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.”


 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 privatley 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 done being, wutg a few exceptions, carried on through little peep­holes or half-sized doors in the baording. 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.


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 childrn 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-brekaking 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








-¦  August 2022  ¦-

  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.
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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.

  (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.



 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 






The 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.

Robert Bly b.1926

One Lump or Two

The must-dos for brewing a proper pot of tea, and how a constitutional drinking game, made palatable w/ sugar and milk, calmed a nation’s nerves.




  Cream or Lemon   A stead­fast­ness in dutiful habiting is a core definition of British­ness in all mat­ters related to tea, and in 2013 was due for a review: ❝ … the official six-page spec­i­fi­ca­tion for how to make a cup of tea, is offi­cial­ly “un­der re­view”. But don’t panic. It is stan­dard pro­ce­dure for the Brit­ish Stan­dards In­sti­tu­tion (BSI) to do a “sys­te­ma­tic peri­odic review” of each of its many spec­i­fi­ca­tions which, piece­meal, define nearly every­thing British.
 |- -|  Belying stereo­types of peremp­tory rigid­i­ty in any­one or any­thing that offi­cial­ly tells the pop­u­lace what’s what, the BSI is nice about what it does”. Brit­ish Stan­dards are volun­tary in that there is no obli­ga­tion to ap­ply them or com­ply with them, it says. The stan­dards are “de­vised for the con­ve­nience of those who wish to use them”. That sen­ti­ment ap­pears in the 44-page spec­i­fi­ca­tion, copies of which are avail­able free of charge.❞


In 2013, Chris­to­pher Hitch­ens gave an account of George Orwell mak­ing tea:

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.

George Orwell

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.

  Manchester, Eng­land – No­vem­ber 13 2015

Middleton officer Andy Rich­ard­son: “Just dealt w/ a 95 year old cou­ple, called and said they were lone­ly. What else could we do?”

He and a fellow offi­cer end­ed up go­ing over to the cou­ple’s house and shar­ing a cup of tea over a 30 minute visit, and later tweet­ed about the call.

“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 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.”


Francisco Mattos


In the 1935 movie Ruggles of Red Gap, Charles Laugh­ton is a brit­ish but­ler trans­plant­ed to Amer­i­ca, where he in­structs the town spin­ster on the im­por­tance of mak­ing tea prop­er­ly:

She: (look­ing at water) It’s hot! ... He: Can I be of any as­sis­tance?

Oh no. Men are so help­less in the kitch­en. (Picks up ket­tle, pro­ceeds to pour in­to tea­pot.) Oh no. Al­ways bring pot to the ket­tle, never bring the ket­tle to the pot.
Charles Laughton 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 w/ 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.


In 1997, Morrissey was asked in a sit-down interview: Do you ever get sick of drinking tea? Given the moment, the former singer for The Smiths ex­pound­ed on how this custom is prac­tised in his home: ... 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 a part of your culture. ... ‘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?
Morrissey Well I would do that without even thinking about it. ... 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? ... 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? ... 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 w/ 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.





Francisco Mattos


❝The popularity of tea in Eng­land ... was due to a Por­tu­guese infante, Queen Cath­erine, whose pre­di­lec­tion for that bev­erage ren­dered it fash­ion­able. In an ode to her, Waller sings: The best of queens and best of herbs we owe  /  To that bold nation who the way did show  /  To the fair region where the sun doth rise,  /  Whose rich pro­duc­tions we so just­ly prize.
Historic Macao by C. A. Montalto de Jesus 1984. Oxford University Press.

 UNESCO ::: 2013 SACRED SPACE RECIPIENT 

Mount Fuji

Blessed by superb symmetry, taking on its shape five thousand years ago, locus for ascetic buddhism of the shinto blend, standing alone in the center of the country, source of artistic inspiration since the 11th century, Mount Fuji’s conic silhouette has been copied by Japanese potters down through history and in due course has left blueprints on mid-century kitchen gadget design, chockful with its ergonomic effortlessness and sensuous surfaces. The designation by UNESCO of this mountain as the 2013 World Heritage Site Sacred Space Recipient consists of 25 properties including the mountain itself, shinto shrines, five lakes, and a haunted forest.

