Tag Archives tree-of-life

Bloody condensation

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I drove to the Tree of Life this afternoon in order to get good sunset shots with the Old Lady in them.

Almost at the site, I parked the car by the side of the road and got out in order to take the wide shot of the locale and other general shots to sweeten the edit. So I took out and set up the newly delivered tripod then enthusiastically (and gingerly) took the new superduper camcorder out of its also just delivered hard case, put it on the tripod and switched it on. After the customary greeting (it just reminds you that it is, in fact, a Sony and that you are indeed in a camera mode – proving that technology does talk condescendingly to mere mortals) a couple of beeps and an unusual message started flashing on the screen with a couple of weird icons to accompany it:

Moisture condensation.
Eject the cassette

Lovely. I’ve just driven in rush hour and got here in more than an hour and I get this. Yes it was hot. Yes the camcorder was in an air-conditioned office and yes it is a bit humid today, but you would think that it would be resilient enough for these “normal” operating circumstances in Bahrain!

Ah well. Checked the manual and all it said is eject the cassette and leave the compartment empty and the camera turned on for an hour before use. Huh? Okay, if that’s what Mr. Manual says then that’s what’s got to be done. I pressed the Eject button and the bloody compartment only rose half way and it was solidly stuck! What the hell. I tried to console and cajole it a bit for it to release the tape but no joy. Back to the manual and it said that if the mechanism does suffer from condensation then the tape might get stuck and it will take about 10 seconds for it to eject it completely. Okay, wait for a little longer, but not joy.

So I left it as it is in the case and continued my drive to enjoy the view of the Old Lady for a while. It was pristine and quiet, only a couple of cars which drove off as I approached, so it was quite peaceful too. The heat and humidity were bearable, it is the end of August in Bahrain after all.

In a while I looked at the camcorder but was surprised that the bloody thing was still flashing at me. I relented, I thought there is no way that that would go away yet. It seems like a real infestation of water in there that it might have just as well been at the bottom of a swimming pool.

I drove back to the office and Googled the error which resulted in various references, none as novel as this:

solved the problem very easy in 5 seconds…
by remove all batteries (inclusive the very small one (maybe behind the screen shing).. then hit it very hard..
now the memory can’t hold that there is an error and with the hitting things get better
[…] I have in fact seen with my very eyes, repair people (independent not at Sony) take a camera in, wait until the customer was out the door, take the main battery off, whack the camera VERY HARD and turn it back on. This has worked so many times I am embarrassed to mention it. They then put the camera on the shelf for a couple of days and call the customer back and charge them for a complete (and expensive) cleaning. The camera was usually fixed before they got to the car.


But it was yes bloody way throughout the comments after that one with none showing any dissent on that point of view! I couldn’t believe it, I thought that this must be a major leg pulling exercise.

I searched some more (while the camera was still comatose with its compartment door open and the cassette still jammed) but couldn’t find any further references. It’s been more than 2 hours now and this bloody thing is still dead.

Exasperated, I judiciously (I’m an electronics engineer and been around cameras for a while, so please don’t try anything of the following things I’ve done unless you want to irreparably damage your camera and invalidate its warranty – you have been warned!) applied pressure on the compartment down and fortunately the camera restored the compartment where it should be and I could hear the head engaging again. But unfortunately the condensation message was still lit. I tried ejecting again but the compartment once again got stuck. I repeated the process quite gently and tried ejecting yet again, fortunately I was second time lucky. The tape came out. Phew!

But the condensation message was still lit!

I removed the battery and re-inserted it in again only to be rewarded with the same error continuing to be displayed.

To hell with it (please don’t try this!) I turned the bitch upside down and wacked it (gently and judiciously!) put the battery back in and viola! It worked!

An afternoon was wasted, but I learnt a couple of things:

    1. Don’t keep tapes in the camcorder; only insert them when you need to and remove them when the shoot is over.
    2. Don’t store your cameras in a cold (or hot) location, certainly not in direct air-conditioner stream of cold air. If you do, you will most definitely invite condensation into your camera and will lose its use in no time. At best you will waste half a day waiting for it to re-acclimatise with the surrounding environment. They are not as good as we are in adapting to situations and they are expensive beasts (not just physically but in lost time and expenses).

