Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Out of nothing

By the time of the  funeral of Lady Edgeworth-Box, everyone who knew her had formulated their own fanciful theory as to the cause of her death. There were too many accounts to approach anything like a general consensus, but both the stable boy (confusingly named "gardiner") and the Vicar claimed that her death was the direct result of a malicious curse place on Lady Edgeworth-Box in the course of her archaeological travels. A similar opinion held that she had contracted a rare tropical disease as a result of coming into contact with a berry from a thought-to-be extinct jungle flower. Lady Wellesley was telling all and sundry how she had seen some preoccupied Russians on the island recently, and whether anybody thought that might bear some relation to the unfortunate turn of events, especially given plutonium-9 or whatever it was that she had read about in the news some time ago. Nevertheless, Palmerston-Napier insisted that his dear sister had merely died of asphyxiation brought about by blocked windpipe, the silly thing having choked on her porridge, and of course because she hadnt heeded his protestations at her putting nutmeg and cinnamon on her breakfast which of course aggravated her  delicate English constitution.

In this way the day proceeded not so much out of sorrow, but with a spirit of mystery and gossip. All the townsfolk using the opportunity to glean whatever information they could, each having a profound sense of certainty that it had fallen on only themself to solve this riddle.

There was one exception it must be said. Lord Wellesley really hadn't the time for such speculative exercises. Rather, he realised that he had misplaced (one might even say lost) the charter papers for the Double Cuneiform Club, without which he would be unable to ratify the club constitution and most likely resulting in thier disqualification from the Auxiliary Arcadian League. Should this happen not only Wellesley would be beside himself, as the club belonged to the members like a family heirloom, such as in the case of Lord Wellesley, membership going back at least 7 generations in the house of Windfroth. "Oh well, something will turn up" he decided, and funnily enough shortly after something did. Gazing out of the car window on the way back from the funeral, Lord Wellesley noticed a strange mound protruding about 100 ft out to sea. "I say, Harriet, I'm not sure I've noticed the strange mound before today." At which point Lady Wellesley burst into inconsolable sobs, completely misunderstanding her husbands words, having not brought her glasses with her. 

This handout photo taken on July 17, 2012 and released on July 24, by Philippine military western command (WESTCOM) shows newly-constructed radar dome on Chinese-controlled Subi Reef, around 15 nautical miles northwest of the Philippine-controlled Pag-asa islands on the disputed Spratly islands. The Philippines on July 24, 2012 summoned the Chinese ambassador to protest against China's plans to establish a military garrison on the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Island Pop

File:Tulay Mosque.jpg

To talk of the pirate is to talk of the Zone. And before the Special Economic Zone, there was the Entrepot. Take for instance the great Sulu Sea, and the story of how it was integrated into the world economy, in conjunction with a counter-trade with nearby China. While, such amazing tropical goods were traded that even the birds nest and sea cucumber became sought after commodities (read: would be fun to make), expanding production gave rise to a new slave trade. At the time of conquest, the sea was home to many indigenous communities, many of whom belonged to the Sultanate of Sulu, and who for 400 years have fought subsequent rulers in an ongoing claim for autonomy. To the Spanish colonisers, these muslim pirates seemed all alike, so they called them the Moros, just like the Moors they had at home.

File:UvA-BC 300.068 - Siboga - Sulu.jpg

The Moro are famed for the Kris and the the Barong. This motif was taken up by the miltant islamic faction of the Moro, terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, who take thier name from the Arabic ابو, abu ("father of") and sayyaf ("swordsmith"). In a recent war, on the second front (out of sight and out of mind),  this faction of Moro militant insurgents faced the well known multi-pronged strategy, called "Clear–Hold– Consolidate–Develop" and were forced to flee into the mountainous terrain of Jolo island.  

File:Kalis seko kris moro sword 2 overall.jpg

There is a modern aphorism, not dissimilar from those of the past:  "where the road ends, terrorism starts."  Perhaps that's why some people are always so eager to build roads everywhere. To every man there are spaces that appear blank, either (seemingly) on a map or within themselves, and perhaps it all comes down to how one chooses to deal with those blank spaces. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015


Lady Edgeworth-Box made her way back to the house, where her brother was busy drawing faces on the boiled eggs he had lined up in front of him.
'Good lord, Edith, you look frightful! Where is your sense of decency coming to breakfast in your hunting breeches?'
The black slime was pooling at her feet and ants began crawling out of the cracks in the floor boards and feeding at her toes.
'Honestly, dudday would have been quite ashamed to she you, letting yourself go like this. And where, pray tell, is my newspaper? You know I simply cannot eat breakfast without the Observer and the Times.'
A few of Lady Edgeworth-Box's teeth fell from her mouth when she tried to speak and bounced onto the floorboards. There seemed to be some sort of corrosive acid eating at her skin and she could only manage glottal choking sounds as her throat filled with fluid.
'You see here Edith, I have an idea to solve the China problem. See, I've drawn big darkie-poo lips on these eggs and horrid slanted eyes on these to demonstrate. The plain egg represents your standard Englishman. See how many of these darky and chinky poo's there are and there's only one of ours, and in this breakfast, the white egg doesnt have a sporting chance when dropped in a pot of boiling water as it muddy's into a brown and yellow goop. My solution is to let the yellow eggs rule the brown ones and then leave the pot itself in the pantry in the servants quarter and pretend it doesnt exist and be done with the entire horrid business.'
By now, Lady-Edgeworth Box was slumped over the table, face first in a bowl of porridge and the acid had almost burnt a hole through to the other side of the solid oak. A boil on the back of her head suddenly burst and a spray of blood and puss spread a fine mist across Palmerston-Napier's face.
'Edith, how could you? These are my favorite silk rocket ship pyjamas and now they're completely ruined!'