Tag Archives: arts

Pilgrimage of a son: How Changi Cross made history

Fifty five years after the the Changi Cross (St. George’s Cross) was crafted at the Changi prisoner of war camp in 1942, the world finally discovered the full identity of the maker of the symbolic Changi Cross: British Staff Sergeant Harry Stogden. He made the Changi Cross with a 4.5 Howitzer shell and strips of brass. Sadly Sergeant Stogden never made it home, leaving three orphans in Britain. He died at sea aged 38 in 1945 after spending 3 years as a Japanese prisoner of war in Singapore and Japan.

In 2001, The Singapore Tourist Board invited the son of Sergeant Harry Stogden and his family to visit Singapore to mark the end of the 59th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore. Changi Cross was a symbol of hope and strength to hundreds of POWs at Changi. The creation of the Cross also marks the resourcefulness of the POWs incarcerated in Singapore during the Japanese Occupation. Continue reading

The Incredible Journey Of Harry Stogden’s Changi Cross In Singapore

When Padre Eric Cordingly was imprisoned at the Changi prisoners of war camp in Singapore in 1942, he kept a diary with fascinating details. For example, he mentioned how ambitious the POWs were in making their own wine from raisins for communion. When Padre Cordingly suffered from “Tummy trouble” (dysentery) before the Holy Week in 1942, he was treated with Bismuth and chloroform. His wonderful comrades also surprised him with the precious gift of two packets of cigarettes. Now I know from his newly-published diary that cigarettes got occasionally smuggled into the Changi POW camp and they cost ten dollars for fifty, about twenty-five shillings.

Eric Cordingly’s book Down to Bedrock: The Diary and Secret Notes of a Far East Prisoner of War Chaplain 1942 – 1945 is full of heart-warming details of camaraderie amongst the POWs. One day he was offered “several mugs of real tea with a really generous dose of tinned milk and sugar in it” and for him, it was pure happiness. Continue reading

Eric Cordingly – Diary of the Changi POW Chaplain in Singapore

Eric Cordingly was an army chaplain. He was a prisoner of war at the Changi POW camps in Singapore. The year was 1942.

Eric Cordingly was a chaplain with a territorial battalion of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers during the Second World War. On 4 February 1942, Cordingly’s unit arrived in Singapore. Two weeks later, British forces lost the Battle of Singapore and surrendered to Japan.

My mother lived through the Japanese occupation in Singapore. She told me that when the Japanese invaded Singapore on the Chinese New Year day on the 15th of February in 1942, it ruined everyone’s dinner. My mother and her family ran away to a safer place and they were taken in by some Malay family for a few days. Continue reading

The Uplifting Changi Murals and Stanley Warren

In 1958, there was an international search for a mysterious artist. The only clue was that the artist was a prisoner of war in Singapore after the Fall of Singapore in February 1942, which was described by Winston Churchill as the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history.

Five large murals of scenes from the New Testament were discovered in Changi prisoner of war camp in Singapore. These murals touched many hearts and shocked the world. Who was the artist who painted the near life-size murals in the chapel of St. Luke there? Who was the artist who yearned for hope and peace in the darkest days of despair through his biblical paintings?

Last week, Lorelle vanFossen highlighted an extensive search using satellite images in Google Earth for the aviator and balloonist Steve Fossett, after he was reported missing flying his plane over the Nevada desert in 2007. In the non-digital age in 1958, the search for the prisoner-of-war artist proved difficult. He could have been any of the 50,000 allied soldiers detained by the Japanese. Was the artist British, Australian, Dutch, or Indian? Was he still alive? Did he later get sent to build the Death Railway in Thailand and Burma and manage to return? Continue reading

“No Woman, No Cry”: A mother’s torturous road to justice

When I did an introductory arts course with the Open University a few years ago, one of the modern arts we analysed was Chris Ofili’s No Woman, No Cry painting. Chris Ofili is also known as the “Elephant Dung Artist,” as he created his work using elephant dung, including one inspired by the grief of the parents of Stephen Lawrence.

I arrived in London on a grey day in May 1996 and Stephen Lawrence was the name I constantly heard during the years I was trying to grips with the British culture. “Who was Stephen Lawrence?” As a foreign student I often wondered who this fine young man was and how his murder rocked the nation. The murder of Stephen Lawrence dominated the press for two decades. Continue reading

The Power of Introverts: video went viral

I introduced Susan Cain’s enlightening speech and her new book, Quiet, The Power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, a few days ago.

It’s a surprise to know that a brilliant artistic video based on this book has been created.  According to TED, the video is created and narrated by Daniel Widfeldt Lomas and animated by Petri Ltajif. The visual production is effective, which communicates Susan Cain’s concepts well. I love the impressive hand-drawn images.

It’s going to be a video series. The artist has completed the first 2 episodes, 6 minutes each.

This first video has gone viral with more than 1 million hits.

The second video

Continue reading

Turning your blog posts into beautiful Word Clouds

In my last post, 5 Easy Steps to Create Stunning Word Clouds, I recommended using the web tool Tagxedo to create your stunning Word Cloud.

You can create a personalised stunning Word Cloud in just 5 minutes.

I hope you have some success with your creation. If you haven’t tried it yet, why not try it today?

Today I created 3 word clouds with 3  favourite WordPress blog posts.

1) The creative and warm-hearted Tilly Bud, creator of The Laughing Housewife. Blog Post: Let the Games Begin.

Tilly Bud’s The Laughing Housewife: Let the Games Begin

Continue reading

“Stitches in Time” by Heather Hems in Lyndhurst, New Forest, England

We dropped off our son Ben at Foxlease campsite yesterday in New Forest, as Ben joined  the Scouts for a week’s exciting activities.

We then went to the picturesque Lyndhurst, a small village, for lunch. A small gift shop called The Blue Bella caught my eye. It’s not  a typical gift shop, though it does sell cards, mugs and soaps.

It’s indeed a magnificent gallery with 100 years of embroidered history. “Stitches in Time ” is a permanent exhibition of over 20 unique, large hand embroidered panels, all by the 70 year old Heather Hems.

It has taken Heather 17 years, working an average 12 hours a day (previous typo: a year), to complete all 23 works of art — totalling 100 ft.

Heather was so dedicated to her artwork that she suffered from injury that required surgery in 1991. Heather said in an interview that one of the big panels was very heavy to hold and, eventually, “all the bones in my shoulder crumbled.”

Heather’s artwork depicts 100 years of the 20th century history. Her work covered:

  • Religion
  • Conservation
  • Children’s Authors
  • Charities
  • Musical Artists
  • Art & Sculpture
  • Comedians
  • Directors
  • Authors
  • Ballet & Opera
  • Inventors
  • Musicals
  • Super Heroes
  • Transport
  • Medicine
  • Final Frontier
  • Humanitarians
  • Motion Picture
  • Explorers
  • Innovators
  • Our World
  • Sports

I was speechless when I stood in front of Heather’s embroidery. My photos do not do it justice, but hopefully you get a taste of it. Continue reading

An innocent scarecrow competition

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last weekend, there was a Scarecrow Competition in our local parish church in Chandler’s Ford.

I was intrigued. I was determined to have a look after finishing my teaching in the morning.

Do scarecrows have to be made with straws? Are there any rules? I would be clueless with straws. In our house, straws are only used for our chicken run in the garden.

I’m not sure how popular scarecrow competition is in the western culture. It strikes me as something nostalgic, innocent, fun and silly. People like having fun, being creative, and showing a good sense of humour.

I like it.