Monday, October 31, 2005

Hong Kong Letters in a Time of War

Happy Halloween everyone! When you're doorbell rings this evening, don't assume that it's a pesky property agent and get some candy ready instead.

Just a short post today - and speaking of posts, I was reading the report of the Post Office, written on October 31st, 1915. The report describes how the War (WWI) was affecting mail delivery, and it stimulated the dim memories of not having international calls, e-mail or mobile phones. Imagine with me, the troubled times of 1915 - good for business in Hong Kong, but one filled with terrible news, and of chaos on the mainland. Imagine then the city of Hong Kong, filled with immigrants and with people far from home, writing letters being their only contact with the world they once knew. We do take so much for granted - imagine a time when one read reports like these:
Considering the dangers to which shipping in the Home waters and in the Meidterannean has been exposed as a result of the German submarine policy the Colony was singularly fortunate in the matter of mails. All mails despatched from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom and vice versa arrived safely with the exception of the Peninsular and Oriental S.S. "Persia" and "Ville de la Ciotat", both of which ships were torpedoed in the Mediterranean towards the close of the year and two bags of mail on the S.S. "Hesperian" which was torpedoed in the Atlantic in September.
It seems in this age of instant information and gratification in which we live, one no longer has to live with the virtue of patience or of the ability to weather adversity and even worse, the absence of news or knowledge of loved ones with fortitude. May we continue to live in such times, and have the wisdom to ensure that our world remains so.


Madame Chiang said...

The power of mail....I remember at boarding school having to sit down every Sunday and write to our parents...and every day after lunch the House Mistress would distribute the mail..and how disappointing when you didn't receive a missive from the world beyond the high brick walls!! Not quite 1915 but it's not hard for me to see the picture you painted!

Dave and Stefan said...

Dear Madame Chiang,

Thanks for your comment! I apologise for the late reply - I was dealing with a work 'hangover' from a very late night at the office.

I quite agree, anyone that's been away at summer camp for the first time can probably remember the feeling of not getting a care package or parcel when some of the others had. It was a physical manifestation of your parents' love, and means a lot to a young child...