Slice of Life

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2007, 12:00am

From the South China Morning Post this week in: 1964

'Political observers' in Beijing came to the conclusion that 'a new rectification campaign' was under way in the Communist Party. The clue was an editorial in the party's newspaper, People's Daily, calling for 'the re-education of functionaries and readjustment in revolutionary ranks'. Party chairman Mao Zedong , then 70, warned his successors of the dangers of following in the footsteps of the Soviet party, which he saw as becoming bourgeois under Kruschev's 'revisionist leadership'. Mao had 'also repeatedly drawn attention to the prophesy of the late American secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, that the third or fourth generation of Chinese leaders would be amenable to dealings with the west which would mean to 'betray the revolution' in Chinese Communist eyes'. The People's Daily also reminded 'Chinese youths' that 'it might take as long as 300 years to 'achieve the complete victory of Socialism'.'

A 24-year-old diplomat who had disappeared from the Chinese embassy in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, popped up in New York. Contrary to reports from Beijing, which said he had been kidnapped by 'Americans', Tung Chi-ping said he had defected voluntarily and had been given asylum. He had become an anti-communist in 1958, when 'the Chinese inaugurated their 'backyard furnace campaign'.' Tung said the main result of this ruinous campaign (now better known as the Great Leap Forward) had been 'to turn some potentially useful material into useless iron'. The Chinese had an embassy in Bujumbura only 'to make a good impression in Burundi as a first step to gaining access to the Congo', then in the throes of civil war. Tung was quoted recalling advice from Mao: 'When we can grab the Congo, then we can grab the whole of Africa.'

In the House of Commons, Dr Alan Thompson (Labour) asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations 'what consultations took place between the British Government and representatives of interested organisations in Hong Kong before deciding not to seek reparations from Japan' in terms of the San Francisco Treaty. Short answer: none. Under-Secretary of State Nigel Fisher replied that the decision 'was taken after consultation and with the agreement of the Hongkong Government ... The sum GBP1,250,000 was received by the Hongkong Government from the disposal of Japanese assets in the Colony ... There are no grounds on which H.M. Government can make any further claims against Japan.'

In reports datelined Pearl Harbour, the commander of US Pacific Forces said that three unidentified torpedo boats had attacked the US destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin, off Vietnam, the previous day. It had been attacked 'while on a routine patrol in international waters'. The attacking ships were driven off by planes from the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga and 'the Maddox also fired on them with her five-inch guns'. 'President Johnson had called in high-level diplomatic and military advisers, presumably to discuss the attack'. A front-page report the following day quoted Johnson as saying that the attack had been carried out by the North Vietnamese torpedo boats. The South Vietnamese premier, major-general Nguyen Khanh, warned the US that it would be 'a paper tiger' if it did not 'take strong action in retaliation'. Incidentally, the Maddox, 'commanded by Commander Herbert L. Ogier, arrived in Hongkong on May 12 and spent four days in the Colony' before heading to the gulf.

'The Far East's first revolving restaurant' would open on top of the 28-storey Wu Sang House, at the corner of Nathan Road and Nelson Street, in nine months' time. It would seat 200 diners and complete one circle every hour, on a revolving structure powered by a one horse-power electric motor, according to the restaurant's designer, Gordon Wu.

In Petaling Jaya town, near Kuala Lumpur, a 25-year-old housewife and the mother of two sons, aged four and three, was so depressed over the recent death of Hong Kong film star Lin Dai that she killed herself by taking caustic soda, the woman's husband said. As it happened Lin Dai, 'Asia's Greatest Screen Triumph', could be seen in producer Run Run Shaw's Love Without End at Hong Kong's Hollywood, Capitol and Golden Sky cinemas (below).