Mar. 17th, 2010

jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
Sharekat Perkapalan Samudera (SPS) Sdn. Bhd. was founded in 1901 as a partnership between Wong Teck Mun, a Chinese towkay of Hakka descent, and Muhammad Iskandar Ishak, an Indian spice merchant hailing from Nagapatnam. Based on public records, SPS was founded to capitalize on trade between India to other parts of the British Empire, and had its highest earnings during the economic boom period just before World War II... after which it suddenly disappeared from history, seemingly a victim of the War To End All Wars.

It was only forty years later -- October 1974, to be exact -- when the descendants of the founders, Aloysius Wong and Siti Norimah Iskandar, discovered the legacy their fathers left them.

It began with a small, battered journal -- a register of properties and assets owned by SPS, dated around the beginning of the financial year, 1939. The leather cover was covered in mould, and only three barely-legible pages remained. Out of those three pages, an address to a warehouse in Ipoh that appeared in no other company record, either in public archives or within either family's possession.

It turned out that the warehouse was still there -- the locks still held, and its contents still secure. And what contents these were! Machines and artifacts that could not have come from this time, documents -- thousands of books, in dozens of languages, that spoke of events that never happened...

...and in the middle, an eerie glowing chest, and a teletype machine of unknown design, patiently typing out the words:

... CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ ....


Internal Memo: Guide To New Employees
Employee Roll Call
Internal Memo: Databases & Resources
yeloson: (southside)
[personal profile] yeloson
This massive statue is in the shape of a golden bird composed of some form of unknown metallic alloy. Of the thousands of metallic feathers, a single one is missing with the tiniest of blackening (possibly from lightning?). The dating results have been sealed for employees with security clearance 9 or above, and so is omitted from this report.

Weight: 333kg
Length: 4.5m (standing)
Width: 18m (wings outstretched)
Origin: South Indian? The styling is a bit difficult to place to a specific time period.

Aside from the sheer presence of the piece, closer inspection reveals that each individual feather is actually articulates independently. The head has a small latch which reveals a bizarre tiny throne surrounded by levers of all types, which appear capable of articulating the statue.

Internal memo:
Is this some childish hazing ritual? I just spent two weeks examining this thing top to bottom, and half of the tests come back "inconclusive" or "beyond my security clearance"? I know, I know, it was an excellent way for me to learn the layout of the offices and labs, but seriously? Am I to believe there was a 6 cm pilot for this device?
jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
This unimaginatively named, yet aptly described item is a weapon in the shape of a traditional keris. Its blade has been blackened, but is hollow with little serrated holes. Carbon dating shows it hearkens from the 1700s. We have yet to cross-reference this with other artifacts in the catalog.

Weight: 1kg
Length: blade - 30cm; hilt - 10cm
Width: 4cm
Origin: Possibly Kelantanese. Hilt is too worn for proper identification.

The most notable feature of this item is a port at the end of the hilt. It appears to be capable of attaching itself to a gas tank (perhaps a portable one?). The gas is pumped into the blade. A switch at the base of the blade sparks the gas within and the resultant fire is pushed out through the serrated holes on the blade, thus its name.
whynot: SPN: all hail (you and your silly kuhniggets)
[personal profile] whynot
A sheaf of annotated book reviews and article abstracts in a leather folder, all dealing with the theme of 'mechanizing the East'. One example typed up below, including the handwritten notes:


(Book Review)

Infernal Machines by Peter van Vriesland
(Leiden: Kropf, 1967. 345 pages.)

"A self-proclaimed 'ethnography of the Indonesian spirit of bricolage', this is the culmination of anthropologist Peter van Vriesland's travels through the former Dutch East Indies, documenting the various tools and contraptions the local population have fashioned from the leftover machines discarded by WW2 troops and former occupiers. An antiquated dirigible propeller becomes a deadly weapon. An ambiphone becomes a rudimentary lantern. Sometimes it is as simple as incorporating cogs and sprockets into protective amulets. Drawing from Claude Levi-Strauss's ground-breaking The Savage Mind, van Vriesland deftly compares Western engineering with Eastern bricolage, providing us with insight into these two worlds' different approaches to science and invention. Beautifully illustrated and compellingly written in an engaging conversational style, this book will capture one's imagination, whether one is intrigued by the mystical traditions of the Orient or the dynamic new frontiers of European technology." - Paul Wolff, 1968


Annotations:

esp. Ch. 4 'From Batavia to Borneo' -- urban vs. rural bricolage
Ch. 7 'Encroaching Modernity' -- evolution of machinery
(compare w/ Weber's precapitalist societies)

BRICOLEUR = crafty, world is closed
ENGINEER = creative, world is open
- Levi-Strauss, 'Savage Mind' (1962) i.e. the ghost of Hegel! master/slave dichotomy, reliance on the Myth. (totemism?)
dhobikikutti: earthen diya (Default)
[personal profile] dhobikikutti
On behalf of the Pracheen Itihas of Jambudweep Akademi (PIJA), we wish to assure you that any reported information purporting to be leaked internal memos are merely the figments of imagination of certain isolated malcontents and trouble makers.

Under no circumstances should these be treated as facts or taken with any seriousness.

Furthermore, there is no credibility to any rumours regarding any confidential information that might be in the possession of PIJA’s Tiruvanathapuram facility, nor has it been withholding items of any value or purpose from our esteemed counterparts at SPS. Any transactions between the former management of SPS and PIJA has been fully documented and adheres to the Dugong Convention of Historiography and Archaeology; we are happy to provide copies of such proof upon receipt of requests made through the proper channels.

The PIJA mission statement has always been one of co-operation and brotherly research amongst institutes that share a common history with Bharat, and we strive to accommodate the new management of the SPS to the best of our ability, given the very little time and information we were given regarding the changeover.

On a much more inconsequential note, we would also like to clarify that the inquiry posted for an Arabian scholar fluent in both Arabic, Bai, and Sanskrit is merely the routine filling of a vacant position, and has nothing to do with spurious claims of mechanical devices that may have unexpectedly fallen in our hands.

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