Written by Frank M. Lin 4/26/2017 10:14 am @ Newport Beach – It’s been a productive day. Got about 2 hours of sleep after watching Leon (aka The Professional here in USA). Woke up around 6 am and noticed the awesome sunrise and took a quick snapshot on the iPhone 5S and then got the drone ready to fly. Got another good flight. Then I did a bit of yoga and freestyle stretching, then push up variations and mixed in with some ab workout. I made a self commitment today of getting a 6 pack because I never had it before. It will come with some discipline and I probably need to cut down on my sugar intake… I definitely have a sweet tooth because if you follow my IG you will notice I’m eating candy all the times especially sour gummy candies. LOL. The goal is to have 6 pack by end of the year. That still leave me more than 7 months so it should no problem. Alrighty on to some of the videos I wanted today…
McLaren F1 GTR, McLaren F1 GTR LT, Ferrari F40 LM, Porsche GT1, heck even the Nascar Truck (a Toyota Tundra) sounds quite amazing… epic sounds for sure.
HyperCar track day… sweet. Very nice variety.
I always find Shmee kind of annoying when he talks but then again, the production quality of his videos are excellent sometimes. This is a good example. Also he gets pretty freaking lucky and gets access to lot of hypercar PR events… Anyway, I didn’t realize McLaren’s recently 720S is more revolutionary than evolutionary. From the name I would’ve guessed it’s just another quick release and update but actually just about every aspect of the car has received significant update. I think they should’ve gave it a better name than 720S. Kind of a poor branding job in my opinion for such a major release.
I didn’t see this nice video about aero testing in a full fledged windtunnel until today. Well done SpeedAcademy!! $2000/hour for such high level windtunnel is actually super reasonable.
Been watching Engineering Explained channel for sometime. His videos are excellent and frequently I always learn little random tidbits. It’s pretty cool that he got a Honda S2000 few months ago so now his content is more Honda oriented.
This old tree is HUGE. OMG WTF BBQ category for sure. Well over 20 stories tall… I’m thinking the energy around this tree should be pretty spectacular. Yes, I’m a tree hugger. 🙂
The Matrix released in 1999 was a total ground breaking film. I actually have not seen any of the behind the scene footages until today. The set and production looks awesome. Ever since getting into drone flying in Dec. 2016 I have thoughts about getting into editing and producing more legitimate youtube videos. I was checking out a few editors and trying to figure out which one to learn… and eventually someday that might lead to learning about filmmaking as I’m quite a film buff and critic. I love good movies and I despise shitty Hollywood movies… So maybe after I accomplish my more immediate goals I will try. This is very low on my priority list though…
The car was initially unveiled in February 1990 and was developed throughout 1990 before making its race debut in the final two races of the 1990 World Sportscar Championship season (Montréal and Mexico).
Technically advanced, the 905 used a carbon fiber chassis engineered by Dassault and a light alloy SA35-A1 3499 cc naturally aspirated V10 engine that was similar to F1 engines of the time. The 905 was built at Vélizy-Villacoublay  and officially unveiled on the 4th of July 1990 at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, with Jean-Pierre Jabouille driving.
The car made its racing debut in the final few races of the 1990 FIA World Sportscar Championship with Jabouille and Keke Rosberg sharing the wheel. Although the car was slower than the contemporary Group C Sports Prototypes, it was notably quicker than the other 3.5 litre Sports-Prototypes which raced in the 1990 World Sportscar Championship season.
The 905 began its first full season in Sportscar racing by participating in the 1991 championship. Although the car was now quicker than the 1990 version, and indeed the heavily penalised Group C cars that were allowed to race, in the early part of the season the 905 suffered some performance and reliability problems but, more crucially for Peugeot, the car was a lot slower than the standard-setting Jaguar XJR-14 – a car that was able to match the lap times of most contemporary F1 cars (but not those of top cars such the Williams-Renault and McLaren-Honda cars who were at least 2 to 3 seconds faster per lap).
