Archive for February, 2011

Japan Times: Unit 731 – the skeleton closet opens

February 27, 2011

Shortly after I moved to Tokyo a group of construction workers digging foundations for a new building in Shinjuku’s colourful, if slightly seedy pleasure district, unearthed a bunch of skeletons. There were rumours in the Foreign Correspondent’s Club that the fractured skeletons had been mutilated.

The national media treated the discovery with caution. I wouldn’t say the story was spiked precisely. But ultra-nationalist loud speaker vans were very active in the vicinity of newspaper offices blaring Imperial Japanese era marching songs, threats and ranting speeches. 

 Japan’s media is prone to self-censorship if embarassing closets (or in this case graves) are opened. Or if, as happened to the Mainichi, who I wrote for on a free-lance basis, their printing presses are given a bashing with iron bars by goons wearing Rising Sun headbands.

The Shinjuku remains were, in all likelihood, Chinese victims of Unit 731, a shadowy, sadistic and deranged medical and germ warfare outfit that conducted medical experiments in Harbin. And Unit 731 was at the time of the bones a taboo subject. Like the Rape of Nanking. The Death Railway.   

If a problem occurs it is better ignored in Japan or better still remains buried. A nurse has just come out with her version of the truth. She worked for 731.

The experimental victims were known as logs. Not people. Logs.  She’s telling it as it was, this nurse. And finally people are listemimg. It is a complex tale.  

Part two tomorrow.

Fecal Related Acronyms (continued)

February 27, 2011

Wat was die Verenigde Oos Indiese Companjie se Nederlandse term daarvoor… “ Kophoogte Agterste Kompartement” ?

The above was sent in response to Leonie’s S.H.I.T acronym. KAK Dutch I assume. Keep em coming chaps. No, not you Hollier! We’re enjoying your photos too much! We don’t want you wasting your time on defacation related linguistic trivia!

Cheers!

Bangkok

!

Thai Days: A Thank you to Thai Village

February 27, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog would like to thank everybody who helped scour Thai Village for my daughter’s missing cat, Socksy Wu, paticularly Rita, all the kids and the security guards. Your kind efforts are greatly appreciated. Unfortunately we have reason to believe Socksy Wu was eaten by a python in the waste ground next door. Shame,really. He was a friendly little fellow (even if he did crap all over my Persian carpet).

BLOG ED NOTE: We bear the python no ill will and certainly intend no retribution. It was just doing what pythons do. And I gues it’s better that Socksy furnish it with  a meal than get pointlessly squashed by a car.

Scumbags of the Day Awards: Christchurch looters and con artists

February 26, 2011

Well this lot really are a ghastly, orrible bunch of bastards. Following the Christchurch earthquake, rather than helping, they decided to help themselves. Some dressed up as govt officials, donning reflector vests and brandishing fake identicication cards to gain access to homes that they subsequently robbed. Looting has ocurred and bogus appeals for donations have been posted on the internet.

“I am frankly sickened by people like this who see this disaster as an opportunity to prey on vulnerable people,” said police superintendent Russell Gibson.

Hugh Paxton’s blog is equally sickened. Be advised. If you receive appeals for relief aid from the Red Cross requesting your bank details treat them with caution.

Jaysus! Some people!

Lady Ga Ga! Go for dictator outfits! Start with Ghadaffyduck! Then Mugabe! then all of them!

February 25, 2011

This one goes out to Lady Ga Ga! Hugh Paxton’s blog reckons you should stop wrapping yourself up in raw meat and get political! Go for Dictator Dress! It’s eye catching, ridiculous!  Ghadaffy Duck, Robert Mugabe, the North Korean look…dictators, dictators, options, options!  

What do you say?

Cheers!

Hugh

Fight Malaria With Smelly Feet!

February 25, 2011

This probably won’t work here in Thailand. But it works wonders in East Africa according to research conducted by scientists in the UK and Kenya. Mosquitoes are attracted to odours released by mammals. The whining little bastards!

