Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011

GO EAST YOUNG MAN: Sandy and I visited the just-opened ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay today. The distinctive shape is evident (above). It is characterised as an "open hand" or "lotus blossom." To be avoided at all costs--giving the impression that it looked like a bunch of bananas.
We were very impressed by the three major exhibits. We thought there'd be a bigger crowd for a Sunday afternoon, but that gave us plenty of walking-around space to see the remarkable exhibits, which were opened to the public on 19 February. They are:
Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World (through 27 March)
Genghis Khan: The Exhibition (through 10 April)
Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds (through 31 July)
One distinctive item was an animal-shaped rhyton (right), which was used for scooping and pouring wine. They were common in West Asia and became popular in China thanks to the Silk Road. The "Shipwrecked" exhibit included some of the objects found on an Arab dhow that was shipwrecked near Indonesia's Belitung Island. Of particular beauty are the many ceramic pieces that survived intact. They were discovered in 1998. The discovery confirmed that there was a robust ocean-going trade route between China and the Persian Gulf in the 800s.
The Genghis Khan exhibit included a live musical performance by four members of the Kahn Bogd ensemble.
The morin khuur, a two-stringed instrument, was particularly versatile in their hands. Also remarkable was the zither-like yatga (shown at right). The voices? Well they were another instrument, with a wide range of sounds. A nice touch. The Khan exhibit also included the mummified remains of a princess (below), a dramatic display that's presented respectfully.

DON'T UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPACT OF THE GOOD OL' USA: I've been pretty superficial in my efforts to spot the indicators influence of USA institutions/businesses/people. (Think Taylor Swift, KFC, Burger King, the NBA, Bill Clinton, Harvard, Borders...OK, scratch Borders.) Anyway it goes deeper than multinationals and superstars. At the AtsScience museum, we stopped at the Sweet Spot coffee station. I did a double-take when I read one of the workers' name tag. I asked her about it. She said her name was, indeed, "from the U.S.A." Her mom picked it because she "liked the sound of it." The name?.... TENNESSY. Yes, inspired by the Volunteer State, with a slight twist in the spelling. I thought it was pretty neat. This has set me searching for an IDAHOE or MAYNE.

A NICE JOB OF PARALLEL PARKING: This morning, the OOCL Qingdao of Hong Kong snuggled into place beneath our shipspotting window. Here, the tug is pushing it into the slot between the 174-meter long SINAR SUMBA of Singapore (top) and the 182-meter-long GALLANT WAVE, also of Singapore. Incidentally, the Gallant Wave left its berth about 5 p.m. on Feb. 27. By the way, here's the latest
Singapore Crane Index Limited Economic Indicator. We have some VERY GOOD numbers for you today:
Date: Feb. 28
Time: 8:38 a.m. (Singapore time)
Cranes Up (bad): 6
Cranes Down (good): 20
CRANES MISSING (unknown degree of goodness/badness): 2

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