Saw u on multiply! lol
My friend, Bob passed away a week ago. I'm a little bit sad I didn't spend more time with him, esp. when I got back. But he lived rather far away, over 30 minutes drive, and I'm not good at managing my time to see him.
Eulogy for Chief Petty Officer Robert S. Wilkins (Ret) 25th January 2007.
I had the honor and pleasure to become a friend to Mr Wilkins, whom we affectionally knew as Bob. We met at the ACCF church in 1995. He was very surprised that I knew so much about military history and we spent long hours talking about World War Two, the Royal Navy and his part in it. This is his story which I recorded during my time with him.
Robert Stanley Wilkins was born, July 28th, 1912, in a small English village called Tisbury in England. He came from a large family – 4 brothers and 4 sisters. His father was an ordinary laborer but an exceptional gardener who turned their backyard into a veritable Garden of Eden and grew all their vegetables and fruits – and according to Bob they lived like kings on the produce. His mother was a school teacher; a highly educated woman. Despite their social class mismatch, they married out of love.
So Bob joined the Navy in 1928, age 16 years. He didn't do it out of love for King and Country, he just wanted to see the world. Back then, only the rich could afford to travel. He spent 12 months as a boy seaman on board the training battleship, Emperor of India which used coal as its main fuel. He actually had to haul sacks of coal onto the ship and hated it. At 18, he went to the battleship, Royal Sovereign and then joined the Revenge with the 1st Battle Squadron in the
In 1939, war broke out with Nazi Germany and the
Bob took part in Operational Pedestal in August 1942 which was an important convoy expedition to supply the important garrison at
Bob was on board the Ark Royal when it too got sunk. They were on another trip to
Bob loved the Ark Royal of all the ships he served on. The Ark Royal throughout its short career was considered a lucky ship – it had been attacked many times, had many near misses and close calls with 1000 pound bombs and torpedoes, and the Germans and Italians claimed to have sunk it many times. This time however they did. But he told me: She was a real lady. When it was her turn to go, she waited until all her crew got off before she sank. The sea was calm, as flat as a pancake and the weather was beautiful. When I got to port, I telegraphed Elsie with the message, "Safe. Feet not wet."
For his service in the war and the navy, he was awarded these medals which I got professionally framed for him. Bob liked me a lot and we had a great time talking about his experiences in the war. He felt I should keep the medals because I would treasure their historical significance.
In the 1950s Bob was seconded to the Australian Navy and he found life so pleasant that he decided to migrate. He had to convince Elsie’s mother first. She was worried that Elsie would get eaten by the Aborigines. Elsie was also hesitant. But he told her- if she didn’t like it after the first year, they would pack their bags and go home.
However, she liked it and so they stayed on. Bob worked hard and saved enough money to buy Elsie a beautiful house in Ashburton, and they even got to travel around the whole of
In a non-descript warehouse in Jakarta, treasure hunter Luc Heymans dips into plastic boxes and pulls out jewels and ornaments that lay hidden at the bottom of the Java Sea for 1,000 years.
The find, including artefacts from China's Five Dynasties period from 907 to 960 AD and ancient Egypt, is already causing a stir among archaeologists who say the cargo sheds new light on how ancient merchant routes were forged.
An ornately sculpted mirror of polished bronze is one masterpiece among the 250,000 artefacts recovered over the last 18 months from a boat that sank off Indonesia's shores in the 10th century.
On a small mould is written the word "Allah" in beautiful Arabic script, on top of a lid sits a delicately chiselled doe.
Tiny perfume flasks accompany jars made of baked clay, while slender-necked vases fill the shelves of the hangar along with brightly coloured glassware from the Fatimides dynasty that once ruled ancient Egypt.
A team of divers, among them three Australians, two Britons, three French, three Belgians and two Germans, excavated the vessel laden with rare ceramics which sank more than 1,000 years ago about 130 nautical miles from Jakarta.
"It is a completely exceptional cargo," Mr Heymans said, the Belgian chief of the excavation team.
"There is very little information about the Five Dynasties era and very few things in the museums. This wreck fills a hole."
Close to 14,000 pearls and a profusion of precious stones were found in the wreck, including some 4,000 rubies, 400 dark red sapphires, and more than 2,200 garnets.
