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16 October, 2011


I have been reading a book, Thunder Out Of China, which was included in my father's rather extensive library.  Published in 1946, authors Theodore White and Annalee Jacoby provided an eye-opening account of how China became a communist state.

In a well-researched chapter, "Campaign in the South Seas", White and Jacoby describe how the white man's arrogant military trampled roughshod over the dignity and culture of the dark-skinned peoples of Asia.  Stories in history tell us of how the Orient was looted of its wealth and how faith was thrust down the gullet of the heathen at the point of a bayonet.  For hundreds of years the bitterness and resentment in Asia had been gradually accumulating against the system and pressure was reaching the volcanic stage.  A not-too subtle movement to humiliate the white man within sight of his slaves, gained momentum with the hope of driving him out of Asia,

An interesting ancient Filipinos legend about how God made the world's first man, was of particular interest to me and just one of many revelations awaiting me in Thunder Out Of China.  As this particular legend has it, God fashioned a man tenderly until every detail was perfect and then put the image into an oven to bake.  He opened the oven too late, however, and the man was burned black.  This was, after all, the first man God had ever created.  Breathing life into the figure, He determined to try again.  God put the same material into the second man, shaped with the same care as before, and waited eagerly; but He grew impatient with waiting and opened the oven too soon revealing a man that was undone, a sickly and pasty white.

God was not satisfied with his second attempt and reproached Himself for another mistake.  So He made a third man, this time waiting patiently for just the right amount of time before removing the figure from the oven.  The third man was baked neither too much or too little.  He was a smooth golden brown colour, and God was satisfied.

This story could well have been of Malay, Burmese or Indonesian origin.  It could be told of China or Japan.  It could be the story of any brown or yellow-skinned people who had been made defensively aware of their colour by the coming of the white man.  The consciousness of colour that had been imposed by whites with stress on their superiority and dominance of the pale, and on the humble subjection of the dark, was the strongest weapon in Japan's arsenal in a tempestuous assault on the empires of the South Seas in the winter and spring of 1942, subsequent to entering the war against the British and Americans.

Indeed, an aspect of history that is interesting to contemplate.

Kind of explains too, why so many of us are half baked.

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