November 29, 2008

Danish Please

Every now and then it's worth looking around at what other people are doing and seeing if there's something fundamentally different you're missing out on. This chap has got a great recipe working for him, and a great camera...

I like Canon cameras, but have due respect for other brands. I do seem to run into a lot of photographers whose work I really like and also shoot with a Canon. Is it coincidence? I also ran a few trips in China recently and had one group entirely carrying Nikon, the other entirely carrying Canon. Guess which group was wrangly and tough work, and which group was fun and open to new ideas.

Anyway, Back to the photographer Flemming Bo Jensen. I've been to Copenhagen and I know how hard it is to shoot well. It has loads of inspiration but demands even greater persperation. Flemming's work is revealing, evocative and makes you want to be there.

That's what photography is all about.

November 20, 2008

Old Gold

My first film images shot in nearly ten years were taken on a second hand Great Wall DF-2 during my most recent trek through China with a group. Two other folks on the tour decided to follow suit and bought themselves a Shanghai Seagull for similar purposes.

Here's what we got!

To my surprise the exposures were mostly on the mark. Film is very forgiving of exposure. The camera itself did prove super sharp within its focal sweet spot, but you didnt have to miss the mark by much to fall into the blurry zone. Medium format is not very forgiving of lazy focusing.

My unit also had a poor system to protect the film from scratches, plus a lot of rust and particles falling onto the film. Not exactly production quality, but still very happy with the results given the completely random nature of the purchase.

The experience has left me far more appreciative of the joys to be had shooting with reduced depth of field. I found myself using F2.5 on my Canon 5D a lot during the trip and making the most of the boker/sharpness divide.

Now that I have the prints in my hand I also have a new appreciation for the abilities of my Digital SLR equipment.

November 02, 2008


Brand new camera gear in Beijing is not very cheap, but when you really need to go camera shopping in Beijing there is one place where the range and selection is pleasingly overwhelming. For fans of second hand cameras there is even better news.

I've known about the Beijing Camera Market for years but have struggled to find an accurate description of how to find it. Check the bottom of this blog posting for details, but for now the question is "why go there"?

It's chaos. Cameras, Cards, Tripods, Dresses and more. Yes dresses. Chinese camera markets are intrinsically linked to the sale of wedding dresses. Or vice versa. Half the place is filled with sequined taffeta, the other half with Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad and other toys. Tripod shops, camera bags and other dedicated items abound, and tucked away in the maze of shops inside the main hall is even a quality bookshop where you'll find the best photographic images from China in print.

New cameras dominate the market, but the prices are not brilliant. Haggle hard. Opening prices vary from one store to another as much as 20%, and buyer beware of memory cards that may not be the genuine item. Test them in your camera by formatting the card before you walk out the door.

The real gems here are from the old school. Narrow stores fill in the gaps with second hand goods dating back to an era when Mao Zedong was China's most photographed icon. Alongside Russian relics and early western rangefinders you will come across classic models of local heritage. SeaGull is best known but keep an eye out for the Pea Fowl and Great Wall. For as little as 150 Yuan you can go home with a working camera, but expect to pay more than ten times that amount for a genuine Rollei 35 - well over it's market value outside of China.

If you love your camera gear then the Beijing Camera Market is worth a little effort to get there.

And what did I go home with? Pleased to say I spent my 200 Yuan on a "Great Wall DF-2". It's a Chinese copy of the Pilot 6 which uses 120 film, has a simple but durable shutter mechanism and is relatively compact for a medium format camera. For the sake of US$30 I think this will make the next photo tour a little more fun. Year after year we roam about China with our digital gear but this time I'll have an added challenge and a new perspective. If I do manage to correctly expose a few frames I'll post them online.

Wish me luck!

(ps click here for more info on Chang Cheng - Great Wall DF-2)


Some people refer to WuKeSong when talking about the camera market, but in fact the location is a fair bit north of the Wu Ke Song Metro stop and is more accurately located by the Ding Hui Qiao Nan bus stop. (South end of DingHui Market).

Exiting the WuKeSong subway stop you head out the North-East exit and about 100m up the road you can catch any of the following buses which stop directly outside the camera chaos just two bus stops further along the road...

751 - 913 - 952 - 982 - 983

The actual bus stop is called DingHuiQiao Nan (South of DingHui Bridge). Coming back is easy too. Exit the market and walk under the bridge where any of the following buses will take you back to WuKeSong subway just three stops south...