"On the second last day of diving, I spotted some broken ceramics. Under 30 centimetres of vase, I uncovered the handle of a golden sabre," Daniel Visnikar, the leading French diver, said.
It took more than 24,000 dives to recover all the treasure from the boat that rests 54 metres below the surface.
Material recovered from the site has whetted the appetite of overseas experts.
"A 10th century wreck is very rare, there are only a few," Jean-Paul Desroches said, a curator at the Guimet Museum in Paris, after seeing photographs of the early hauls.
He says the wreck and its cargo offers clues to how traders using the Silk Road linking China to Europe and the Middle East, used alternative sea routes as China's merchants moved south because of invasions from the north.
The variety of loot pulled from the depths is hard to imagine: dishes adorned with dragons, parakeets and other birds; porcelain with finely-carved edges; teapots decorated with lotus flowers; and celadon plates with their glaze intact.
"These porcelains come from a very special kiln, an imperial kiln, perhaps from the province of Hebei in the north of China," Peter Schwarz, a German ceramics specialist, said.
Mr Heymans insisted the treasure - the subject of controversy when the divers were chased from their barge in the open-sea by the Indonesian navy last November - was stored in a comprehensive and transparent manner.
"Every piece is indexed and we know which part of the boat it comes from. Every week we sent (the Indonesian authorities) a DVD with digital photographs of all the pieces," he said.
As well being chased by the Indonesian Navy, an incident that began a long dispute over the booty, Mr Heymans says another group of treasure hunters also tried to move in on the swag.
The divers say the treasures might be bought by a foreign museum or are expected to be shown between 2006 and 2007 in an auction, as the cargo is valued at several million dollars.
Indonesia will receive 50 per cent of proceeds from the sale of the treasures.
Peter Wilson, Europe correspondent | January 26, 2008
THE SCARIEST thing about Jerome Kerviel is not that he managed to commit the world's biggest solo bank fraud of E4.9billion ($8.2 billion).
The truly frightening thing is that the damage could have been much, much worse because the 31-year-old junior trader at French giant Societe Generale had worked out how to beat the security systems of one of the world's great banks.
If the nondescript young trader had not made one relatively simple error last Friday he could have cost his bank 10 times as much money, wreaking enough damage to threaten banks and economies around the world.
As it is, Kerviel, a low-flyer who was never going to be a star banker, contributed to this week's massive sell-off of shares around the world, reducing the savings of millions of investors and helping to push the US Federal Reserve into its biggest interest rate cuts in two decades.
Kerviel's secret build-up of massive speculative investments in the name of Societe Generale forced the bank to launch a costly fire sale that we now know exacerbated the fall in share prices from Sydney to New York.
Embarrassed bank officials in Paris have revealed that Kerviel's unauthorised trades cost his employer four times the losses accrued by Nick Leeson, the man who broke Barings Bank, and 22 times those of the rogue currency traders who cost NAB $360million in 2004.
It was scandals such as those that led banks around the world to spend hundreds of millions of dollars devising sophisticated systems to prevent further frauds by keeping tight controls on their own traders. SocGen alone has a compliance team of more than 2000 workers, with instant checks on cash flows, and computerised alert systems to detect suspicious activity.
The man in charge of those defences, SocGen corporate and investment banking chief Jean-Pierre Mustier, was driving home on Friday night when he got a call telling him something was wrong.
When he got back to the bank's glass office tower in La Defense, the business district in the west of Paris, Mustier was told that a compliance officer had detected something fishy about a transaction.
It was the early hours of Saturday before Mustier and his team realised that Kerviel seemed to be behind the problematic trade.
Kerviel had begun his career eight years earlier in the unglamorous middle and back offices that help supervise the traders.
A clean-cut, good-looking man who had graduated from a mid-ranking university in Lyons with a masters degree in finance, he spent five years learning the details of the compliance system.
A judo teacher and excellent English speaker, he was also something of a computer geek and took a close interest in how the various security systems worked to monitor the traders.
Some banks make a point of keeping people with those skills away from the trading floor to stop gamekeepers becoming poachers, but the backroom people often agitate for a chance to move over to where the bigger salaries are.
Kerviel was given his chance in 2005, although his salary package stayed below E100,000 ($165,000), less than 10 per cent that of a star trader.
