Remember A Day

Sex in the city of Beijing and a dozy burglar in Oklahoma: headlines from four decades ago

  • A journey back through time to look at significant news and events reported by the South China Morning Post from this week in history

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 January, 2019, 2:56pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 January, 2019, 11:03pm

An activist calling for sexual freedom in China and a baby born with two heads in the Philippines were among the news reported four decades ago this week.

December 31, 1978

The mother of the Shah of Iran and other members of his family arrived in Los Angeles from Tehran the night before, airport officials said. The queen mother, who was in her 90s, was expected to stay at a home owned by the Shah’s sister in Beverly Hills. Local property agents dealing in expensive homes refused to comment on reports the Shah was interested in buying a place in the exclusive neighbourhood.

Vienna Boys Choir gets Christmas off, and China tests nuclear weapon

January 1, 1979

A two-headed six-pound infant was born in hospital to a young housewife in Negros Occidental, central Philippines. Hospital doctors said the baby had a second head on the chest that was larger than the other and both heads bore different features.

January 2, 1979

An Australian television crew claimed to have filmed a group of unidentified flying objects, one of which was brightly lit and bell-shaped, which followed their aircraft over New Zealand. The film was shot over the often turbulent Cook Strait between New Zealand’s North and South islands, an area in which unidentified objects were plotted in the past by ground radar.

January 3, 1979

Hong Kong Narcotics Bureau detectives uncovered an underwater opium storage centre in Aberdeen. Officers said it was the first time they had come across this type of concealed storage, following the seizure of five pounds of prepared opium worth around HK$50,000.

January 4, 1979

A demand for more sexual freedom for the Chinese people was encapsulated on a poster that was stuck on the Democracy Wall in Beijing. Written on 10 sheets, the small character poster signed by Yang Yi, asked that Chinese be “free to have sexual relations whenever and with whomever they like”. The author wrote that the authorities and the people themselves should adopt a more “flexible attitude” towards “sexual and romantic liaison”.

A marriage scam in Manila - and a kissing problem in Manchester

Police in Oklahoma City caught up with a 22-year-old burglary suspect when he apparently fell asleep on the job. Officers said the man was found lying face down on the floor of a car showroom, surrounded by an eight-track stereo and a number of car keys.

January 5, 1979

Millionaire hotelier Conrad Hilton, whose chain of skyscraper monuments spans the globe, died of pneumonia in Los Angeles the night before. He was 91. During his lifetime, Hilton gave his name to more than 250 hotels in the US and overseas.

Pope John Paul II, described as needing a bit of rest, began a two-day winter holiday at the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo. The 58-year-old pontiff appeared to have lost some weight from his robust frame during the intensive activity of the past 10 weeks of his pontificate.

January 6, 1979

A mysterious increase in the number of babies suffering from diarrhoea at the government’s Tsan Yuk maternity hospital in Western had put authorities on the alert. About 20 infants were suffering from the complaint, compared with the normal six or seven. Doctors believed the increase might be due to a viral infection caused by food contamination.

Pandas, ‘indecent’ stamps and a stray torpedo

The government would employ drug addicts under methadone treatment in a move to encourage rehabilitation. Previously, only former addicts could be hired but as of April 1 that year, 44 drug addicts undertaking treatment were expected to join the civil service at junior ranks.

Remember A Day looks at significant news and events reported by the Post during this week in history