27 January 2007

Hotel Negara



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Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank


The Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank started as a new tank concept from Vickers Defence Systems in 1986, being an almost totally new tank with respect to the Challenger 1 despite its similarity in appearance. The main armament is the Royal Ordance 120mm L30 rifled tank gun, a different gun from the rifled 120mm L11A5 mounted on the Chieftain and Challenger 1s. The Challenger 2 was equipped with new electronics, fire control and more on a new turret.



Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa
Choo Choo

Another slow day on DuneMUD:

[23:21] Marlboro runs around Mreh shouting 'Woo Woo i'm a Choo Choo'.
[23:24] Benedict sets Marlboro on a collision course with another train.
[23:24] Marlboro eeks.
Here I am, back at work on a regular Saturday morning.

The last few months have been somewhat quiet. Suddenly, a deluge of work came yesterday. Thank goodness.

26 January 2007

Between a relaxing night with a coffee and looking at abstract modern art with Pan-Asian elements, I chose the obvious.

I didn't go to the Singapore Arts Museum after all. Instead, I had coffee with Siu Hean at Starbucks.

At one point, Siu Hean was describing a three dimensional deck of cards. Then, we extrapolated a fourth, fifth and finally 52-dimensional deck.
Sleeping with her favourite lobster toy

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Asian Civilisations Museum II


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It would be a cruel miracle should illumination come for them.
The Lost Souls

From what I see, not many can be rescued. Not that I want to, I don't play god and I don't know how. And not that they want to be rescued either. When that mental veneer of safety is lost, some will lose that ability to live and exist and there may just be a form of mental collapse.

Their inflated self-importance, their world of 'Me Me Me', will vanish. The glittering skyscraper will suddenly be revealed to be a crumbling hovel.

Of course, there are others while they live in the real world, find comfort and safety in numbers. Still, it will not do to mention names or do character sketches online. Heh.

Stanislaw Lem, in my opinion, easily the greatest science fiction writer of the 20th century, described in 'The Futurological Congress' a progressive world of the future where illusions are maintained for a level of comfort while Philip K. Dick described another in 'Time out of Joint' where certain purposes were met while this world was self-perpetuated. These virtual worlds do not only exist in science fiction.

Then again, it will do well if some of the lost were to read Franz Kafka's 'The Trial' or 'The Castle', perhaps, some day, illumination will come for them.
Fantasy Worlds

I observe that quite a few friends and aquaintances are living in their little self-contained fantasy worlds. Be it an MMORPG, be it a consistent mental prison, be it a rather large chip on a shoulder, be it being a slave to a shiny machine, be it a life of servitude to an imaginery entity, it is astounding. For some, while they toil in the corporate world and the service industry, these artificial constructs provide an escape of sorts.

While some whine about their pitiful existence and blaming others, others thrive in the bliss of their fantastic worlds.

Meanwhile, the calculative and the kiasu* of this society, make their way steadily up, acquiring contacts, ascending the social ladder.

Whatever happened to people? Whatever happened to living?

*kiasu. A local Hokkien term describing someone as being 'afraid to lose'.
Singapore Art Museum, Borders

I will probably venture down to the Singapore Art Museum at Bras Barsa Road this evening and probably Borders after 9:00 pm. Sounds like a plan! Whoa...

25 January 2007

Books on the Napoleonic Wars

I bought the following from Chris last night:
  •  'The Anatomy of Glory: Napoleon and his Guard' by Henry Lachouque and Anne S. K. Brown
  • 'Blucher and the Uprising of Prussia against Napoleon 1806-1815' by Ernest F. Henderson
  • 'On Fields of Glory: The Battlefields of the 1815 Campaign' by Andrew Uffindell and Michael Corum
Asian Civilisations Museum


This was former the Government House, housing the colonial council and more. In the seventies, the immigration department was housed here. I recall coming with my parents and applying for a passport.



Today, this restored building houses the Asian Civilisations Museum. The name describes the role of this museum which had exhibits on Indian, Malay and Chinese cultures and history.


In my opinion, the place is well worth a visit. Still I suspect not too many would be interested. What can I say? Posted by Picasa
Caught in the Act!


Look at her! Such a look of guilt. She's up to no good again. Heheh. Posted by Picasa
Moon over Malaya



'Moon over Malaya' by Jonathan Moffatt and Audrey Holmes McCormick is a fascinating account of the Argylls and the Marines who were involved in the defence of Malaya and Singapore during those heady days of 1941-42. The cover featured a photo of a dispatch rider and a Lanchester Mark I armoured car. Posted by Picasa
Lanchester Mark II Armoured Car



The Lanchester Mark I Armoured Car were fielded in the defence of Singapore and Malaya during the 1941-42 campaign. In one encounter in Bukit Timah as detailed in 'Moon over Malaya', Lanchester Mark I armoured cars faced off Japanese tanks in a futile attempt to stop the relentless Japanese advance and came off second best. The column of Japanese tanks had 47mm guns while the Lanchesters only mounted Vickers machine guns and had 8 mm of armour. The example in these images appeared to be the 1929 Mark II.


Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa

24 January 2007

Mischief!


There she is again, the nemesis of birds, lizards and grasshoppers. She's clearly up to some mischief


Posted by Picasa
A39 Heavy Assault Tank, Tortoise


The A39 Tortoise was built to counter German armour after the experience of the Desert War. The vehicle's armour at 225 mm was meant to be proof to any known German anti-tank gun. The Tortoise mounted a 32-pounder (95mm or 3.7 inch) gun which was capable of firing a 32lb APCBC shot at 2,880 ft and was probably capable of demolishing the Tiger II and Jagdtiger easily.

However, like the Jagdtiger and Ferdinand, the Tortoise was limited by its size and weight, being highly immobile and of limited tactical value.



Work on the Tortoise continued in late 1944 but with victory in sight and the end of the war drawing near, the pilot models were only completed in 1946-47.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa
Run

Yesterday, I went for a quick run in the Botanic Gardens.

I need to start running regularly again after being down with a cold for a while.

23 January 2007

Heavy Tank, TOG 2


The TOG heavy tank was a tank built with the principles from the First World War. It was constructed to cross shell-torn ground, accompanying infantry while demolishing fortifications.

The TOG I standing for 'The Old Gang' (which represented the old tank design committee from the First World War) was initially armed with a 6-pounder gun. The TOG II had a new turret and a 17-pounder gun and a maximum armour thickness of 75mm. The maximum speed was 8.5mph.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa
T-18 Boarhound Armoured Car


The rare Boarhound T18E2 with a 6-pounder gun was used in limited numbers with none actually seeing action in the Second World War.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa
Doodle


Pencil doodle. 15cm x 7 cm.
Football's vagaries: Arsenal 2 Manchester United 1

Man U lost! That's too good to be true! Whee! Heheheh. However, the Man U steamroller does appear unstoppable. With the dissension in Chelsea's ranks, I fear that Man U will lift the title at the end. I really hope not. C'mon Blues!

Let's hope that this is a beginning of a run of losses for Man U.

22 January 2007

A12, Matilda II, Canal Defence Light (CDL)


This was one of the more secret vehicles in the Second World War. It essentially housed a powerful searchlight to illuminate the battlefield at night. These were prepared since 1940 but did not see action until the crossing of the Rhine in 1945.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa
Mystery Men: Finds from China's Lost Age

I spent half a day at the Asian Civilisations Museum at Empress Place today. The headlining exhibit this time is the 'Mystery Men' exhibit that, according to Wikipedia, had taken the world by storm. The artifacts appeared unique and unrelated to other Bronze Age sites in China, or for that matter, around the world. A unique culture?


Here is a bronze exhibit. I took this headpiece accidentally with a flash while I fiddled with my sister's camera. One should not use a flash for these bronze artifacts. Sadly, I did not see a few of the bigger pieces. Where they brought over here? I suspect not. Pity.


On the other hand, the brochures are free game for flash photography. Okay, the exhibits are mainly concerned with an unusual find, known as the 'Sanxingdui' or Three Star Mound.


The finds at the Sanxingdu are those of a neolithic or Bronze Age culture 3,200 years ago in Sichuan. This dispelled the notion that Neolithic and Bronze Age civilisation only existed around a single site in China, namely, the Yellow River. The site at Sanxingdu was part of the Shu Kingdom until its conquest by the Qin.

Links from Wikipedia

Historical Wonders of Sanxingdui, China Internet Information Center
More About the Finds at Sanxingdui, National Gallery of Art
Riddle from the Ancient Past: The Mysteries of Sanxingdui, Taiwan Panorama
Sanxingdui Museum, Guanghan Sichuan
Treasures from a Lost Civilization: Ancient Chinese Art from Sichuan, Seattle Art Museum

Well, this exhibition was certainly worth a look. The visual aspect was certainly intriguing. Posted by Picasa
The PK* Obsession

A conversation thread on DuneMUD:

