WANDERINGS IN THE ORIENT
ALBERT M. REESE
WITH SIXTY-SIX ILLUSTRATIONS FROM PHOTOGRAPHS
CHICAGO LONDON THE OPEN COURT PUBLISHING COMPANY 1919
COPYRIGHT BY THE OPEN COURT PUBLISHING COMPANY 1919
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
I. Life in a Philippine Village 7
II. A Visit to Tay Tay 18
III. The Leper Colony of Culion 24
IV. From Zamboanga to Singapore 29
V. Singapore, the Melting Pot of the East 42
VI. How Rubber Is Made 53
VII. Two Chinese Cities 58
VIII. Meanderings in Modern Manila 69
IX. A Pacific Paradise, Honolulu 77
To most Americans, "going abroad" means visiting Europe. Since European travel will doubtless be unsatisfactory for some years to come, the globetrotter may well turn his attention to the Far East which, while not so accessible, is after all easily reached if the cost be not prohibitive; and the ubiquitous Cook is nearly always on hand to help the traveler out of difficulties.
The trip across the Pacific is of course a long one, but the journey is interrupted, before the end of the first week, by a stop at that tropical paradise, the Hawaiian Islands.
If one should need a complete rest, this seven thousand mile voyage is just the thing. If he desire he may read or study to good advantage. If inclined to sea-sickness there is plenty of time to recover and still enjoy the greater part of the journey. While the distances between stopping places are often great one feels that he can "do" a place in much less time than it would take in Europe, where objects of historic and other interest are so crowded together. If interested in the work of foreign missions abundant opportunity offers for their study at first hand.
It was chiefly during these journeys between stopping places that the following sketches were written, as a sort of diary or log, illustrated by photographs taken by the writer.
On a beautiful morning in May the U. S. Army Transport "Sherman," after a voyage of twenty-eight days from San Francisco, tied up at the dock in Manila. The regular lines make the trip in much less time than the leisurely transports, but the writer, as a representative of the Smithsonian Institution, was furnished passage on the government vessel. With Manila as headquarters, collecting trips were made to various regions roundabout. Some of these places are described in the following chapters.
Finally, upon one of the inter-island transports, a trip to the southernmost islands of the Philippine group was made, ending at Zamboanga, where the North German Lloyd steamer was taken for Singapore, via Borneo. From Singapore a four days' trip, without stop, brought us to Hongkong; whence, after seeing that place and the nearby city of Canton, a two days' trip brought us again to Manila. It is the various places visited in this more or less out-of-the-way circuit that are described in the remaining chapters.
A. M. R.
MORGANTOWN, W. VA.
I. LIFE IN A PHILIPPINE VILLAGE.
The little village or barrio of Mariveles is situated just inside the narrow cape that forms the northern border of the entrance to Manila Bay. The city of Manila lies out of sight, thirty miles to the southeast, but the island of Corregidor lies only seven miles to the south, and the great searchlights at night are quite dazzling when turned directly upon the village. A large amount of money has recently been spent in fortifying Corregidor until it is now considered practically impregnable.
The village extends for about half a mile close along the beach and is flanked, on the west, by the buildings of a United States quarantine station.
Arriving by a very dilapidated launch from Manila I waited at the government dock while the native boy I had brought with me went to the village to find, if possible, a vacant house. He soon returned, with another boy to help carry our baggage, (there was not a cart or wagon of any sort in the place) and with the information that he had engaged a house for our use. A whole house for two people sounded rather formidable but as this house contained only two rooms its rental was not as extravagant as might have been imagined. It was located on the main thoroughfare which had the very American name of Washington Street. Like the typical native house, our Washington Street mansion was built chiefly of bamboo and nipa palm, with a few heavier timbers in the framework. Upon the main timbers of the frame was built a sort of lattice of split bamboo, upon which in turn was sewed, shinglewise, close layers of nipa palm that are quite impervious to rain, are fairly durable, and are very inflammable. The people's floor was elevated four or five feet above the ground, thereby securing not only air and dryness for the people above, but also providing a very convenient chicken-coop and pig-pen beneath. The floor was made of split bamboo which made sweeping easy—merely a matter of pushing the dirt through the cracks between the strips of bamboo.
Although the smell of even a clean pig under the dining-room table is rather objectionable at first, as is the crowing of two or three roosters early in the morning, it is surprising how soon one becomes accustomed to these little annoyances, and it simplifies domestic science considerably to be able to throw, from one's seat at table, banana skins and other scraps through a convenient hole in the floor and have them immediately disposed of by the pig and chickens beneath.