His job was to place relatively simple transactions to reduce the risk of other investments.
If the bank's traders bet heavily that the German market would fall, he was supposed to make balancing investments in case they were wrong. But that is not what he did.
Late last year, he started taking his own punts on the markets, using his computer skills and understanding of the compliance systems to remove the limits on the amounts he was authorised to invest.
Kerviel got around the detection systems by setting up fake companies to hide his rapidly growing transactions. Using other traders' passwords, he hacked into the system to approve his own trades and skilfully "switched off" the automatic warning systems designed to flag any unusual trading patterns.
Bank executives say they only detected a problem last Friday because he forgot to turn off those alarms on one transaction.
On Saturday afternoon, Kerviel was called in from his $3300-a-month apartment in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a walking distance from the office, and locked in a glass conference room with Mustier and his team for questioning that went all night.
"He said he had come up with a great new trading strategy, and if he was given time it would make a lot of money for the bank," one executive said.
He had made a small profit last year and some losses in the past few weeks but they could be turned around, he insisted.
To their horror, Mustier's team discovered he had placed bets worth more than $80 billion of the bank's money.
"He understood he was taking huge positions but I don't think he understood the impact," Mustier said.
"He kept telling me during the night that he had discovered a new trading technique which was performing very well."
The bank insists he worked alone, and Daniel Bouton, the chairman and chief executive, said Kerviel was not siphoning off any money for himself.
"His motives are totally irrational. It doesn't seem that he was able to benefit from these colossal trades and directly he did not."
Philippe Collas, of the bank's global investment management division, said: "This wasn't done to get rich. What was his motive? I don't know. Maybe he wanted to prove himself. It's difficult to get money out of a bank -- as soon as you try you will leave atrace."
Executives speculate that he may have wanted attention or approval. Others say he had recently suffered personal problems including a family death -- believed to have been his father -- and a break-up with his girlfriend.
Kerviel had gambled on European markets rising, and when he helped Mustier to uncover his punts they showed losses of E1.4billion ($2.34billion).
The bank decided those investments would have to be quickly and quietly sold off when trading resumed on Monday.
"We had no choice," Mustier said. "For the sake of our shareholders we cannot speculate with such a large position."
Bouton said: "If we had announced it on Monday morning, the loss (for the bank) would have been 10 times higher. Its scale would have destabilised the whole market."
To keep a lid on things they allowed Kerviel to go home, rather than reporting him to police.
He kept his passport, but his lawyer said yesterday: "He is not running away. He is at the disposal of the police."
The problem was that it proved a disastrous time to be selling.
In the early hours of Monday in Paris as they drew up their plans for the sell-off, the Australian market was tanking, suffering its biggest fall since the 1987 crash. Tokyo followed it down and the French were locked into selling into a falling market.
By some estimates, SocGen's sales added 10 per cent to the volume of sales of European indices futures, exacerbating the price falls.
The slumping prices prompted the interest rate cut by the US Federal Reserve, which had not been alerted to the French bank's sell-off.
The falling markets tripled the bank's losses on Kerviel's deals. Six of his supervisors have since been sacked, SocGen's credit rating has been downgraded, and trust in even the most elite banks has been badly dented.
Without that single slip-up last Friday, Kerviel would have been free to plunge his bank even deeper into the red, and there is no reason to believe "le rogue trader" was the only trader in the world capable of breaking a bank.
Societe Generale has uncovered a fraud by one of its traders which will have a 4.9-billion-euro ($7.16 billion) negative impact on the group, France's second-largest listed bank said on Thursday.
The bank also announced further writedowns of 2.05 billion euros related to the global credit crunch and said it would raise 5.5 billion euros through a capital increase to strengthen its balance sheet.
SocGen also said its board had rejected an offer by Chairman and Chief Executive Daniel Bouton to resign.
The bank said it was in the process of dismissing the Paris-based trader and added that the trader's managers would leave the company.
The fraud echoes a similar blow last year to France's biggest retail bank, Credit Agricole, which in September announced a 250 million euro charge related to an unauthorised trading position.
Banks around the world have been hit by credit market losses related to U.S. subprime mortgages. These mortgages are the riskiest property loans, often extended to people who have payment difficulties or a bad credit history.
