Thursday, 29 September 2011

Timendi causa est nescire.

I watched the rugby this morning. The 5:30 am start was needed to erase the memory of our 'team' yesterday. I say 'team' but that is the least applicable description for them. I saw two matches this morning and the team work there was so clearly visible. The teams from South Africa, Australia and from New Zealand contained a range of skin pigmentation and my mind went back to Capetown in 1956. Our troopship sailed in on Christmas Eve; we were the first troopship to go round the Cape since the war time convoys. The dockside was awash with the good burgers who hoovered up the soldiers and whisked them away. I was ship's policeman so it was duty for me. I commented on the hospitality to a local police officer who informed me it was not all it seemed. Apartheid was still in force and the greeting crowd would only have taken those who matched their ethnicity. Integration seemed to have worked well for the three teams and I thought about the problems we have with mixing immigrants with home-born. It seems that there is racism in Australia as well as New Zealand and South Africa.When I looked further I found that all three countries had formal rules regarding who was allowed into the country
I wonder if our chaotic immigration 'controls' would benefit from such formal procedures.
OK - light relief now. I said I would seek out some blogs that might be included in mine. I suspect that poetry does not get casually Googled by those seeking to pass idle time. I have an interest in words and hunt about in poetry. So," try this. Last bit to tidy up. The title of the blog? Translates as "The cause of fear is ignorance"

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A disaster rehearsed

I have been reading about the fall of Singapore. When I lived in Malaya I had heard much from old Colonial types about the Japanese occupation and I was interested in getting some of the truth out of the urban myths. The early chapters deal with the decisions that were taken with regards to the defence of the main harbour. Immediately, I was struck with the impression that I was reading a far more modern history.
The powers that be had convinced themselves that any attack would come from a sea-borne enemy. The hinterland of the Malayan jungle was deemed to be too difficult for Asian troops. These were assessed by our military experts as of low grade - even described as afraid of the dark. This showed total disregard for the performance of the Japanese army in recent confrontations. The Japanese had shown themselves capable of coordinating land, sea and air attacks. All this was ignored. Military HQ in Singapore decided to install very large artillery pieces to cover the sea approaches. Second thoughts were for a naval fleet to extend the reach of the defence. There was deemed to be no spare capability of RN vessels but Their Lordships were reassuring that they could deploy a few ships from the Indian fleet 'if any threat developed'. The nascent RAF took on board the idea of reach and made a case for air power where torpedo carrying aircraft would be a good defence.
Thus began inter-service rivalry. There were no facilities for a naval presence and no suitable airfields. Bibs and bobs of budgets were dug up and a start was made on docks and landing grounds. Then it was decided that there was a need for a chain of airfields from India to Singapore. More debate and chewing of military mustaches. The whole fiasco was set against a decision that there would be no attacks within a 10 year timescale. The whole exercise was a rehearsal for the recently undertaken Strategic Defence Review such as was undergone recently.
The book is a well researched publication as one would expect from Professor Richard Holmes; a writer sadly missed. I recommend it.
I also recommend today's lost child of a blog - as warned in my last blog.
’m not a typical holiday person. I believe that the feelings of peace on earth and goodwill toward men (and women) have become overshadowed by the fuss of hosting dinner parties and shopping.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Play it again Sam

I have been wandering out in the outer space of the Internet looking for interesting stuff that has been overlooked. No No - not that. I used to keep statistics on this effort and was surprised at just how many hits were recorded. Sometimes, very respectable. Whilst many came, few were moved enough to comment or do anything to spread the word. Had I not looked at my meter, I would have thought that it was just time and energy wasting. However, as I only do it for my own amusement I am not concerned. There must be many two-finger pokers who agonise over their blog; content, style or illustration.
Way way back, I used to have a sort of supplement to my work - I called it The Guest Blog. Each of my efforts would have one blog chosen by me and reproduced in its entirety. That drew comments where the main oeuvre did not. I propose to reintroduce this idea but with just a link and to draw attention to two or three each time I do something. Criteria for selection is very open - it has to impress me for some reason is what it might boil down to.
I will wander off into the 'net milky way and tee a few up. So - watch this space.