The problem with buzzwords is that they tend to oversimplify and in effect give a false picture of reality. The latest to hit the shipping world — wellness training — is particularly problematic. The phrase is bandied about by seafarer charities and the maritime press...
To tell Filipinos to rethink what has been their main maritime activity could be asking for the moon. Ship manning has become as addictive to them as alcohol. It is their opiate — inducing the kind of foggy and false sense of contentment that French artist Michel Ange...
Few themes in art are as enduring and inspiring as that of mother and child. Throughout the centuries, the subject has seen many iterations, either religious or secular. Its fascination to artists and humanity as a whole is not at all surprising. Works of art...
The UK-based Sailors' Society has harnessed social media to clamor for the amendment of ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, to make wellness training mandatory for seafarers. So why not do the same to counter the whole silly idea? As a follow-up to Marine Café...read more
I know very little about ballet, and I have never been to a ballet performance. However, sailboats make me think automatically of ballerinas — like the ones depicted by the great French artist, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, in his 1885 painting Ballet Dancers (pictured...read more
There is the hell of theology, whose gate (pictured above) was illustrated by the 19th-century French artist, Gustave Doré, for Dante's The Divine Comedy. There is also a secular hell — a place, situation or experience that is extremely unpleasant or difficult....read more
The Notre Dame Cathedral fire on 15th April 2019 overshadowed another huge event that occurred on the same day 107 years ago: the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Still, the world remembered the tragedy that befell the British passenger liner (pictured above prior to its...read more
It must be in the Japanese DNA. How else can one explain the fact that the Japanese have such a strong artistic sense? They seem to immerse themselves in beauty, even making the viewing of cherry blossoms a national pastime. Not content with admiring the beauty of...read more
Until recently, I was a total stranger to sea shanties. My taste in music has usually veered towards the classical, my favourites being Frédéric Chopin's nocturnes and Beethoven's piano concertos. But after listening to a few shanties, I have become a fan. These work...read more
Winslow Homer (pictured above at the age of 44) is best known for his marine oil paintings. His iconic The Fog Warning and Breezing Up (A Fair Wind) have assured him a place in the pantheon of the all-time greats of American art. However, Homer's artistic gift is no...read more
A recent article in The Manila Times caused a ruckus by raising the spectre of the Philippines being struck off the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) updated White List. What? The top crew supplier not making it to the roster of members states that have...read more
In his classic 1906 essay, The Book of Tea, Japanese scholar Kakuzo Okakura spoke of the philosophy of tea as “moral geometry, inasmuch as it defines our sense of proportion to the universe”. This sense of proportion — the notion of man as being a mere part of the...read more
I am deeply grateful to all the photographers who answered my call in late February for black and white photographs of boats. The two-week search yielded a good harvest of talent: some 70 entries from different countries. Choosing the best was not easy as there were...read more