Category Archives: TV

Korean War Memorial

bloom county war
Cartoon by Berke Breathed (Bloom County Babylon: Five Years of Basic Naughtiness)

The cartoon kinda sums up my confused state of mind.    When I was a wee lad, I grew up  on a diet of television series like “Combat”, movies like Chuck Norris’ “Missing in Action” and Commando War Comics. All of which tended to give a glorified and sanitized portrayal of war, in that, the bad guys are usually clearly viciously bad and deserve to be killed by the virtuous good guy heroes who almost always just get flesh wounds.


And so, I grew up playing soldier and even cowboys and Indians.  Only later did I begin to understand that war is almost never clear cut black and white and it’s not just the bad guys that get killed.  I learned about “collateral damage”, “civilian casualties”, “killing fields” and “genocide”. I began to see that war wasn’t cool.

Today, I consider myself to be firmly in the peace-loving, pacifist, flower-power camp.  Or at least, that’s who I grew up to be.  And yet, I confess that I was excited to have the opportunity, with my brother,  to visit the Korean War Memorial and their open air collection of war machines.  Please forgive this relapsing war-junkie as I guiltily present some photos from that visit.

Enter Korean War Memorial (Photo by LGS)
The front of the Monument showing the brave and valiant fighters (Photo by LGS)
The rear of the Monument showing perhaps the suffering of the people (Photo by LGS)
F86L Sabre (Photo by LGS’ brother)
F-51D Mustang (Photo by LGS)
The opposing MIG 19 (Photo by LGS)
LGS valiantly defending against air attack (Photo by LGS’ brother)
The Hardware of War (Photo by LGS)
American Tanks (Photo by LGS)
Cool-looking attack boat (Photo by LGS)
This Patrol Boat actually took place in the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong and still carries the scars of the battle to repel a North Korean naval incursion in 2002 in which 6 South Koreans lost their lives. The red holes are battle damage. (Photo by LGS)

Squirrel Control to Major Tom

Things seem a bit depressing at the moment. Wars, atrocities, air crashes, etc.  All bummers.  Not even the promised distraction of sporting competition where man challenge man to greater heights of achievement bring much relief.  The upcoming Euro football championships have the threat of terrorist attacks hanging over them and the Olympics are under a cloud of mosquitos bearing the risk of Zika.

So I have decided to treat you loyal friends to an escape. An escape into the crazy imagination of a nut-addled squirrel mind.  Let’s leave the world and all its worries behind behind and blast off in our own Eagle Transporter into the world of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s Space 1999.

Regular readers (all two of you and the stalker), will know that my birthday wish in 2014 was to have my own Eagle Transporter  model kit.  Unfortunately, it is incredibly hard to get as the model was based on a British TV series that ran between 1975-1977.  They had long stopped producing the models.

But so desperate was I to go on a flight of fancy that I did not give up the search.  Finally, after about a year on the quest, I finally found one in Melbourne, Australia.

And here it is………..  I am a bit rusty so my model building skill is lamentable.  Nevertheless, come fly with me.

What should my next project be?  Should it be the Star Wars Death Star or Millennium Falcon?  How about Star Trek’s Enterprise or Klingon Bird of Prey?  I am thinking maybe a World War II bomber, or perhaps an aircraft carrier, or maybe a tall ship.  What do you think?

Thanks for the Laughs Ronnie

I love comedy and one of the comedy greats that gave me belly aching laughter for so many years was Ronnie Corbett.  He passed on this week at the age of 85.  This British comedienne was one half of the successful comedy act “The Two Ronnies” together with Ronnie Barker.  I used to laugh at their routines till I cried.

My thanks to you Ronnie Corbett for being a source of so much laughter and joy.  I have posted on the Two Ronnies before but here once again are two of my favourite sketches from their partnership.

The first is entitled “Swedish Made Simple”


And the second is “Hieroglyphics explained”

Squirrel Resurfacing – A Media Event


Mulder and Scully are back!  The iconic X Files television series has been resurrected after a hiatus of more than 13 years.