Shinto has been practised in Japan since at least the 7th century, and its cosmos is populated by a kami (diety) living in every imaginable natural formation unto a blade of grass. Mount Fuji’s kami is the Princess Konohana-sakuya, the shinto embodiment of nature, and you will know of her presence by the sight of cherry blossoms on the way up a very attractive mountain. The fujiko school of shinto adds a soul and believes the mountain to be a being. While all this bonding is going on, the buddhists sit back and regard the mountain as a gateway to another world. The crater is ringed w/ eight peaks and a walk all around takes a couple of hours, could this be what the buddhists had in mind?

The area around Fujisan-konohana-sakuahime (“Fuji causing the blossom to brightly bloom”) also contains other mystical marvels. Five lakes, the Fuji-goko, ring the mountain. The northwest quadrant is a 14-square mile pine forest, the Aoki-ga-hara-jukai (Sea of Trees), which can be alarmingly dark during the day, forming a half moon around the base. This forest is home to goblins, demons, ghosts, and has been a destination suicide spot for many years.

It has come to pass and for as long as anyone can remember, there is and always has been a choice of only four trails leading pilgrims to the summit. All things here being of a magical quality, these four paths might very well allude to the Four Elements in a cosmic setting: rarefied Air at the summit, plentiful fresh Water within reach, Earth in its proudest seasonal garbs are all visited by the fire goddess Fuchi once a year, taking off her buddhist beads for a powwow w/ the princess. This takes place end of summer at a trail stop in the village of Yoshida, rife w/ rustic rumors insisting on a peculiar religiousity shared by fire festivals everywhere including the most famous, Burning Man,
although it must be noted that the Yoshida Fire Festival is done and over with in a night and the following day, involving ceremonies to conclude the climbing season.

Sunrise as seen at the summit by all-night climbers has its own dedicated name, goraiko, as in “my goraiko was obscured by clouds with rain blotting out the horizon.” For the fortunate ones, though, words like "awesome" and "bright red" and "a figure" readily roll off their tongues when recalling the alpine sight of the sun peeking over a watery horizon, the shedding of darkness around the self, the wonderment that immortals are hovering nearby, a palpable sense of alignment with gravity again, maybe even new eyes for the descent. It has been likened to something we all know happens regularly and “see” but not see; kind of shinto. It is one of Japan’s three Holy Mountains, together with Mount Haku and Mount Tate, and is on the island of Honshu.

Fuji is an active and relatively young volcano 62 miles south-west of Tokyo. It sits on a “triple junction” radiating techtonically down to the Filipino Plate, west to the Eurasian Plate, and east towards the North American Plate, the Okhotsk. It has erupted 21 times, the last was on October 26, 1707 (an 8.4), and destroyed 72 houses and three buddhist temples. It was powerful enough to blow a scoop out at the tip, becoming an actual new crater on the eastern flank. On February 4, 2013, a metereological ticker tape came through the wires:

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….


|  MT FUJI NOTES: [1] Four views of Mt. Fuji. [2] The Princess Konohana-sakuya is patiently gazing around wondering what is taking so long for her date Fuchi forever to arrive. [3] (top left) The Sea of Trees. [4] Four photographs taken from the summit at sunrise – a goraiko; anime of a sun goddess by Jayne Aw. [5] Mt Fuji in fact and fiction. | Fujisan (富士山). Names of the five lakes: Kawaguchi, Motosu, Sai, Shoji, Yamanaka. The four trails are Yoshidaguchi, Subashiri, Gotemba, Fujinomiya. Photos by Brian Chu, Daisaku Ikeda + screen captures.



 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.”


 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 privatley 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 done being, wutg a few exceptions, carried on through little peep­holes or half-sized doors in the baording. 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.


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 childrn 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-brekaking 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



-|  August 2022  |-

  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.
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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.

  (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.



 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. +

  UNIVERSITY TOWN  Coimbra


⇞  CITY OF STUDENTS

Coimbra, a city in northern Portu­gal, is the see of a bishop, the cap­ital of a prov­ince, and a cen­ter of learn­ing. In 2013, UNESCO des­ig­nat­ed the Uni­ver­sity of Coim­bra as a Uni­ver­sity Town Recip­i­ent for its World Heri­tage Sites, “… an inte­grated uni­ver­sity city, w/ a spe­cif­ic urban typol­ogy, as well as its own cere­monial and cul­tural tradi­tions.” The prop­er­ty con­sists of two areas: a hill­top com­plex of build­ings, Uni­er­sity Hill, and a series of scat­tered struc­tures which all played a part in the uni­versity’s history.