751 - 913 - 952 - 982 - 983 - 740 - 115 - 996

And finally, if you think it's all just too hard schlepping about Beijing on trains and buses then there is one more way to do it. Come along to China with me on a photography tour and I'll show you the place myself!

September 06, 2008


Everybody else is talking about. Here's the man himself playing 1922 Blues...

September 01, 2008

Kashgar Cow

A traveller who will be joining us in China next month to explore the Silk Road has been reading some work by Colin Thubron. She highlights the paragraph, 'In two years there'll be nothing left of the Old City, just a sample town for tourists. Ten thousand people have already been moved out, and paid rubbish for their homes.'

My colleague goes on to ask, "In the chapter on Xian, the author writes about how different the city is than when he was there 20 years ago, with McDonalds and billboards and malls. This reminds me of what I have read about Beijing, and how the Chinese govt has indescriminantly, planlessly destroyed the old parts of the city to modernize and Westernize, and I wonder what you think of the changing China and whether I will be seeing it in time."

Dear Colleague,

I think it's going be a very different journey for each of us. On the one hand we have Simon who makes a living out of tracking the details of a place and noting what has been retained or what has changed. His perspective may be similar to what you describe in the book. In contrast I like to see places with new eyes, see what is and ignore all the stuff that doesn't fit nicely into the frame.

China is one of the few places I return to, and I return regularly. So there are treasures that I see being washed away in a tide of people and progress. But then I look around the corner and there's another treasure that hasnt been. Those old areas of Beijing have been made into a big issue outside of China. Maybe bigger than inside the country. Some people are sad to lose their homes, some are glad to have modern dwellings that don't fill their lungs with coal dust. The areas that were preserved had a major upgrade to deliver electricity and sanitation. It's not all bad.

I don't know what we will find as we head out west in China. In many ways it wont fit the romantic notion of silk carts and camel trains. But in many ways it will. As a travel journalist the things that excite me most are not the ancient ruins of former civilisations, but the living cultures that remain intact despite the modernisation of the world. Things like the Berber Markets of Morocco, the survival crafts of Sami in the Arctic Circle and the Buddhist Amulet traders in Bangkok. China has tonnes of continuing culture. We'll see some of it on this tour. Xi'an has many treasures besides the warriors, not everything in modern China is a tourist attraction!

They key thing is to look for the treasures, and to let them find you. Take an eye for adventure but be open to the experiences that you cant predict.

Remember when we were in Bikaner and staying in that lovely haveli? Most of the city is underwhelming in my view, but the section of spice market that leads down to the temples is really something. It's not for tourists. Further off the radar, down at the railway station where backpackers come and go and the auto rickshaw drivers tout for trade, there's a little juice stall across the road. The owner is about 25 years old, and he has the most amazing collection of fresh fruit I've ever seen in my life. For 10 rupee he makes me anything I want. Pomegranate, pineapple, pears - whatever!

I sat there for an hour one day. Just watched him service his customers and had as much fresh juice as I could drink. He's like the Michael Jackson of the juice game, moving with rhythm and a flow that could almost be dancing. He's on show. Drink after drink flips his rupees into a bucket and makes someone happy. The entire world of Bikaner is rolling by us on the street, oblivious to this pantomime of life. At one point the electricity went off, as is prone to happen in Indian cities. No problem, he simply goes over to a filthy diesel generator sitting by the road and cranks it over. Thick smoke rushes out of the exhaust, black and grey and black again. The filter cap on the exhaust is long rusted and jiggles about on the top of the engine as toxic fumes spill into the air. It was like something out of a cartoon, I expected the whole thing to come to life and run off down the street.

The young man strips two wires off the mains supply and connects them to the generator. The juice is on again.

You asked about Kashgar though. Yes it will have changed. For instance the market has moved to the edge of town. Simply too many goats, camels and cattle being romped through the city streets so the show is now located somewhere dusty where there is plenty of space. Maybe this is better in some ways, maybe it now resembles more closely what it once was. Either way, we'll see it for ourselves soon enough. And when we do we just have to take fresh eyes with us, and leave the books at the hotel.

PS: This is a link to the Photo Tour along the Silk Road

July 07, 2008

Landscape in Motion

Photographer Chip Forelli is a very talented landscape photographer. If you can't learn something from looking at his work then you shouldn't bother owning a camera. He has a lovely little book on blurb, but it's worth visiting his website just to see a little inspiration for how landscape imagery can be more than just trees and lakes.

