Thursday, June 30, 2022

Gurkha Soldiers

Per Historian Tony Gould, Gurkhas have brought an excellent combination of qualities from a military point of view. He said: "They are tough, they are brave, they are durable, they are amenable to discipline. 

Gurkhas are considered very brave soldiers. They are the fiercest fighters. Even America’s legendary Navy Seals are no match for the Gurkhas. 

Former Indian Army Chief of Staff Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw once stated that: "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gurkha. 

The Gurkhas serve in the Nepalese, Indian, and British armies. There is a Gurkha Contingent in the Singapore army. And, a Gurkha reserve unit in Brunei. They serve in the UN Peace Keeping Missions and war zones around the world. 

It is hard to tell how much of stories about Gurkha’s ferocity is true. Their deeds have been recorded in military dispatches and the diaries kept by the army officers. Of course, there is room for exaggeration. 

Here is a funny one I read recently. I don’t know if it is true or not. Here it goes: 

A British Colonel informed a Gurkha Captain to bring 100 of his troops so they can be trained to jump from the plane. The captain agreed to bring his 100 Gurkha soldiers. But he had a question. 

At what height we are supposed to jump from the plane Sir? 

The Colonel replied from 5000 feet. 

Sir, can you please lower the height? 

The Colonel replied how about from 3000 feet. 

Sir, can you make us jump from 1000 feet? 

The Colonel replied the parachute will not open under 2000 feet. 

Sir, when you asked us to jump, you did not mention anything about parachute.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A Page from History

During World War 2, the famous Spanish Painter Pablo Picasso was living in Paris. The Germans occupied Paris. The German Nazis wanted to interrogate all the intellectuals and artists in Paris.

One day a Nazi officer took Picasso from his home to a secret interrogation location. He showed a painting – Guernica – to Picasso. That was an oil painting on canvas by Picasso.

That painting depicted a town in Northern Spain which was bombed by Nazi Germany. That composition showed screaming women, a dead baby, a dismembered soldier, and flames. 

Nazi Officer: Mr. Picasso, did you do this? 

Picasso: No, you did this. I just painted it.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Pudhumai Penn (New-Age Woman)

Winston Churchill said: "You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.” Very few people have the opportunity to learn what it means to serve others through use of their time and efforts. Recently, I met one of those people. 

Her name is Maria. Name changed for privacy’s sake. She is of Chinese origin born in Singapore. After graduating from her college, one day she saw a documentary on TV about the life of poor children in a remote mountainous area of China. Maria grew up in a wealthy environment. She was shocked when she saw this documentary on TV. 

That day she decided to go to that area of China she saw on TV and do some voluntary work. 

She went to China. She was moved by the poor living condition of those children. They were growing up impoverished. They had lacked food, sanitation, health care, and education. Maria decided to do volunteer teaching. Like everyone else, she had to get up early every day to feed all kinds of livestock and walk a long way to school. She taught kids of 7 and 8 year old for six months. 

Maria then decided that just teaching them knowledge will not improve their living condition. She decided to open up a business and make some money and use that money to help those poor children. She quit her voluntary teaching job. Came back to Singapore. Started a business. 

Maria is now a successful business woman. She is financially helping those poor children of that remote mountainous area of China. 

I digress. In 1908, Tamil Poet Bharathiyaar wrote a poem titled Pudhumai Penn. Translation: A Vision for the New-Age Woman. Here is a translation in English a few lines:

“Her head held high, and looking everyone in the eye, 
Unafraid of anyone because of innate integrity, 
Possessing assuredness born of courage of conviction, 
The Modern Woman never feels inferior to any.” 

In my opinion, I find Maria is an example of Bharathiyaar’s Pudhumai Penn.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Air Travel Confusion

This incident really happened. I am not joking or making it up. This happened long before the 9/11 incident. 

It was night time at the Los Angeles International Airport.  There was a passenger waiting to board a plane. He was going to Oakland, California. This is San Francisco’s twin city. The flight time from Los Angeles to Oakland is only 50 minutes. 

They made the flight announcement. 

He boarded the plane. The plane took off. After an hour into the flight dinner was served. He was puzzled why they were serving dinner in a 50-minute flight. He did not say anything and ate the dinner with a few glasses of wine. 

After a few hours, he could not keep quiet. So, he called one of the flight attendants and asked why it is taking so long to reach Oakland. 

The flight attendant replied: Sir, we are now flying over Honolulu. This flight is going to Auckland, New Zealand.