Slice of Life

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 February, 2009, 12:00am

From the South China Morning Post this week in: 1967

Red Guards shouted anti-Soviet invective at the wives and children of Russian embassy staff at Peking airport on February 4 as they left for home. About 200 demonstrators, mostly teenage Red Guards, marched up and down the departure area as 40 women and children waited to board a Russian airliner. They were the first group of families being sent home amid a marathon demonstration outside the embassy.

The protesters carried red flags, portraits of Mao Tse-tung and big placards showing the Russian leaders with their hands dripping with blood and rope around their necks. The Chinese formed a square round the Russians, who included babies and small children clutching dolls, and recited quotations from Mr Mao's works in unison, and sang Chinese revolutionary songs and the Internationale.

Their slogans included 'Crush the dog's head of Brezhnev' and they brought out a big moving wooden marionette of the Russian Prime Minister, Alexei Kosygin, on a gallows brandishing a bloodstained dagger in one hand and an equally gory truncheon in the other.

Two days later, Russian women and children had to crawl under big portraits of Mr Mao, Lenin and Stalin at the airport amid tumultuous scenes as the last group of Soviet embassy families left for home.

All shore leave for the racially mixed crew of the US carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt was cancelled on February 4 soon after the ship arrived in Cape Town on a four-day bunkering visit. South Africa's apartheid laws, which meant hospitality had been planned on a segregated basis, touched off a controversy that led US Congressmen and Civil Rights leaders to call for cancellation of the visit. The ship's commander was subsequently ordered to allow the 3,800 crew ashore only for organised integrated activities.

Victors in a battle between feuding peasant communities in northern Bolivia cooked and ate two of their opponents, police said on February 4. Members of the Hanko Cucho Alto community and other minor groups in the town of Ambana, 70 miles north of La Paz, attacked the neighbouring Hanko Cucho Bajo people with knives, hatchets, rifles and sticks, police said. The attackers cooked the bodies of a man and a woman in a large pot and cooked white maize in another to accompany the human flesh. All partook of the dish. Three leaders of the attackers have been arrested and brought to La Paz for trial.

More than 100,000 people have visited the Chinese New Year fair on the roof of the Ocean Terminal, averaging about 30,000 a day since the event opened on Friday. Miss Lisa Liu, Miss Hongkong on the prize-winning Hong Kong float at Pasadena in California, today (February 7) will visit the fair, which has been organised this year for the first time on an experimental basis. The fair has attracted more than 300 stallholders selling traditional New Year flowers, sweet meats and decorations. The fair will remain open until the early hours of Chinese New Year.

A button fell off a factory's telephone switchboard - and 10 men from six unions strained to get it back on. Two Post Office engineers were called to restore the inch-long button, but it fell off and rolled under a cupboard. Two carpenters were called to move the cupboard and accidentally tore the linoleum floor covering, which had to be replaced. Two lino layers were called, but decided a heater had to be shifted first. Two electricians were called to shift the heater and they found a hole in the floor. Two bricklayers were called to fill it in. Then the two lino layers did their stuff. But people tripped over the lino, so now the floor has to be tiled.

An employee at Ransome and Marles' Engineering Works in Bunny, a town in north England, said: 'It would have been cheaper to move to another factory.'

And the button? Oh, yes, it's back on the switchboard.