The Private Life of Old Hong Kong: Western Women in the British Colony 1841 to 1941 by Susanna Hoe
In 1938, leg­is­la­tion to abol­ish the mui-tsai sys­tem was signed into law, and Phyl­lis Har­rop was ap­point­ed as­sist­ant sec­re­tary for Chi­nese af­fairs. When Phyl­lis answered the ad in 1937, she thought that she was be­ing hired as a sec­re­tary. She had gone to Shang­hai from Eng­land in 1929 to see the world. There she worked as a secre­tary until an ill-fated mar­riage to a Ger­man baron in 1934. Leav­ing him, she worked in Japa­nese-dom­i­nat­ed Man­chu­ria and had some con­tact with the world of the secret ser­vice. Now, in Hong Kong, she was giv­en an as­sign­ment to pro­tect young girls.
One raid that Phyl­lis had con­duct­ed in per­son had dis­cov­ered seven­teen trans­ferred girls who were about to be shipped abroad. Phyl­lis set about pre­par­ing her­self for her real job, be­com­ing as soon as possible pro­fi­cient in Can­to­nese and the rele­vant laws of Hong Kong. She built up a staff of Chi­nese wom­en not afraid to work hard, and two police in­spec­tors and a ser­geant were sec­ond­ed to her. As well as that team there were about one hun­dred Chi­nese detec­tives. It was not easy. The police depart­ment, in­struct­ed to re­fer to her all cases con­cern­ing wom­en and chil­dren or fam­i­ly af­fairs, ob­ject­ed to hav­ing to deal with a wom­an. She found that notice of a forth­com­ing raid on a “sly broth­el” (i.e. il­le­gal) was leak­ing out so that any evi­dence of law-break­ing had dis­ap­peared by the time the police ar­rived.
Sub­se­quent­ly she made a prac­tice of go­ing on raids and was seen as quite a cha­rac­ter, as well as a friend, among the Chi­nese. Phyl­lis took her work seri­ous­ly but she did not take herself ser­i­ous­ly, laugh­ing­ly de­scrib­ing her job as “pro­tect­ing way­ward girls”. Phyl­lis gives her for­mal title in “Hong Kong Inci­dent” (1942) as “nui wa man dai yan”. It meant, lit­er­al­ly and in­ac­cu­rate­ly, the lady secre­tary for Chi­nese af­fairs’. But it meant col­lo­quial­ly “big lady


 EXCERPT 
Techniques of Japanese Occupation by Robert S Ward
At the begin­ning of the sec­ond week of the war [Jan­uary 1942], the con­trol­ler of land tran­sport is­sued a notice in the Gazette Extra­ordi­nary stop­ping all pri­vate motor­ing and limiting the sale of gaso­line to cer­tain des­ig­nat­ed pumps where officers of the Tran­sport Ser­vice checked on all per­sons desiring to buy it. Near­ly all the private­ly owned cars and trucks in the Colo­ny had been req­ui­si­tioned much ear­li­er in the con­flict; but this order stopped what re­mained of pri­vate traf­fic. The buses had been req­ui­si­tioned, and the street­car ser­vice, which for days had run only dawn to dusk, was now in­def­i­nite­ly sus­pend­ed.
Shop fronts through­out the busi­ness dis­trict were board­ed over; such busi­ness as was be­ing done, with a few ex­cep­tions, car­ried on through lit­tle peep­holes or half-sized doors in the board­ing. Every­where glass store fronts and win­dow panes were criss-crosed with past­ed slips of paper to pre­vent them from shat­ter­ing with the con­stant rever­ber­ations of shell­fire and the con­tin­ual thud­ding of ex­plod­ing bombs or shells.
The streets were sprayed with a rub­ble of plas­ter and bricks and were in some places piled so high with debris as to be im­pass­able. Many houses and build­ings, par­tic­ular­ly those of the old­er type of con­struc­tion, were pul­ver­ized. The un­remit­ting shell­ing made whole blocks un­in­habit­a­ble even in areas where the actual dam­age was rela­tive­ly light­er. As the hos­til­i­ties pro­gressed, more and more of the mid-level and Peak dwel­lings were lit­eral­ly blown off the side of the hill – among them the resi­dence of the Amer­i­can consul-gen­eral, whose home was total­ly wrecked.


 EXCERPT 
Hong Kong: Epilogue to an Empire by Jan Morris
“The Ger­man pres­ence in occu­pied Hong Kong wasn’t entire­ly neg­li­gi­ble. Ger­mans ob­served dur­ing the actual course of the fight­ing in­clud­ed an offi­cer and a civil­ian wear­ing a swas­tika em­blem on his lapel. Both ap­par­ent­ly made some at­tempt to inter­cede with the Japa­nese forces on be­half of their fel­low Euro­peans. Short­ly after the take­over, on De­cem­ber 30 1941, a num­ber of German offi­cers with nazi arm­bands are said to have watched the al­lied POWs being herd­ed in­to cap­tiv­ity. One Indian eye-wit­ness reported, ‘I have noticed many Ger­man advis­ers and I under­stand that the Ger­mans are in charge of artil­lery oper­ations’. At one point in the early months of the Occu­pation a Ger­man ges­ta­po man in Hong Kong was said to have com­ment­ed ‘that the Japa­nese would nev­er have got where they were if it had not been for the Ger­mans’. The Defag Co., a sub­sid­iary of the in­dus­trial giant I.G. Far­ben, was ob­served to have en­tered along with the Japa­nese. [I.G. Far­ben, the par­ent com­pany of Bay­er, man­u­fac­tured Zyklon B, the poi­son gas used in the Holo­caust.] Civil­ian visit­ors in the fol­low­ing year in­clud­ed Dr Erich Kordt, the Ger­man chargé d’af­faires in Nanking.”


