Slice of Life

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2009, 12:00am

In the Local and General column on September 7, the Red Cross Society in Kaifeng, Honan (Hunan), launched an unusual campaign against flies because the cholera epidemic had become so severe, with 35 new cases occurring daily. The society was offering 10 coppers for an ounce of flies caught. In another short report, 'two American gentleman, whilst making a trip beyond the Great Wall fell into the hands of the Peiyuan mutineers'. They were Professor W.E. Chamberlain, of the Peking University, and Mr C.A. Reed, who was studying agricultural conditions in China for the US government. 'The mutineers showed a very keen desire to possess themselves of Mr Reed's field glasses, but after examining them without taking the trouble to focus the lenses, the 'General' seemed to decide that they ought to be handed back. The two were allowed to proceed on their journey.'

An editorial on September 7, under the heading 'Closing the door', said migration was contributing to overpopulation, 'the writing is on the wall, warning all races that the world is getting too small for unrestricted population'. 'One effect of the establishment of a British Colony at Hongkong was to provide the Chinese with facilities for emigration. Millions of Chinese labourers and small traders have taken advantage ... the stream of migrants has grown bigger and bigger. Finally, the instinct of self preservation caused certain countries, notably the United States and Australia, to legislate with a view to restricting the Asiatic population in those countries, and now has come legislation to restrict the immigration not only of Asiatics, but of any other nationals,' it said. Improvements in medical science also meant people would live longer and an authority on migration also noted that 'there were no more new lands to be discovered by civilised peoples. No new nations will ever again find homes in the wilderness in temperate zones. Unless the earth is jolted from its axis, it seems as if the book of race migration will be closed forever'.

China seemed like the Wild West of the United States, with the tale of an American's encounter with the Hunghutze, bands of outlaws who raided villages and caused 'outrages', 87 years ago. Mr A.J. Park, manager of the American Oriental Game Company of Seattle and Shanghai, went to Tsitsihar (Qiqihar) in July and along the Chinese Eastern Railway in search of live bustards for shipment to America. A band of 200 brigands raided a village within a half mile of the railway station at where he was lodging. 'On August 11, he set off across country hunting bustards and when three miles from the railway met eight Chinese horsemen, who frustrated his effort to evade them and replied to his warning to keep off with revolver fire. Mr Park took shelter in a haystack, which was the only available cover. He killed three of the horses and defeated the brigands' attempt to surround him. After a hot fight, the brigands showed a white cloth as a flag of truce ... five of them made off.' He said the 'Chinese and Russian inhabitants of the railway zone are completely terrorised by the Hunghutze.' Footnote: The Hunghutze were an infamous band of Manchurian bandits who lurked on the outskirts of towns, robbing and kidnapping anyone who crossed their paths.

The following report is on an incident few could imagine happening in the heart of Hongkong, but it did. A herd of water buffaloes 'were being driven to the Slaughter House along Connaught Road West on Monday afternoon [September 11], but the driver lost control of one of the animals, which broke away. The driver was unable to follow as he had to look after the remainder of his herd. Considerable excitement was aroused along the route traversed by the buffalo, pedestrians ducking into shops and dodging behind verandah pillars. A coolie who did not run quickly enough was knocked down, sustaining injuries to the head'. He was treated in hospital. 'The buffalo turned into a lane and ran into Des Voeux Road West, where it dashed across the road in front of a passing motor car. There was a collision and the animal was killed almost instantly,' the report said. The mud guard of the car, which was from the Moon Garage, was badly damaged. The carcass of the buffalo was removed to the Slaughter House.