To counter Jaguar in the remaining races of the championship the 905 was heavily revised, primarily in aerodynamics. Carrying over only the cockpit of the previous car, the evolutionary 905B was created. With the more notable changes consisting of a two-tier rear wing and an optional full-width front wing, including a more powerful SA35-A2 engine, the 905B made its race debut at the Nürburgring round of the 1991 series. These advancements allowed the team to finish the year winning at Magny-Cours and Mexico with back-to-back 1-2 wins, thus completing the season in second place overall in the 1991 World Sportscar Championship season.
In 1992, the 905B became one of only two factory efforts involved in the 1992 World Sportscar Championship season alongside Toyota, who were competing in their first season to the 3.5 litre regulations using the TS010. This meant that only the 1992 24 Hours of Le Mans showed a strong competition among the Group C cars. The 905B was successful, bringing 2 of the team’s 3 cars home in 1st and 3rd places.
In 1993, the World Sportscar Championship ceased to exist. However, prior to the announcement of its cancellation, Peugeot had begun development of the 905 Evolution 2 to compete in the 1993 season. This car, which was tested for a few laps in practice at the final race of the 1992 season at Magny-Cours was never finished, leaving Peugeot to concentrate solely on 1993 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Evo 1B. They were able to make a historic win by sweeping the first three positions. Following this dominance, Peugeot pulled out of sportscar racing.
Peugeot decided to switch to Formula One, using the same 3.5L V10 from the 905 that was easily adjusted to F1 regulations. In 1994, Peugeot debuted as an engine supplier with the McLaren team, and remained in F1 until the end of the 2000 season, when, after little success, they decided to concentrate on the World Rally Championship, where their factory team had had some success, winning the title on several occasions. However, Peugeot withdrew its works WRC operation at the end of the 2005 season, and returned to Le Mans for the 2007 24 Hours, with the new 908 HDi FAP prototype entry.
Written by Frank M. Lin 4/24/2017 12:12 pm @ Newport Beach, California – Man DJI is doing nice work. Nice inspiring little mini film (to promote their latest product). Maybe someday I will step up the film ladder too. I love me good films and I’m a bit of movie critic myself… maybe when I’m a lot older. Lots of to do list to cross off first before I head that way. LOL. I love life. DJI is smoking and dominating the drone market. It’s super impressive how far they have come in 10 years. I haven’t updated nor sent out a resume in over 10 years and I actually got off my butt and applied for an opening at DJI few weeks ago. That’s how much i like them. Never heard back though, oh well. LOL. I’m still a big fan of them.
An inspiring short film. I like it.
Technical information about the DJI Ronin 2.
These model engine kits are pretty cool.
Mandela effect is something I find extremely interesting. I’ve been following it for probably close to a year now. Some people are saying it has to do with CERN’s LHC project… and now there are new youtube videos about it. Check it out… it’s pretty far out but not out of the realm of possibility. We live in interesting times. On a similar far out note, I’ve read the argument that we might be living in a huge computer simulation. The more I read and study the more I feel that’s also a possibility. I have formulated theories of my own to support the argument. I will write about them in the future…
Nice informative video about racecar aerodynamics!
Good boxing technique analysis that applies to MMA as well. Timing and rhythm.
Written by Frank M. Lin 4/21/2017 9:51 am @ Newport Beach, California – This is the story of a Taiwan medium… She was borned with the gift to see and communicate with ghosts and has had the ability ever since she can remember. She serves at the temple in Taiwan communicating with the dead for people who needs such help. Unfortunately majority of the time all that the living people care about is money and nothing else. People fight over for inheritance all the times in Taiwan. They rarely acknowledge the actual wishes of the dead. Now days this medium is no longer in the ghost consulting field she is doing something she loves – being an umpire for baseball.