lab vials

Based on sight gags and stage­craft, The Invis­i­ble Man and its sequels helped nudge thea­tre to keep up w/ the matur­ing motion pic­tures be­he­moth. Based on a vic­tor­ian fan­ta­sia on the con­se­quen­ces of scien­tific fron­tiers.
  1.    The Invisible Man (1933)     A scien­tist’s un­holy ex­pe­ri­ments into in­vis­i­bil­i­ty is real­ized, and now he regrets it. Claude Rains is the Invis­i­ble Man, slow­ly turn­ing homi­cidal due to the for­mu­la’s side ef­fect. “… a few mur­ders here and there.” Glo­ria Stu­art as his fiancée, E.E. Clive is the con­stable, Una O’Connor the inn­keeper.   2.   The Invis­i­ble Man Returns (1940)    In an al­truis­tic mo­ment, the mad scien­tist’s brother re-creates the invis­i­bil­ity for­mu­la in order to re­lease a man on death row and to find the real kill­er. “I can’t find peace in the un­der­world.” Vin­cent Price is the broth­er who be­comes the sec­ond Invis­ible Man, w/ Sir Cedric Hard­wicke, Alan Napier, Nan Grey.   3.   The Invis­ible Woman (1940)    Kitty Carroll answers an ad to be a sub­ject in a science ex­pe­ri­ment, and is bom­bard­ed by an invis­i­bil­ity ray. “I’m noth­in’ but a nothin’.” Blackie and his gang get word of this mira­cle and be­come in­ter­es­ted. John Barry­more is the mad scien­tist, w/ Oskar Homol­ka, Shemp How­ard, Maria Mon­tez, Anne Nagel.   4.   Invis­i­ble Agent (1942)    When axis agents ar­rive to steal the invis­ibility for­mu­la, the grand­son to the sci­en­tist runs off w/ the note­books. Jon Hall then in­gests the for­mu­la and para­chutes into Ber­lin, to bring the war home, as the Invis­ible Agent. “I can’t tell you peo­ple apart.” Screen­play by Curt Siod­mak. With Peter Lorre, Sir Ced­ric Hard­wicke, Al­bert Bas­ser­man, Ilona Mas­sey, J. Ed­ward Brom­berg, Key Luke.   5.   The Invis­ible Man’s Re­venge (1944)    A mad sci­entist suc­ceeds in sta­bi­liz­ing the invis­i­bi­lity for­mu­la and turns ghoul­ish. John Car­ra­dine is Dr Drury. “Pio­neers have al­ways to con­tend w/ fools.” Jon Hall re­turns again as the invis­i­ble one, w/ Gale Son­der­gaard, Les­ter Math­ews, Halli­well Hobbes.


cheese wedge

When a nea­rly in­tact tomb be­long­ing to egyp­tian royal­ty was dis­cov­ered in 1922, for­eign cor­re­spon­dent John L. Bal­der­ston was there cov­er­ing it for the New York World. The world then be­came some­what fa­mil­i­ar w/ the an­cients’ be­lief in im­mor­tality as well as the sci­ence of em­balm­ing, an op­era­tion tak­ing 70 days to achieve and pre­si­ded over by Anu­bis. Bal­der­ston was later hired to pro­duce the screen­play for a fan­tas­ia based on a fic­tion, fash­ioned from a back­story by Nina Wil­co Put­nam, on the life of 18th-c. french hyp­no­tist Cali­os­tro. The re­sult dipped ro­mance into un­god­ly goo that only Holly­wood could con­coct.
  1.   The Mum­my (1932)    As the 1921 field ex­pe­di­tion sea­son opens in Egypt, mem­bers of the Brit­ish Mu­seum dis­cover a coffin and a body in­side. “The gods of Egypt still live in these hills, in their ruined tem­ples.” Boris Karloff is the mum­my Im­ho­tep, awak­ened by tomb-hunt­ers and pur­su­ing the rein­car­na­tion of his prin­cess Anck-es-en-Amon – in flap­per-era London.   2.   The Mum­my’s Hand (1940)    Fol­low­ing a map, ar­chae­ol­o­gists find the tomb of the prin­cess Anan­ka, and by break­ing the seal of the seven jackals un­leash a ter­ror that has wait­ed 3,000 years to be reborn. “We search for the tomb of a prin­cess, and all we find is the mum­my of a man.” Tom Tyler is the re­ani­mat­ed Kharis – im­part­ing to the role his famous lurch and one dead arm. Eduar­do Cia­nel­li plays the high priest.   3.   The Mum­my’s Tomb (1942)    Open­ing his eyes for the first time as the mum­my Kharis, Lon Chaney Jr will seek ven­geance for the tomb des­e­cra­tion of his prin­cess Anan­ka. “The curse on that tomb ex­tends to the blood re­la­tions of all who en­tered it.” Tur­han Bey is Mehemet Bey.   4.   The Mum­my’s Ghost (1944)    Ram­say Ames is the amer­i­can re­in­car­na­tion of the prin­cess Anan­ka, and Lon Chaney Jr again plays the mum­my Kharis, cross­ing the Atlan­tic Ocean to court her. “First it’s the Mum­my. Now it’s a re­in­car­nat­ed woman!” John Car­ra­dine plays You­sef Bey, and George Zuc­co is An­do­heb.   5.    The Mum­my’s Curse (1944)    Lon Chan­ey Jr is re­vived a third time as the mum­my Kharis, and finds rea­son to wade into the Lou­i­si­ana bayou where a crypt holds dead prin­cess Anan­ka, his be­loved Vir­gin­ia Chris­tine. “I can nev­er get too much sun.” Peter Coe is Dr Ilzor Zan­daabm, and Den­nis Moore is Dr Halsey.








-¦  January 2023  ¦-

  WHAT HE SAID  W.H. Auden quote: ...Ten thousand miles from home and What's-Her-Name. A bugle on this late Victorian hill puts out the soldier's lights; off-stage, a war thuds like the slamming of a distant door ...  