Mulder and Scully are back!  Much older……… much, much older! (Hmmm did I also lose my youthful looks in those 13 years?).  But what’s important is that “chemistry”, that “spark”, the “sizzle” between them is still alive and kicking.

Mulder and Scully are back!  And so inspired, the Lone Grey Squirrel has decided to return to the blogosphere after an absence of 13 months (not 13 years!).

The X Files return has been billed as a “Media Event”.  Likewise watch out for the return of the Realm of the Lone Grey Squirrel – 2016’s Blogosphere Event!  It all happens here …..starting on February 1st.

Remember………the nuts are out there!


Year of the Horse

This is the Year of the Horse!   Now I am a Tiger (yes – that’s right – a tiger squirrel!  I have a picture of just such a creature HERE on this blog).  My year was in 2010 and I think we can say that us Tigers gave you a good year.  You are welcome.

My wife is actually a Snake.  Her kind gave us last year.  It wasn’t a particularly bad sort of year but let’s face it … wasn’t a Tiger year.

Now for those who hold stock in traditional Chinese astrology, they say that a Tiger – Snake romantic pairing is not an auspicious one and the relationship will not work well.  Perhaps for that reason, when we were first dating, my wife told me that she was actually a Rabbit.  Sometimes when someone asks about her Chinese astrological sign, she will still say that she is a Rabbit.  To set the record straight, I tell that person that “this Rabbit speaks with forked tongue!”

So this is the Year of the Horse!  Yes, well, I don’t know much about horses but I will gladly share my general ignorance with all of you dear readers.

First, my sister is a Horse.  Enough said.  I dare not say more.  She can kick like a ……

Second, the word for horse in Chinese is “Ma” and is often one of the first words that they teach how to write when you are trying to learn Chinese.  This is probably because it clearly shows the pictographic nature of many Chinese characters.  The earliest character for “Ma” really resembled a picture representation for a horse and it evolved into the present day character. (see below)

The evolution of the Chinese character for the word horse. Source: Tan Huay Peng, What’s in a Chinese Character.

Third, I  actually had the privilege of seeing the Przewalski’s horse roaming wild in Mongolia (see post).  The Pzewalski’s Horse is considered the only remaining truly wild horse in the world. Woohoo!  Perhaps an ancestor of the horses I saw was the inspiration or model for that very first Chinese character for “Ma”.

Rubbing It's Behind on the Rough Rock
Rubbing It’s Behind on the Rough Rock (photo by LGS)

Fourth, when I was a wee lad, the only horse I knew was the “Hoss” on TV.  For me , he was the “Hoss”.

"Hoss" Cartwright (the one in front) of TV's Bonanza fame.
“Hoss” Cartwright (the one in front) of TV’s Bonanza fame.

Fifth and final point; lovely button mushrooms (yum yum) are grown on horse dung (not so yum yum) and that’s no bullshit!

And that brings to and end all that I know about horses.  Must go now……head feels ….kinda…….empty…..

Yay! Marshmallows!

I don’t watch TV obsessively but there have been a few television series that have grabbed my imagination.  For example, regular readers will know that I am a fan of series like Friends, X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.  Friends was a very popular sitcom with a large mainstream fan base.  However, X-Files, Buffy and Firefly all had engendered a very cult like following amongst their fan base.  I think that this is because that they represented a very different and very fresh as well as powerful approach to story telling.  In all three, there was both episodic stories as well as larger story arcs spanning a season and even the whole series.  Their characters and heroes can be seen to develop substantially throughout the series and were not spared suffering or even loss; they were made to go through much suffering as consequences of the stands they make.

It is no coincidence that the mind behind two of them, Buffy and Firefly, was Joss Whedon who I feel is one of the best storytellers around today.  When Buffy the series came to an end after season 7, like many Whedon fans, I suffered withdrawal symptoms and desperately kept an eye out for new Joss Whedon projects.  But for awhile, there were none that could fill the void left by the end of Buffy.  Ironically, it was Whedon himself who directed me in the right direction when he himself sang praises of one new series, Veronica Mars by Rob Thomas.  I had a look and I was smitten with this petite powerhouse of a teenager struggling with growing up and making ends meet by doing some private investigation work..