He uses movement in his landscapes too, employing super slow shutter speeds to great effect. OK, I know I tell people not to bring their tripods when they travel, but that's because 99.99% of travel photography is pointless with a tripod. Chip shows us what to do to when you are free of such constraints...


Travel insurance is great so long as you don't have much valuable to insure. Professional camera equipment is bad enough, but even a modestly capable laptop can quickly exceed the fine print.

I did a little asking around and found that most professionals simply don't have it. Too expensive. When they can get cover it's priced at a rate that makes it more practical to carry the loss of equipment personally rather than to share the risk with an underwriter.

One insurance company however had another take. They offered to provide their basic travel insurance, without coverage for the expensive bits, in exchange for blogging. That's right, a professional journo can expect to provide his or her work for a year in exchange for a product that you can buy online for about $350. Even by Fairfax standards this sets a new low.

I can just imagine the Mastercard commercial now... Camera Bag by LowePro - $340. Professional camera and lens equipment - $12,000. Years of professional writing experience and months of travel away from home - worthless.

July 04, 2008

Norwegian Good

When asked "What is this?" I had to pause to think. The answer came out "Norwegian pop band echoing 90's indie tunes with a hint of Lush and Sonic Youth." I could have added Darling Buds and The Primitives blending Medicine and Go Betweens, but then no one would know what I was talking about.

Je Suis Animal are young, funky and freshly released into the Australian market. Lost & Lonesome are making the debut album available to audiences downunder.

This band will never be seen on Eurovision song contests, I'll warn you now. They're too good for that. People actually will want to buy the album. There's dead wood on the track listing, but at least it's European wood so it's somehow more appealing. The star tracks are Hotel Electronique and Secret Place, and you can hear them here...

Je Suis Animal are for the most part tame beasts, more scared of the forest than running wild through it. In their own words, "This is where we recorded our debut album: a community hall in the middle of the woods. Incarcerated, due to the risk of being eaten alive by hungry wolves and grouchy bears, we recorded 13 songs."

June 29, 2008

Gold and Silk

I was surprised to find a touch of the Silk Road right here in Melbourne this week, in a fine gallery on the edges of Bridge St. Distinctive paintings by Chinese artist Huixuan Zhao are on display at Dickersons, and it's worth taking a closer look.

Miss Huixuan casts a youthful eye on ancient stories. The technique on display is called Gongbi, literally meaning "fine brush". The style originates in the Han Dynasty, very early in the period of China's evolution towards becoming a unified country, around 200BC - a time when both Rome and Julius Caesar was ascending.

The works on display by Huixuan reflect the very essence of China in that period, a tale of gold and silk. This was the golden era of the Silk Route, when money, culture and religion was coming into China from the west, and silk was being sold from the east.

The delicate and articulate creations of Huixuan are painted on silk, with restrained application of colour and subtle layers of gold. Within each work an echo of the Silk Road can also be found. Buddhist symbolism, Confucian wisdom and Han aesthetics. Some works even hint at the Arabic influences further out west, while others evoke the Chinese art of balancing yin and yang.

As a collection it is irresistible. Her themes encompass marriage, contemplation, devotion, enlightenment and passion. Elements are layered within each work with great depth and intention. For such a young artist to compose an array of ancient reflections is worthy of recognition.

June 19, 2008

Panda Man

My life as a travel writer is much like that of the Giant Panda - sitting in a field of bamboo, surrounded by his preferred diet even though it yields next to no nutritional value.

Over time the Panda Man grows fat, mostly from inertia than from a lavish diet. In the absence of true predators it's hard to stay lean, the only real competition for the bland diet of bamboo is other Panda Men.

Some aspects of size do confer strength however. It is unwise to provoke the panda unless you have the speed to run away.

Pandas are very much adored from a distance, even though on close quarters the grubby brown tinge of their white fur and stinky faecal habits become more apparent.

Ironically pandas are solitary animals that enjoy a vast home range and reconnect with their species once a year for potential mating rituals. The modern panda, devoid of natural habitat and confined to enclosures, becomes dependent upon the social interaction with the hand that feeds them.

Panda Man is not an island either, bearing no wish to be cast out into the forest.

June 02, 2008

Moce Nukubati

How to visit Fiji and avoid most of Fiji. Lovely...

Day 1
Landed in Nadi. Smiley old man drove us to hotel. Will be a nice hotel when finished.

Day 2
Smiley old man drove us to airport. Caught little plane to Labassa. Airport is the size of a postage stamp. Picked up by 4WD and drove for an hour. Sugar cane everywhere. Arrived at jetty in the mangroves. Boat to Nukubati Island takes under eight minutes. Every one of the hotel staff were on hand to sing and welcome us. Got lays.

