slice of life

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2005, 12:00am

From the South China Morning Post this week in 1968

Senator Robert Kennedy, brother of the assassinated US president John F. Kennedy, died 25 hours after he himself fell victim to an assassin's bullets.

The senator, triumphant after winning the California primary in his race for the Democratic presidential nomination, was shot down right after accepting the cheers of supporters at his campaign headquarters in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

He underwent nearly four hours of emergency surgery to remove a bullet from his brain, but he never regained consciousness.

The 42-year-old senator was hit by three bullets. One struck near the right ear and entered the brain. Another lodged in the back of his neck and a third grazed his forehead.

The assailant, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, was rushed through crowds crying, 'Kill him. Lynch him.'

The 24-year-old Jordanian immigrant had written in his diary that Kennedy had to be assassinated before June 5, 1968 - the first anniversary of the start of the Six-Day War in the Middle East.

Waves of shock, dismay and horror sped around the world at news of the shooting.

The overwhelming theme was: 'No, not again. Not this family.'

John Gorton, the Australian prime minister, summed up what millions felt when he commented in Canberra: 'What can one say when a man who has had his brother assassinated is attacked in this brutal way? It makes you sick in the stomach that anyone could do this horrible thing.'

In the US, president Lyndon Johnson said that 'there are no words equal to the horror of this tragedy', and appealed urgently for passage of gun-control legislation 'to bring the insane traffic in guns to a halt'.

After lying in state at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Kennedy was laid to rest in a simple burial service at Arlington National Cemetery, just a few feet from his slain brother.

Thousands of people waited at the cemetery for more than seven hours and, as the procession arrived, thousands of lighted candles suddenly dotted the hillside on which the Kennedy resting place was situated.

New York's Chinatown, long cited as a law-abiding community, had become the 'turf' of a street gang called the White Eagles, made up mainly of Hong Kong migrants.

Police said the gang had become increasingly troublesome over the past 18 months and had been connected to assaults, burglaries and possession of stolen property.

A new $70 million, 800-room economy hotel designed to cater principally for 'jumbo jet tourists' was due to open in Kowloon the following year.

It was to form part of a complex incorporating the Ocean Terminal and the Kowloon Commercial Centre and was to be managed by Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, which owned the Peninsula and Repulse Bay hotels.

Horace Kadoorie said it was important to cater to the needs of lower-income tourists who would come to Hong Kong in increasing numbers with the advent of jumbo jets.

The Public Works Department introduced a new 'walking man' pedestrian traffic light.

The first made its debut in Garden Road, following the opening of Cotton Tree Drive.

The idea of the 'walking man' signal originated from the United Kingdom and had been adopted to provide a clearer indication to pedestrians when it was safe to cross the road, and to avoid confusion in the minds of motorists as to which traffic signal applied to them.

Believe it or not, there were 196,000 Old Bastards in the world, according to their own definition.

The Archbastard, Colonel Fred Kibbe, arrived in Hong Kong to initiate several new members of the club - the International Order of Old Bastards.

Members included Prince Peter of Greece, Lord Louis Mountbatten and Harry Truman, the former American president.

Colonel Kibbe explained that the organisation was founded in Australia, where the term bastard was 'one of endearment'.