Written by Frank M. Lin 4/20/2017 7:41 am @ Newport Beach, California – My dearest mom passed away in my arms at a hospital 3 years ago at 4/10/2014 in Taipei, Taiwan. She asked not to get resuscitated and we respected her decision despite the fact that my brother and sister were flying from USA to Taiwan to see her. The only reason she passed away was the evil ass oral chemotherapy drug she took about 3 days prior on Monday 4/7/2014. She had a weak moment and believe it would help her. For many years I totally predicted the outcome of her western treatment. Not 1 bit was a surprise to me. Due to her battle with lung cancer I had read up on the subject extensively. Easily over 100 books. I feel like I have a very good understanding of it now. I wish I knew all this when she was first diagnosed many years ago. I would have been able to ease her mind a lot better knowing what I know now. I think of her frequently and miss her dearly. I know she is with me spiritually but just not physically…
Written by Frank M. Lin 4/17/2017 7:02 am @ Arcadia, California – Last week I stayed with my friend JJ at his dope bachelor’s pad in Newport Beach. Over the weekend I miss my cousin’s kids too much already so I decided to come back to Arcadia to play with them. They are aged 12, 8, 6, 4 and and boy it’s crazy house at times. They are great kids but always competitive and they fight over the silliest things. The loudness and decibels and high pitch voice is too much to bear sometimes. Luckily I’m the middle age uncle with infinite patience who is a kid a heart but also extremely smart and wise (if I may say so myself lol) I have no problem dealing with them. I see right through them these silly rugrats are no match for me. I’m just having great times with them. They are all so adorable and cute in their own ways… On to today’s VOTD.
Let us starts with a lovely video from Toyota Gazoo Racing. Excellent video quality with good background music. Good technical information about how and what the team is doing… just overall all A+++ video. Enjoy. Gotta love how the Toyota CEO is out there to support the team!!
Next let’s check out Super GT in Japan it is Round 1 at Okayama International Circuit. OMG WTF BBQ they already have LC500 Super GT race car!!! It looks bad ass. Me mucho like it. I gotta say Toyota is VERY serious about their racing in 2017. Between the WEC, Super GT, WRC, and their GT3 program that is a LOT going on. Sure would be nice to get in and be part of their program (moi day dreaming, I can dream can’t I?)…
By comparison to the above two videos the WEC video is not as well done in my opinion. I don’t like the music much, and the video is not super informative…
Nice compilation of driver errors and crashes…
Lastly we get a little serious and learns from Yuri Bezmenov. He is a famous Russian defector and a anti-communist. I learn of him earlier today when I was requested to answer a question about him and Taiwan in quora… interesting guy.
I have only just realize modern day F1’s braking performance is now up to amazing 6G of deacceleration!! That boggles my mind a bit as my mind was still thinking braking performance was around 4G I guess that was about 15-20 years ago. LOL.
Written by Frank M. Lin 4/16/2017 6:06 am @ Arcadia, California – Chilling in Arcadia this weekend to play with my cousin’s kids again. They are too much fun. English version of this article is below the Chinese version just scroll down.