Took catamaran for a sail. Lazy lunch. Slept. Victoria had a massage and returned smelling like a lamington. Sunset on the beach then champagne and canapes. Mosquitos joined us. Dinner brought sundried tomato tapenade, prawn salad and pan fried lobster tails.

Grilled fish and pineapple for breakfast. Walk to top of island, watch out for frogs and medicinal plants. Took catamaran for a sail and nearly killed us both. Seafood lunch, lemongrass tea and snooze in the hammock. Snorkelling around the mangroves. Sunset champagne. Dining on kokoda, crab and crepes.

Day 4
Late breakfast. Visit to pearl farm. Lunch, sleep, kayak and more sleep. Champagne, kava, music, seafood dinner.

Day 5
Early boat ride to the Great Sea Reef. Snorkeling far out to sea, just the two of us. Literally not another boat for 20kms in any direction. Back to Nukubati for lunch. Took catamaran for one more spin, broke the main block. Late arvo took a boat ride to the sand bank. The tide was still falling but we sat with Bolonger and canape and watched the sunset. Kava and dancing before dinner, then packed our bags.

Day 6
Reality sucks. Plane load of screaming children all the way back to Sydney. Shoot me.

Click here to see more of Nukubati, it rocks.

May 24, 2008

Sting in The Tail

Airlines are all pretty much the same aren’t they? They all fly nice planes that are safer than your family car, they have lots of seats and everyone has to endure the same airport security procedures before the plane takes off. So is there a difference between full-service and discount airlines?

I’m here to tell you that not all airlines are the same, and having paid my money to travel with Tiger Airways from Melbourne to Thailand earlier this year I’m convinced that not all discount carriers are the same either.

My main gripe with the cheap airlines is the baggage, and the chaos caused by limiting check-in luggage to 15kg. The ridiculous pantomime of people unpacking suitcases and stuffing heavy items into their handbags is a farce. If it’s ok to take it on the plane under your arm then why not just let them check it in anyway. There’s more weight difference from one person to another than one bag from another – my wife weighs 25 kilos less than I do but we still pay the same price for a ticket.

Full-service airlines have the good sense to allow a little grace with luggage limits and save everybody, including themselves, the hassle.

Having to play the luggage limit game is silly enough, but flying discount means having to do it over again for every connecting flight. That’s right, if you’re flying from Melbourne to Phuket on Tiger Airways you have to get off the plane in Darwin, collect your bags, stand in line and check them in once again. The procedure is repeated in Singapore too, with the added excitement of clearing passport control, entering the country, and then exiting the country an hour later after you check-in on the other side of the building.

Or you could catch the Jetstar flight direct.

Re-checking an entire plane of people and their bags is a waste of money and time, but the utter turmoil facing 150 transit passengers in Darwin every midnight looks more like an airline strike than a modern mode of transport. The queue to check-in extends all the way through the departure-hall and into the arrivals section. Your place in that queue is determined by when your bags come off the carousel. If you’re an elderly traveller who isn’t used to having to push your way to the front of the pack to reach your luggage then you may end up standing in line to check-in for about 2 hours.

That’s not an exaggeration, that’s exactly what happened to my mother-in-law. I can’t even mention the name Tiger Airways anymore without her ankles and legs throbbing with pain from the enduring memory of that experience.

Things are a little better in Singapore where a plane-load of Aussie passengers are dispersed among those over-nighting in the city and others making connections to one of a dozen Asian destinations. It was however the third time I had my bags weighed and this time the scales said I was over the limit. Much like airlines, not all scales are made the same.

After six sectors on Tiger Airways only one flight actually departed the terminal within an hour of the scheduled take-off. Plus we had to listen to our friends for the entire week talking about what great service they got with Thai Airways and how they didn’t spend three hours the night before the trip trying to reduce their luggage to 15 kilos.

Even my 6ft tall brother-in-law was boasting about having plenty of leg-room and sleeping comfortably during the night. I’m barely 5’4” and my knees were hard up against the wire frame of the seat in front of me. When I did fall asleep I was bumped awake by a Tigeress pushing her overpriced snacks-cart up the aisle. Who really needs the offer of purchasing a chocolate bar at 3am?

