Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wink at the moon

Yesterday It was a beautiful moon out here in Singapore & I as I showed it to my 3 year old daughter, I told her about how Niel Armstrong had gone all the way over to it. Her first question was,


"When?"

I think she was mortified that she had missed the event happening. I had to explain that was many years back.

"More than 20 years back?"

"Yes."

"More than one hundred thousand years back?"

"No. About forty years back."

She digested this for a while.

"Did he go in a Rocket?"

"Yes. It was a big beautiful rocket with big jets and painted black and white."

"Not red?"

"No not red. Would you like me to show you the pictures?"

"Yes. Did he come back?"

"Yes he did. & there was a big parade. But now he's gone away again."

"Where?"

"I hope to the moon baby. Do you want to say bye to him with me?"



And so we waved our hands & said our goodbye's.



"Can I go to the moon?"

"Ofcourse you can."

"Will you come with me?"

"I'll always be there with you babe."

"Can I watch Dora now?"


RIP Niel.







Happy independence day!



Happy Indian Independence day you all!




A glorious day here in Singapore & I hope it leads to a wonderful year ahead for all of us. It is 65 years today for India and its about the length of time that we have to decide to stop blaming problems in our country on forign influences such as the Aryan invasion of 3200 BC or any subsequent people.



I think that the biggest difference between a child and an adult is the capacity to question "Why". As the child grows up, its not that he gets smarter, but rather the fact that he relizes that it does not really matter if the reasons are not known or the situation unchanged.



Such is inevitably the case with Nations. I look at USA. A country whose history inspires me greatly. Obviously not by its length, but simply because nowhere in its history have the men & women of that nation stopped asking the question "why". Their short history is replete with people who have refused to accept questions left hanging, barriers drawn and will broken. The day when that question is stopped being asked, is the day that apathy will step in.



The problem with us in India is that we forget that we are a country only 65 years old. We carry with us a baggage of the Purans, scars of Alexanders conquest and the burden of a Mellinia.



That is not for us. As a country, we are children. Born to great potential, dancing around in glory of a carefree life. Every step of that dance graceful in its perfection because there has been no child as beautiful or perfect and there can be none. And as that child, we need to have the capacity to ask "Why".



Why should we tell our kinds to stop asking Why? Why is that boy hungry? Why are we fighting? Why is that man ruling us? and why for heavens sake are we killing our daughters?



It is a glorious day today & if you do aim for anything this year, stay healthy, dance with your children, and keep asking "why". Also don't be a dick.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

UNCLOS - in the news and proposed changes

The UNCLOS (United nations convention on the law of the seas) convention, is a relatively new convention when you consider SOLAS or MARPOL. The Convention was passed in 1982, but only adopted in 1994. So really speaking its not even 20 years since it has started appearing in the courtrooms. Inspite of this, the convention is probably something that affects us more profoundly then any other convention.




As described by the UN during the 25th anniversary of the convention :

"The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea … is perhaps one of the most significant but less recognized 20th century accomplishments in the arena of international law.... Its scope is vast: it covers all ocean space, with all its uses, including navigation and overflight; all uses of all its resources, living and non-living, on the high seas, on the ocean floor and beneath, on the continental shelf and in the territorial seas; the protection of the marine environment; and basic law and order.... The Convention is widely recognized by the international community as the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and the seas must be carried out."

Recently UNCLOS has been in the news quite a lot.

One place where this is being brought up repeatedly is the South China Sea between China and Philippines. There are further parties to the dispute, but the current round seems to be between the two of them. Philippines is claiming the Islands on Basis of UNCLOS wherein, the Islands fall on their continental shelf and thus belong to them. China on the other hand is basing her claim on the concept of "historical sovereignty", a concept which America is against. China is producing evidence of 2nd century BC Han dynasty maps showing the area under Chinese rule, whereas, there is not much in the American archives during that time frame.

The problem is that America cannot really harp on the adherence of UNCLOS in the international forum, because they have not yet ratified the UNCLOS. The US government is trying to rectify that. The Obama administration has got around to presenting this bill and the Senate is due to vote on the bill in the coming month. This is a huge thing in the US as most opponents to the convention are afraid that it will impinge on the American sovereignty and its ability to project force. Civil liberties and state liberties are very touchy subjects in US and while most republicans view it as another sell out of the national interests by the Democrats, the democrats are portraying the bill as vital for America to be on the same page as the international community and something the industry needs to feel secure in the American legal space.

As if there were less reasons for the Americans to worry about, there are moves to actually change UNCLOS itself. One of the strongest pushes for this has come through Greenpeace and this is also being supported by the EU. Greenpeace is trying to change the UNCLOS in two ways. One, it is trying to limit developement and management of resources in the continental shelf. This is tricky because states have already laid claim to these resources. For example Greenpeace wants to limit development in the Arctic region which would severely limit countries such as Russia and Greenland to dig for oil or other resources. Greenpeace is also pushing for the convention to address how resources in the deep seas are to be managed. For example, there are no restrictions on over fishing in the deep

There is a natural reluctance in most parties as to amendments, but it will be interesting to see how the situation turns out over the next few months.
 
