Bring on the dancing girls…

It’s what he would have wanted! Funerals don’t always have to be sombre occasions as this group of musicians shows. In Taiwan families are taking a different approach to saying goodbye to their loved ones – by hiring all-female marching bands to perform during the service. Complete with white ‘go-go’ boots and matching uniforms, the women twirl batons and play instruments while marching around the dead body. article-2517355-19CE13A500000578-205_636x382The service, which lasts two to three hours, has been set up by Yuan-Rong Life which has a popular marching troupe called ‘Xiu Juan Female Music Band’. For small services Yuan-Rong recommends less than eight band members – costing £27 each – but for larger memorials more. Taiwan introduces all-female marching bands to liven up FUNERALS

Call me old-fashioned if you will… But there’s nothing quite like an Irish wake, a celebration the day before, on the day itself, and the day after, running consecutively obviously…    “May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead”.   
Yours Aye

Photographic history of VIETNAM

article-0-186F6A9B00000578-921_964x903A spectacular new book entitled ‘Vietnam The Real War’ containing images taken by Associated Press war photographers has been released to remember 50 years since the conflict began, it also serves as a photographic record of the Vietnam War. The book’s publication will coincide with an exhibition at the Steven Kasher Gallery in Manhattan, that will run from October 24 to November 26 2013.article-2441235-1873798B00000578-644_636x382 The above main picture, by Henri Huet, shows U.S. Marines nest to their foxholes after a third night of fighting against North Vietnamese troops in September 1966. The image on the right, also by Huet, shows U.S. paratroopers hold their automatic weapons above water as they cross a river in the rain during a search for Viet Cong positions in the jungle area of Ben Cat on September 25, 1965.low res TIM PAGE Out with the P.R.U

As a young teen I went to an exhibition by self-taught British photographer Tim Page, who operated in theatre, as well as worked around various units within Vietnam. Page was wounded several times at various intervals of the war, each time returning for more. Throughout his exhibition he gave commentary on each photograph displayed. All fascinating stuff, non political, just told it as it was. As I was hopeless at art, It inspired me to take up ‘click and pray’ photography as a (very expensive) hobby.  A great big Hallelujah for the coming of the digital camera.      Yours Aye.

A letter beyond contempt

Last week, Malala Yousafzai, ‘the brave Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban’ addressed the U.N. Youth Assembly in New York on Friday 12th July.article-0-1AC8A8FE000005DC-230_634x421 

The day was equally as special to her for another reason, it was Malala’s 16th birthday. The speech Malala made was in her own hand, and direct from her heart, It earned a standing ovation and rightly so

It would appear that Malala opened up Pandora’s box that day, as her newly found position as a political activist has given her personal cause a powerful platform, far more powerful than the one used by the cowards who tried to take her life. Malala has just received a letter from Taliban commander Adnan Rasheed, which is a letter beyond contempt. ‘Dear Malala, this is why we tried to kill you’ The pen wielded by Malala Yousafzai, has proven to be mightier than the ’7.62mm’ sword of Adnan Rasheed! I would urge you to listen to the speech given by 16-year-old Malala, on a birthday that her family thought would never happen. 

Yours Aye.

Transitting La Perouse

Ocean pinch points can cause all sorts of issue for navies. Think Hormuz, Malacca, or the Suez and then imagine transiting a large fleet through ‘em safely. From this article, I just learned of a new (to me), small channel known as La Perouse:

A Chinese naval fleet was Sunday spotted sailing for the first time through an international strait between northern Japan and Russia’s far east, the Japanese defence ministry said.

The two missile destroyers, two frigates and a supply ship passed through the Soya Strait from the Sea of Japan to the Sea of Okhotsk early Sunday, the ministry said.

The channel, also known as La Perouse, separates the Russian island of Sakhalin and the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The five ships took part in joint naval exercises with Russia from July 5-12 off Vladivostok.

La Perouse, sounds French.

Rohingya Immigration Detention Centre

Okay, quick quiz. Is this a bunch of horse (err, camel*) jockeys from the local Rohingya Muslim racetrack praying or are they illegal aliens:

Rohingya Muslim illegal immigrants pray at the Immigration Detention Centre during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kanchanaburi province July 10, 2013. More than a hundred Rohingya Muslims gathered to pray and break fast as they welcome the first day of Ramadan in Thailand. The stateless people arrived in Thailand earlier in January this year after fleeing a bloody conflict between the Buddhist and Muslims in Myanmar's western Rakhine State. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Rohingya Muslim illegal immigrants pray at the Immigration Detention Centre during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kanchanaburi province July 10, 2013. More than a hundred Rohingya Muslims gathered to pray and break fast as they welcome the first day of Ramadan in Thailand. The stateless people arrived in Thailand earlier in January this year after fleeing a bloody conflict between the Buddhist and Muslims in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

* Hence the numbers on their back. . .

China And Russia Go Out on a Date

I’ve participated in a couple of naval exercises and they were arduous, interesting affairs. That said, China is getting set up with Russia on a blind naval date for its largest-ever maritime drill with a foreign entity. Should be fun to see how the two bond:

Russia, China Set Dates for Summer Joint Military Exercises. (Archive) © RIA Novosti. Vitaliy Ankov

Russia, China Set Dates for Summer Joint Military Exercises. RIA Novosti. Vitaliy Ankov

Exercises are intended to deepen co-operation between militaries, says Chinese army chief

China will join Russia later this week for its largest-ever naval drills with a foreign partner, underlining deepening ties between the former cold war rivals along with Beijing’s desire for closer links with regional militaries.

China has long been a key customer for Russian military hardware, but only in the last decade have their militaries begun taking part in joint exercises.

China’s defence ministry said on Tuesday that its navy would send four destroyers, two guided missile frigates and a support ship for the exercises, which start on Friday in the Sea of Japan and run until 12 July.

Ah, the Sea of Japan again. Good sushi out that way. . .

Ashin Wirathu, Warrior

“You can be full of kindness and love. . .

In this June 13 2013 photo, Buddhist monk Wirathu, center, who is accused of instigating sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims through his sermons, gestures as he talks with fellow Buddhist monks during an assembly of Myanmar’s powerful Buddhist clergy in Hmawbi, outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. Upon seeing his photo splashed across the cover of Time magazine with the words "Face of Buddhist Terror," Myanmar's most-talked-about monk was unfazed, saying no amount of bad publicity could hurt him. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

In this June 13 2013 photo, Buddhist monk Wirathu, center, who is accused of instigating sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims through his sermons, gestures as he talks with fellow Buddhist monks during an assembly of Myanmar’s powerful Buddhist clergy in Hmawbi, outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. Upon seeing his photo splashed across the cover of Time magazine with the words “Face of Buddhist Terror,” Myanmar’s most-talked-about monk was unfazed, saying no amount of bad publicity could hurt him.

. . . but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog,” Ashin Wirathu, a spiritual leader of the movement and very popular figure in Burma, said of the country’s Muslims, whom he called “the enemy.”

Boy Monk with Gun