Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Lisbon's Orient Museum (cont.) - the 28th of October 2012


As I was walking around the area dedicated to the various Asian Deities I fell almost immediately for the puppets representing some of them, though I photographed quite a few artefacts. Apart from having always loved puppets on strings, these particular ones seemed very fine, expressive ... almost human-like and I couldn't help admiring their facial expressions, their outfits and the Art beyond their religious representation.

Fujian, Chinese puppets on strings (to perform opera) featuring the Deity Guanyin, the Goddess of compassion said to be one of the most  venerated  Goddesses in the whole of China (seen above) and her assistants - Shancai and the daughter of the Dragon King. 

A clay statuette from Hong Kong, China representing Tudi Cong, the God of the Sun, who protects  each village.

Each of the ten courts of the Hells the deceased must cross is specialised in a particular type of fault. The assumption of guilt implies a punishment. Any lies are shown in a mirror in the form of the faults of the deceased, with them being thrown into the wheel of reincarnation after the last court, where  they will then be reborn in one form or another.

Representations of the Hells 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th - Guizhou, China

Zhong Kui, string puppet that dances  during exorcism rites in Formosa, Taiwan.

A wooden  from Formosa, Taiwan representing the Emperor of the North.

Medium costumes for the Mother Goddess of the Sky and for the Last Lady, Vietnam.

Engraving done in the Vietnamese Dong Ho workshops representing the main Divinities.

Paintings used by Taoist priests who had to officiate outside the temple, having therefore to reconstitute a sacred area with the representation of Divinities.

(to be continued)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Lisbon's Orient Museum - the 28th of October 2012

I had been wanting to "explore" Lisbon's Orient Museum for quite a while, though I never seemed to be able to get around to doing it.

Housed in a former warehouse and open to the public since 2008 it is definitely worth being visited. Apart from being particularly well organised in what concerns the themes, some of the collections are outstandingly rich.

I started my morning visit by a temporary exhibition assembling 220 artistic paintings resulting from an illustrative Art competition on the cherry flower "Sakura" held in Japan. Some of those were really impressive and so were the different artistic "approaches", I must confess, though I photographed just a few.

I then headed to the permanent Museum collection rooms housed in two floors, having almost immediately been drawn to the rosewood "Oda Matan" (house doors) from West Timor dating back to the early 19th century.

According to  a brief explanation I've had access to houses in East Timor, similarly to what happens in many parts of Southeast Asia  are divided into gender sections with feminine symbols being quite often represented by a pair of breasts above some ornamental panel of spirals and lozenges.

I then headed to a whole section dedicated to the Gods and religious rites in several Asian countries. Maybe influenced by the fact that I'll soon be travelling to India, Rajasthan my footsteps lead me to the India section.

Paintings on wood to be seen on a portable altar with folding doors (Kavad) representing scenes from the Ramayana.

(to be continued)

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Ângela's contribution for the Cape Verde project and other issues...

I have been handed quite a few second-hand clothes and shoes for anyone who might need in Cape Verde. I already know some of these will be handed to the emergency centre in Praia, as to the rest we'll see. 

Ângela, who has been kind enough to participate in this project by giving me all of these is also willing to become a "godmother", which is good news as there are several children in need.

So far I know that out of the photos I have handed out two of the children have already got themselves "godmothers".

Hélida's story as she came to me sobbing because like the other girls she wished to have a "godmother" touched somebody's heart and she got herself what she wanted most. Little Velker Leinilson 's photo on his mother's lap has also caught someone's attention.The little boy has been born with the Down syndrome and having a "godmother" may be of some help to his family.

Hélida (left) and Velker Leinilson (right)

I am hopeful that by the end of this year we'll have found "godparents" for the remaining children, whose images I have brought with me.

My gratitude goes out to all of those people who have joined the project and the ones who still keep on joining it. May they all be blessed for what they have been doing for thse children and their families.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Unregistered Postcrossing cards ...

Three more postcrossing cards have been lost somewhere between Portugal, Russia, Germany and Sweden and like always I'll have them exhibited in the "wall" of my blog, so that they may be remembered and (who knows) eventually appreciated.



PT- 254216

I don't want to repeat myself, though I almost inevitably end up doing so ...

May they one day fall in the hands of someone who will understand by what it is written in their back that these cards were once selected with the utmost care taking into account the likes of those they were going to be sent to ...

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

"Indigo" by Catherine McKinley

I have just finished reading this rather interesting book, whose story goes beyond the role "Indigo" played as an exquisite, rare and costly pigment in the slave trade across the Atlantic.

It is a journey across several West African countries with powerful lessons of both heritage and history to be learned.

A few years ago I had read about the fifteenth century cotton and indigo plantations, as well as the elaborate patterned indigo cloths fabricated in the centuries to follow under Portuguese "supervision" (slave oriented)  in Cape Verde, but in no way did I get such a thorough explanation and connections as those provided by Catherine McKinley. 

At various moments throughout the reading of the book I could see myself wanting to do what the author did ... the pursuit of something specific ... though not knowing exactly where that pursuit would take you to ... but  an inner necessity of doing it.

In the words of Mark Kurlandsky, author of Salt it is "a journey in every sense of the word" ... I would strongly advise anyone who loves Africa to read. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Air Traffic Control abinitio group ...

When I was told that a group of recently selected Cape Verdian candidates would be joining the forthcoming Portuguese Air Traffic Control abinitio course I must confess I was worried about the fact that I might not have time to adjust the course contents to the different English proficiency tests they would be submitted to at the end of their training.

Part of the Cape Verdian group outside the Training Centre

Unlike other colleagues I knew the problem would not necessarily be their background knowledge nor in any way be associated to their learning capability.

 Most Portuguese, who have not been to the Cape Verdian islands, nor have any particular interest in finding out how our former African colonies have been doing since we left (or maybe I should say ...  were "pushed out") still have a rather "patronising" attitude towards the natives of these countries and some (not to say many) still believe our presence there was fundamental to keep their "educational" level.

If this may, to a certain extent, be true in regards to some of those former colonies, it certainly is not in what concerns Cape Verde.

There are no "ideal" groups ... I have said it several times throughout the years of my teaching experience. Each group is unique and every trainee will bring his/her personal characteristics into the group, which ultimately enriches the whole process of learning.

This is exactly what I believe to have happened to this particular group, which I consider to be very special. Not only are they good individually but especially "very good" as a group, and I don't think this could have happened, had we not brought these two different nationalities together.


Carrying out the difficult task of "assembling" the different "puzzling" pieces of a "live transcript" together, focussed on what each of them was capable of transcribing.

It would be premature to say they will become good Air Traffic Controllers  at this particular moment in time, as they strive through the first phase of a long learning process, but as far as the English fluency level is concerned I have to say they have been doing exceptionally well, despite the fact that they do not all have the same level of English knowledge.

They may become the "unknown" faces of the forthcoming generation of Air Traffic Control "handlers" in Portugal and Cape Verde, whose faces will most probably never be "revealed", unless their professional life is "touched" by an outstanding event (hopefully not those degrading media related ones), this being the reason as to why I would like to praise them (in no particular order) ... and let them know the important role they have been playing in my lately tiring routine.


Micael and Tatiana

João and Marius

Sara and Élio

Victor and Sofia

André and Arico

Lenira and José

Carlos and Kelly

Jorge and Daniel

May their future professional life be successful  ..., (which I strongly believe it will) ...