Sunday, March 30, 2008

Octopus' Garden

I was reading Sea Stories (Classic Illustrated Edition) Compiled by Cooper Edens. Its a really nice compilation of stories inspired by the sea. Like the 20,000 Leagues under the sea, Captain Blackbeard, The Old Man and the Sea, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner...

What attracted me to book was the front cover.. it was a nice painting

One of the entries for the book was this Poem by Richard Starkey. Turns out to be Ringo Starr from the Beatles.

Octopus's Garden

"I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade
He'd let us in, knows where we've been
In his octopus' garden in the shade

I'd ask my friends to come and see
An octopus' garden with me
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade.

We would be warm below the storm
In our little hideaway beneath the waves
Resting our head on the sea bed
In an octopus' garden near a cave"

(these are just 3 stanzas>

"The idea for the song came about when Starr was on a boating trip with his family in Sardinia in 1968. He was offered an octopus lunch, but turned it down. Then the boat's captain told Starr about how octopuses travel along the sea bed picking up stones and shiny objects with which to build gardens. Starr said that hearing about octopuses spending their days collecting shiny objects at the bottom of the sea was one of the happiest things he had ever heard, inspiring him to write this song."


Here are the Beatles fiddling with the song.

Here's a Sesame Street version... :)


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The Walrus and the Carpenter

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Death of many chickens

The Dalai Lama, exiled in the Indian hill town of Dharamsala since 1959, said that introduction of "industrial food practices" into Tibet would perpetuate animal suffering.

He said in the letter: "I have been particularly concerned with the sufferings of chickens for many years.

"It was the death of a chicken that finally strengthened my resolve to become vegetarian.

"These days, when I see a row of plucked chickens hanging in a meat shop, it hurts.

click on image to read beyond excerpt

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Delight over KFC Tibet decision


INO@the library@esplanade

That's short form for Indian Orchestra. I had the privilege of overseeing this group of students build up an orchestra from scratch. They had good leaders in their peers and saw through the entire project from the start with a commitment that was commendable by any standards.

But this post is also about their performance of the songs that was Ramayana-themed and performed at the library@esplanade. It was a sort of community outreach and part of their "tour". They had already done one at the SGH to bring some musical ambience to the hospital. This opportunity at the library was important as parents and friends and strangers from the public would attend, so naturally the kids were nervous and practiced hard. But what an opportunity. Having the chance to perform live without paying for the venue really saved us the hassle of logistical arrangements. When we got there the mikes, speakers, powerpoint glass screen were all prepared.

As expected the well-practiced team performed well and at the end there was a hands-on session where the audience could get a 5 min lesson on the veena, sitar or tabla for example. See this site for descriptions of Indian musical instruments. They had even drawn images from the Ramayan themselves to put into a powerpoint to let the story play out with the music.

The area at the library was comfortable and I must say that the opportunity for youth to showcase their talents in such conducive yet challenging environments with the presence of audience is a good one and should be made readily available. I can imagine that any youth would have a healthy self-concept if they could express themselves in art, musical/dance performances.

I was recounting this to Ivan, the Rambling Librarian, after the RICE conference as we were discussing the role of Libraries in education of youth. He suggested that I should express this as feedback to NLB. Well, there it is now.


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Friday, March 21, 2008

Death of a chicken

Guess who said this.

"It was the death of a chicken that finally strengthened my resolve to become vegetarian.

"These days, when I see a row of plucked chickens hanging in a meat shop, it hurts."

Watch out for part II for the answer.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Going vegetarian? Some easy steps

No 1. Watch this video

No.2 Read these by Gandhi. Going vegetarian for the sake of health may not work in the long term. It should have a moral basis to last...

+ Gandhi's "Moral Basis for Vegetarianism"

+ Speech delivered by Gandhi at a Social Meeting organised by the London Vegetarian Society, 20 November 1931

No. 3. If you are Singaporean, this "Lifewise" article by Emilyn Tan (pdf file) might give a better context.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Introducing mer-dog


Meet mer-dog, who appeared in my dream. In the dream, I was fishing and after a second cast of the line, I got a bite and I jerked the rod to get a strike.. it was a big turquoise and red fish... but lo and behold, as I reeled it up, I noticed that the head resembled my mum's schnauzer - Emily. I quickly released the hook from its mouth and pet its head.... then the dream ended. Was it because I had, in that evening been to my mum's place and while my dad, shaved my head, I was stroking Emily and staring at her.

Yesterday at the RICE talk, I whipped out this picture and related it to Biophilia, man's innate urge to affliaite with other creatures. This was a talk I gave as part of a mini-symposium on "The open laboratory". Siva and Cheng Puay were part of the team to give their own presentations on biology field-trips. Cheng Puay had finished way early but could have stretched a bit more as he was presenting those interesting fieldwork he had carried out over 3 year periods with students. Our rapport with the crowed wasn't as we had liked it. Siva was the good boy, surprising us with a clear and well thought out paper.. I knew our rapport hung by a thread so when it came to my turn.. I whipped out the picture and spoke about how dream metaphors of animals were some expression of biophilia...

It was great to catch up with Thomas and Ivan Chew, my band-mate and intellectual and mega-blogger and secondary school classmate.

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