I’m quite happy that it’s fixed and can look forward to going out and shooting… but bad luck hasn’t finished yet, my daughter just called to say that our whole neighbourhood has been blacked out! No power!




Shaikha Mai Al-Khalifa has done good by the Bahraini culture and art, there is no one who could deny that, regardless of your stance with respect to the recent Spring of Culture. She is a lady that I have held with very high regard. Therefore I note with hurt and much surprise her seemingly irresponsible attitude toward our Tree of Life, or at least indifference she exhibited when asked about it. As far as she is concerned, the Tree is a none-entity and whether it survives or dies, it is just a tree! It is just part of the local lore and some say – according to her – the tree is only 45 years old!

I expected a lot better than this attitude from Shaikha Mai.

At the very least, take the trouble to ascertain its age and use it to inculcate the feeling of history, culture and national pride. Don’t just dismiss it as you have done.

Some art, Shaikha Mai, could only be done by the hands of nature. And there is no guarantee that left unprotected, will just continue to be there for this and future generations to marvel at.

Oh, I’m sorry, that’s not really of concern.


National Pride

Over the last few years, an allegation has been thrown at all and sundry questioning their loyalty and patriotism to their country, Bahrain. Some sections of society have been singled out, even, to levy that allegation onto that they – the accused – had to prove time and again their love and undying devotion. But all of that – as far as I am concerned – doesn’t really mean anything. Loyalty does not happen by chance. It is not a serendipitous concept, it is something that must be nurtured in all of us to arrive at the shores of patriotism. It is, then, a process where your pride in your country is inculcated within your being by concrete actions by the main actors in society: rulers, government and citizens; the respect for human life and their dignity, the prevalence of security, the equal opportunities and representation, the non-discrimination, the freedom to express oneself and the freedoms of assembly.

Patriotism is the ultimate feeling that pushes a person – voluntarily – to stand in the line of fire in selfless defence of ones country.

How is that arrived at though? It sounds like a very romantic and surreal concept. The stuff of novels. But people actually do stand in the path of danger to protect ones country willingly and without the least bit of hesitation. It is like a deep religious zeal. That, I do think, is not arrived at lightly. It is the result of a lifetime of experiences, a lifetime of the feeling of belonging, a lifetime of being embraced by ones country, a lifetime of being proud of ones national symbols and identity.

It is all of those that make one really be a patriot.

What destroys that patriotism; however, is very little. The witnessing of the wanton destruction of a national symbol with the realisation that no one really cares is one factor which can greatly contribute to the dissolution of that noble state.

This is what is happening to our beloved Tree of Life, one of the oldest trees in the world, is not shown the respect it deserves, nor the protection it needs to survive and continue to be the national symbol for our descendants.

I thought I would pay it a visit this afternoon to greet it and I was fully prepared to jostle with a crowd of fellow Bahrainis who are concerned about its welfare, taking into consideration the recent news of arson perpetrated against it. But that was not to be. When I finally arrived at the tree, what I did find is a group of people zooming in and out and about the tree with abandon, with nary a single thought to the sanctity of the place. I was angry and sad to see such a place being actively desecrated.


National Treasure Burnt

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Tree of Life

The Tree of Life symbolises Bahrain to me much more than any other symbol. It has been around for hundreds of years and has become known throughout the world, justifiably, as one of its wonders; a tree right in the middle of a desert with no water in sight not just living but flourishing in its harsh location.

So why would anyone wish to burn this national treasure?

This is totally inexcusable.

We should protect this national treasure, not just for us, but for the world’s future generations.

It would be nice to border the whole knoll it is on and not allow anyone to approach it and strict rules should be put in place to penalise vandals and litterbugs.

It shouldn’t take too much to establish an unobtrusive guard post in that location and provide a few guides to educate people about this natural wonder. Hopefully when people know its fantastic story and what it signifies to us, it will be respected and left it alone.