The dining room, as in many American houses, also served as a kitchen. The stove was a large box, elevated two or three feet from the floor, lined with baked clay upon which the fire is made. Large iron spikes, arranged in groups of three, may be imbedded in the clay to hold one or more pots of different sizes. There was no chimney, but a convenient window carried out the smoke quite effectively. The fire-wood was stored under the house in the pig-pen and consisted chiefly of short sticks of such diameter as could be easily cut with the large knife or bolo that the natives wear suspended from a belt at the waist. The sticks, when the cooking is done, are simply withdrawn from beneath the pot and lie ready to be pushed in again when the fire is lit for the next meal. A very few sticks will thus serve for cooking a large number of the simple native meals. Opening from the kitchen was the front door, leading to the ground by a flight of stairs or a ladder. Thanks to the United States Mariveles is supplied with abundant water, piped from some miles up in the mountains, and some of the better houses of the barrio have a private faucet on the back porch, which is luxury indeed. The main room of the house was used as a living room and bedroom. In such houses there are usually large windows, without sash of course, which are shaded by day and closed by night and in severe storms by a hinged awning of nipa, seen in the photographs. In spite of the warmth nearly all natives close the window shades tight when they sleep, so that, in spite of the numerous cracks, the ventilation must be very bad; this may partly account for the prevalence of tuberculosis on the islands.
Around the better houses in such a barrio is usually seen a high fence generally made of closely set vertical saplings, driven into the ground and bound together with rattan at the top; this fence serves to keep the chickens in, and, at night, to keep prowling animals out.
Many of the houses have a tiny store at the ground level in which a small stock of canned goods, native fruits, dried fish, native shoes etc. may be seen. One of the main department stores of Mariveles is shown in the accompanying photograph, with the very American sign at the side of the entrance.
Like many native villages Mariveles has a large stone church, with red tile roof, bell tower, etc.; it is now in such bad repair as to be unsafe, so that a crude shed with thatched sides and corrugated iron roof has been built to take its place. No priest now lives in this barrio and the shed-like church did not have the appearance of being much used.
The village school, on the other hand, gave every indication of activity. Although not housed in a very handsome building, a glance through the windows and door showed many students of various ages all apparently busy and orderly under the supervision of several neat and bright looking native women.
On the same street with the school a link with the outside world was seen in the sign "Telegraph and Post Office." This office was in charge of a native who, unlike most of the residents of the barrio, spoke English. In these villages it is usually easy to find natives who speak Spanish, but it is frequently difficult to find one who understands English.
The men of the village were mostly engaged, though not very strenuously, in the rice paddies or in fishing. The women looked after the housekeeping, washing, tending the stores, etc., and their position of respect and authority in the homes and in society was in marked contrast to that of other oriental and even of some European women.
A tiny store across the street from where we lived was tended during most of the day and in the evenings by an attractive young native woman who seemed to be quite a belle. Every evening, at about dark, a dapper young native, in an American suit of white, always appeared and seated himself upon the bench in front of the store, where he could see and talk to his brunette lady love without interfering with her commercial duties, which were not heavy. Often several other suitors appeared and, while it was not possible to understand what was said, since the conversation was all in Tagalog, from the frequent laughter it was evident that the girl was as able to entertain several admirers at once as are some of her blond sisters across the sea. Her voice was softer and her laugh more attractive than that of many an American belle of high social standing. In fact the women of this island village were, as a class, of remarkable dignity and modesty, so that there was probably less to shock one's modesty here than at many a fashionable American watering place. Of course ignorance of their language made it impossible to understand all that was going on, but to judge by their actions and the tones of their voices it would seem that their family life is as peaceful and happy as that of the average American family. It is truly the "simple life" that they lead, and to us it seems a very narrow one; yet it has its advantages over the "strenuous life" that most of us are compelled to live. There was little or no drunkenness or quarreling among the men, whose chief vice seemed to be gambling.
This gambling instinct is gratified mainly by means of the cockpit. One of the most familiar sights of the islands is the native man with a game cock or just a plain rooster under his arm. They pet and fondle these birds as we do cats or lap-dogs, and on Sundays (alas!) they gather at the cockpits to match their favorites against each other. Many barrios have large covered pits seating hundreds of people. The pit of Mariveles, which happened to be in the yard next to ours, was simply a square of about twenty feet enclosed by a low bamboo fence, in the shade of a huge acacia tree. Around this square were gathered about one hundred men (probably all of the men of the barrio) and two or three women, and we shall hope that the few women who were there to witness so unpleasant a spectacle were looking after their husbands to see that they did not bet too heavily.