I know what you’re thinking, “You get what you pay for right?” I have to admit my ticket was dirt cheap, but I booked it nine months in advance and got a great deal. If I were to book the same flights for next month the cost would be the same if not higher than going with a full-service airline. Compare that to Air Asia’s range of short-haul flights where I know the price of the ticket is always cheap, even when I buy it the same day I fly. That pricing policy has forced other airlines on the same routes to lower their prices too.

I think Tiger Airways can do better and offer some genuine competition for Melbournians who want to fly to Asia, but for now they’re best value is on the domestic routes. Budget conscious travellers can hunt online for one of their cheap seats abroad, if they get in early, but watch-out for a sting in the tail.

A month after enduring the Tiger trauma I found myself on a direct flight from Melbourne to Bangkok with Thai Airways. It was only economy but it felt like my own private limousine service. I had miles of leg room and elbow room, really comfy seats, proper entertainment and absolutely delicious food. The service was attentive and professional and my bags arrived at the other end. It was so lovely I could have cried.

The next time someone offers me a flight to Bangkok for half the price I‘m going to pass. Holidays are something to enjoy, not survive.

May 18, 2008

Create the Whole

A friend of mine pointed out that in centuries past the best and brightest of our society were people who made things. They were creators. The drive to construct is part of our human nature, and our modern lifestyles rarely allow us to fulfil that need.

Before the rise of modern cities the most intellectually capable of our society were people who used their hands to create. Masons, painters, wood carvers, builders, etc. The pinnacle of a culture's achievements were artistic, aesthetic and visual.

Great pyramids in Egypt, Fabergé eggs in Russia, buttressed churches in France or divine murals in Italy. That's just a sample. Fine china, antique furniture and Ming vases were all just examples of our social respect for the talent of creativity. On more mundane levels the daily lives of people centred around building a home, growing gardens and constructing communities.

The very essence of working is the satisfaction of completing and creating. Blacksmiths who forge metal tools from lumps of rock are men who feel a sense of achievement, while their wives are women who turn a house into a home - nesting behaviour is not a trivial matter, it's about creating a world within four walls that is greater than what was. Working the land, working with your hands or raising a family is all about creating something from your life.

This is what is missing when we design our modern lifestyle. We focus on the financial, on the material and the analytical, and we place very little value on creating and construction.

Our brightest and best tend to fall into careers that extract from our society instead of contributing to it. Lawyers and brokers head the pack, careers that filter and deconstruct in order to make money for a few. Doctors and scientists do a little better but are out numbered and distracted. Many of our most talented are sidelined with cosmetic achievements, sometimes literally.

What this means for our society is simple, we are putting our most talented minds to poor use. What this means for us as individuals is more challenging, as many of us fall victim to the false idols of a modern lifestyle. Pursuing employment to pay the rent, to buy a car and pass our time is not a satisfying existence.

Lawrence Daws describes his artistic pursuit of painting in terms of being whole. Having finished a work of art, an expression of emotion and a unique record of his experiences committed to canvas, he can sit quietly with a painting and feel a sense of being complete.

Only in that moment of having finished a work of construction do we feel the most whole. We are fulfilled with achievement, expression and purpose. Working for the self, exploring artistic goals or determining one's own career path is more than just a bid for freedom, it's a step closer to being oneself.

March 26, 2008

Word Count

Each year members of the ASTW have to tally their work and demonstrate that they really are travel writers.

This year's magic numbers are 36,000 words, 32 articles and 185 photographs. That excludes a handful of articles that ran in different markets or the syndicated outlets. It's a little more than I did last year, but still a long way behind the big guns of Australian travel. 50,000 is a good baseline and 100,000 is not uncommon.

Which all makes me wonder what the fuss is about with these honours students who only have to write up 15-20,000 words for a thesis? Every year I'd watch another batch of eager young science students torture themselves for months over what seems like a modest word count.

Admittedly it's easier to get inspired to write another few thousand lines about Antarctic penguin spotting than the second-messenger response of isolated adrenal cells.

But spare a thought for the travel writers this year who not only published their 50,000 words but who also wrote a book. Hats off to those guys and gals - never assume travel writers don't work hard!

March 18, 2008

Yum Sum

The face of Dim Sum dining in Melbourne has been changed forever. A little shop tucked away in the back streets of Little Saigon, in Footscray, has begun dispensing delicious dim sum parcels, freshly made for you to take home - steam them when you need them.

The range covers all the regular cantonese "little hearts", including Har Gau, Sui Mai and Char Sui Pau. Devotees of Shanghai dumplings will also enjoy the xiao long bao - "little caged buns" filled with crab and pork mince.