There is a 12th century Augus­tin­ian monas­tery which was the first school, and the orig­i­nal library.

The Inquisition swept into Por­tugal in 1567, and Coim­bra was one of the three local centers tasked to con­duct it. Out­last­ing these stric­tures, the uni­versity bounced back, w/ strength­ened statutes, a re­orga­nized sylla­bus of stud­ies, great­er em­pha­sis on edu­cation in the ver­nac­u­lar, and the re-estab­lish­ment of free­om of re­search. The old castle on the hill­top was final­ly pulled down to make way for new build­ings.

A seal was then struck, a praxe, con­sis­ting of a spoon (sym­bol of punish­ment), scis­sors (sym­bol of un­ruli­ness), and a stick (symbol of self-defense).


University of Coimbra

University of Coimbra

Founded in 1290, the University of Coimbra is the second oldest continuous institution of higher learning in Europe (the University of Paris is older), and the first university town in the world. In this northern Portuguese city, a world treasure become sited inside a national treasure, the school moved into a former royal palace on the summit of the hill, and grew to become a gathering spot for academics, writers, artists, who nick­named this the Lusitanian Athens, ‘Lusa Atenas’.



⇞   CAMPUS

An early champion of the new science of circumnavigation, an observatory was built to make spatial sense of the stars.

Investitures and major events take place in the ‘Sala Grande dos Actos,‘ below portraits of kings and queens. A cathedral, already there when the university arrived, was gifted by Jesuits. The throne room is now used for PhD candidate examinations, and nothing else.

The four rooms of the ‘Museu de Arte Sacra’ contain, among holy habits and chalices, books of early sacred music. There is a museum of natural history. A colonnaded walkway by the grand patio was added in the 18th century, the ‘Via Latina.’ The campus chapel, ‘Capela de Sao Miguel’, means that no student need run downhill to another one.

A Botanical Garden blossomed in 1772, that delightful Victorian experiment of Eden on earth, sprouting wherever colonialism circled.


There are five faculties (‘theologia’, ‘direito’, ‘medicina’, ‘mathematica’, ‘philosophia’) w/ disciplines in judicial and European court systems, interdisciplinary nuclear science, and the arts. (The university had begun by teaching law, rhetoric, mathematics, theology, medicine, grammar and Greek.) The teaching staff consisits of some 70 professors and lecturers. Semester is from autumn to the start of summer, when two months of exams take place. The ordinary degree resulting in the title ‘licenciado’ lasts five years. The degree of ‘doutor’ takes another year and another examination. Medical students study eight years.

The university has a digital repositorium inside a tech park involved in research and incubation. There is a repository for the project April 25, documenting the toppling of a dictatorship. Auxiliaries of the city-wide university system take on citizen practices such as sports, theater, and botany and preservation; there are several kindergartens and nurseries under its wing.




⇞   LIBRARY

When the university outgrew the original city library, a second one was built in the 18th century, on University Hill, the ‘Biblioteca Joanina’, the oldest university library in continuous use in the world, and housed in three large and resplendent Baroque rooms w/ painted ceilings.


The first room has a light green palette, the second a darker green, and the third room has a “… shade like that of orange Niger leather”; rich in gilt and exotic wood, lined w/ 300,000 volumes in galleries runing around the walls, incl. arguably the most valuable collection of Bibles in the world.

There are unpublished manuscripts of Domenico Scarlatti, thought lost but rediscovered in the 20th century, because they were incorrectly catalogued. By the front door, a passageway can take one down to the river, the ‘Palacios Confusos’, by a series of steps posing as alleys, past houses of different styles and years.




⇞   STUDENT BODY

The student body numbers about 25,000, and the dress code is a black Prince Albert coat, worn w/ black trousers, black cape batina, black dress tie; generally students go bareheaded. A military hospital happens to be located nearby, because.


Freshmen may not be on the street after the bell has rung at 6pm, on penalty of being shaved bald, if caught. Another form of punishment is to measure the long bridge over the Modego w/ a match, and it must be done w/ meticulous accuracy.

