Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg was Time’s 2019 Person of the Year. Given the amount of bashing the 17-year-old has had to put up with from adults, she deserves another title: Punching Bag of the Year. Greta has been called more names than Donald J. Trump, Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un combined — or Hitler and Stalin, for that matter.
Generally speaking, people tend be more impressed by things that are large than by similar things of smaller scale. Thus, a mansion is likely to draw more attention and plaudits than a bungalow; a limousine more than a compact car; and a cruise ship more than a catamaran. Yet, size does not — or should not — matter when it comes to art.
To all the readers of Marine Café Blog, a peaceful New Year. May the following quotes provide you with some inspiration as you navigate through the waters of 2020.
In 2019 the shipping industry almost went crazy over wellness training and the issue of seafarer mental health. The noise from the charities was so loud that it seemed like depression at sea was some kind of an epidemic worse than the Ebola plague. It did not help that the conformist maritime press amplified their frantic messages and slogans. Marine Café Blog refused to be suck in by all that frenzy.
The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe famously wrote: “Who is the wisest man? He who neither knows or wishes for anything else than what happens.” Maybe so, but what is a new year or life itself without wishes?
The curse of climate change is upon the land. Sometimes I dream of snow falling on boats and harbours and all along the coast — a shelter from the torturous heat of the tropics, a wonderland like those depicted in the following artworks.
The end of 2019 is more than a fortnight away. But as the old saying goes, time and tide wait for no man. So I thought I would try to get ahead of the sweeping tide (impossible as that may seem) and share some quotations about time. I trust that these will serve as food for thought and a source of inspiration for all ye readers of Marine Café Blog.
Frankly speaking, I am amused at how much attention the Latin phrase “quid pro quo” has been receiving of late in the US political scene. The expression can be traced back to the 16th century. It literally means “something for something”. In some cases, those who engage in quid pro quo could cross a legal red line as when a boss promises an employee a pay raise in exchange for sex. But what person — or nation — has not been guilty of the practice at one time or another?
No applause for them from the shipping press. Nor glowing tributes at fancy awards dinners. Yet, maritime pilots quietly perform work that is nothing short of heroic.
There are those — the Type A personalities usually— who cannot be satisfied with tranquility. They need and crave for action. Some even thrive in conflict. But surely, most humans long for some moment of peace and calmness. The following works of art, I hope, will soothe the spirit of those who seek such moments.
Manning agents in Manila may not be living in palaces. But they have servants at their beck and call just like Tsar Nicholas II and his family. And the servants are all young, too — maritime cadets who work as unpaid flunkeys (aka “utility”) and domestic servants in the offices and homes of the agents.
The beach held a strong attraction for the French Impressionist painter, Claude Monet. In 1868 he wrote to his friend Frédéric Bazille from Étretat, a coastal town in northern France: “I pass my time in the open air on the beach when it is really heavy weather or when the boats go out fishing…” Beaches in times of war are something else, however.