But a certain species of jumping spider has noted this window of opportunity.  It, too, heads for your smelly feet and is capable of jumping, wrenching mosquitoes out of the air (or off your foot) and here’s the really good bit! It goes into a feeding frenzy consuming 20 mozzies in less time than it takes to try and swat a mozzie at three in the morning in a crummy hotel.

Full details are available from the journal Biology Letters but the true hero here, apart from the scientists who must have spent a lot of time with biting insects, socks, smelly feet is… and let’s have a big hand (or a foot) for!!!!!

Ta daahhh! Our spider friend!

Evarcha culcivora

 GO FOR IT!!!

Christchurch Quake

February 24, 2011

Very, very  sorry to hear and see the horrible events in Christchurch. Hugh Paxton’s Blog asks how can we most usefully help?

Our thoughts and best wishes are with the people of New Zealand.

Truly.

Hugh

Leonie’s Bit: Fresh news from Egypt

February 24, 2011

Thanks for your post, Leonie.

I hope it doesn’t trigger further riots or a suicide bomb attack on my office (or yours, though they’ll be risking their lives if they try tangling with you!)

If anybody can actually tell me what this message means, Hugh Paxton’s Blog would be greatly obliged.

Over to Leonie!

ر رفت سايه  يدا نيست نور ا ر رفت سايه  يدا نيست نور نيست يدا نيست نور ا ر رفت سايه  يدا نيست نور يدا نيست نور ا ر رفت سايه  يدا نيست نور يدا نيست نور ا ر رفت سايه  يدا نيست نور يدا نيست نور ا ر رفت سايه  يدا نيست نور يدا نيست نور ا ر رفت سايه  يدا نيست نور يدا نيست نور ا ر رفت سايه  يدا نيست نور يدا نيست نور ا ر رفت سايه  يدا نيست نور


Hectic stuff !
I will keep you all informed.

Leonie

(Namibia)

The Diary of Abbot Buggly: Chapters thirty and thirty one

February 24, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog resumes its serialisation of my book The Diary of Abbot Buggly, an account of a young girl’s life first year of life in Namibia.

CHAPTER THIRTY: A Christmas Entertainment.

 This is the email I sent to my relatives in distant countries.

 “Ladies and Gentlemen !

 It is Christmas Eve and while I am unable to be with you in person (I’m on a game farm in the Kalahari) let me assure you that I am with you in spirit.

 I have been informed that it is traditional in our family to have a Christmas Entertainment and I have put together the following Christmas Entertainment for your amusement.

 Merry Christmas !

 Abbot Buggly.

 Dec 24 2003.

‘TWAS THE BUG BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

 ‘Twas the bug before Christmas and all through the Hall,

Something was moving; not sleeping at all.

At two in the morning a razzing was heard,

Then cheeping and gurgles and cooing occurred.

At three in the morning a thump then a cry,

And a shout and a bellow of “That was my eye!”

At four in the morning some crawling took place,

Then a podgy fist flew into somebody’s face.

By five, before dawn, the drumsticks were flying,

There was rolling and wailing, bug faces and crying. 

The sun rose like fire at just six o’clock,

“Fa crying out loud ! It’s eating its sock!”

‘Twas the bug upon Christmas and all through the Hall,

Something was snoring; not moving at all.

A poem by A. Buggly.”

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE:  Happy New Year.

New Year’s Eve passed fairly uneventfully. For us at least. We were back in Windhoek. My parents took me for a walk. They did the walking, of course. I just sat in my push chair and blew bubbles like a tidal crab.

We found leopard spoor in Windhoek marsh. 

Interesting to live in a city where a leopard leaves spoor only 100 meters away from one’s house.

Mind you, leopards have mastered the knack of being virtually invisible. In Nairobi a leopard escaped from a menagerie. Box traps were laid in the suburbs. Two leopards were caught – neither was the escapee. 

And when builders were brought in to sort out the Nairobi soccer stadium a leopard skeleton was found under the roof. For years thousands of fans had hooted, cheered, roared approval and cursed referees, oblivious to the fact that above their heads a leopard was waiting for the match to end and leave it in peace to clear up dropped burgers, stray dogs cats, rats and street children.

