Saturday, November 27, 2004

remember this?

This photograph of South Vietnamese Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner won Eddie Adams the Pulitzer Prize. The photograph, together with other works like the one with a Vietnamese girl running and crying in pain from being burnt by napalm, turned many Americans against the Vietnam war. Even the recent notorious picture of the hooded Iraqi prisoner in Abu Gharib prison was compared to this photo.

check out this gallery of other Pulitzer Prize winning news photographs.

I came across this while searching for another Pulitzer Prize photo. It was of an South Korean soldier in the Vietnam war rescuing two Vietnamese babies from a burning village. (I still cannot find this pic!) I saw this during a docu on National Geographic Channel about Tae Kwon Do. A South Korean Vietnam War veteran recalled how Tae Kwong Do helped him survived the war. His unit was the elite Black Tigers. Everyone must have at least a black belt in one form of martial arts.

ROK had sent about 300,000 soldiers to Vietnam to help the Americans during the Vietnam War. But nowadays, ROK's involvement in the Vietnam War was rarely mentioned although the Koreans still cover the topic in their war movies. In fact, like the Australians who also sent a contingent to Vietnam, the sectors covered by the South Koreans were largely pacified and VC-free. Like the Aussies, who learnt their trade from the Brits in Malaya, the South Koreans handled the communist insurgency more effectively.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

"We're the good guys. We are Americans."

A new controversy (so what's new!) has been ignited in Iraq. A Marine was filmed shooting a wounded and apparently unarmed Iraqi insurgent in a mosque in Fallujah.The incident was filmed by NBC's Kevin Sites and the clip was later screened by NBC. The US military is now investigating the shooting. Kevin Sites later published an open letter with more details on the incident and how he filmed it.

Now Kevin Sites himself has became embroiled in the controversy as bloggers on both sides of the opinion gulf either hailed him as being for the anti-war cause or has betrayed US servicemen.

Monday, November 22, 2004

wonky weather

say bye bye to autumn! weather has been erratic in Beijing this time of the year. due to El Nino, everyone's saying that this will be a "warm winter". well, I guess everything's relative!!

but the weather has been flip-flopping (like John Kerry...), it's like someone up there controlling the weather has not decided whether it should be autumn, winter or worse summer! for instance, during the Deepavali (they don celebrate in China!) week, it started out as chilly cold at 6-8C during the day. but by last week it was a barmy 15-17C during the day. people are falling sick left, right and centre since the central heating in buildings are turned on and the air is very dry. Imagine sleeping in a furnance. so, humidifiers are flying off the shelves.

But a cold front is heading our way tomorrow. temperatures will be plunging to 8C and then 4C by Thursday. Night time will be even colder -2C on some nights.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

smoke gets in your eyes

an interesting episode happened at my apartment today. this afternoon I suddenly sniffed a burning smoky smell in the air, later there was a commotion in the corridor. even my kitchen was obviously smoky. turns out that my next door tenant was either cooking or left the stove unattended. the smoke detector and sprinkler was activated. I asked the apartment staff were clearing up the mess in the corridor what was happening. Once I was sure it was not a serious fire or something like that, I just had to open the windows to air the place.

A couple of years ago, my downstairs neighbour at Tampines had a kitchen fire. The man was scalded by hot oil when trying to put out the fire. We saw billowing cloud of black smoke from downstairs. My father and I had to gone downstairs to help. The SJCDF fire trucks made their appearance.

interesting neighbours...

which reminds me, must get a small fire extinguisher. every home should have one!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Sally and her bone

We bought a few meat bones for Sally to chew on. suppose to keep her teeth clean. Robina boiled the bones and kept them in a ziplock bag in the frig. This afternoon we brought Sally down to the garden to let her crunch the bone. it gets too messy if we let her do it in the apartment. Even though it was windy and freezing cold in the garden, we let Sally have her fun. Robina and I have to dance around doing the Irish jig to keep warm. Sally was determined to get at the rich marrow. Sally managed to gnaw off most of the softer bone at the joint but was stump by the thicker and stronger thigh bone. In the end I have to poke the marrow out with a stick to let Sally have it.

After Sally's bone time, it was bath time since Sally was grimy from the session and she was due for her weekly bath time anyway.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Kekexili: the grim reality of conservation

just watched the Chinese film, Kekexili, on DVD. This is a very stark and at the same time stunning film about the mountain patrol on the Tibetan plateau that battles against the natural elements and the poachers that gun down Tibetan antelope. Unlike celebrities promoting conservation of endangered species on TV, this film showed the grim existence and tough choices by both sides: the patrol and poachers. It's shoot to kill either way.

The film is based on the true story of the mountain patrol. Short on money, equipment, guns and manpower, the patrol lost two captains who were killed by poachers. The filming process was just tough: one member of the crew was killed in a vehicle accident. The stunning and harsh natural landscape of the Tibetan plateau is both beautiful and threatening at the same time. The life and death struggle between the patrol and poachers is the other theme.

The trade is fueled by the craze for Shatoosh by rich tai-tais in Paris, London or Milan. Each Shatoosh shawl costs more than USD10,000 and takes up to 3-5 dead antelope that were killed for their soft and luxurious undercoat. Each year, up to 10,000 antelope are shot in the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. Their population had numbered about a million in the beginning of the 20th century, now estimates range from 100,000 to 70,000.

Alvin's spiel

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