Dustbin astronauts develop ground control

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 July, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 July, 1995, 12:00am

HONG KONG is a quirky and interesting place to live, as long as you're drunk, but it has nothing on Zambia, where psychosis is a normal state of mind and the government is two speakers short of a stereo system.

Regular readers will be aware of letters to Soul Sister, the Agony Aunt who is to advise what Nicolae Ceauescu was to fair and open government.

The letters, taken from the Times of Zambia , have sparked interesting feedback from Hong Kong residents who used to live in the zany African state.

So it was that we learned of the Great Zambian Space Race, courtesy of ex-Zambian resident Nigel Croft.

The Space Race had its origin in American's first moon landing in 1969.

The mayor of Lusaka was so enthralled by the idea of men walking on the moon that he stayed up every night watching the moon hoping to see it all for himself.

An unlikely contingency, but the beer in Zambia is far from innocuous.

Needless to say, he saw diddley-squat and lodged an official complaint with the US embassy alleging the Americans had made the whole thing up for propaganda purposes.

The US officials were unwilling to offend the mayor, so they eventually concocted a story saying the Americans landed on the moon during the day, which explained why the mayor had missed it.

To their surprise, the mayor swallowed this. To their consternation, the mayor decided Zambia also would take steps to put a man on the moon.

Unfortunately, there were pretty severe budgetary constraints and the Zambian government blew the lot on rocket fuel, only to realise they could not afford a centrifuge trainer for the astronauts. A solution was needed.

And a solution they found. Instead of putting the astronauts in a centrifuge machine, the government decided to train the astronauts in the effects of mega-acceleration by putting them in dustbins and rolling them down anthills.

And there ended the Great Zambian Space Race, whose sole achievement was to leave a bunch of confused and dizzy astronauts wandering aimlessly around the savanna, brushing ants off themselves and wishing they had become accountants.

You do not believe it? Mr Croft swears it's true and he is a policeman so it must be true.

Miss Merry HELLO Everybody! Those poignant words remind us that there still is no news on the whereabouts of weather girl Merry Everest, whose mysterious disappearance is taxing great minds across the territory.

Reader Bob Rossi sent us an anxious and love-lorn fax saying: 'Merry Everest is the best thing to happen to Hong Kong television since my television broke.' Reader Chris Worth, president and founder of the Merry Everest Appreciation Society, sent us a tear-stained fax saying he had called every local TV station trying to track her down, but to no avail.

Where are you, Merry? Hong Kong needs you.

Headliners WE offer here a brief summary of major world news stories that are bringing down governments across the globe.

Revenge has come early for all computer buffs about to struggle with the new Windows 95. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, the Windows producer, has been losing money faster than his computers can count.

The disenchantment with high tech stocks in the US has seen his fortune go down by US$2.05 billion - to US$15.38 billion - in just two days. This means the world's richest man has been getting poorer at the rate of HK$92,297 a second.

Secondly, over in America, we are informed the authorities have finally managed to collar a 78-year-old criminal after a crime spree spanning more than six decades. The police, however, did not do the collaring.

The pensioner, who is on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List, went one crime too far when he attempted to rob an antique shop.

Behind the counter was frail grandmother, 73-year-old Sonia Paine.

He tied her hands to a door with plastic restraints, but she wiggled free, tripped a silent alarm and cracked him over the head with her aluminium baseball bat.

'I don't take any crap from anybody,' Ms Paine said.

'I beat the hell out of him.' Thirdly, shocking news from Russia. A man who feasted on the blood of a passer-by after he bit through an artery in his neck has been arrested in the town of Tula.

The 20-year-old homeless man, identified only as 'S', lured a drunken man into bushes late on Tuesday and bit through his carotid artery.

The 'vampire' told police he developed a taste for blood in the army and had carried out similar acts in other regions of Russia.