 1883  Waglan Island, on the eastern entrance into Hong­kong harbor, plays host to a meteo­ro­log­i­cal station, a saluting bat­tery, and a light­house. These are navi­ga­tion­al aids for guidance through a chan­nel into a well-lit harbor “sin­gu­lar­ly free from sub­merged dangers.
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Undated hand-tinted vintage postcard showing the compound, saluting battery, meteorological station and lighthouse.
 1920  Deep-focus 1921 photo shows both the Repulse Bay Hotel on the hillside and the beach, bay and cabanas down below. +
Opening on New Year’s Day 1920, greeting guests from the Central Dis­trict on a new­ly built road over the mountain, the “old lady on the Riviera of the East” could offer comfort already on “a well-made road, lead­ing to the main steps, in front of which is a miniature Italian garden, artistically laid out and provided with a foun­tain.
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There are six parallel-parked Model T Fords in this c.1926 photo at the Repulse Bay Hotel; in the background Repulse Bay stretches to the horizon. +
From the main steps guests reach a spacious balcony which runs the entire length of the facade. There is a 3,500 sq-ft hall with its own verandah. Each bedroom measures twenty-foot square, and comes with its own white-glaze tiled bath­room featuring hot and cold water.
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1960 aerial color photo of the Repulse Bay Hotel compound and grounds. +
Located on the Island side facing the sea, this “hotel with­out its like in the East” pro­vid­ed living quarters in the back for staff, and was orig­in­al­ly con­ceived as a self-con­tained “pleas­ure resort.” Dur­ing the war it was used by the Occu­pation, part­ly as a hos­pi­tal, part­ly as a recu­pe­ra­tion center.


 c.1912 
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1929 photo showing headquarters of Alex Ross & Co., with a Model T Ford parked outside. +
The first distributor of the Model T by Henry Ford in Hong­kong was Alex Ross & Co., with headquarters in Prince’s Building, Central District.
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1920 photograph of Alex Ross & Co.'s garage and repair shop. +
Maintenance happened in the garage on Salisbury Rd in Kow­loon, next to Star Ferry and the Kowloon Canton Rail­way terminus. Vehicles on offer were capable of 25 miles to the gallon and could be ordered in any colour as long as it was “blue or grey.
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Aftermath of the 1927 typhoon shows three bright young people smiling and sitting on a damaged Model T Ford.
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The typhoon of August 20 1927 damaged the garage, which had at the time twenty motor cars and six motor cycles.
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1908 ad for the Model T Ford.
 1920s  Movie poster for 1929 Hollywood musical 'Paris' with Irene Bordoni and Jack Buchanan. Circa 1930 photograph of dancers at a Peninsula Hotel ball. +
In the beginning, there were very few movie houses wired for sound. The Majes­tic (1928) on Nathan Rd was one of the first, and their New Year’s offering for 1930 was technicolor Holly­wood musical Paris, now a lost film. The Penin­su­la Hotel hosted casual tea dances by day and formal balls by night.
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Two issues of 'Tavern Topics', a cover of a saxophonist giving his all to a swaying couple, a cover of a decked-out couple with cigarette holders dangling from their mouths. +
Monthly magazine published by the Peninsula Hotel’s parent company, Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd.


  (1886- )  1955 color ad for Dairy Farm Co gives a description of their food specials, and a photo of the farm. +
The Dairy Farm, Ice & Cold Storage Co., Ltd. was founded by Dr Patrick Manson with a herd of eighty cows. By the mid 20th century, there were 1,600 tuber­cu­lo­sis-free dairy cattle, chicken farms, and piggeries of­fered for retail using modern butchery meth­ods. In addition to dairy and provision stores, Dairy Farm operated twelve soda foun­tains and restaurants. Cold stor­age facil­i­ties could handle im­port­ed refrigerated meats, game and poul­try, quick froz­en foods, canned, bot­tled and pack­aged goods, and dairy prod­ucts of every variety.
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1952 menu for Dairy Farm restaurant. There are nine beef dishes prepared from prime tender beef: t-bone steak, steak, rump, sirloin, hamburger, pot roast, casseroled, curried, and the minute steak, which retails for HK$4.50. Served with garden-fresh vegetables in season.
 (1927- )  Two photographs of the Peninsula Hotel, circa 1920s. The first is from atop nearby Signal Hill, and shows the five-storey hotel with its view of Hongkong harbor. The second photo shows the front entrance. +
In 1921, the people running the Hong Kong Hotel were ap­proached by the gov­ern­ment to build a hotel on the tip of Kow­loon. On open­ing day in 1927, it was promptly requi­si­tioned as temporary accommodation for British troops. The following year it was handed back to the own­ers, and a new opening date of December 11 1928 was an­nounced, bringing local sheiks and flap­pers to its ball­room dance floor. During the Occu­pa­tion, the hotel became head­quarters for Lieut. Gen. Ren­su­ke Iso­gai, who renamed it the Toa Hotel. After the war, the owners took it back, only to have it be requi­si­tioned a second time for allied civil servants and ex-POWs. The Peninsula re­opened again in 1946, resum­ing a tradi­tion of sup­ply­ing “hot” rhythm for the bright young people.
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Matchbox cover
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Matchbox cover issued to offi­cers during the Occupation, who had a right to use the facil­i­ties at the Peninsula Hotel, head­quarters for the Japanese Im­pe­rial Armed Forces.

  (1850- ) 

Lane Crawford's second location, in 1905, was to this five-storey building at 4 Ice House St. +
1893 ad for Lane Crawford, offering complete outfits for tourists: sun hats, binoculars, deck shoes, rubber sea boots, walking boots, shoes. There are travellers' cooking stoves and reading lamps, camp furniture, travelling chess sets, travelling inkstands, note books and diaries. Manila cigars, cheroots, pipes and smoker's sundries. Flasks, books, revolvers and firearms. Etc.
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More ancient than Harrods, Lane Crawford Department Store was founded by one Thomas Ash Lane, formerly a butler in the East ­India Co. factory at Canton, who went to Hongkong in the early 1840s and, together with Ninian (Norman) Crawford, went into business carrying goods. They opened their doors in 1846.
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1903 ad for Lane Crawford, listing departments devoted to home furnishings, luggage, tailoring, sports and miscellaneous. There were offerings of wines, spirits and musical instruments. Services for shipchandlers and upholsterers could be procured.