[chat] Brucilla : can i attack non pk now?
[chat] Botzy : try
[chat] Mob outputs --[ yes but you must be pk ]---
-{ More poison has been excreted by the fungus. }-
[chat] Brucilla : that would be cool... WAR should mean total war :)
[chat] Mreh : I was thinking about that, Bruce.
[chat] Mob outputs --[ img vs matre guild war! ]---
[chat] Mob outputs --[ you'd be sooo pwned ]---
[chat] Mreh : But, I realised that too many people would complain.
[chat] Mob outputs --[ i wouldnt ]---
[chat] Brucilla : i think it worts a try
[chat] Mreh : You're not "too many people".
-{ The poison-producing fungus will generate more toxin soon }-
[chat] Mob outputs --[ i know :( ]---
[chat] Nienor : Mreh said :people:
[chat] Deimos : starting with the singapore buddies marlboro and silver
[chat] Nienor grins evilly.
-{ More poison has been excreted by the fungus. }-
[chat] Mob outputs --[ nobody asked you nienor ]---
[chat] Nienor : i dont need your permission
[chat] Mob outputs --[ go back to botting like a good polish you are ]---
[chat] Stalion : MOB...
-{ The poison-producing fungus will generate more toxin soon }-
[chat] Nienor : go play with igloo like your older sister
[chat] Diamond : stuff a sock in it... is that all you do is talk shit?
[chat] Mob outputs --[ was that supposed to be offending? ]---
-{ More poison has been excreted by the fungus. }-
[chat] Deimos : usually we talk shit on pk channel but right now is not
possible :)
[chat] Diamond : ah heh ok
-{ The poison-producing fungus will generate more toxin soon }-
[chat] Mob outputs --[ go play with traffic nienor ]---
-{ More poison has been excreted by the fungus. }-
Sietch Tabr: A spice blow has been detected in the north desert!
-{ The poison-producing fungus will generate more toxin soon }-
[chat] Nienor : just goa loves me and doesnt know how tell me .. :P
[chat] Brucilla : and revenge works in that limits also?
-{ More poison has been excreted by the fungus. }-
[chat] Mob outputs --[ someone teach this guy some grammar ]---
[chat] Mreh : Go PK, kill someone, and find out, Bruce.
[chat] Nienor agrees with Mreh.
[chat] Nienor : pk is now like new place to explore
[chat] Graham : nah - go pk, get killed by someone and find out - more fun for everyone else :)
[chat] Mob outputs --[ go pk then nienor ]----{ The poison-producing fungus will generate more toxin soon }-
[chat] Mob outputs --[ you said you liked exploring ]---
[chat] Nienor : i'm still #3 explorer :)-{ More poison has been excreted by the fungus. }-

*PK Player Killing
Benedict's Wheel

Another funny thread on DuneMUD. Benedict and Paradox are wizards:

[chat] Benedict spins the Wheel of Sexual Ambiguity!
[chat] Paradox goes : Woo Woo.
[chat] Mystique : oh fear
[chat] The Wheel of Sexual Ambiguity lands on Benedict!
[chat] Shaaitan : Now you lost me.
[chat] Nothing happens.Liet arrives.
[chat] Benedict : I try not to restrict myself to your primitive notions of sexuality or modesty.
[chat] Shaaitan : Dude we fremens have Tau Orgys.
[chat] Mystique hmms.
[chat] Mystique bonks Benedict with a rubber mallet.

21 January 2007

Meooooooow!



There she is, looking mean...

She had a huge grasshopper in her mouth earlier today after toying with it for the longest time. Eventually, she let the grasshopper off. Posted by Picasa
Boarhound T18


The T18 Boarhound was a heavy 8 x 8 American armoured car which was supplied and utilised by the British in small numbers (30) during the Second World War. Armed with the 6-pounder QF (57mm), the rare Boarhound was unsuccessful. The vehicle was never used by the US armed forces.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa
Mobilisation Exercise

AK's slave, Benita, laughed at me over email:

"Did you get recalled yet? I saw the thing flashing on TV Mobile not long ago. Get yer guns! Get ready for WAR!"

Groan! I was recalled. This must be my twelfth year or something. When I arrived in camp with my backpack and stuff (I brought everything, and they were waterproofed in ziplocked bags), I looked amidst the masses of green uniforms for a familiar face. This brand new unit, which I had just discovered that I was assigned to this week, was in its third year and had just turned operational (ready for war!). Unbelievably, I did spot a familiar face. I spotted Shyam! Unimaginable. The last time I saw him was some time between 1990 and 1992 when we were instructors in SBMT. He was a cool dude. He welcomed me and he told me when he first joined this unit, it was his first recall, his first time in fourteen years!

Fortunately, I had brought my sketch books and a book. I settled down to read. A few guys I know from my previous disbanded unit turned up eventually. They were plainly unhappy. According to them, it would have appeared that we had completed our obligations but somehow, there was a bureaucratic snafu.

Four hours later, I was free as a bird! Finally! Freedom from the oppression of the green!