eyeballs us sideways and tips his fifth vodka down strokes his stubble and lights another cigarette – it seems to be working he’s mulling over the offer.

“It will be hard work and only food and lodging…but you can eat as much as you want.”

Then pausing for a while Yahn turned to us,

“Only one rule…no questions…do you understand?”

We shook on the deal. I repeated the words,

“No questions.”

The following morning before dawn we loaded up on the Ukrainian research vessel called the “Petrov.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Travelogue Series | 59 Comments »

Weekend Bulletin (Apr 29)

Posted by intellisg on April 29, 2007

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Wow. I Didn’t Know Dick Lee could get so Political.

Posted by intellisg on April 26, 2007

Dick Lee @ His 30th Anniversary Concert, 2004

“Count On Him, Singapore”

 

The video should be understood in the context of this and this.

See also Dick Lee’s “Rasa Sayang”

Posted in Videos | 33 Comments »

Today’s Reads (Apr 26)

Posted by intellisg on April 26, 2007

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One Afternoon at Uncle Joe’s (Travelogue)

Posted by intellisg on April 24, 2007

stalin1.jpg Everyone knows where Josef Stalin was born, in the republic of Georgia in Gori, but I bet you didn’t know where he spent most of his time when he was puffing his pipe. The location was kept a secret till sometime in the late 1980’s for fear that it would be transformed into a post Stalinist shrine. You be glad to know in this travelogue special, we the brotherhood press managed to ferret out Uncle Joe’s hide out. It’s not easy getting there, like all sensible dictators Stalin was intensely paranoid so even the location isn’t featured in the local maps and its smack in the middle of no where.

Some 10 miles from the Black Sea in Abkhazia just next to a corn yellow Byzantium domed monastery is a heavily camouflaged double storey building surrounded by a thicket of cedar trees. Even from this distance of less than 200 meters we could have easily missed it, but our gypsy guide Anatoly insist its there. “Where is it?” I ask, “There! Cant you see it” he blares out – we stop and peered with field glasses, nothing. Suddenly a shape appears followed by another angular form, the invisible house surfaces.

This was where Stalin worked, lived and played. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Travelogue Series | 6 Comments »

Today’s Reads (Apr 24)

Posted by intellisg on April 24, 2007

Posted in Digest | 4 Comments »

Today’s Reads (Apr 23)

Posted by intellisg on April 23, 2007

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Today’s Reads (Apr 22)

Posted by intellisg on April 22, 2007

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The Reason Why You Write…..

Posted by intellisg on April 22, 2007

whywrite.jpgHave ever asked yourself why you write?

These thoughts clung to me like seaweed throughout the course of the morning when I woke up earlier than usual to ride my bike in Bukit Timah. It was quiet, dark and a slight mist hung over the jungle – then it came again – the question – this time in whispering rush,

“Have you ever asked yourself, why do you write the things you do?”

I brushed the question off, clipped into the pedals, felt the tug. The chain settled over the sprockets; soon the familiar feel of the meshing, followed by the forward glide – man and machine barreled into darkness, spokes cutting against the wind, the give of crushed leaves, a rattle and shake – then it came again:

“Why do you write the things you do?” The jungle whispered. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Sociology | 24 Comments »

The Road to Radomyshl’ (Travelogue Special)

Posted by intellisg on April 20, 2007

radomyshl1.jpgIn the village of Radomyshl’, a neighborhood in the periphery of bordering Kiev and Zhytomyr, a small community of Rhoma (Gypsies) carve out an existence in an abandoned mining town. The local town council has offered them a piece of land where a scrap yard once stood, but the farmers are preventing this offer – they want them out. It’s a tale that’s retold again and again throughout Russia – no one wants the “Chernyi” – a derogatory term that simply means, “black.” Not that they are black of course, some of them even have green eyes and blond hair which they insist on dyeing black.

In Russia, as in many places in the Balkans, race is constructed culturally in a way that overlaps it with other categories of social life which may not refer only to one’s complexion.

“Blacks” also can be marked as a style, by a certain kind of dress code or manner of behavior. The Rhoma we met up with do not dress in the fashion of Gypsies in films but they do stand out with their wide brimmed cowboy hats and elaborate jewelry.

A Russian kiosk operator told us,

“You can recognize those scum, they speak with their hands and fingers and through their pet monkeys not like us Russians, be careful where those fingers end up, better hide your wallets when you see them.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Travelogue Series | 20 Comments »

 
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