Did I mention that everything is made fresh in the shop? Let's make the local dim sum dealers feel welcome and enjoy a regular steamy breakfast of Chinese delights.

January 15, 2008

Four Hours

A little wisdom from the father of a friend. "You have four good hours in you each day - the rest is crap."

And so another 20 hours of crap works it's way to a finish. The clock just struck 12am and I wonder whether my four good hours begin now or will my brain can figure a way to save them up for when I really need them. Perhaps if I go straight to sleep I can save about three of them for when I wake up. Either that or I sleep through my four good hours each day, which would explain the events of the last few weeks at any rate.

Ah screw it, here's a photo of something completely irrelevant...

January 09, 2008

Hands Up

This week someone asked me to write a bio about myself and what inspires my photography. Boring as a boat of full of backgammon. The indigenous artists of Australia had the right idea - make a stencil from your hand and bugger off to let someone else tell the story.

"Photography was a creative pursuit against a background of boring career moves. I quit graduate school after studying molecular biology, became an IT expert during the boom and then dropped out of organised society to live life among the barristas of Melbourne's inner suburbs. Finally when my kidney could stand no more coffee I returned to the camera and discovered that photography is more than an art form, it's a story telling device. Travel photography is not about beautiful pictures for the sake of a beautiful picture, it's about revealing insight into the lives of people the rest of us have never known.

My first exhibition was in 1994, a collection of leaves shot in the outback between Melbourne and Alice Springs. It was all about the little things - sticks, mud and sand. 14 years later my work is being exhibited in Sydney and Melbourne as part of a travelling photo collection. The theme hasn't changed much, except I've found bigger
meaning behind the little things. Sticks can be used as brushes to paint rock art, sand makes an oven for cooking bush-tucker and mud is an indicator of where we sit in the cycle of seasons.

hmmm, contrary to my highest expectations I really did get a little wiser with age. Somebody should write my high-school teachers and let them know their efforts were not completely wasted."

What's Up Doc

Who would have thought that a career in medical research would prepare me for travel journalism, but the fact is that I would never have learned to write if not for the riggers of scientific communications.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I can know assemble the highlights of my medical career and link to a few published articles that bare my name. All those years standing at the lab bench in Houston and Melbourne were not wasted. Well, some of those years weren't wasted!

Warning: the following articles contain pretty racy titles, the young and infirm are advised to avert your eyes...

Characterization of the interaction between the Staphylococcus aureus clumping factor (ClfA) and fibrinogen.

Production and characterization of WEG-1, an epidermal growth factor/transforming growth factor-alpha-responsive mouse uterine epithelial cell line

Production of prostaglandin f2alpha and its metabolite by endometrium and yolk sac placenta in late gestation in the tammar wallaby, Macropus Eugenii.

January 03, 2008

Not Cricket

When you read the press reports from Indian cricket writers you'd almost believe that they're the only side that ever got a bad call.

I don't recall reading too many stories blaming the umpires for any other team losing a test match. The reason is of course that one decision does not determine who will win or lose. The melodramatic pleas from Indian media and players reveals the extent to which they have failed to take responsibility for their own situation.

They got two bad calls during the day, that is true. But they also stood around for hours and watched hundreds of runs scored against their bowling. There were eleven fit and talented Indian cricketers out on the field that day, what were they doing to win the match? They did half a days work and then let the game slip away from them after a bad call.

Andrew Symonds pointed out himself that the rub of the green can go either way in a match. Just ask Ricky Ponting about being given LBW after getting the bat to ball. All kinds of luck can flow with you or against you, and the important thing is how you respond to that. The previous test match in Melbourne saw a few LBW decisions go in favour of some lucky Indian batsmen - but the bowlers job is to walk back up the pitch and bowl another one until you get your man.

Most disappointing was the suggestion that it was a deliberate error. There's a big difference between whining about the result and accusing someone of interfering with the game. It shows an appalling lack of character on behalf of those who would voice such baseless drivel.

Even the call to lodge a complaint with the match referee only reflects poorly on the Indians, and does nothing to help the team perform at their best. By diverting attention towards a single incident they fail to accept the nature of the game, and fail to accept the challenge of test cricket. It's about five days of ebb and flow, it's not about hysterical theatrics and playing the victim.

India has a great team of players, I'd like to see them concentrate on their cricket and leave the impossibly difficult job of umpiring to people who have more skill than some hack of a writer.

India Dialy
Hindustan Times
Inida Times
Express India