They say that there are even leopards (or panthers, which are the same thing, only black) in England. They’ve been seen, they’ve been hunted, they’ve been unconvincingly photographed by people using those ever popular ‘totally blurred but tantalizing’ camera settings, but no-one’s caught one.

We had a look for the leopard in the marsh but were unsuccessful.

That’s leopards for you. Total no-shows.

Then dawned New Year’s day – January 1, 2004 AD.

We celebrated the grand event by gracing Chez Wou at the Windhoek Country Club with our presence. 

It’s a Chinese restaurant, has never been busted for having poodles in its freezers, and it overlooks a casino, which, like every casino my father has lost money in, operates in a lightless, timeless, 24 hour a day, murk. 

There were a few stubborn and joyless figures morbidly losing chips in the shadowland  below us, and a few other diners at the tables of Chez Wou. But overall the Windhoek Country Club could not honestly have been described as buzzing with activity.

After the Beijing Duck and some mildly chillied soft pork (“pre-chewed pork” to quote my father) we wondered where the owner was. A nice chap, he normally drops in at our table and asks us about immigration rules and regs in New Zealand or Australia and whether he might qualify. Chucks my chin. Gives my father a shot of Special and Auspicious Chinese Wine on the house.

 Sadly this performance will not be repeated. 

 We were, in a round-about-subtle-and-Oriental fashion informed that he’d shot himself (or been shot by someone else). He had incurred gambling debts. One of the risks of running a restaurant above a casino I suppose.

 After hearing the news we decided to skip dessert and after wishing the new management better luck (and really meaning it) we opted instead to tour the grounds.

 …,

 It is, I have been informed, de rigeur for any establishment that calls itself a country club to have a golf course. Windhoek Country Club has one and it has greens. 

 Along the Skeleton Coast there are several more golf courses. They don’t have greens as such, more like browns. And lots of sand traps.

 No-one was playing golf when we visited. 

 Paulo informs me that the greenest golf course in the entire country lies in Orangemund in the off-limits diamond area. Its grass is mown by oryx.

 After we’d explored the Country Club we returned home and as we drove we listened to Radiowave 96.7 FM “Namibia’s Number One Hit Music Station.” 

 Steven Beresford was on the air. But then Steven Beresford is always on the air. The man’s stamina is not so much awe-inspiring as supernatural. My father admires him immensely for two reasons. He will under no circumstances broadcast any rap or hip hop music. “The radio station without the rap. We don’t PLAY Rap!!!” is one of the call signs of Radio 96.7 FM.

 And if you miss the beginning of a song you only have to wait ten minutes before he plays it again.  

 Steven, you’re our man!

 Please don’t shoot yourself.

Thai Days: Airport of Smiles

February 24, 2011

Thailand is a very smiley place. Lovely smiles. But having recently spent two hours queueing in the fuming gridlock of the immigration lines at Bangkok’s international airport I’d have to say that this isn’t the place to find them.  

Grimaces. Yawns. Snarls. Yes.

Smiles? No.

Actually I tell a lie. The guy beside me did crack a smile. Or, if not a smile, a derisive grin.

I asked him sourly what was so funny and he showed me a copy of the Bangkok Post. There in full colour was a half page ad. “Safety and Service are Our Prime Priorities” said the ad. “To Ensure You Travel With SMILES,” it added. Beneath that was a photograph of 7 Thai Suvarnabhumi airport people beaming away like lottery winners. Beneath them was a logo. “Airport of Smiles” it declared.

Who says advertising doesn’t work.    

The publicity campaign by the Airport of Smiles precipitated a flood, a deluge, nay a positive tsunami of outraged correspondence to airport authorities, government and the media from people who had actually endured the grisly ordeal of stepping foot in the place.

Stung by accusations that Suvarnabhumi was not just the most unfriendly, badly managed airport in the world but was also a blot on the face of civilisation the authorities promptly sprang into action. Hugh Paxton’s Blog has been informed that within two weeks of this post the entire immigration process will have been streamlined, fast tracked, revamped and made perfect.

I would welcome confirmation from incoming travelers that this has been accomplished.


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