在過去的幾年，謊言識別研究一直未取得很大的成果。之前的大多數研究都集中在通過騙子的肢體語言或面部表情，比如臉頰發紅，不安的笑，遊離的眼神等等來判斷其動機。最有名的例子是比爾·克林頓在否認他與莫妮卡·萊溫斯基的緋聞時摸了鼻子——這個動作在當時被認為是他撒謊的明顯標誌。伯明翰阿拉巴馬大學（University of Alabama in Birmingham）的提姆西·列文（Timothy Levine）說，這背後的理論是人撒謊時會激發強烈的情緒，比如緊張、內疚、甚至因說謊而產生的興奮感，這類情緒往往難以抑制。即便我們天生一副撲克臉，我們臉部的細微動作，即所謂的「微表情」，還是會出賣我們。
然而，心理學家的研究越是深入，他們就發現曾經認為可靠的線索變的越來越難以捕捉。問題出在人類行為存在巨大的多樣性。如果你夠熟悉一個人，那麼你就有可能發現他們說真話時的特點，但其他人的行為動作可能大相徑庭；並沒有一種通用的肢體語言。「人們撒謊時的行為並不一致，」薩塞克斯大學（University of Sussex）的奧默羅德說，「我說謊時會緊張地咯咯笑，而有的人會變得比平時嚴肅，有的人會進行眼神交流，而有的人則避免眼神交流。」列文也持相同看法：「證據非常清楚，我們沒有任何可以區分真話和謊話的可靠標誌。」他說。
Thomas Ormerod’s team of security officers faced a seemingly impossible task. At airports across Europe, they were asked to interview passengers on their history and travel plans. Ormerod had planted a handful of people arriving at security with a false history, and a made-up future – and his team had to guess who they were. In fact, just one in 1000 of the people they interviewed would be deceiving them. Identifying the liar should have been about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack.
Using previous methods of lie detection, you might as well just flip a coin
So, what did they do? One option would be to focus on body language or eye movements, right? It would have been a bad idea. Study after study has found that attempts – even by trained police officers – to read lies from body language and facial expressions are more often little better than chance. According to one study, just 50 out of 20,000 people managed to make a correct judgement with more than 80% accuracy. Most people might as well just flip a coin.
Ormerod’s team tried something different – and managed to identify the fake passengers in the vast majority of cases. Their secret? To throw away many of the accepted cues to deception and start anew with some startlingly straightforward techniques.
When it comes to spotting liars, the eyes don’t have it (Credit: Thinkstock)
Over the last few years, deception research has been plagued by disappointing results. Most previous work had focused on reading a liar’s intentions via their body language or from their face – blushing cheeks, a nervous laugh, darting eyes. The most famous example is Bill Clinton touching his nose when he denied his affair with Monica Lewinsky – taken at the time to be a sure sign he was lying. The idea, says Timothy Levine at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, was that the act of lying provokes some strong emotions – nerves, guilt, perhaps even exhilaration at the challenge – that are difficult to contain. Even if we think we have a poker face, we might still give away tiny flickers of movement known as “micro-expressions” that might give the game away, they claimed.
The problem is the huge variety of human behaviour – there is no universal dictionary of body language
Yet the more psychologists looked, the more elusive any reliable cues appeared to be. The problem is the huge variety of human behaviour. With familiarity, you might be able to spot someone’s tics whenever they are telling the truth, but others will probably act very differently; there is no universal dictionary of body language. “There are no consistent signs that always arise alongside deception,” says Ormerod, who is based at the University of Sussex. “I giggle nervously, others become more serious, some make eye contact, some avoid it.” Levine agrees: “The evidence is pretty clear that there aren’t any reliable cues that distinguish truth and lies,” he says. And although you may hear that our subconscious can spot these signs even if they seem to escape our awareness, this too seems to have been disproved.
Despite these damning results, our safety often still hinges on the existence of these mythical cues. Consider the screening some passengers might face before a long-haul flight – a process Ormerod was asked to investigate in the run up to the 2012 Olympics. Typically, he says, officers will use a “yes/no” questionnaire about the flyer’s intentions, and they are trained to observe “suspicious signs” (such as nervous body language) that might betray deception. “It doesn’t give a chance to listen to what they say, and think about credibility, observe behaviour change – they are the critical aspects of deception detection,” he says. The existing protocols are also prone to bias, he says – officers were more likely to find suspicious signs in certain ethnic groups, for instance. “The current method actually prevents deception detection,” he says.
If only body language revealed deception (Credit: Getty Images)
Clearly, a new method is needed. But given some of the dismal results from the lab, what should it be? Ormerod’s answer was disarmingly simple: shift the focus away from the subtle mannerisms to the words people are actually saying, gently probing the right pressure points to make the liar’s front crumble.