However, like many Marshmallows, as the rabid fans of the series are called, I was crestfallen to learn that the series was not being extended beyond the 3rd season.  But a miracle has now happened.

Rob Thomas and series star, Kristin Bell, approached the executives and decision makers of Warner Brothers and managed to get their agreement to make  a Veronica Mars movie if they could prove that there was enough interest amongst the series fans.  The challenge was to raise at least USD 2 million within 30 days through a Kickstarter web campaign for donations. Well, the fans met the target in less than 10 hours into the internet campaign which is a new record for Kickstarter.  Wow! Impressive!

I look forward to the upcoming Veronica Mars Movie. Yay! Marshmallows.

Silly Rabbit, Easter is for…..

“Well, in just a few days time, it will be Easter. And really early, before the sun rises and all the good children are awake, the Easter Bunny will be hopping across lawns and gardens all over the world, hiding colorful eggs for all the good children to find”.

Say WHAT?!?!  Rabbits can’t even lay eggs – so just where is he getting them eggs and does he have elves like Santa does, to help paint all those eggs or is it outsourced to some sweat factory employing child labor?  Rabbits are also known to be health fanatics, eating only carrots and salad.  No way a rabbit would be promoting chocolate eggs.  So why is there a bunny/rabbit/hare intruding on Christianity’s most meaningful celebration?  It makes no sense at all.

Why is an overweight man in red the poster boy for Christmas and why is a egg-centric bunny the mascot for Easter?   Christmas remembers Jesus’ birth and Easter – his death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave. Why, then, is the world promoting these mythical characters instead of  showing reverence for the real and historical Jesus Christ for which these festivals are actually meant to remember?

It is most unacceptable.  The world talks about respecting each other including our different cultures and religions.  It would not think of doing this kind of thing with other religions, so why does the world think its okay to do it to Christians?  I mean, the Muslims would be offended if the media and businesses start promoting the “Camel of Eid-ul-Fitri” on their holy month.  No one would dream of using the “Holy Cow of Deepavali” to push sales to Hindus.  Even pacifist Buddhists may be riled up if some PR guy came up with something like the “Grand Pokemon of  Vesak Day”.  I do not mean any disrespect to any of those religions.  I am just trying to illustrate how silly it would be and possibly offensive.  No such festival creature exists for any of the world’s religious festivals (except maybe the Holiday Armadillo of Hannukah from a certain episode of “Friends”).  In the same way, I will thank you for leaving the Bunny out from Easter.

Sorry, there really is no "Holiday Armadillo of Hannukah".


The Easter weekend starts with Good Friday and ends with Easter Sunday and commemorates Jesus death on the cross on Friday and his resurrection from the dead on Sunday.  It is the most important event in the Christian faith.  The birth of Christ is not even discussed in two of the four Gospels but the events relating to his death and resurrection occupies 9 of 21 chapters in John’s Gospel.  Where Christmas was the start of Jesus’  work of redeeming mankind from the burden and penalty of their sin, Easter was the completion of that work.

John 3: 16-17:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ”


So silly rabbit, Easter is not for you but it is for mankind loss and weary, separated from God – now given new hope through the love of God and Jesus’ sacrifice in our stead.  Have a blessed Easter.

Light and Evil

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  I had a busy one as we celebrated the coming of God’s gift of light and hope, Jesus Christ, to a dark and lost world.  Our church had a special Christmas service with songs, items and short sketches which we held in an auditorium of a nearby college.  It was wonderful.  We had about 320 people attending and at least 6 made the decision to invite Jesus into their lives that day.  A reason for even more rejoicing.

Another highlight for me was watching the CNN Heroes programme on TV on Boxing Day.  With Anderson Cooper at the helm, we were feted to the inspirational stories of 10 people who are making a difference in the world and doing their part to turn back the tide of darkness and evil.  Yes, evil.  For as much as we can rejoice and be inspired by their stories, we are also reminded about the evil that they are confronting – that we all are confronting, and that this evil dwells and emerges from the hearts of men.