 (1868-1952)  Hong Kong Hotel, Queen’s Rd at Pedder St, is the first world-class hospitality house in Hongkong, where management has provided a special launch to meet ship passengers and ferry them to the hotel’s pier. A six-storey north wing facing the waterfront opened in 1893, but was con­sumed in a fire in 1926.
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Newspaper ad for the Hong Kong Hotel contains no illustration and is all in text, which can get granular. The hotel overlooks the habor and is next to Pedder Wharf, the principal landing stage on the Island, and situated in the heart of town. Descriptions follow of accommodations, amenities, dining choices.
 (1892-1951)  Begin­ning around 1892, entrepreneural broth­ers Sam and Mar­cus Samuel began to ship kerosene in bulk to China, where they found a ready mar­ket. Then part­nering with Royal Dutch Petrol­eum for a joint ven­ture, they be­came Asiatic Petrol­eum Co. Today it is what­ever Shell Oil’s latest brand­name is called.
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Photo taken in the 1910s showing  seven-storey South China headquarters of Asiatic Petroleum Co.
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The end of Pedder St runs into the Asiatic Petroleum Co. build­ing, where a clock tower once stood. On the right (not shown) is Jar­dine’s head­quarters. On the left (also not shown) is the Hong Kong Hotel, making the two-block long Pedder St the “financial district of Hong­kong, China.


 Golden Triangle  Map of the Pearl River Delta showing proximity of Canton, Macao and Hongkong. +
A twenty-mile wide gulf in South China is home to Canton, Macao and Hong­kong. The river flowing into it is short, being a coastal convergence where three other rivers meet. Banks were once lined with banana and sugar-cane groves, with orange trees and rice paddies. Euro­pean sailors came and before long had given a name to where the delta begins and the river ends: Bocca Tigris, mouth of the tiger, to denote the dangers going upriver. Halfway to Canton was an island, and where a warehouse with a wharf was sit­u­at­ed. Business was conducted in Can­ton, where a stretch by the Pearl River was turned into an on-site compound for Euro­pean and Amer­i­can companies, in the business of mak­ing trade here, in the golden trian­gle of China.
 South China Sea 
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More than two hun­dred species of fish call the Pearl River Delta home. Bream, herring and dace. Anguilla Mar­mo­ra­ta and rat­mouth bar­bell. The man­da­rin, the big­head and four varieties of carp – silver, grass, golden, common.
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Color drawings of seven locally prized seafood: leopard-coral trout, green wrasse, medura garoupa, yellow garoupa, horsehead, red-tailed mackerel, crayfish. +

  TEA TIME 
sugar bowl
The must-dos for brew­ing a prop­er pot of tea, and how a con­stitu­tion­al drink­ing regi­men – the bit­ter made palat­able with sugar and milk or lemon – calmed a nation’s nerves.


Ben Franklin's teapot
That morning
I heard water
being poured into
a teapot. The sound was an ordinary, daily, cluffy sound. But all at once, I knew you loved me. An un­heard-of-thing, love audible in water falling.


teacup and saucer
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A steadfast­ness in duti­ful habit­ing in all mat­ters relat­ed to tea is a core require­ment of Brit­ish­ness, and in 2013 the stan­dard came up for a re­view: “... the of­fi­cial spec­i­fi­ca­tion for how to make a cup of tea, is of­ficial­ly ‘un­der re­view’”. Some­thing the Brit­ish Stan­dards In­stitu­tion per­forms as part of a “sys­tem­atic period­ic review”. The stan­dards are “de­vised for the con­ven­i­ence of those who wish to use them”, and cop­ies were ob­tain­able free of charge.
Framed photograph of two policemen drinking tea with Fred Thompson.
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When his desk phone rang, one day in Novem­ber 2015, the Mid­dle­ton police­man picked it up and spoke with a man who re­quest­ed police to come by. Of­fi­cer Andy Rich­ard­son took down the ad­dress, drove over with a col­league, end­ed up stay­ing for tea. He tweeted: “Just dealt with a 95-year-old cou­ple, called and said they were lone­ly. What else could we do? We’ve got to look af­ter peo­ple as well. It’s not just fighting crime, it’s pro­tect­ing peo­ple in what­ever sit­u­a­tion they find them­selves.” Fred Thomp­son, the elder­ly man from Man­ches­ter, Eng­land, who made the call: “You feel some­body cares and oh that does mat­ter ... sim­ple things they talk about, noth­ing very spe­cial but they showed that they cared by be­ing there and talk­ing to you.”

Screenshot of butler Charles Laughton pouring tea.
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She: (looking at water) It’s hot! ...
He: Can I be of any assis­tance?

Oh no. Men are so help­less in the kitch­en. (she picks up ket­tle, pro­ceeds to pour into tea­pot.)
Oh no. Always bring pot to the ket­tle, nev­er bring the ket­tle to the pot.

Well lis­ten I’ve been mak­ing tea for long­er than I can re­mem­ber–
Don’t let’s get in­to dif­fi­cul­ties about this. But you must lis­ten to an Eng­lish­man about tea. When mak­ing tea, al­ways bring the pot to the ket­tle and nev­er the ket­tle to the pot.

Oh, your knowl­edge is sur­pris­ing.
Don’t see why you should say sur­pris­ing. The best cooks have al­ways been men. I my­self have pro­nounced views on the prep­ar­a­tions and serv­ings of food.



Have you?
Oh yes.

You know some­thing nice that would go with tea?
Eh yes, yes. The in­gre­di­ents are quite sim­ple. Do you have a lit­tle flour?

Oh would you?
Flour, but­ter, milk and salt.

Oh you seem so at home in the kitchen.
Ah it would be dif­fi­cult to de­scribe the in­tense satis­fac­tion that I’ve al­ways derived from cook­ing.