Ormerod and his colleague Coral Dando at the University of Wolverhampton identified a series of conversational principles that should increase your chances of uncovering deceit:
Use open questions. This forces the liar to expand on their tale until they become entrapped in their own web of deceit.
Employ the element of surprise. Investigators should try to increase the liar’s “cognitive load” – such as by asking them unanticipated questions that might be slightly confusing, or asking them to report an event backwards in time – techniques that make it harder for them to maintain their façade.
Watch for small, verifiable details. If a passenger says they are at the University of Oxford, ask them to tell you about their journey to work. If you do find a contradiction, though, don’t give yourself away – it’s better to allow the liar’s confidence to build as they rattle off more falsehoods, rather than correcting them.
Liar vs liar
It takes one to know one
Ironically, liars turn out to be better lie detectors. Geoffrey Bird at University College London and colleagues recently set up a game in which subjects had to reveal true or false statements about themselves. They were also asked to judge each other’s credibility. It turned out that people who were better at telling fibs could also detect others’ tall tales, perhaps because they recognised the tricks.
Observe changes in confidence. Watch carefully to see how a potential liar’s style changes when they are challenged: a liar may be just as verbose when they feel in charge of a conversation, but their comfort zone is limited and they may clam up if they feel like they are losing control.
The aim is a casual conversation rather than an intense interrogation. Under this gentle pressure, however, the liar will give themselves away by contradicting their own story, or by becoming obviously evasive or erratic in their responses. “The important thing is that there is no magic silver bullet; we are taking the best things and putting them together for a cognitive approach,” says Ormerod.
A psychological experiment in an airport revealed new tricks to spot liars (Credit: Thinkstock)
“It’s really impressive,” says Levine, who was not involved in this study. He thinks it is particularly important that they conducted the experiment in real airports. “It’s the most realistic study around.”
The art of persuasion
Levine’s own experiments have proven similarly powerful. Like Ormerod, he believes that clever interviews designed to reveal holes in a liar’s story are far better than trying to identify tell-tale signs in body language. He recently set up a trivia game, in which undergraduates played in pairs for a cash prize of $5 for each correct answer they gave. Unknown to the students, their partners were actors, and when the game master temporarily left the room, the actor would suggest that they quickly peek at the answers to cheat on the game. A handful of the students took him up on the offer.
One expert was even correct 100% of the time, across 33 interviews
Afterwards, the students were all questioned by real federal agents about whether or not they had cheated. Using tactical questions to probe their stories – without focusing on body language or other cues – they managed to find the cheaters with more than 90% accuracy; one expert was even correct 100% of the time, across 33 interviews – a staggering result that towers above the accuracy of body language analyses. Importantly, a follow-up study found that even novices managed to achieve nearly 80% accuracy, simply by using the right, open-ended questions that asked, for instance, how their partner would tell the story.
Are police any better at spotting lying suspects than anyone else? (Credit: Thinkstock)
Indeed, often the investigators persuaded the cheaters to openly admit their misdeed. “The experts were fabulously good at this,” says Levine. Their secret was a simple trick known to masters in the art of persuasion: they would open the conversation by asking the students how honest they were. Simply getting them to say they told the truth primed them to be more candid later. “People want to think of being honest, and this ties them into being cooperative,” says Levine. “Even the people who weren’t honest had difficulty pretending to be cooperative [after this], so for the most part you could see who was faking it.”
Another trick is to ask people how honest they are
Clearly, such tricks may already be used by some expert detectives – but given the folklore surrounding body language, it’s worth emphasising just how powerful persuasion can be compared to the dubious science of body language. Despite their successes, Ormerod and Levine are both keen that others attempt to replicate and expand on their findings, to make sure that they stand up in different situations. “We should watch out for big sweeping claims,” says Levine.