We can debate the root causes why drugs, gangs and gratuitous violence has gripped many inner cities and communities but the important point is that kids are being killed and gunned down in the streets.  Life is cheap and life is dangerous for kids who have no safe place to go to but to wander the dangerous streets.  In many places, the community is just dying as mothers bury their children and lose hope.

Diane Latiker burned against the evil preying on the young and opened up her own home to all kids who wanted a place to go for food, advice, help or just to get off the streets.  She started the “Kids off the Block” project and has impacted more than 1,500 kids since 2003.


It is my heartfelt belief that the world’s economic system is inherently flawed and perpetuates a growing gap between the rich and the poor.  Efforts to change the status quo have failed because of the greed of a few and the selfishness of many.  However, it seems down-right evil when food assistance for the poor requires a 120 day waiting period or that mothers and babies die unnecessarily during childbirth because they are too poor to receive  life saving medical care or children going hungry in a country that is generally over-fed (and even wasting food in stupid food related challenges on TV programmes like MTV’s Spring Break; a big pet peeve of mine).  That’s greed and selfishness at work.

Thank God for people like Sal Dimicell and Bruno Serato who take it on themselves to help the poor and needy and to feed the children and Robin Lim for the 4,000 mothers and babies she and her team have helped in Bali, Indonesia.


We are depleting our world’s resources, poisoning the very earth, water and air that gives us life.  We praise ourselves for our smartness and technology but we are frightfully and criminally incompetent at managing our world.  Even with shrinking resources and higher demands, yet we do not have the wisdom not to continue wasting what we have.  So in parts of the world, hotels throw out millions of soap bars a year; many only used once.  At the same time, millions of children in other parts of the world die from diarrhea and other illnesses  each year, for which personal hygiene is a contributing factor and a simple thing like washing their hands regularly with soap can already make a big impact.  Derreck Kayongo, himself a former refugee from war-torn Uganda, is bridging the gap between these two worlds through his Global Soap Project, saving lives and fighting the evil of waste.


I had some trouble deciding how to title this section but I am reminded that Edmund Burke said all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.   It is about how we as a society tend to give attention to those that don’t need it (like the Kardashians) and like to look away or forget those who are in need.

There are the widows, spouses and family members who all paid the sacrifice for their country when their loved ones died in military service.  There are the football players who are celebrated and feted for their performances on field but forgotten and left to struggle on their own when afflicted by spinal injuries obtained on the field.  There are the bread winners in Mexico who became paralysed and have loss their ability to feed their families and also lost their dignity.  There are the orphans of Africa whose parents were loss to AIDS.   There are the children of Haiti still living in tents now, almost two years after the earthquake.  They are all people who need help but the spotlight is not on them, they have been forgotten or worse hidden from view by our collective selfishness and self centeredness.  But Taryn Davis (war widows), Eddie Canales (football injuries), Richard St. Denis (Mexican disabled), Amy Stokes (African AIDS orphans) and Patrice Millet (Haiti’s tent children) have not forgotten and challenge us all not to forget these people too.

For the full story, go to CNN Heroes 2011.

Of course, these 10 represent a whole army of people around the world that are putting others first and making a difference.  I am ashamed.  I had planned to do more voluntary work in 2011 and instead put it on the back-burner.  Perhaps this will give me the impetus and inspiration to do it this coming year.  My first new year resolution.

In contrast to this uplifting programme, the TV also brought news of more than 40 killed in Nigeria when several churches were targeted with bombs on Christmas Day.  A reminder of that evil is rampant and we are in a fight against it, in all its forms.

Maybe you will join me and do something to turn back the darkness in 2012?