Even a good and sinless freshman must be prepared to run errands whenever required to do so by a sophomore or junior, but he may be “protected,” and the errand countermanded, by a friendly senior (‘quartanista’).

In turn a sophomore and a junior are known as a semi-harlot (‘mejo prostituo / prostituta’) and a total harlot (‘total prostituo / prostituta’) respectively.

These ‘estudantes’ make up about a third of the town’s inhabitants. Their graduation ceremonies take place in May. It’s then that a localized form of ‘fado’ is sung, by male students only, and only on the steps of the old cathedral when 10pm comes around, w/ lyrics more intellectual and romantic than the genre asks for, love songs tuned to the passions and sentiments of the students, who perfume the air w/ their lamentations until dawn.





⇞   STUDENT REPUBLICS

In the mid-1950s there were eleven “republics” or student organizations, active in the university.


One of them is ‘Pra-kys-tao‘ (Here We Are), a fraternity of ten students for the mutual benefit of themselves and their always-slender budgets, and to satisfy wants such as traditional evenings of wine and shrimps in town. Membership was open, upon unanimous favorable vote, to students of any race, color, religion or political creed except, during that period, communism. In the most pratical way, the student who had been a member longest is automatically president. Using a rotation system, two students, followed by two more then two more, serve as executive officers for fifteen days.

They run the republic and must explain and justify all outlays of money, and a debate on this topic may be opened at any time, all decisions being made by majority vote, and to be taken at the dinner table. Freshmen may not vote on money matters but on anything else.

This particular republic had only 13 electric light bulbs for 15 rooms, incl. the dining room, kitchen and hallway. Pin-up girls papered over every wallspace, the harem of the eye (‘Harem do Olho’). One wall had graffiti: “Artillery Exported to Pra-kys-tao for the Protection of the Marshall Plan.”

Certain campus traditions take place to mark the academic seasons, involving parades through the city, each rife w/ its own occult rituals. The noisy Latada - Festa das Latas (celebration of end of class), and the older Queima das Fitas (burning of the ribbons), which goes on for eight days, involving light blue ribbons for the Sciences, dark blue for Letters, yellow for Medicine and purple for Pharmacy.




⇞  CITY OF CULTURE

The original footprint of Coimbra has spilled downhil, and locals distinguish between the older Upper Town and the Lower Town.


The area bordering the Modego River is Cicade Baixa, downtown, where commerce happens amid Romanesque, early Baroque, Rococco, and Gothic structures, sporting Moorish shadows and sucumbing to the nautical notions of the Manueline style.

A Portuguese queen is buried downtown, in a silver tomb housed in the convent of ‘Santa Ciara-a-Nova’. The Fountain of Life, waiting for you since the 14th century, is behind this church.
Unto the 1920s Coimbra was all but inaccessible by road to travellers, not to mention damp beds and dangerous foods. Sacheverell Sitwell visited in the 1950s:

“… At Coimbra not only has there been wanton and appalling destruction of what was old and beautiful, but new University buildings have been erected which are really shaming in their blatant ugliness. The sculptures, particularly, are of an insulting hideousness.

Not that there is anything in the least Portuguese about these abominable buildings of Coimbra. But it is sad, too, because, Coimbra being the university town of Portugal, so many Portuguese retain memories of Coimbra and an affection for it all through their lives, and those memories will now forever more be tinged and coloured by the ugly buildings. There is no possible excuse for hideousness upon this scale; but it might, at least, be practised elsewhere and not in Coimbra.”


⇞ LUIS DE CAMõES

  The Lusiads Arguably the most famous student of the University of Coimbra is Luis de Camões, who (might have been) born in Coimbra in 1524 but known to have passed age 56 in Lisbon. His fame is partly based on supreme mastery of the Portuguese language and is its lyric poet, and his most famous work is a tour de force recounting the tragedy of Indes de Castro of Spain and her love Prince Pedro of Portugal, and her murder by jealous courtiers. She was killed by a fountain in the Garden of Tears (‘Quinta das Lagrimas’) in the convent of Santa Clara; where pond lilies are have been known to flower red.

A stone slab by the fountain bears the following verse by Luís Vaz de Camões (Lusiads, Ill, 135), here in a translation by Lord Byron:

Mondego’s Daughter-Nymphs the death obscure Wept many a year, with wails of woe exceeding; And for long memory changed to fountain pure, The floods of grief their eyes were ever feeding; The name they gave it, which doth still endure, Revived Ignez, whose murdered love lies bleeding. See yon fresh fountain flowing ‘mid the flowers, Tears are its water, and its name ‘Amores.’




