slice of life

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 January, 2007, 12:00am

From the pages of the South China Morning Post this week in 1950

India became a full-fledged republic with the inauguration of its new constitution and the installation of its first president.

At solemn ceremonies in the former throne room of Britain's viceroys, the retiring governor-general read the proclamation of the republic.

India, a British dominion since it won sovereignty on August 15, 1947, thus became a voluntary economic and political member of the British Commonwealth.

Dr Rajendra Prasad, a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, was sworn in as India's first president. In his inaugural address he thanked Gandhi and 'the numberless men and women who by their suffering and sacrifice rendered the attainment of independence and the establishment of this sovereign Democratic Republic of India possible'.

In every Indian city, crowds linked arms under flag-bedecked and flowered arches.

What the Nationalists on Formosa (Taiwan) needed was not American troops being sent to the island but economic aid and technical assistance, according to Madame Chiang Kai-shek.

She told reporters in Taipei that the Nationalists could have outfought Chinese communism but for the intervention of Russia.

Meanwhile, reports from Hainan said the Communists had massed at least 100,000 troops on the Luichow Peninsula but that their invasion of the island was hampered by the lack of shipping.

Madame Chiang declared Taipei had never asked for American troops to be sent to the island or for any form of intervention that might lead to war.

'We will do our fighting ourselves,' she stressed on her return from 13 months in the United States, where she failed to obtain aid for the Nationalists.

Undaunted, she listed their needs as economic aid, planes, military equipment, fuel and other material to fight the Communists.

Trade between Hong Kong and Formosa showed no marked change since Britain recognised Communist China.

British business circles said the Nationalist authorities were going out of their way to improve trading facilities rather than curbing them.

Both Hong Kong and Formosa appeared anxious to do business, particularly Formosa, whose economy was based largely on continued trade with Hong Kong.

A 15-year-old boy from the mainland was jailed for six months, ordered to receive 12 strokes of the cane and recommended for banishment - for stealing a handbag containing cash and jewellery. Magistrate Thomas Tam meted out the punishment after learning the defendant was a repeat offender.

In the bag was HK$491 and several gold trinkets, which were ordered returned to the owner of the bag.

How did Macau come to be officially known as the 'City of the Name of God?'

The answer is that when Portugal fell under Spanish domination from 1581 to 1640, Macau never took down the Portuguese flag; and when other colonial powers were battering Portuguese possessions, Macau remained unconquered.

China reaffirmed its sovereignty over Tibet and warned that any country that received proposed Tibetan goodwill missions would be regarded 'as harbouring hostile intentions' towards Beijing.

The Regent of Tibet had said in a telegram that he proposed to send goodwill missions to five countries, including China, to 'explain the independence of Tibet' to the five governments.

Rina Fort, a 40-year-old Italian woman who battered the wife and three children of her lover to death with an iron bar, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Milan.

A packed court followed the 10-day trial of the woman, who was described as 'a licentious ghoul with blood on her hands and lust in her heart who brought ruin to a man and death to his family'.

Soccer: The Combined Hong Kong Chinese won the Ho Ho Cup when they defeated a Malayan Chinese Eleven by two goals to nil.

The game at Caroline Hill saw the Malayans on the defensive for long periods.