Singapore Girl is Bringing Back the Romance

It’s strange but one of my earliest posts back in 2007 started to pick up visitors in the last month and has had so many hits that it has emerged from the obscurity of old posts and into my list of top ten of my blog’s most visited posts (It is currently in the eight position).  The post was on the Singapore Girl which was made the iconic symbol for Singapore Airlines by one of the most successful advertising campaigns ever.  For 25 years, Batey Ads ran and strategised the campaign that made Singapore Girl the personification of hospitality and sold the idea of the “romance” of air  travel.  I loved it.  For many years, I collected the beautifully shot photographs, adverts and calenders that featured the Singapore Girl.

However, in 2007, Singapore Airlines, changed over to another ad agency, TBWA.  Twenty-five years is a longtime to run with one advertising concept and despite Singapore Girl’s success, there was concern that Singapore Airlines should keep up with the times and try a new approach before Singapore Girl got stale.  Sure enough, for the last few years, Singapore Airlines did not feature the Singapore Girl prominently in their advertisements.  Sure, she might be present in the background but the focus was more on their new fleet of planes and the industry-leading facilities and services.

I was wondering why there was this sudden surge of interest in my old Singapore Girl post and when I investigated, I found that TBWA has done a turn around and has created a new television advertisement which returns to the Singapore Girl and once again sells the “romance of travel”.  The funny thing was when I watched the ad, I felt that I had lost that sense of romance.  In recent years, because of my work, I have done a fair bit of traveling around different parts of the world.  Partly because these trips were work related and maybe partly due to the stress of airport security measures these days, I think I have lost that sense of romance in air travel and replaced it with a sense of hum-dum jaded tiredness.  Maybe, with the return of Singapore Girl, I should refresh my mind and remember the thrill of flying and the romance of traveling that I had when I was younger.  At the same time, remember and be thankful again that I have had the privilege of air travel when many in the world have not had the opportunity.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Worms in Space

On 31st October 2011, a baby was born somewhere in the world and suddenly the Earth groaned under the strain of supporting 7 billion human beings.  Then, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) released a scary report on 28th November 2011 entitled, “The State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture .” or SOLAW.

SOLAW notes that in the 50 years between 1961 and 2009 cropland increased by just 12% but agriculture and food production grew by an amazing 150% largely due to the practices introduced during the “Green Revolution”.  It could be said that we dodged the bullet then because in the same period, the world population also increased by 100%.  If it were not for the Green Revolution, the world would already be facing widespread famine.

However, SOLAW also noted that the success of the Green Revolution has also been costly in terms of soil fertility and pollution and today the “rates of growth in agricultural production have been slowing in many areas and are today only half of what they were during the heyday of the Green Revolution. ”  Today, there is very little arable land left for expansion of agricultural lands.  If anything, we are even losing arable land, burying it under concrete as cities spread out.  Furthermore, SOLAW points out that 25% of the world’s land is now highly degraded, another 8% is moderately degraded and only 10% is showing an improvement in status.

Water scarcity, salination and pollution of groundwater and other water sources and habitats are all making food production harder.  All these effects will be magnified further by the effects of climate change.

Yet while agriculture and food production is in decline and under threat, the human population is expected to rise to 9 billion by 2050.  So in the midst of the decline and decay, we will have to pull another miracle out of the bag and increase food production by another 70% in the next 40 years.

Yet at the Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa that is on right now, developed countries and even some developing countries are trying to delay implementation of further measures to reduce carbon emissions and reduce the impact of climate change.  Canada is even threatening to pull out of the minimal Kyoto Protocol because of concerns that carbon reduction targets might affect its economic competitiveness with the USA.

This reminds me of a Government Minister from a developing nation who called his farmers “stupid” for planting food crops when they could use the land for planting cash crops.  He said with the profits, “we can always buy food”.  How short sighted!  The recent flood in Thailand for example caused widespread panic amongst countries dependent on it for their rice.  Climate change is going to make this situation far worse.

It sure looks like we are all heading towards global disaster like idiots; like Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned or like lemmings heading for the cliff while assuring themselves there is no other way.

Is it any surprise then that even worms are venturing into space to escape?  Read about it here and see the video here.

And just to link with my previous post on the Muppets, there are also Pigs in Space.