Although the techniques will primarily help law enforcement, the same principles might just help you hunt out the liars in your own life. “I do it with kids all the time,” Ormerod says. The main thing to remember is to keep an open mind and not to jump to early conclusions: just because someone looks nervous, or struggles to remember a crucial detail, does not mean they are guilty. Instead, you should be looking for more general inconsistencies.
There is no fool-proof form of lie detection, but using a little tact, intelligence, and persuasion, you can hope that eventually, the truth will out.
Updated 4/12/2017 4:55 pm – fixed some grammar and spelling errors and added few more sentences.
Updated 4/11/2017 7:36 pm – added another paragraph above the image…
Written by Frank M. Lin 4/11/2017 7:06 am @ Lower Newport Beach Bay, California – Spending few days here with JJ – my student from SpeedVentures @ Buttonwillow back in Jan. 2017. We’ve been hanging out, swapping stories, learning and sharing our experiences. It turns out we have quite a lot of things in common. Like minds attract I suppose. That is how the law of attraction works. 3 of my new friends from 2017 are all smart AF. One graduated from MIT (Wolf), one works as a geneticist, one is basically a genius. I’m impressed. By association that makes me also a smarty pants geek. But being the blacksheep means I barely graduated high school. College ain’t a thing. I never cared for school because I wasn’t inspired to do well there. In retrospect I wish I had applied myself because I could’ve easily been a retired multi-millionaire like few of my friends are. But it is not something I think about – I’m more than happy with my life I have nothing to complain about. I love it.
honda-tech is a Honda community forum that was once the most active community for Honda and Acura enthusiasts. I was a member pretty early on back in 2001. I’ve made my fair share of contributions on technical information there. You would think I’d get some respect there. But nope the place has allowed many people to become moderators who has ZERO proper moderation skills. They remove posts and modify user information without consent. The act like middle high school hall monitors. Just pure juvenile stuff. The GDD (General Discussion and Debate) is suppose to be a pretty loose place for members to hangout and D & D subjects… but nooooo mother fuckers interfere all the times when they see shits they don’t personally agree with. That folks is censorship. FUCK THEM PUSSY ASS BITCH MODERATORS THERE. You know who you are. Fucking assholes… without them flexing moderator privileges they wouldn’t be shit because 1. they are either dumb or ignorant 2. they don’t have knowledge or skills to debate subjects. That’s why the just censor things. Most of them are loser mother fuckers anyways that’s why they waste time doing non-sense moderation. I just laugh at their pathetic pitiful actions. Sure it annoys me a bit that’s why I wrote this blog to bitch and moan but in truth, I’ve lost nothing by being moderated. If anything I should probably thank them so I waste fewer time posting at that useless place. Time to stay more focused. It’s not like anybody generate sales leads from forums now days anyway. Marketing has completely changed.
I was spending a little of my time in the GDD subforum since I started reading honda-tech again in the past few months. But the fucking douchebag moderators makes the experience not worthwhile at all. Basically several of them act like fucking nazi’s and delete and alter things to their will. It is straight up censorship. Fuck that shit. The only reason these motherfuckers have is moderation privileges. In real life they ain’t shit. I call them pussy ass bitches for this reason. Fuck GDD, fuck the mods. They don’t want to hear anything about pizzagate and they delete anything they is different than their viewpoint. This makes them extremely dangerous in my book. They are the type of person that will eliminate the others voices/opinions which = nazi shit. These are the same type of people who will kill you (when given the power)…
Well I don’t want to get into it too much. But it’s the same shit for the last 15 years. It’s not like honda-tech is a happening place anyway, only a small percentage of folks use it anymore. I wanted to support it by using it but those dicks made me feel like it not worth my time at all. So fuck it, they can have their little shit hole to themselves. Fuck them.
Pretty much I’m in the mode to phase out all negative things in my life and to the people that don’t appreciate my presence I’m perfectly happy to just leave and go. You don’t want or need me and vice versa.