Sources :


http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/reports/suggested-draft-high-seas-impl/

http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/shipping-s-environmental-impact-is-well-regulated-by-imo-and-unclos-should-be-left-alone-says-ics

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/item/11824-will-our-freedoms-be-lost-at-sea

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spratly_Islands_dispute

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_25years/unclos25years_info.pdf

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Singapore - national day!


Today is Singapore's national day and Google as usual did come out with something nice on its search page.

Coincidentally this also marks almost one year since we moved to Singapore and so thanks to Singapore and friends to have made it a fantastic last year... Atleast parts of it!  

Friday, July 08, 2011

Japanese Food


I liked the kimchi, but sometimes you just have to say "No".

Friday, June 10, 2011

Changi airport

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Purana Qila - Light & sound show


Saw an amazing light & sound show on the Humayun Gate of the Purana Qila.

Below a few of the visuals as taken from the iphone. Great fun.





Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It is a worrisome thing when...

... your agent sends you the message...

"


Good evening Sir;

Good afternoon Sir ;

We tried to do the best but did not found the second Tug.Next High tide tomorrow 16:00lt .
Awaiting yours

Brgds
"
Stuck high and dry!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The smaller they are, the harder we fall

Kaya (my daughter) turned one year recently & it has certainly been an awesome journey. I'd sure like to wax lyrical about how much she has learnt and what all great things she does, apart from saluting me at regular intervals, but she has her own blog. This is my blog and here I am allowed to write about how much I have learnt over the last year.

I think as a parent the biggest thing I have learnt over the last year has been to appreciate the small things. The ability to support your own neck. The ecstatic jumping with joy on someones ability to poop. The satisfaction on feeling a burp. The pride on seeing somebody urinate in the potty seat. The awe at the complexity of the human body to actually stand in place, bend down and pick up a round object.

I like to think that I am still learning. I am learning that it is a privilege when someone rests her head on your shoulder. and I am learning that it is harder then I expected to watch your kids fall. The day my kid learnt to roll over, it seems to have been a series of suicidal rushes as a carry over of some Jihad from her last life. As she is now learning to walk, things have only gotten worse. The last time, she dived off her Pram in great style to land face first in grass.

The problem that I am facing is that the realization is dawning that this is not going to get easier. Today itself she seems to be more keen on running, rather then understand how walking works. After the pram incident she has hopefully understood that flying would take longer to master.

The only solution to this seems to be to restrict her movements to an area two by two feet covered below by an mattress, above by limitless air and surrounded on all sides by parents. And every time I do this, I only feel that I am holding her back from achieving her true potential. She would probably be already running laps around the house If it hadn't been for the dammed mattress.

I realize that the actual problem might be metaphorical. Maybe I am actually getting myself to come to grips with the fact that kids will grow up and that they will take actions that will cause pain, hurt and other associated emotions in varying percentages. And over time, my words will progress from orders to instructions to advice to suggestions to guidelines to garbage. And not necessarily in that order.

There are of course ways in which new parents can get over their fear of their children hurting. Much like microwaving eggs, this would involve dropping kids from progressively greater heights and leaving them in progressively hazardous situations. Once we have a detailed database, we can then carry out a detailed risk analysis and set our risk limits in which to expose the little chaps. The only downside with this approach that I see, is that due to the changing physical nature of kids, we will have to undertake the study every alternate year. An alternate to this would be to set a height limit. i.e you could say that once your kid was as tall as your shoulder, you would let them do whatever the hell they wanted. reaching your ear would mean free prophylactics on the dinner table. There are further options, and as I weigh the merits of each of them versus the two by two mattress approach, I fear and fret.

That is another thing I am learning. I am learning to be afraid.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oil spill of the Southwest pass.





The recent explosion of the oil rig off Louisiana has resulted in oil leaking from underwater pipelines. This picture of the oil slick right next to the Southwest pass entrance does bring the situation to focus. I have benn trading in this area for the last few years so it fells like my own backyard.

This taken with the Eagle Otome oil spill in the sabine river earlier this year sure seem to indicate that the US gulf isn't having a good year till now. And the hurricane season is yet to start!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Conversations at a French airport

A : so this sign indicates that these seats are reserved for the
handicapped, blind and the deaf. Who are the fourth set?

B : maybe it's you know the speech impaired people

A : oh ! I thought it was meant to be a couple of gay guys.

B : why would they reserve seats for gay guys?

A : I don't know. Maybe because they are french. Plus why do dumb
peole need seats? Why can't they fucking stand quitely in a corner
Like the rest of us?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why does bad food happen to fat people?

