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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Long ago in Hong Kong

I found this picture when returning the many boxes of Christmas past into the garage attic. It was taken February, 1971 in Hong Kong, during my second cruise aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger. A neat little story goes along with it. The Interior Communications Division, of which I belonged, adopted an orphan from Hong Kong shortly after the start of my first cruise. We exchanged letters with her, and sent money collected amongst us. The authorities requested a tour for the girl, and our division commander agreed. Some of us took the girl (on the left of me in the picture) and her escort (on the right) for a tour of the ship with an official photographer. The escort spoke excellent English, and she used the tour to grill us on how long we would be in port, when we were scheduled to go back on line off the Vietnam coast, how many men were on board, etc. We all smiled, kept moving, and guided the two around according to our schedule. Apparently, this little scene repeated itself on other ships and divisions, where other Hong Kong orphans had been adopted. We reported the incident, because we thought the Chinese had slipped in one of their ringers; but it turned out the entire operation was a front for information gathering, and it was curtailed. It was our first experience with how deeply Hong Kong had been infiltrated by the Mainland Chinese government. I hope to scan some more of the early pictures I found from overseas if they have a story to go with them. :)


Jordan Summers said...

Intriguing. Talk about a plot for a book. Get to writing, Bernard. ;)

BernardL said...

I appreciate your comments, Jordan; but the escort wasn’t Mata Hari, and I wasn’t James Bond. :) I don’t do fiction concerning my life; and fiction is what I like to write, although I do enjoy writing about the funny stuff here at my shop. I use bits and pieces of real life, and intersperse them throughout what I write, like I imagine any writer does. The picture illustrates the closest I ever came to espionage: an orphan being used, and the escort who was using her. The paragraph tells everything there was to it.