Inside the square were two or three officials, and two men holding the two contesting birds. A man at a table outside held the stakes and presumably kept track of the bettors, odds, etc. Instead of the weapons provided by nature each bird had securely fastened to his left leg, in place of the spur that had been cut off, a villainously sharp steel spur, slightly curved and about three inches long. A well directed thrust from this steel weapon may kill the victim almost instantly, and one victim was already hanging head-down to a near-by tree when I entered.
While the bets were being arranged each bird was held, in turn, to let the other peck him ferociously, probably with the idea of making them mad enough to fight. When the bets were all arranged the birds were placed on the ground facing each other, and with lowered heads and neck feathers erected they dashed together like tigers, jumping high over each other and endeavoring to stab one another with their artificial weapons. In the one fight witnessed (and one was enough to learn the ways of the cockpit) both birds were soon bleeding profusely and had lost their desire to fight, so that the crowd called out some word and the cocks were picked up and "sicked" on each other again; this was repeated until one bird had enough and retreated ignominiously to the farthest corner of the pit, amid the shouts of the men who had bet on the other cock. In many cases, it is said, the vanquished bird is killed outright before he has time to retreat.
The sport, while rather exciting, is certainly demoralizing, especially with the betting that always accompanies it.
Such is the life of these simple people. Of course among the less civilized and the savage tribes conditions are very different, and a white man would not dare enter so intimately into the life of a barrio; in fact in some regions it is very unsafe to go outside of the army posts without a proper guard.
As to the character of the civilized Filipinos opinion seems to differ among the Americans of the Islands. That they are not yet capable of self-government seems to be almost universally believed by Americans who have lived among them; and that they are not energetic as a class is only what might be expected in such a climate. Some Americans have a rather high opinion of the moral character and general trustworthiness of the average native; others do not hold such a high opinion of him and consider him the inferior of the American negro, mentally, morally and physically. As students in the University of the Philippines it is said they compare favorably with students in American universities.
Doubtless there is as much variation, mental and moral, among the natives of the Philippine Islands as among the inhabitants of an Anglo-Saxon country, so that one's opinions are apt to be influenced by the class of natives with which he chiefly comes in contact.
II. A VISIT TO TAY TAY.
The cutter Busuanga of the Philippine Bureau of Navigation had been chartered to go to Tay Tay on the Island of Palawan, to bring back to Manila the party of naturalists of the Bureau of Science who had been studying the little-known fauna and flora of that far-away island, the most westerly of the Philippine group.
After leaving the dock at Manila at sundown we steamed out of the bay, past the searchlights of Corregidor and the other forts which were sweeping entirely across the entrance to the bay in a way that would immediately expose any enemy that might attempt to slip by in the dark, and by nine o'clock we were headed in a south-westerly direction across the China Sea.
The next day we passed through winding passages along the Calamaines group where every hour brought to view new islands of the greatest beauty and of every size and shape. Upon one of these islands is a leper colony which we visited and found most interesting.
Early on the second morning we entered the harbor of the small but ancient village of Tay Tay (pronounced "tie tie" and spelled in various ways) on the eastern shore of Palawan. Not a white man lives in this inaccessible hamlet and it is seldom that one visits it, as there is no regular communication of any sort with the outside world.
The village consists of a dozen or two native huts along the beach in a very pretty grove of coconut trees. Back of the village is a range of low mountains covered with tropical jungle. The main point of interest is a well constructed fort of stone, built on a small promontory that projects out into the bay. The walls of the fort are very massive and are surmounted at each of the four corners by a round watch tower. On its land side the fort is entered through a narrow gate that leads by a stone stairway to the top of the promontory. On various parts of the walls are carvings and inscriptions showing that the different bastions were built at different times.
Within the fort and overlooking the walls is an old stone church whose roof has long since fallen in. Within the fort is also a large cement-lined, stone cistern to hold water in case of siege. The Spanish inscriptions on the walls show that the fort was begun about 1720, though the mission there was established about 1620. Lying about within the fort are a few large iron cannon that were doubtless used by the Spaniards in repulsing the attacks of the Moro pirates. It was for a refuge from these pirates that this old fort was built nearly two hundred years ago in this tiny, reef-protected harbor, on an island that even now is unknown to a large majority of American people although it is a part of our territory.
On the shore, just back of the fort, is another stone church whose roof has also fallen in; and back of this church is a small thatched bell tower with two very good bells of harmonious tones hanging in it. How long these bells have been silent it is difficult to say, but no priest now remains to carry on the work begun nearly three hundred years ago by the brave padres from Spain, and not a Spaniard now lives in that almost forgotten village. But for the moss-covered and still massive gray walls of the fort and the crumbling ruins of the two churches one would never imagine that this tiny village of brown men had ever been inhabited by subjects of the kingdom of Spain.