George Orwell holding a teacup.
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Just after World War II, dur­ing a period of acute food ration­ing in Eng­land, George Or­well wrote an arti­cle on the mak­ing of a de­cent cup of tea that in­sist­ed on the ob­serv­ing of eleven dif­fer­ent “golden” rules. Some of these (al­ways use Indian or Ceylon­ese, i.e., Sri Lan­kan tea; make tea only in small quan­ti­ties; avoid silver­ware pots) may be con­sid­ered op­tion­al or out­mo­ded. But the essen­tial ones are eas­ily com­mit­ted to mem­ory, and they are sim­ple to put into prac­tice. If you use a pot at all, make sure it is pre-warmed. (I would add that you should do the same thing even if you are only us­ing a cup or a mug.) Stir the tea be­fore let­ting it steep. But this above all: “[O]ne should take the tea­pot to the ket­tle, and not the oth­er way about. The water should be actual­ly boil­ing at the mo­ment of im­pact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours.” This isn’t hard to do, even if you are us­ing elec­tric­i­ty rather than gas, once you have brought all the mak­ings to the same scene of opera­tions right next to the ket­tle. It’s not quite over yet. If you use milk, use the least creamy type or the tea will ac­quire a sick­ly taste. And do not put the milk in the cup first – fam­ily feuds have last­ed gen­er­a­tions over this – be­cause you will almost cer­tain­ly put in too much. Add it later, and be very care­ful when you pour. Final­ly, a de­cent cy­lin­dri­cal mug will pre­serve the need­ful heat and flav­or for long­er than will a shal­low and wide-mouthed – how of­ten those at­tri­butes seem to go to­geth­er – tea­cup. Orwell thought that sugar over­whelmed the taste, but brown sugar or honey are, I be­lieve, per­mis­si­ble and some­times nec­es­sary.
Morrissey holding a glass of milk.
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Morrissey: I abso­lute­ly nev­er get sick of drink­ing tea. It’s a psy­cho­log­i­cal thing real­ly, it’s just very com­pos­ing and makes me relax. It’s just so much ... Oh yes, yes, I’m very avid, I have to have at least four pots a day.

For those of us who don’t know how to make a pot of tea, what do you do?
M: [mumbles]

Well I would do that with­out even think­ing about it.
M: Right and also you have to use real milk you can’t use the UHT fake stuff, you have to use prop­er milk. ... Well you real­ly have to put the milk in first which many people don’t.

Put the milk in with the water, be­fore you boil the water?
M: No, you’re con­fused al­ready no, you put the milk in be­fore you pour the water in or the tea, which­ever.

Okay, so what about the actual brew­ing of the tea?
M: The brew­ing of the tea, it’s very im­por­tant that you heat the pot be­fore you put the water in, if you use a pot. I know most peo­ple who just throw a tea­bag in­to a cup but in Eng­land of course you have to make a pot of tea and you have to heat the pot first with hot water and then put the tea­bags in – I can’t be­lieve I’m say­ing this – and then put the hot water in and then just throw it all over your­self, rush to Out Patients and write a real­ly good song.


 SACRED SPACE  Princess Konohana-sakuya is the shinto spirit of Fujisan.
Kono­hana­sa­kuya-hime, the shin­to spirit of Fuji­san, is a vol­cano god­dess, and pre­sid­ing dei­ty for the pre­ven­tion of fires.

Fujisan

Taking on its iconic form some five thou­sand years ago, becom­ing the locus for ascet­ic bud­dhism of the shin­to school (be­cause blessed by superb sym­me­try?), Mt Fuji stands alone in the cen­ter of Japan, and has in­spired art­ists for many cen­tur­ies. Rec­og­nized as a “sacred space”, in 2013 Mt Fuji be­came a UNESCO World Heri­tage Site.

Mt Fuji Japan
Each item, unto the crest of a wave, in cosmo­logi­cal Japan is im­bued with its own kami “spirit”. The kami of Mt Fuji is a prin­cess, her name is Kono­hana-sokua­hime.
Mt Fuji, in shin­to cos­mol­o­gy, is occu­pied by a kami “spirit”. The Japan­ese have im­bued the world, un­to a blade of grass, each with its own kami. Prin­cess Kono­hana­sa­kuya-hime is the kami of Fuji­san, pres­ent wher­ever cherry blos­soms are found on Mt Fuji: Fujisan-konohana-sokuahime “Fuji caus­ing the blos­som to bright­ly bloom”. The fuji­ko branch of shin­to adds to the moun­tain a soul, en­dow­ing it with exist­ence. Mean­while, bud­dhists re­gard the vol­cano as a gate­way to an­oth­er world. The summit is ringed with eight peaks, and a hike to visit all of them can take about half a day.

Mt Fuji Japan
While her husband Astraeus “dawn wind” teases prim­eval god­dess Nyx “night” to leave the Sky, winged dawn god­dess Eos “auro­ra” ar­rives in her twin-horse chariot to an­nounce the advent of the Sun over Mt Fuji.
Hiking to the sum­mit to greet the morn­ing Sun is a com­mon occur­rence, and for as long as any­one can remem­ber, there is and al­ways has been, a choice of only four trails lead­ing to the top. There is a term, as in “My gorai­ko was ob­scured by clouds and rain blot­ted out the hori­zon”. For lucky ones, though, the al­pine sight of morn­ing peek­ing over the hori­zon, the depart­ure of night, can trig­ger a pal­pable shift, “some­thing we all know hap­pens reg­ular, see but not see ...” – gorai­ko, shinto speak.

Mt Fuji Japan
A macabre four­teen square mile pine for­est at the base of Mt Fuji, where it is dark on the ground and light at the top.
There is an im­mense pine for­est, a lethal leafy laby­rinth, ring­ing the north-west base of Mt Fuji. Aokiga-hara-jukai “the sea of trees” is alarm­ing­ly dark dur­ing day­time, and likened to a walk on the sea bot­tom. The for­est floor still and silent, the tree­tops sway­ing and musi­cal – leaves play­ing with wind and sun­light. Thought to be haunt­ed, the for­est is a sui­cide des­ti­na­tion spot.

Mt Fuji Japan
The village of Yoshi­da re­sides on the slopes of Mt Fuji, and plays host to an an­nual two-day fire festi­val, in hon­or of Kamuy-huci, the kami of fire.
The shinto em­bod­i­ment of fire, hearth god­dess Kamuy-huci, visits Mt Fuji once a year, wear­ing bud­dhist beads for a pow­wow with the kami of Fuji­san. They meet at a trail stop on the way to the sum­mit, in the vil­lage of Yoshi­da, rife with rus­tic rumors of inter­est­ing in­sights in­to a psycho­analysis of fire. Yoshi­da hosts an an­nual autumn fire fes­ti­val, which is over and done with in one night and fol­low­ing day, involv­ing prac­tises to con­clude the climb­ing season, and there is festival foot­age.

