Thursday, July 29, 2010

Noah's ark and the missing luggage problem...

So I'm in Malaysia, but my luggage isn't. Hence this post may appear a bit scruffy - like my current state. My first impressions of Kuala Lumpur: Modern and tidy. Sky scrappers and modern mosques. Generally courteous. Some chaos, but relatively calm traffic (okay - so I usually set this bar quite low with the traffic in Karachi - or worse, Rawalpindi/Islamabad). The train service from the airport (KLAI) to the city center was fantastic and fast - it got me there (70 kms) in 28 minutes (hey - when are we getting a fast train service from Boston to Amherst?).

No, I'm not here to only sing praise - remember, my bags are still sitting somewhere in Hong Kong. So I also happen to walk into a decent-size bookstore today (I think it was called MPH books) in Selangor (about 20 km from the city center). Apart from the regular fiction books, there were many technical books - computer-science, IT, Finance, Business. There was also a full section titled "Statues". I was initially quite impressed - that there was a full section devoted to a particular form of art. As it turns out, they misspelled "Statutes" - and this was the legal-studies section. There were two section devoted to religion, and two equal-sized sections for New-Age. But...but...no science section! I even inquired with the customer service - in case they had again misspelled it as "New-Age" - but no luck. They just didn't think it was important enough to have a section. Sigh...

So while I await for the bags (and the much-needed shaving kit), you can enjoy this 14th century Persian artwork depicting Noah's ark (tip from Tabsir). I'm sure luggage problems must have been a nightmare on the ark. Please also note the comment below the picture:

From Tabsir:

The story of Noah is shared in the three main monotheisms and still inspires creationists who are convinced that opportunist quasi-Neptunist forces from the great Deluge laid down almost all sedimentary layers on Earth. Above is an illustration from the Jami‘ al-tawarikh, produced in 1314/1315 for the Iranian vizier Rashid al-Din. In this case the ark was not the biblical box but a typical Arab dhow of the time with two masts, two steering oars and a rudder. The manuscript is housed in the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art in London.
Illustration from Art of the First Cities, edited by Joan Aruz (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2003), p. 491.

3 comments:

Marina said...

To complete the circle, I misread "statues" as "statutes."

Ali said...

Too bad that your luggage took a different route. :)

"okay - so I usually set this bar quite low with the traffic in Karachi - or worse, Rawalpindi/Islamabad"

I object, your honour!
You cannot put Rawlapindi and Islamabad together as if these cities are one.
Islamabad is 1000 times better than Rawalpindi or even Karachi. :)

Salman Hameed said...

"You cannot put Rawlapindi and Islamabad together as if these cities are one.
Islamabad is 1000 times better than Rawalpindi or even Karachi. :)"

It is only because Islamabad has way fewer cars. The driving is still quite bad... :)