SocGen shares closed down 4.15 percent at 79.08 euros on Wednesday. The stock has fallen around 20 percent since the start of 2008.
The stock's opening will be delayed, traders said.
Eric Ritter who free-swims with and anthropomorphizes Tiger Sharks is engaging in behavior almost identical to Treadwell and will, in time, almost certainly pay the same price. Dr. Ritter, standing in the well chummed shallows filled with sharks was asking for what he got. That he says he now "feel[s] even closer to [sharks] than before" is an indication of serious underlying psychological problems.
Sharks are not evil, but they are instinctively predatory animals. They kill other animals to eat them. If you get in their way they are perfectly capable of killing you too, even if it is only with an 'exploritory bite' without feeling the slightest bit of remorse. I have great respect for sharks and want to conserve them for the good of the oceans' ecosystems, but to anthropomorphize and romanticise them is idiotic.***
Date of Journey
24th May – 4th June 2008. LOB dates: 25th May – 3rd June (9 nights)
MV Eagle Ray
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100 X 25 Feet ≈ 33.3 X 7.5 Meters
Cost of Chartering Boat
1980 USD/ night X 9 nights = 17, 820 USD
Candies Hotel (4*) http://www.vermillionmaldives.com/resorts/Candies.htm
Cost of Stay for 1 night (Arrival night)
102 USD/room/night X 7 rooms X 1 night = 714 USD
17, 820 + 714 = 18,534 USD
Cost for 14 paxs
1324 USD ≈ 1400 USD ≈ 2,031.68 SGD ≈ 2, 100 SGD
Cost for 12 paxs
1544.50 USD ≈ 1600 USD ≈ 2,301.39 SGD ≈ 2, 400 SGD.
26 max (Depending on weather conditions). For sample itinerary, please refer below.
1,000 SGD on SQ for every 2 flying on promotion now. (Refunds will be made as this is an overestimate.)
1) Full board during LOB
2) Tea and coffee
3) 1.5l mineralized water/day/pax
4) Tank and weights
5) 1 night BBQ on island.
6) Land transfers
Meals on land.
Anything not mentioned
I am making this trip 12 pax to go. Therefore my original selling price now is 3,500 SGD (incl. air tixs). Once I have confirmation of 14 pax, I would refund 400 SGD per pax to bring down the price to 3,100 SGD (incl. air tixs) per pax.
The extra 100 SGD per pax will be used to offset any fluctuations in currency exchange during the process of booking.
If you wish to get your own air tickets, 1,000 SGD will be deducted accordingly.
As I have to pay a deposit of 1,500 USD by end of December 2007, I would like to seek your cooperation in finalizing the number of people by then too. This is to facilitate my decision making process.
Payment details are as follows,
(Suggested Itinerary for Diving)
24th May: 2035H SQ flight to
Upon arrival stay at Candies hotel for the night
25th May: Check in to MV Eagle Ray.
Tour introduction & Formalities & Dive Gear Set up
Over night at Guradhoo (Village)
Over night at Fotheyo (Sand Bank)
Over night at Felidhu (
4 hours channel crossing to South Ari Atoll
Over night at Dhangethi (developed village)
Over night at kuda Digga (deserted island)
Over night at Ranfaru (Reef ring)
Over night at Faana Mudu (Reef ring)
Over night at Rasdoo Ring
4hrs channel crossing back to north Male’ Atoll
Over night at Merina
After breakfast pack dive gear & luggage
2315H local time flight back to
The Andaman Sea (Burmese: [moʊʔtəma̰]) is a body of water to the southeast of the Bay of Bengal, south of Myanmar, west of Thailand and east of the Andaman Islands; it is part of the Indian Ocean. It is roughly 1200 kilometres long (north-south) and 650 kilometres wide (east-west), with an area of 797,700 km². Its average depth is 870 meters, and the maximum depth is 3,777 meters.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
I don't know how accurate this is. But it uplifted my soul. Got a call from my accountant's worker who I think is incompetent - and she complained that she can't locate some bank documents and thinks the P/L is totally wrong. Neither did she apologize for screwing up three entries in the last year. I don't have the documents so I can't verify her complaints.
Anyhow read on...