Archive for May, 2007

Linnaeus tercentenary celebrated in Singapore!

May 22, 2007

In December 2006, before I left for Hong Kong to join the Götheborg for the Hong Kong – Singapore leg, the Swedish embassy staff treated Teo and myself to a lunch (the navy pair, Zhong Bo and Poh Huat were already in Hong Kong) .

During that conversation, the Swedish ambassador to Singapore, Pår Ahlberger, mentioned that celebrations were being held in Sweden over the course of the year, in honour of Carous Linnaeus 300th birthday. He is regarded as the father of modern taxonomy, and as a biologist and museum worker (Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore), I could well appreciate that bit of news!

Well after the memories of the voyage were being submerged by the frantic pace of life in busy Singapore, I recalled that conversation and two weeks before the 23rd of May, Linnaeus’ actual birthday, I decided the Raffles Museum should mark that special day in some way.

So I put together a symposium on the eve of Linnaeus’ 300th birthday (22 May 2007)which included another event (see my blog for that long story), and urged Pår to join us as well, despite the very short notice. After all, he was the person who put the idea into my head! And both he and Anna Maj Hultgård came to my great delight!

Pår wasn’t ceremonial decoration, he added a distinctive Swedish flavour to the event with an impromptu and heartfelt message speech about Linnaeus and the influence of Swedish’ geography and outlook on that gentleman, and the environment that nurtured his interest that persists today. His enthusiasm was a great way to start the proceedings and lay the ground for Raffles Museum director, Prof Peter Ng who later delivered a fiery keynote about the legacy of Linnaeus and the environmental challenges we face today.

I chipped in too later that morning, as I had scheduled myself to round things off with a bang! Busy with preparations, I finally agonised over my 15 minute presentation only the previous night, finally choosing to speak about my adventures with otters which allowed me to weave in a few funny stories amidst the background of a detective story that systeematics unravlled – it was from my work in the 90’s and turned out well. I left the audience laughing and hopefully better aware of the significance of systematics to conservation work even today.

I was pretty pleased that the symposium to mark Linnaeus’ tercentenary, conjured up in just two weeks, was a happy occasion that saw smiles all around! My lovely friends had rallied to help, and we had pulled it off!

Links to more pictures and reports were posted at the Raffles Museum News blog. Photos in this blog were taken by Lin Yangchen and Hwang Wei Siong.

Do Swedes get tanned?

May 22, 2007

Of course when they were in Singapore there was not much sun. But the little that appeared seemed to have little or no effect on the Swedes who simply turned a little more red.

Crew-mate Josephine Lidvall said I should see them in the winter when they are pasty white! She said I’d be able to see their veins!

Anyway, she didn’t forget that conversation and sent me this photo (tongue in cheek) to say, “Yeah, Swedes do get tanned!”

Götheborg in London

May 20, 2007

19 May 2007 – On the Thames between Tilbury and Tower Bridge; Logbook – “Excitement on board in anticipation of the highlight of the afternoon. The Götheborg will pass under Tower Bridge and fire a salute, which will be answered by HMS Belfast, now a museum ship at anchor in the river, opposite to the Tower.”

The London SE1 website team on the Götheborg’s return to London:

“Gotheborg returned to London 262 years after the original ship left for Sweden… Tower Bridge lifted to allow the ship into the Upper Pool of London. Gotheborg fired its cannon in salute, with HMS Belfast’s guns firing in return. The merchantman turned round in front of London Bridge before the crew climbed the rigging to release streamers in the colours of the British and Swedish flags.


Swedish ship Götheborg Gun Salute to London by SuperSwede66.

Gotheborg then returned downstream to West India Dock where it is open to the public until Thursday 31 May. The ship will pay a final visit to the Pool of London on Saturday 2 June … before setting off on the final leg of its voyage back to Sweden.”

Götheborg fires her canons, London

See the London SE1 webpage for more and some nice photos of the crew at the bow and this one of my former Babord (HK-SG) crew mates, Peter Bäversjö, looking none the worse for wear after being on board since Hong Kong.

The long pennants were released from the top yards. Red for China (mizzen mast), red-white-blue for Britain (main mast) and blue-and-yellow for Sweden (fore mast).