Slice of Life
Compiled by Sandra Lowe
The Post sourced reports from other publications 91 years ago, and this article about 'Sun Neung Tam' (the Bride's Pool) was by Sung Hok-pang in the Yellow Dragon, the school magazine of Queen's College, which was first published in 1899. 'The pool is ... close to the village of Wo Kau Tang. It is a secluded place ... and Hongkong people know little about it ... There is an overhanging cliff with a waterfall. Even in the dog days, you never feel hot if you are at this spot... Some of the villagers have tried to find out how deep the pool is. They let down a rope more than 100 feet long, with a stone at the end but they could not reach the bottom. There is a legend concerning this pool. Between the Ming and Qing dynasties, a bride seated in her chair was on her way to the bridegroom's house and passed the pool in the evening. Unfortunately, the stream was in flood, and the bride was drowned, all the chair coolies and musicians being killed at the same time. The villagers felt sad at this and so called the pool, 'The Bride's Pool',' the September 28 report said. When the New Territories became a British possession, the late police magistrate, Cecil Clement, and prominent men donated money for a granite bridge to be built above the pool. A stone tablet, with their names, was placed at the side. 'The sound of the falling water fills the listener with feelings of happiness and of freedom from all care,' the report said.
In the Local and General column on October 1, an unofficial report was in circulation in Shanghai. 'The NCD News says that the American government is to prohibit ladies from sailing to the Far East. It seems a fact at least that no more brides-to-be are to be permitted to sail. It is probable that vessels will be carrying larger numbers of troops and that ordinary travel will be restricted,' it said.
A report in the Canton News column on October 4 detailed celebrations for the anniversary of Confucius' birthday. 'From 7 o'clock in the morning many officials, civil and military, proceeded to the Canton Educational Hall and the Confucian Hall in ... homage to the great Chinese sage. During the day, numerous people ... were also present ... paying homage... Throughout many big streets there were floral decorations and illuminations as well as a profusion of flags. Many receptions and entertainments were held and all the most prominent business houses suspended business for the day. In the harbour, many junks joined the celebration.'
An article on October 5 by Dr Sherwood Eddy was first published in the Canton Times. The opinion piece was on the 'greatest crisis' China was facing. Eddy had visited many provinces on his four tours over the past 12 years, and had travelled around Asia for the past 20 years. He referred to himself in the third person in this piece, and if his assertions were true it seems nothing much has changed, as he was discussing the scourge of corruption. 'China stands today in imminent peril of a great national humiliation. It is plain to anyone who visits China and travels throughout the land that something is the matter, that the trouble is radical, fundamental and widespread. After 4,000 years China is breaking down in her civilisation and is in danger of moral bankruptcy,' he wrote. 'Although she has pride herself on her moral maxims and classical precepts, is there any large nation in the world today where the official class as a whole is so corrupt, so given to 'squeeze', bribery and selfish money-making at the expense of the nation's welfare?' He wrote that China was the most backward of all the great nations in education. Only 64 boys in 1,000 and only three girls in 1,000 were in school. More than nine tenths of the population could not read or write. 'China is held back in her education because officials are so corrupt that there are neither funds, the honesty nor the efficiency necessary radically to improve the system,' he said. 'The root of all evils in China is the love of self', wrote Eddy, a Protestant missionary. 'We need Jesus Christ today because we need more light'.