A different kind of guide on seafarers’ rights
Facing adversity: Great quotes for these trying times

Facing adversity: Great quotes for these trying times

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” Thomas Paine wrote in his pamphlet of essays, ‘Crisis’. He was referring to the American Revolution and the harsh winter of 1776. His statement, however, could apply as well to the time of the coronavirus — indeed, to any time when a person has to wrestle with an extraordinarily difficult or unpleasant situation. I hope the following quotes will provide some inspiration to my readers, especially those who toil at sea and take risks others don’t have to face.

14 wise old sayings for the maritime community

14 wise old sayings for the maritime community

Proverbs may sound banal and old hat to some people. But these short, pithy sayings which have been handed down from generation to generation have much wisdom in them. They are like small fruits from mankind’s living tree of knowledge. The following are some such proverbs which seem quite suitable for certain players on the maritime stage.

Recent Posts

Seafarers and COVID-19: The game of words

Seafarers and COVID-19: The game of words

The COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be a fertile ground for maritime rhetoric. Somebody shouted ‘Crew Change!” and suddenly everyone is mouthing the same slogan. Interestingly, the word “repatriation” is hardly ever mentioned. But that is exactly what seafarers who are stranded at sea urgently need: to be brought back to their home countries and be with their loved ones. The following are some specimens of the kind of language which has sprouted during the pandemic. There is nothing wrong with slogans and speeches — as long as they are not, to borrow Shakespeare’s words in his play Macbeth, all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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Through the lens: Nude beauties at the beach

Through the lens: Nude beauties at the beach

If one can admire the beauty of seashells and see in them the grandeur of cathedrals, why can’t one adopt the same attitude towards the female body? As the English artist and poet William Blake wrote in his Proverbs of Hell (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell), “The nakedness of woman is the work of God.” The following photographs of nude women at the beach are stricty for those who can view nudity as art.

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What would a seafarers’ utopia be like?

What would a seafarers’ utopia be like?

In a world where money talks and the end often justifies the means, to speak of utopia may seem out of place. The term, by definition, is an imagined state of affairs in which everything is perfect. But as the old Spanish proverb says, “If you build no castles in the air, you build no castles anywhere.” So let me describe to you a new maritime order which is the exact opposite of the dystopian world of today’s seafarers. What would such a place be like?

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Female nudes by the sea: A feast for artistic eyes

Female nudes by the sea: A feast for artistic eyes

Some religious conservatives may frown upon artworks that depict women au naturel. Hardcore feminists may dismiss them as objectification of women. The fact remains, however, that nudity in art is nothing new, and only the prudish and the narrow-minded will be shocked by it. The following artworks feature female nudes by the sea. The collection is preluded by the first stanza of a poem by Pablo Neruda (1904–1973), winner of the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature.

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Tasting the delectable flavours of Brazilian marine art

Tasting the delectable flavours of Brazilian marine art

As a coffee enthusiast, I have always associated Brazil with coffee. The country, after all, is the largest grower and exporter of coffee beans. Recently, I discovered that it also has a rich tradition of marine art that is as delectable as its coffee. The following are a few examples of what Brazilians have accomplished in this field. Regrettably, I am unable to share contemporary artworks due to copyright restrictions. This small collection should nonetheless give readers a taste of Brazilian marine art.

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Great quotes for seafarers about the joy of reading

Great quotes for seafarers about the joy of reading

What seafarer has not suffered from a bout of loneliness and boredom? These twin monsters can creep in like the tide after one’s watch is over and there is little else to do. Some seafarers may plunge into depression. One maritime charity group seems to think that a two-day online course on mental health costing £125 per participant will address the problem. What a silly idea! Why not promote instead the love for reading amongst seafarers? As the following quotes suggest, books can do wonders for both mind and spirit.

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Hard, hard times but not  because of the pandemic

Hard, hard times but not because of the pandemic

I recently came across a traditiional folk ballad called ‘Hard, Hard Times’. It is light-hearted but has a serious social message, so I thought I should share it with the readers of Marine Café Blog. The song talks about dishonesty, greed and hyprocrisy in society at large — the same ills that plague much of the shipping and mannning sectors and cause misery to those who work at sea.

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Battle of Manila Bay in art, none by a Filipino artist

Battle of Manila Bay in art, none by a Filipino artist

I have just spent several days searching online for artworks that depict the 1898 Battle of Manila Bay (also known as the Battle of Cavite). My search yielded a good number of interesting pieces. However, I found none that was created by a Filipino artist. This comes as no surprise. Although Filipinos pride themselves in being a “maritime” nation, the country has a paucity of marine art. Indeed, it lacks a tradition of such art — the kind of tradition that one finds in England, the United States, the Netherlands, Spain and other traditional maritime countries.

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