Mt Fuji Japan
Mt Fuji has starred in numer­ous sci­fi scen­arios, fea­tur­ing hy­brids as well as mutat­ed Japan­ese be­ings born af­ter the Sec­ond World War.
As a stand-in for the future-per­fect land­mark, Mt Fuji has has been fea­tured in numer­ous sci­fi movies. “The X From Out­er Space”(1967) be­gins with a heli­copter land­ing in full view of the moun­tain, whose peak has al­so served as a stag­ing ground for count­less mutants born af­ter the Sec­ond World War, begin­ning with God­zil­la the fire-breath­ing giant lizard. Ready to fight and best them are super­men and super­wom­en in bat­tle-suits, or else heroic be­ings from oth­er plan­ets, time trav­el­ers, as well as a legion of cy­borgs and robots. The first to show up was Gold­en Bat aka Phanta­man, who was sent for­ward in time to the year 1930 by Atlan­tis science. A few were born with fire pow­ers: sib­lings Shiro and Leyu Yoshi­da; bud­dhist Izumi Yasu­nari. Tet­suo Shi­ma (Akira) came to light in 1988, harbor­ing the seeds of des­truc­tive psy­chic powers, while Iron Man (aka Tet­suo) was an 1989 cy­borg with a trag­ic sex life.

Mt Fuji Japan
The top image shows Mt Fuji in 2019, aboard the Inter­nation­al Space Station.
Fujisan is a rela­tive­ly young and ac­tive vol­cano, six­ty-two miles south-west of Tok­yo. It sits on a slab of rock at the “trip­le junc­tion” position, radi­at­ing tec­ton­ic­al­ly down to­wards the Fili­pino Plate, west t­owards the Eur­asian Plate, and east to meet with the North Ameri­can Plate – the Okhotsk. There have been twen­ty-one recorded erup­tions, the last was an 8.4 on Octo­ber 26, 1707, des­troy­ing seven­ty-two houses and three bud­dhist tem­ples; power­ful enough to blow a scoop out at the tip, form­ing a new crater on the east­ern flank. A meteor­ologi­cal read­ing, from Feb­ru­ary 4, 2013, is typ­ical of current times:

The vol­cano re­mains calm. How­ever, an in­creased num­ber of small quakes near and un­der Mt Fuji are visi­ble on our lat­est data plot of near­by earth­quakes (with­in 30 km radius). While all of these are very small and the num­ber is cer­tain­ly not alarm­ing, the vol­cano re­mains inter­est­ing to watch. ...




The Private Life of Old Hong Kong: Western Women in the British Colony 1841 to 1941 by Susanna Hoe
In 1938, leg­is­la­tion to abol­ish the mui-tsai sys­tem was signed into law, and Phyl­lis Har­rop was ap­point­ed as­sist­ant sec­re­tary for Chi­nese af­fairs. When Phyl­lis answered the ad in 1937, she thought that she was be­ing hired as a sec­re­tary. She had gone to Shang­hai from Eng­land in 1929 to see the world. There she worked as a secre­tary until an ill-fated mar­riage to a Ger­man baron in 1934. Leav­ing him, she worked in Japa­nese-dom­i­nat­ed Man­chu­ria and had some con­tact with the world of the secret ser­vice. Now, in Hong Kong, she was giv­en an as­sign­ment to pro­tect young girls.
One raid that Phyl­lis had con­duct­ed in per­son had dis­cov­ered seven­teen trans­ferred girls who were about to be shipped abroad. Phyl­lis set about pre­par­ing her­self for her real job, be­com­ing as soon as possible pro­fi­cient in Can­to­nese and the rele­vant laws of Hong Kong. She built up a staff of Chi­nese wom­en not afraid to work hard, and two police in­spec­tors and a ser­geant were sec­ond­ed to her. As well as that team there were about one hun­dred Chi­nese detec­tives. It was not easy. The police depart­ment, in­struct­ed to re­fer to her all cases con­cern­ing wom­en and chil­dren or fam­i­ly af­fairs, ob­ject­ed to hav­ing to deal with a wom­an. She found that notice of a forth­com­ing raid on a “sly broth­el” (i.e. il­le­gal) was leak­ing out so that any evi­dence of law-break­ing had dis­ap­peared by the time the police ar­rived.
Sub­se­quent­ly she made a prac­tice of go­ing on raids and was seen as quite a cha­rac­ter, as well as a friend, among the Chi­nese. Phyl­lis took her work seri­ous­ly but she did not take herself ser­i­ous­ly, laugh­ing­ly de­scrib­ing her job as “pro­tect­ing way­ward girls”. Phyl­lis gives her for­mal title in “Hong Kong Inci­dent” (1942) as “nui wa man dai yan”. It meant, lit­er­al­ly and in­ac­cu­rate­ly, the lady secre­tary for Chi­nese af­fairs’. But it meant col­lo­quial­ly “big lady


 Excerpt 
Techniques of Japanese Occupation by Robert S Ward
At the begin­ning of the sec­ond week of the war [Jan­uary 1942], the con­trol­ler of land tran­sport is­sued a notice in the Gazette Extra­ordi­nary stop­ping all pri­vate motor­ing and limiting the sale of gaso­line to cer­tain des­ig­nat­ed pumps where officers of the Tran­sport Ser­vice checked on all per­sons desiring to buy it. Near­ly all the private­ly owned cars and trucks in the Colo­ny had been req­ui­si­tioned much ear­li­er in the con­flict; but this order stopped what re­mained of pri­vate traf­fic. The buses had been req­ui­si­tioned, and the street­car ser­vice, which for days had run only dawn to dusk, was now in­def­i­nite­ly sus­pend­ed.
Shop fronts through­out the busi­ness dis­trict were board­ed over; such busi­ness as was be­ing done, with a few ex­cep­tions, car­ried on through lit­tle peep­holes or half-sized doors in the board­ing. Every­where glass store fronts and win­dow panes were criss-crosed with past­ed slips of paper to pre­vent them from shat­ter­ing with the con­stant rever­ber­ations of shell­fire and the con­tin­ual thud­ding of ex­plod­ing bombs or shells.
The streets were sprayed with a rub­ble of plas­ter and bricks and were in some places piled so high with debris as to be im­pass­able. Many houses and build­ings, par­tic­ular­ly those of the old­er type of con­struc­tion, were pul­ver­ized. The un­remit­ting shell­ing made whole blocks un­in­habit­a­ble even in areas where the actual dam­age was rela­tive­ly light­er. As the hos­til­i­ties pro­gressed, more and more of the mid-level and Peak dwel­lings were lit­eral­ly blown off the side of the hill – among them the resi­dence of the Amer­i­can consul-gen­eral, whose home was total­ly wrecked.


