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Returning from Manila we stopped once more at "The City of Mist," Hongkong, and were entertained all over again. While some of the Chamber of Commerce party were motoring to a dance given in honor of the San Francisco delegates, a coolie was hit and nearly run over. Our host told the coolie to get out of the way, while assuring us that it would not have caused much trouble had he been severely injured. He said, "Labor is so cheap here, some coolies try to get hit to get something out of you, and if I had really run over him, I would have given him fifty cents, or so. You know there is a law that if a Chinese accepts any amount of money after being injured, he has no redress." He went on to tell a story about using Chinese women to retrieve instead of dogs in snipe shooting. If these coolie women happen to stand up and get a stray shot, a few cents is given them, and it is called "square." One of the husbands of these women retrievers needed money, so his wife stood up in order to get a lot of shots. She got seven shots and went away with her husband rejoicing upon receipt of five dollars.
It was like meeting someone from home when Mrs. H. W. Thomas and Mrs. Cudahy joined our party again.
Many of our party looked for the American flag at our consulate, and H. L. Judell said he could not buy one in all of British Hongkong.
The feeling against the Germans in Hongkong, many of our party decided, must be very strong, as we saw cartoons showing a fierce-looking person killing everyone, and the same person in another pose, dressed as a traveling salesman, together with the warning, "Remember they are one and the same." We also noted sentiment against the Japanese in China, for instance, a Chinese gentleman told a group of our party that he and many of his countrymen taught their children that someday they would fight the Japanese. We were told that if a Chinese child is given a piece of candy and then told that the candy was made in Japan, the child refuses to eat it. This just typifies the attitude we found in China towards the Japanese. But as Dr. Kasper Pischel said at one of our evening meetings, "The spirit of China is not dead but is very much alive in Canton. Where the guidebooks discussed the narrow streets, to small even for rickshaws, I found twenty miles of broad streets. Where I anticipated hovels, a twelve-story skyscraper was seen, and it is my belief that unscrupulous outsiders are trying to keep the old political power in Peking."
Leaving Hongkong, we passed the typhoon shelter on the bay with its hundreds of floating homes. Next we noted the numerous curved graves (evil spirits, we were told, would not attack curved lines) and that all the graves faced the rice fields and the water for good luck. It seems that once a year, the relatives come with a big feast, and after waiting two hours for the spirits to eat, the mourners "fall to" and devour it themselves. The sacred mountain that resembles an amah and child, where the expectant Chinese mothers come to pray for male babies, was seen in the distance, as was the inlet of the bay, which, according to legend, was the original location of the Garden of Eden. Some members of the party considered this region much more beautiful than the Inland Sea of Japan.
Many of the party could not understand what the tall buildings in all the small villages could be. The fluent-talking Chinese officials, sent to escort our party, informed us that they were the pawnshops, and the wealth of the villages is determined by the number of their pawnshops, it being quite an honorable business in China, and all the inhabitants put their winter clothes in pawn. If, when they redeem this clothing, an epidemic of disease occurs, no one seems to think it might be because the clothes of all are put together unfumigated.
We were discussing the odd names on the official program when we were told that besides meeting a Mr. Looking For, a Mr. Jack Rabbitt was to follow the first speaker at the coming luncheon. We heard all about Ho Fook, with his fourteen wives and fifty-six children, and how Wang Chong Hin had just made a million in Java, raising sugar cane; that fat worms were considered a great treat, as were portions of rats, cats and dogs, all of these questionable delicacies being on display in the wayside markets.
The Canton reception was by far the most spectacular the Chamber of Commerce party received in the Orient. After the gaily attired band (playing American airs) greeted us, we passed through a brilliantly decorated arch and drove past the business section of Canton to the Yamen of His Excellency, Chan Chuing Ming, the Governor of Kwangtung. Here a reception committee representing the Government of the Republic of China, at Canton, the Provincial Government of Kwangtung, the Canton Municipality, the General Chamber of Commerce at Canton and the American Association of South China gave us a never-to-be-forgotten welcome.
An elaborate Chinese tiffin (yes, we ate a la chop sticks) was served. Governor Chan Chuing Ming, in his opening address, spoke of South China's plan for trade expansion and the development of this vast section. He referred to America's policy of fair play and the "Open Door" in the Orient and said that South China was rapidly becoming a progressive democracy and that the delegation showed its interest in South China by its presence there.
Commissioner Francis Krull, in answering this speech, spoke of the "Heavenly Welcome." This reminded us that besides the bands, military escort, soldiers at salute throughout the streets, auto street sprinkler to keep down the dust in front of the procession, an aeroplane had soared over our heads dropping messages of greeting. Someone suggested that a book on Chinese etiquette should have been studied by all representatives, for, when Mayor Sun, the son of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, head of South China, gave one of the ladies of our party a choice morsel, fished out of the central platter with the spoon with which he as eating, she did not know that his is considered a special mark of favor and accepted it very reluctantly, thinking her host most forgetful.
After eating our fill of bird's nest soup, sharks' fins and bamboo cells, we were taken in motors to see the five-storied Pagoda, the City of the Dead, and the monument to the Chinese revolutionary heroes (donated by the Chinese all over the world). When we saw one huge slab donated by some Chinese in San Francisco, we did feel toward the intelligent, kindly people just as our cultured host and hostess put it, "Right at home with them."
The General Chamber of Commerce gave a dinner at the Asia Hotel to the businessmen of the party, while the Chinese ladies gave a twelve-course dinner on the top floor of one of their new skyscrapers. This is said to be the first time in Chinese history that the sheltered and seldom seen Chinese ladies of rank ever gave a dinner to any, traveling delegation. Their correctly spoken English, charming graciousness, and, in a few cases, rare beauty, would make any collection of American women look, to their laurels.
Another typically Chinese dinner was given for us where James H. Henry, an American living in Canton, made the best speech we had heard in the Orient. He laid stress upon the fact that we need China more than she needs the United States. As other nations are studying her people and her resources we are letting things drift. He said, "United States is pursuing the same stupid psychology that originally caused England to lose her trade in China to the painstaking, persistent Germans. There are few Americans that can name readily six Chinese cities. China favors America because she stands for Liberty, Fraternity, Equality and Fair Play, but that her favoring the United States is more negative than positive as the United States is doing nothing to cultivate her trade and her favor is more on account of what Americans stand for but have not done as yet. Americans had better get busy and do something positive to develop her trade as do the other nations. The French are importing Chinese to study in France and in order to get to know the French and like them. The Germans come and live among the Chinese to learn their ways and to secure their friendship. China is going forward."