Written by Frank M. Lin 4/9/2017 7:11 am @ Arcadia, California – I love history. This large graveyard is of significant historic importance. We have just passed the 100 centennial memorial for WW1. WW2 actually wasn’t all that long ago because many people alive lived it. My dad was born on 1943 he was just a little baby at the tail end of the war… but my oldest aunt and her husband are in the 90’s and 80s so they have lot of memory. Her husband was part of the young intellectual elites that retreated from China to Taiwan with the KMT after they lost the Civil war… there are many of them in Taiwan. Of course a good amount the wealthy people moved on to the West many came to USA…
Graves in Bukit Brown in Singapore. The government plans to level the cemetery eventually, but a group is working to preserve it.Credit Sim Chi Yin for The New York Times
SINGAPORE — In the middle of this island nation of highways and high-rises lies a wrinkle in time: Bukit Brown, one of the world’s largest Chinese cemeteries.
Now neglected and overgrown, it offers an incredible array of tombstones, statues and shrines just four miles north of downtown banks, malls and regional headquarters.
For years, the 213-acre site was a destination for Halloween thrill seekers and bird watchers, a haven of green in an overcrowded land. But in recent years it has become something much more powerful: a pilgrimage site for Singaporeans trying to reconnect with their country’s vanishing past.
That has put Bukit Brown at the center of an important social movement in a country that has rarely tolerated community activism: a battle between the state, which plans to level part of the cemetery, and a group of citizens dedicated to its preservation.
Surprisingly, in a culture of relentless modernization, its advocates are scoring some successes in limiting damage to the cemetery and raising consciousness about the island’s colorful history.
Built in 1922, Bukit Brown was the final resting place for about 100,000 Singapore families until it was closed in 1972. Its importance is greater than its relatively recent 50-year history implies because many historic graves were relocated there from other cemeteries that were paved over.
Add in an abandoned cemetery next door for a prominent Chinese clan, and experts estimate that up to 200,000 graves are sprinkled amid the surrounding rain forests, including those of many of Singapore’s most famous citizens.
“You have to think of the cemetery as an amazing historical archive,” said Kenneth Dean, head of the Chinese studies department at the National University of Singapore. “But given how things have developed recently, I have deep concerns about how long it will survive.”
Those worries have to do with this city-state’s insatiable appetite for land. Singapore’s 5.7 million residents live on 277 square miles, a bit less than the area of New York City, but the land has to accommodate more than a municipality’s needs. It must hold the infrastructure of a country, including military bases, landfills, reservoirs, national parks and one of the world’s busiest airports and harbors.
More than 20 percent of the country is built on reclaimed land, leading its two immediate neighbors, Malaysia and Indonesia, to ban the export of sand to Singapore in order to protect their own land. And with plans calling for Singapore’s population to increase to 6.9 million by 2030, land is at a premium.
Part of the solution has been to look inward. In 2011, the government decided to smooth out a bend in the island’s north-south highway by cutting through Bukit Brown. Soon after, the government announced that within 40 years the rest would be paved over, too.
After watching many of their best-known monuments and neighborhoods leveled over the past decades, Singaporeans began to take action — a turning point that people here compare to the 1963 destruction of Pennsylvania Station, a Beaux-Arts masterpiece in New York City whose loss catalyzed historic preservation in the United States.
At their center is an informal group of two dozen volunteers who call themselves “Brownies.” They offer free tours and run a website that details the cemetery’s history and includes testimonials by locals and visitors.
One of the first Brownies was Raymond Goh, 54, a pharmacist who used to lead Halloween tours around the cemetery. (As in many parts of the Chinese cultural world, Singapore is obsessed with ghost stories and ghoulish legends.) After a while, Mr. Goh began to read the inscriptions on the tombstones carefully and was surprised at the antiquity of the graves.
