Image(s) of the Week – 153 (Take Your Pic)

It’s Good News Week.

Or is it?

When selecting my Image of the Week, I look for photographs or paintings which have a pictorial resonance in the sense that there’s a need to linger. Some of my choices point to an exhibition currently on, or make you blink and look twice, or are a landscape which transports one away from the cloistered existence we find ourselves in and make a good screen ‘wallpaper’.

Others have a personal resonance with me, being connected to my activities, both past and present. Jakartass has always been about duality with my ‘Home Thoughts From Abroad’ and ‘Alien Thoughts From Home’. The two images I present here are in the latter category. Taken this past week from my lifetime daily read, UK’s Guardian newspaper, they depict two recent events here in Indonesia. You decide which one has more resonance for you.

Top cop inaugurated
Photo: Darren Whiteside/Reuters

Jab the dog.
Photo: Made Nagi/EPA

The thousands of stray dogs on Bali’s resort island of Indonesia (sic) have become a threat to the local tourism industry” which has become a threat to the island’s environment.

Image of the Week – 153 (Candid Camera)

The Guardian has a series ‘That’s me in the (iconic) picture‘. I’ve chosen the one above of Mt. Tungurahua in Ecuador because this week we can ‘celebrate’ the two hundredth anniversary of the biggest volcanic eruption in recorded history, that of Mt. Tambora on 10th April 1815.

The debris ejected into the atmosphere lead to such a drop in temperatures that the following year, 1816, has been dubbed The Year Without a Summer. There were massive crop failures and starvation, which in turn lead to migrations. Other consequences, some suggest, include the foundation of the Mormon religion in the USA and the invention of a velocipede, a forerunner of the bicycle, in Germany.

In Switzerland, the incessant rainfall lead to Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein, and in England landscape artist JMW Turner painted yellow skies.

Chichester Canal (1828)

(I could have chosen one of Kim Sear’s animal portraits because today she’s getting married to tennis star Andy Murray. I think the happy couple deserve a bit of privacy though, don’t you?)

Image of the Week – 152 (Trash Wave)

Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Click here for a larger image.                                                             Photograph: Zak Noyle

Indonesian surfer Dede Surinaya catches a wave in a remote but garbage-covered bay in Java, the world’s most populated island.

This is one of a series aimed to raise awareness about the consequences of the population explosion.

I don’t understand why when we destroy something created by man we call it vandalism, but when we destroy something created by nature we call it progress.
Ed Begley, Jr.

Image of the Week – 151 (Mont St. Michel)

Click here for  LARGE image.

A ‘supertide’ last Saturday (21st) briefly turned France’s famed Mont Saint-Michel into an island, delighting thousands of visitors who came to see the rare phenomenon.

The so-called “tide of the century”, which actually happens every 18 years, raises sea levels along the northern French coast, but is especially dramatic at the UNESCO world heritage site that is normally linked to the mainland by a narrow causeway at high tide.

The peak of the supertide on Saturday morning, said to have risen at the pace of a horse’s gallop, turned the outcrop briefly into an island, while the day’s low tide allowed people to walk on the expansive flat seabed once again.

On Visiting Singapore For The First Time

With the death of Lee Kuan Yew yesterday, my thoughts turned to the many visits I’ve made to Singapore. The city has changed since my first visit nigh on thirty years ago, and in one very important respect: it is a city to walk in. The following is from the handwritten travel diary I kept for my year of backpacking and which I’ve now posted online.

Bencoolen Street Apartments
Friday 8th November 1985

Singapore is a business city – big business. For me, the purchase of a recording Walkman, telephoto lens and attempting to reschedule my round-the-world ticket is big business.

I have seen little to make me a tourist. Before I finally leave, perhaps on my return, I will have a gin sling at Raffles Hotel. I may not like it, the drink or the experience, but as with viewing the Taj Mahal, an Englishman must relive part of his colonial past. It’s all in my genes – which reminds me to dress up, whenever.

Meantimes, high living is restricted to high rises; condominiums. hotels, shopping centres and car parks. Everything planned, but not by, or seemingly for, the people.

Although buses are frequent and generally with seats available, a mass rapid transit system, a train network, is under construction. Somehow I doubt that the roads will be emptier of traffic. Such measures as a surcharge on cars, including taxis, which carry fewer than four people during business hours in the business sector may well have diminished the volume of Japanese technology going from A to B. Still doesn’t make it easier to be a pedestrian though. Parking on yellow lines, storm drains and the lack of sidewalks mitigates against us.

Which is a shame. Trying to visit a streetside business – tailor, café or bookshop – becomes an Indiana Jones expedition. Whereas in India a similar exercise involves avoiding people, the danger here is being avoided by the traffic. With penalties of S$500 (then c.£166) for jaywalking everyone gets channelled into multi-storey shopping centres, which the dispossessed small traders can ill-afford to move into. Small businessmen become small employees and this mitigates against choice and creativity.

Everything is organised and channelled. Where patterns of behaviour run counter to the planners’ conceptions, the penalties are either severe, including behaviour modification and the death penalty, or new plans are formulated. A bureaucrat’s delight; social planners are rarely socially beneficial, except on their terms.

Food is artificially pure, transnationals sell identical units and concepts to citizens a thousand miles apart. Travel is easy. Computerisation smooths transactions and my Mastercard is valid everywhere.

Tomorrow is here today. ‘TOTAL DEFENCE – PSYCHOLOGICAL, SOCIAL, MILITARY, ECONOMICAL and CIVIL’ is a bus hoarding. At the foot of the glass and concrete banks lies a layer of cardboard boxes advertising Sony and Nipponese. Beds for those the system forgot. The penalty for littering is $500. When the litter is literally your litter (excuse the alliteration) the penalty could be jail if you cannot pay the fine. That means a bed.

And that’s fine.
Anal footnotes:
- Catch a bumboat to Sentosa Island
- T-shirt: Kickapoo – Joy Juice
————It’s Out Of This World

Image of the Week – 150 (Too Horrible For Words)

Some say that these are huts in Oregon, USA, in which calves are kept for 6 weeks or months until they are slaughtered for veal.

Others say that these are the back views and in front are pens where calves are free to romp and play.

Some say that these are huts in which calves are kept and fed with milk before beco9ming milking cows. They don’t say what happens to the male calves.

Some say that calves are separated from their mothers so that humans can drink the mothers’ milk.

Some say this image is photoshopped.

I say that keeping meat sources in ‘cages’, fattening them with genetically modified ‘food’ in order to fatten humans is doubly cruel.

I say that industrial farming is contributing to global warming and climate change: think of the tonnage of the methane gas belched and farted by the animals kept in solitary confinement.

I say that I should have said nothing … that image is too horrible for words.

Image of the Week -149 (Monlam)

©Kevin Frayer – Getty Images

The main purpose of Monlam, the Great Prayer Festival, is to pray for the long life of all the holy Gurus of all traditions, for the survival and spreading of the Dharma in the minds of all sentient beings, and for world peace. The communal prayers, offered with strong faith and devotion, help to overcome obstacles to peace and generate conducive conditions for everyone to live in harmony.

I can but agree with that. Thirty years ago I spent two and a half months in Ladakh, the northern-most part of India in the Himalayas, an area predominantly Tibetan Buddhist. This was a profoundly important part of my life, one I would love to relive yet I know that, apart from the risk of altitude sickness after a lifetime addicted to nicotine, there’s no way that I could do more than observe as I did then.

Images such as the one above will have to be enough.
My image is taken from a short photo essay published in the Guardian.
My Ladakh Diary can be downloaded from here.

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