 EXCERPT 
Hong Kong: Epilogue to an Empire by Jan Morris
“The Ger­man pres­ence in occu­pied Hong Kong wasn’t entire­ly neg­li­gi­ble. Ger­mans ob­served dur­ing the actual course of the fight­ing in­clud­ed an offi­cer and a civil­ian wear­ing a swas­tika em­blem on his lapel. Both ap­par­ent­ly made some at­tempt to inter­cede with the Japa­nese forces on be­half of their fel­low Euro­peans. Short­ly after the take­over, on De­cem­ber 30 1941, a num­ber of German offi­cers with nazi arm­bands are said to have watched the al­lied POWs being herd­ed in­to cap­tiv­ity. One Indian eye-wit­ness reported, ‘I have noticed many Ger­man advis­ers and I under­stand that the Ger­mans are in charge of artil­lery oper­ations’. At one point in the early months of the Occu­pation a Ger­man ges­ta­po man in Hong Kong was said to have com­ment­ed ‘that the Japa­nese would nev­er have got where they were if it had not been for the Ger­mans’. The Defag Co., a sub­sid­iary of the in­dus­trial giant I.G. Far­ben, was ob­served to have en­tered along with the Japa­nese. [I.G. Far­ben, the par­ent com­pany of Bay­er, man­u­fac­tured Zyklon B, the poi­son gas used in the Holo­caust.] Civil­ian visit­ors in the fol­low­ing year in­clud­ed Dr Erich Kordt, the Ger­man chargé d’af­faires in Nanking.”


lab vials

Based on sight gags and stage­craft, The Invis­i­ble Man and its sequels helped nudge thea­tre to keep up w/ the matur­ing motion pic­tures be­he­moth. Based on a vic­tor­ian fan­ta­sia on the con­se­quen­ces of scien­tific fron­tiers.
  1.    The Invisible Man (1933)     A scien­tist’s un­holy ex­pe­ri­ments into in­vis­i­bil­i­ty is real­ized, and now he regrets it. Claude Rains is the Invis­i­ble Man, slow­ly turn­ing homi­cidal due to the for­mu­la’s side ef­fect. “… a few mur­ders here and there.” Glo­ria Stu­art as his fiancée, E.E. Clive is the con­stable, Una O’Connor the inn­keeper.   2.   The Invis­i­ble Man Returns (1940)    In an al­truis­tic mo­ment, the mad scien­tist’s brother re-creates the invis­i­bil­ity for­mu­la in order to re­lease a man on death row and to find the real kill­er. “I can’t find peace in the un­der­world.” Vin­cent Price is the broth­er who be­comes the sec­ond Invis­ible Man, w/ Sir Cedric Hard­wicke, Alan Napier, Nan Grey.   3.   The Invis­ible Woman (1940)    Kitty Carroll answers an ad to be a sub­ject in a science ex­pe­ri­ment, and is bom­bard­ed by an invis­i­bil­ity ray. “I’m noth­in’ but a nothin’.” Blackie and his gang get word of this mira­cle and be­come in­ter­es­ted. John Barry­more is the mad scien­tist, w/ Oskar Homol­ka, Shemp How­ard, Maria Mon­tez, Anne Nagel.   4.   Invis­i­ble Agent (1942)    When axis agents ar­rive to steal the invis­ibility for­mu­la, the grand­son to the sci­en­tist runs off w/ the note­books. Jon Hall then in­gests the for­mu­la and para­chutes into Ber­lin, to bring the war home, as the Invis­ible Agent. “I can’t tell you peo­ple apart.” Screen­play by Curt Siod­mak. With Peter Lorre, Sir Ced­ric Hard­wicke, Al­bert Bas­ser­man, Ilona Mas­sey, J. Ed­ward Brom­berg, Key Luke.   5.   The Invis­ible Man’s Re­venge (1944)    A mad sci­entist suc­ceeds in sta­bi­liz­ing the invis­i­bi­lity for­mu­la and turns ghoul­ish. John Car­ra­dine is Dr Drury. “Pio­neers have al­ways to con­tend w/ fools.” Jon Hall re­turns again as the invis­i­ble one, w/ Gale Son­der­gaard, Les­ter Math­ews, Halli­well Hobbes.