“I noticed a lot of graves looked very old and, in fact, that some were from the time of Raffles,” Mr. Goh said, referring to Singapore’s British colonial founder, Sir Stamford Raffles. “I wondered, ‘How come nobody told me this was here?’ ”
When the government’s plans were announced in 2011, Mr. Goh and his brother Charles wondered how to save Bukit Brown. They began training other volunteers, including professors familiar with the world of academic research, former journalists who help with public relations and business people who provide community outreach and funding. In other words, it was a cross section of middle-class Singaporeans who felt nostalgic about the lost city of their youth and were eager to better understand their cultural roots.
Brownies have guided me through the site several times over the past few months, and I thought it was indeed a marvel. The lush vegetation made us feel cut off from the thriving modern city, while the tombstones were beautiful in their own right, even without explanations.
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Some are like mini-fortresses, guarded by stone Chinese or British lions, or even Sikh soldiers. Others were decorated with Taoist and Confucian images and symbols. Some told of the dead person’s loyalty to a political party or a lost dynasty.
Thanks to explanations by guides like Ian Chong, a professor at the National University of Singapore; Ang Yik Han, an engineer; Fabian Tee, a lawyer; and Claire Leow, a former journalist, I began to understand how this city-state was crucial to the British Empire’s Asian holdings.
We surveyed the enormous mausoleum of Ong Sam Leong, a supplier of labor to the Christmas Islands, who died in 1917 and whose grave was relocated here. I also saw the grave of Tan Kim Cheng, who introduced Anna to the King of Siam, and those of revolutionaries who supported Sun Yat-sen when he was plotting the ultimately successful downfall of China’s last dynasty.
Many of the tombs were decorated with the distinctive tiles used by longtime Chinese immigrants to these regions, while others showed the strong influence of Malayan culture.
“This is where East and West came together,” Mr. Ang said. “We are standing at the center of the island, the belly of the dragon, and we can’t let it be cut open.”
I couldn’t help but think of many of the world’s other great resting places. In terms of trees and wildlife, Bukit Brown evoked Highgate Cemetery in London; as a retreat from daily life it felt like Green-Wood in Brooklyn; and as a record of one country’s famous people it was reminiscent of Père Lachaise in Paris or Cementerio de la Recoleta in Buenos Aires.
For Professor Dean, these tombstones show the rich links between Southeast Asia and specific regions of China. Under his direction, a team of researchers is entering data from the gravestones into databases, allowing the development of maps showing how clans and villages migrated from coastal China to these faraway shores.
Recently, one of Professor Dean’s projects received government financing. Although officials refused numerous telephone and fax requests for interviews about the cemetery, they seem to be coming around to understanding its importance.
Already, the government has yielded to some of the Brownies’ demands. Originally, 5,000 graves were to be moved, but that number has been reduced to 3,700. And instead of pulverizing the tombstones, they are being cataloged and stored in a warehouse. In addition, the government has set up a heritage-assessment board to review future projects.
This willingness to compromise seems to reflect a broader sentiment in a society that has moved so quickly that people feel rootless and without deep ties to their country.
During one walk through the cemetery, I met a Ministry of Defense official who asked that only his first name, Pete, be used because of the sensitivity of his position.
“Our nation is a young one, and we’ve been so focused on the future that we sometimes forget the past,” he said. “Bukit Brown is a huge trove of stories.”
Written by Frank M. Lin 4/6/2017 6:12 am @ Arcadia, California – This is a reader submitted write up on a doctor (well a dentist) who was from a wealthy family living Aleppo. Aleppo was a vibrant city just few years ago. He had a good practice, nice house and soon it was all destroyed. He could have left his home country but chose to stay and help the people. The story is moving and has so much sorrow and helplessness. I posted about the last syrin (suspected to be) gas attack in Syria on my facebook and got a minor discussion going… I feel Trump should be doing more and lead the way. It is the duty of us USA as we represent the free world. We really can’t just sit around and do nothing. There is a good article on NPR – NPR – After Syria Gas Attack, World Waits To See What Kind of Leader Trump Will Be