Slice of Life

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 July, 2009, 12:00am

Under the heading 'Sailors in a Fix', a report on June 25 showed what American sailors got up to 77 years ago in Japan. 'An American sailor gave the Sanomiya [in Kobe] police a great kick recently when he walked in dressed in a woman's yukata. Originally there were three sailors on the spree, the other two finding their way to the steamship agent's. The third, however, somehow or other lost his trousers and all his money, and it took him another 12 hours to pluck up his courage and sally forth in a woman's dress.'

In this snapshot of the Colony's entertainment scene, the Rose Room at the Peninsula Hotel hosted a big crowd on Saturday night and 'was proof enough of the popularity that Laura Guerite has earned during her very short stay in Hongkong', the July 25 report said. 'The very capable artiste, with her unique personality, added much to the merriment of the evening and kept the well-filled room in a constant ripple of laughter with her merry quips and clever character songs.'

On July 26, the Listeners' Club column writer 'Screen Grid' answered a question by reader 'Dot Dash' on the record for Morse code speed transmission. 'Unless it has been broken within the past 12 months, [the record] is 46 words per minute over a period of five minutes. The record was made in either 1910 or 1912 during the Panama Exposition by an American telegraphist. The record speed with a buzzer was made in 1924 by a Mr J. Chesterfield, a wireless operator in the employ of Amalgamated Wireless ... [who] succeeded in attaining a transmitting speed of 43.5 words per minute and a receiving speed of 41.'

In the World of Sport page on July 23, 'Word has been received to the effect that the well-known Chinese footballer who played for Hongkong in the Interport matches of 1927, 1928 and 1929, Suen Kam-shun, was stabbed in the scalp in a fracas following a dispute after a football match in Java'. Suen was captain of a Cantonese football team, which was on tour in Singapore and Java to raise funds for Shanghai 'war sufferers'. He was stabbed at the end of one of the matches in Java, but Suen's 'injury is not considered in any way serious', the report said. The team is not expected to return to the Colony for some weeks.

A unique method to rid golf greens of pesky ant hills was detailed. Scientists at Canadian Government Experimental Farm Systems announced that carbon bisulphide can annihilate ants. It was prepared in liquid form and when released turned into a heavy gas, 'which has deadly effects on ants without affecting the grass in any way'. A small quantity of bisulphide is placed on each ant hill and the gas quickly destroys the colony. 'A wet sack about a foot square over the hill after it has been treated will hold the gas in the soil and make its destructive effect more thorough. The gas is highly flammable.' It did not say how safe it was to play golf afterwards.

On the Cinema Review page on July 22, the entertainment at the Queen's Theatre was said to leave much to be desired. 'The fact that such a large crowd sat through Honky Tonk last night shows a remarkable fortitude on the part of Hongkong audiences, or an uncontrollable desire to remain and see Long Tack Sam,' the reviewer said. 'Sophie Tucker dominates the picture. She screeches, yells and roars. Then she sings sentimental songs and somehow you wish she would start yelling and roaring again. It is a positive relief when the curtain goes up and Long Tack Sam and his troupe appear on stage. Here is one instance where the legitimate stage runs circles around the screen.' Footnote: Long Tack Sam, born in northern China in 1885, was a magician, vaudeville performer and acrobat. He toured the world with his troupe in the 1900s. He opened for the Marx Brothers and was a member of Houdini's Magician's Club.