⇞  MANUELINE STYLE

Flush w/ wealth from the Spice Trade, Portugal experienced a brief period where money became as abundant as sea water, and lavished it on an indigenous artform.


The discoveries brought back by the sea voyages Pedro Alvares Cabral and Vasco da Gama aroused the already composite Portuguese style, toying w/ Flemish, Italian and Late Gothic elements. The newly rich gathered the bounties of the sea trade and repurposed them an architectural vocabulary in churches, monasteries, palaces and castles, and a maritime motif applied to furniture, sculpture and painting. The style was given a name in 1842 by the Viscount Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen, in his description of the Jeronimos Monastery. The characteristics of this Manueline style, named for King Manuel I (1495-1521), resulted in ornate portals, bevelled crenellations, conical pinnacles, and eight-sided capitals.

There were semicircular arches on doors and windows, columns of carved rope, and a wanton disregard for symmetry. There were symbols of Christianity and latter-day Templars, botanical flourishes, artifacts found on ships, all garlanded by Islamic filigree work and Moorish traceries.




⇞  AEMINIUM





▶ SOURCES:  [1] California and the Portuguese by Celestino Soares, SPN Books Lisbon 1939.  [2] Eyewitness Travel Guides: Portugal w/ Madeira & the Azores, DK Publishing Inc London 1997.  [3] The Finest Castles in Portugal, text Julio Gil, photographs Augusto Cabrita, Verbo 1996.  [4] A History of Spain and Portugal in two volumes, by Stanley G. Payne, The University of Wisconsin Press 1973.  [5] The Nagel Travel Guide Series : Portugal, Nagel Publishers Geneva 1956.  [6] A New History of Portugal 2nd Edition by H.V. Livermore, Cambridge University Press London 1976.  [7] Portugal and Madeira by Sacheverell Sitwell, William Clowes and Sons London 1954.  [8] Portugal the Pathfinder: Journeys from the Medieval toward the Modern World 1300-ca.1600, edited by George D. Winius, The Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies Ltd, The University of Wisconsin Press 1995.  [9] Port and the Douro by Richard Mayson, Faber and Faber London 1999.  [10] Portuguese Concise Dictionary 2nd edition, Harper Collins 2001.  [11] Spain and Protugal, Handbook for Travellers by Karl Bedacker, fourth edition. Leipsic: Karl Baedeker, publisher. London: George Allen & Unwini Ltd., New York: Chas. Scribner’s Sons. 1913.  [12] A Traveller's History of Portugal by Ian C. Robertson, line drawings by John Hoste, Interlink Books New York 2002.  [13] World Food by Lynelle Scott-Aitken and Clara Vitorino, Lonely Planet 2002.

▶ CREDITS  Culled from reporting by Tim Pozzi,the University of Coimbra website, the Internet, and guide books. Photographers incl., among others, Francisco Antunes.

▶ STREET NAMES [ 14 ] Some Coimbra street names include: Rua Anthero de Quental, Alameda do Jardin Bot, Estrada da Beira, Rua do Loureira, Couraca dos Apostolos, Rua das Padeiras, Rua das Solas, Rua da Moeda, Rua da Louca, Rua do Corvo, Rua do Joao Cabreira, Rua da Sophia, Rua de Mont’arroio, Rua do Corpo de Deus, Rua do Borralho, Rua dos Estudos, Rua Lourenco d’Almcida, Rua Venancio Rodriguez, Rua Garrett, Rua do Thomar, Rua de Alex Herculano, Rua Ferreira Borges, Rua do Visconde da Luz, Rua da Sophia, Rua de Castro Mattoso, Rua de Oliveira Mattos.


  TEA TIME 






The 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.

Robert Bly b.1926

One Lump or Two

The must-dos for brewing a proper pot of tea, and how a constitutional drinking game, made palatable w/ sugar and milk, calmed a nation’s nerves.