The problem with fat people like me is that we have tasted good food.
And after tasting good food we have liked it. And after liking it, we
have eaten more of it. Make no mistake, we have become fat by working
hard at eating good food.

Which is why it was a bit tragic for me when all my lifes dedication
and efforts were disregarded by aeromexico when they put this thing in
front of me on the Mexico city - Paris connection.

Now the previous post was about Mexican food and heaven knows I have
put enough posts praising mexiccan food, but what I fail to understand
is why a bunch of mexicans would try to feed me French food in a
location from which I could not concievably escape.

Now I do not hate French food. Fat people with food are like mother
Teresa with lepers. We love all food. But like her we understand that
there is simply not enough time to take care of all the food in the
world and we have to decide which food group needs us more.

People have gotten fat on frech food, but he fact is that whenever I
have tried the same, I have found it so exhaustively pretentious that
it burns off all the bloody fat. French dishes are named something
like "mon de rue el carap" which probably translates into something
like "crappy food from the roadside". Something which have been
sucessesfully feeding white tourists for the last fifty years at a
fraction of the cost.

I had thankfully eaten a hearty Mexican meal of something that sounded
distinctly more exotic ( diabla anyone?) before boarding, so I just
prodded around at it to check if it would retaliate and cut a cross
section of it. As you can see in the picture, it didn't make things
any better.

Next time if these guys do make me fly with these guys again, I hope
they will be considerate enough to provide parachutes as well as the
sissy life jackets.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Shrimp diabla

Last mentioned in vincents post, it is the most amazing shrimp dish
ever. Recommended with a chilled beer.

Life is good. :)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

DIE LOBSTER DIE!!

There definitely seems to be something in the Pagan religious practice of
sacrifices. The sacrifice of my reproductive organs, as mention in the last
post, did certainly seem to please Neptune, and we got some splendid weather
for the next couple of days. And as the sea seemed to be in a particularly
benevolent mood, all sorts of fauna and Aquana were being showered on us. I
saw my first Turtle at sea, as it lazily gobbled at a bunch of sea weeds.
The first night at anchor we set ourselves up on the poop deck with fishing
tackles and beers. I ofcourse maintained my record of never catching
anything, but the guys got a fair amount of Red snappers and these white
fishes, the nomenclature of which we argued over the beers. A few years back
and we would have lit up a barbeque and tossed them right there on the
grill. But these days people are actually expected to follow these pesky
safety regulations. Damn them all!

I have to admit that safety regulations do help. They tune the mind to some
Zen like state, where you are able to sense danger. For example, when I
looked out of the porthole on the next glorious morning, I immediately
sensed danger as I saw the bosun running back along the deck with what was
evidently an alien object eating his arm right up to his shoulders.

Like all prudent masters, except Nelson and James Cook- who wound up dead at
sea, I immediately swung into action and prayed to god. Then I sat down at
the desk and looked at the phone for the next five minutes. At the end of
that time, as the phone had not rung, it was evident that the alien
infestation had spread among the whole crew, which in an zombie inspired
orgy of blood and trailing entrails, had hacked each other to bits. I felt
deep sympathy for my young valiant mess man as he bravely tried to warn me
on phone as the zombie oiler nibbled on his feet. Rookie mistake. Aliens
always use phone lines to spread and as he would have held the phone to his
ears, the small ant aliens would go into his ears and all that would have
remained of Eddie would have been an agonizingly silent cry of blinding pain
as his brain imploded. I sincerely grieved for Eddie. Or it was equally
possible that nothing of great importance had occurred. Either way, it
didn't look like I would be required to do anything, so I decided that it
was safe to venture out of my cabin.

As it turned out, the light and its refraction through my dual layered
porthole had played tricks on my mind. It was actually a small bosun who had
caught a big Lobster. And as big lobsters go, this was huge. Minus its
antennae, which were longer then it, this chap was about half a meter in
length. Lobsters apparently don't die when you take them out of the water.
But it certainly looks out of sort when placed on a steel platter surrounded
by the ships crew who were excitedly pointing out which part they would eat.
As I looked at its majestic sweep lying on the galley table, Eddie happily
showed me where he would cut along the back to put in the masala and let me
stew. I have honestly not seen such a big lobster in my life. There
definitely can't be too many of this size out there in the world. It seemed
crazy that a bunch of sailors eat this chap in the middle of the sea. The
guy deserved to be in some aquarium looking out at the passing gaggle of
school kids with its unblinking eyes. If this was a couple of hundred years
back, this chap would probably land up on the table of the local ruler to
get his favours. As I looked up, I saw the faces of the Excited crew staring
back at me.

With a deep sigh, mustering up all of my Captains demeanour, I pointed to
the sea creature and declared,

"I want to eat this part."