cheese wedge

When a nea­rly in­tact tomb be­long­ing to egyp­tian royal­ty was dis­cov­ered in 1922, for­eign cor­re­spon­dent John L. Bal­der­ston was there cov­er­ing it for the New York World. The world then be­came some­what fa­mil­i­ar w/ the an­cients’ be­lief in im­mor­tality as well as the sci­ence of em­balm­ing, an op­era­tion tak­ing 70 days to achieve and pre­si­ded over by Anu­bis. Bal­der­ston was later hired to pro­duce the screen­play for a fan­tas­ia based on a fic­tion, fash­ioned from a back­story by Nina Wil­co Put­nam, on the life of 18th-c. french hyp­no­tist Cali­os­tro. The re­sult dipped ro­mance into un­god­ly goo that only Holly­wood could con­coct.
  1.   The Mum­my (1932)    As the 1921 field ex­pe­di­tion sea­son opens in Egypt, mem­bers of the Brit­ish Mu­seum dis­cover a coffin and a body in­side. “The gods of Egypt still live in these hills, in their ruined tem­ples.” Boris Karloff is the mum­my Im­ho­tep, awak­ened by tomb-hunt­ers and pur­su­ing the rein­car­na­tion of his prin­cess Anck-es-en-Amon – in flap­per-era London.   2.   The Mum­my’s Hand (1940)    Fol­low­ing a map, ar­chae­ol­o­gists find the tomb of the prin­cess Anan­ka, and by break­ing the seal of the seven jackals un­leash a ter­ror that has wait­ed 3,000 years to be reborn. “We search for the tomb of a prin­cess, and all we find is the mum­my of a man.” Tom Tyler is the re­ani­mat­ed Kharis – im­part­ing to the role his famous lurch and one dead arm. Eduar­do Cia­nel­li plays the high priest.   3.   The Mum­my’s Tomb (1942)    Open­ing his eyes for the first time as the mum­my Kharis, Lon Chaney Jr will seek ven­geance for the tomb des­e­cra­tion of his prin­cess Anan­ka. “The curse on that tomb ex­tends to the blood re­la­tions of all who en­tered it.” Tur­han Bey is Mehemet Bey.   4.   The Mum­my’s Ghost (1944)    Ram­say Ames is the amer­i­can re­in­car­na­tion of the prin­cess Anan­ka, and Lon Chaney Jr again plays the mum­my Kharis, cross­ing the Atlan­tic Ocean to court her. “First it’s the Mum­my. Now it’s a re­in­car­nat­ed woman!” John Car­ra­dine plays You­sef Bey, and George Zuc­co is An­do­heb.   5.    The Mum­my’s Curse (1944)    Lon Chan­ey Jr is re­vived a third time as the mum­my Kharis, and finds rea­son to wade into the Lou­i­si­ana bayou where a crypt holds dead prin­cess Anan­ka, his be­loved Vir­gin­ia Chris­tine. “I can nev­er get too much sun.” Peter Coe is Dr Ilzor Zan­daabm, and Den­nis Moore plays Dr Halsey.



-|  January 2023  |-

  WHAT HE SAID 
W.H. Auden quote: ...Ten thousand miles from home and What's-Her-Name. A bugle on this late Victorian hill puts out the soldier's lights; off-stage, a war thuds like the slamming of a distant door ...  

  (1866- )  
1897 photo of the headquarters of Butterfield & Swire, on Connaught Rd in the Central Praya district, and fronting Hongkong harbor. +
Hongkong was founded as a Brit­ish colony in China, “nei­ther a settlement nor an ac­qui­si­tion of natural re­sources,” but to trade in the Far East. Government was to serve the interests of mer­chants, and the first to make use of the opportunity was Jardine Matheson & Co. Fol­lowed soon enough by Dent & Co., Lindsay & Co., Dod­well & Co., and John D. Hutch­ison. There was also a cargo-&-passenger shipping company, Butterfield & Swire, which had an office in Shang­hai, opened in 1866. Now they came to Hongkong, began to diver­si­fy, went into the sugar refin­ing trade. Then the partnership with Richard Shackle­ton Butter­field was severed, and the firm’s re­main­ing two partners, brothers John Samuel and William Hud­son, rebranded the company as Swire’s. After the Second World War, they opened up an air­craft repair shop at Kai Tek Air­port, as a springboard into the emerg­ing com­mer­cial airline field.
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A truck drives down an airport runway, mounted on the back is on airplane propeller, facing backwards and running, going out for a test.
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Lion Rock has watched over the rehabilitation of Hong­kong’s original aerodome to be­come an international air­port, now is keeping a safe distance as the Pacific Air Main­te­nance and Supply Co., is conducting a test.
Hand-tinted 1899 photo, taken from a boat out at sea, of the Taiko Sugar Works and its wharves.
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1899 photograph of the sugar refinery works located dock­side, between Hong­kong Island and Lam­ma Island, and facing the South China Sea.
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Menu for the annual dinner put on by the Sugar Refining Trade of Hong Kong. This was held in 1894 at the Victoria Hotel, and there were four starters and two fish choices. Five meats were represented plus curries. Roast pheasant, roast wild duck. Asparagus, cabbage or potatoes. Dessert was vanilla ice cream, butter sponge cake, yolk or almond cake, finger cakes, blanc mange, raisin pudding, cream puffs, almond cream, maraschino and orange jellies, gooseberry tart.

 (1828- ) 
Intact nineteenth century figurehead showing lion and unicorn on both sides of a plinth with  a lively fish sitting on top. The whole adorned with flags, shields, spears.
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Figurehead recovered from a wreckage at sea belonging to Jardine Matheson & Co.
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In 1828, Scotsmen and “country mer­chants” William Jardine and James Mathe­son became partners, buying Malwa opium in Bombay from a Parsee merchant named Framjee Co­wasjee to sell in Can­ton. Organized and efficient, they soon controlled approximately one-third of foreign trade with China, most of it in opium.
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The men who worked Jardines Mathe­son were expected to be disciplined sailors, yet like all Europeans would have been familiar with a bar room drink of alcohol, tobacco juice, sugar and arsenic called a “canton gun­powder.”
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Here is James Matheson’s verdict for one of his ship masters: The Gazette was un­necessarily delayed at Hong­kong in con­se­quence of Captain Croc­ker’s repug­nance to receiving opium on the Sab­bath. We have every respect for per­sons enter­taining strict relig­ious prin­ci­ples, but we fear that very godly people are not suited for the drug trade.
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This is William Jar­dine’s recruitment letter to a European mis­sion­ary who can speak Chi­nese: “We have no hesitation in stating to you that our principal reliance is on opium. Though it is our earnest wish that you should not in any way hinder the grand object you have in view [dis­tri­but­ing the Bible trans­lat­ed into Chi­nese], by ap­pear­ing interested in what by many is con­sid­ered an im­mor­al traf­fic; yet such traf­fic is so ab­so­lute­ly nec­es­sary to give any vessel a reas­on­able chance of de­fray­ing her ex­penses that we trust you will have no obje­ction to inter­pret on every occa­sion when your services may be requested.
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1868 photo by John Thomson of William Jardine's home, a two-storey many windowed manion on a rise, and set in a landscaped park.
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By 1868, William Jardine was very wealthy, and had built himself a land­scaped home.