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Fourth of Henry Holiday's original illustrations to 'The Hunting of the Snark'

Do you still remember how our jaws dropped when watching our secondary school geography teacher draw the outlines of North America and Australia free hand with a piece of chalk on the blackboard? With advanced computer-aided drawing technology, are teachers in classrooms installed with state-of-the-art projection devices today still in possession of such skills? Or, do they really need to be?

Prof. Fung Tung discusses with us the transformation of cartography in the past two to three decades. As the world grows more complex, so do the formats and layers of maps. Now, ordinary people can also take part in compiling information for a map. Maps are being updated at a frequency and speed one could never have imagined.

In Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem 'The Hunting of the Snark', the Bellman brought with him a map representing the sea but 'without the least vestige of land'. 'The perfect and absolute blank' is well received by the crew who found it to be a map they could all understand.

'What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
'They are merely conventional signs!'

Everybody has his/her ideal map. Prof. Benjamin Ng who appears in 'Thus Spake…' studies Japanese popular culture and shares his views on blogs and Facebook. He's also drawing an intellectual map which guides people to understand a country and its people.