  Cream or Lemon   A stead­fast­ness in dutiful habiting is a core definition of British­ness in all mat­ters related to tea, and in 2013 was due for a review: ❝ … the official six-page spec­i­fi­ca­tion for how to make a cup of tea, is offi­cial­ly “un­der re­view”. But don’t panic. It is stan­dard pro­ce­dure for the Brit­ish Stan­dards In­sti­tu­tion (BSI) to do a “sys­te­ma­tic peri­odic review” of each of its many spec­i­fi­ca­tions which, piece­meal, define nearly every­thing British.
 |- -|  Belying stereo­types of peremp­tory rigid­i­ty in any­one or any­thing that offi­cial­ly tells the pop­u­lace what’s what, the BSI is nice about what it does”. Brit­ish Stan­dards are volun­tary in that there is no obli­ga­tion to ap­ply them or com­ply with them, it says. The stan­dards are “de­vised for the con­ve­nience of those who wish to use them”. That sen­ti­ment ap­pears in the 44-page spec­i­fi­ca­tion, copies of which are avail­able free of charge.❞


In 2013, Chris­to­pher Hitch­ens gave an account of George Orwell mak­ing tea:

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.

George Orwell

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.

  Manchester, Eng­land – No­vem­ber 13 2015

Middleton officer Andy Rich­ard­son: “Just dealt w/ a 95 year old cou­ple, called and said they were lone­ly. What else could we do?”

He and a fellow offi­cer end­ed up go­ing over to the cou­ple’s house and shar­ing a cup of tea over a 30 minute visit, and later tweet­ed about the call.

“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 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.”


Francisco Mattos


In the 1935 movie Ruggles of Red Gap, Charles Laugh­ton is a brit­ish but­ler trans­plant­ed to Amer­i­ca, where he in­structs the town spin­ster on the im­por­tance of mak­ing tea prop­er­ly:

She: (look­ing at water) It’s hot! ... He: Can I be of any as­sis­tance?

Oh no. Men are so help­less in the kitch­en. (Picks up ket­tle, pro­ceeds to pour in­to tea­pot.) Oh no. Al­ways bring pot to the ket­tle, never bring the ket­tle to the pot.
Charles Laughton 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 w/ 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.


In 1997, Morrissey was asked in a sit-down interview: Do you ever get sick of drinking tea? Given the moment, the former singer for The Smiths ex­pound­ed on how this custom is prac­tised in his home: ... 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 a part of your culture. ... ‘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?
Morrissey Well I would do that without even thinking about it. ... 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? ... 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? ... 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 w/ 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.





Francisco Mattos


❝The popularity of tea in Eng­land ... was due to a Por­tu­guese infante, Queen Cath­erine, whose pre­di­lec­tion for that bev­erage ren­dered it fash­ion­able. In an ode to her, Waller sings: The best of queens and best of herbs we owe  /  To that bold nation who the way did show  /  To the fair region where the sun doth rise,  /  Whose rich pro­duc­tions we so just­ly prize.
Historic Macao by C. A. Montalto de Jesus 1984. Oxford University Press.

  ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE RECIPIENT 

2013 UNESCO Archaeological Site Recipient Al-Zubarah, Qatar

Buried under sand for hundreds of years, slowly being dug up going on years now, is Qatar’s largest archaeological dig, and a very fine example, preserved, of a merchant town c.1800s. This site is the ruined coastal port famous for its walls and known as Al-Zubarah. Founded by merchants in the late 1700s, this settlement had thrived as a pearl-fishery industry and also as a trading post — it is centrally positioned on the main sea route in the Persian Gulf.

2013 UNESCO Archaeological Site Recipient In 1811 there was a successful siege and what remained was abandoned and eventually was covered by sand. The property Al Zubarah Archaeological Site which comprises the 2013 UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fortified town, built w/ traditional Arab technqiues, that faces a harbor, w/ an original sea wall (exists still in part). A second, inner wall came later. The original fort still stands, there is another fort, two more walls, and a canal to the sea.
The largest domestic structure dug up gives a sense of the wealth enjoyed by the town’s richest, and why so coveted by its attackers: Nine inter-connected courtyards inside a building complex, surrounded by a high wall and having corner defense towers. Water fountain features are to be found, incl. ponds where a game played by children, called turtles-&-pearls, takes place underwater. Using a pet turtle, each player attempts to shoot a colored pearl into a row of different-colored pearls, w/ an aim of hitting out another pearl of the same color, all the while not disturbing the rest. 2013 UNESCO Archaeological Site Recipient