In passing out of the harbor of Tay Tay we visited a small volcanic island of curiously weathered and water-worn limestone. Except for a narrow beach the sides of this island are almost perpendicular, and the cliffs are honeycombed with dozens of water-worn caves. Many of these caves are of great beauty, resembling the interiors of stone churches; some extend far back into the dark interior of the island, others are lighted by openings at the top. Many of them are beautifully colored, and in an accessible region would doubtless be frequently visited by tourists, while in their isolated location it is possible that they had never before been visited by white men, unless in the old Spanish days. It is in these and in similar caves of this region that the natives obtain the edible birds' nests so highly prized by some, especially the Chinese. The natives are said to have claims on certain caves, and any one found stealing nests from another man's cave is supposedly dealt with as a thief.
These curious nests are built by swifts (swallows) against the walls of the dark caves much in the some way as is done by our common chimney swifts, except that instead of cementing a number of small twigs together by a kind of sticky secretion or saliva, the entire nest is made of the sticky substance which dries into a sort of gummy mass. This substance has but little taste, and why the wealthy Chinese should be willing to pay such enormous prices ($12 to $15 per pound) for it is hard to understand.
It is said that the first nest the bird makes in the season brings the highest price because it is of pure material; this nest having been taken the bird builds another, but, having a diminished supply of the secretion, it introduces some foreign matter to help out, and this foreign matter, of course, makes the nest less valuable as food. A third nest may succeed the second, but it has still more foreign matter to still further diminish its value. That the collection of the nests is attended with considerable danger is evident from the vertical, jagged walls of rock that must be scaled, either from below or above, to obtain them.
To those of us who lead busy lives in the centers of what we call twentieth-century civilization, life in a place so isolated from the rest of the world as Tay Tay seems impossible. Yet the inhabitants of this barrio are quite contented and fairly comfortable. They live "the simple life" indeed. While their resources are exceedingly limited their needs and desires are correspondingly few. They never suffer from cold and probably not often from heat or hunger: and they are not cursed with the ambitions that make so many of us dissatisfied with our lives.
III. THE LEPER COLONY OF CULION.
It was early Sunday morning when the "Busuanga" dropped anchor in the harbor of Culion Island, one of the Calamaines group of the Philippines, and two or three of us were fortunate enough to be invited to land, for an hour or so, to visit the leper colony that is said to be the largest in the world.
We were met at the tiny dock by the physician-in-charge, Dr. Clements, and by him escorted about the colony. This physician, who has spent long years in these eastern lands, gives the immediate impression of a man of quiet force, and the work he is doing in this seldom-visited island is as fine a piece of missionary work, though carried on by the government, as can probably be found anywhere.
Including the dock a few acres of the island are fenced off, and into this enclosure the lepers are forbidden to enter; otherwise they have the run of the island, but are not allowed boats for fear they would be used as a means of escape.
Within the non-leprous enclosure are located the residences for the doctors and other officials; the living quarters, kitchens etc. (all of concrete) for the non-leprous laborers; and various shops and other such buildings.
At the "dead line" fence between this and the leprous part of the island a Chinaman has a small store where the lepers can buy various articles such as may be seen in a small country store. The articles are in plain sight, but the leper is not allowed to touch anything until he has decided to take it; he then drops his money into a sterilizing solution and gets his purchase. A more modern store is being arranged by the government that will soon displace the Chino.
Passing this minute store we entered the gate of the "forbidden city," and, though there is no danger from merely breathing the same air with lepers, it gave us a rather strange sensation to be surrounded by thirty-four hundred poor wretches who in Biblical times would have been compelled to cry "Unclean! unclean!" We, of course, did not touch anything within the colony, though the doctors do not hesitate to touch even the lepers themselves.
The colony proper is located on a small promontory looking eastward to the harbor and the Sulu Sea. At the end of this promontory is an old Spanish fort of stone with its enclosed church. Most of the Christian lepers are Roman Catholics, though there is a small Protestant church in the colony, in charge of a leprous native minister.
The lepers are brought from the various islands of the Philippines to this colony so fast that it is with great difficulty that they can be accommodated; but all are made comfortable, in fact much more comfortable, in most cases, than they would ever have been at home. Except for homesickness, which cannot, of course, be avoided, they are quite happy, or as happy as any hopelessly sick people can be away from home and friends.
Fine concrete dormitories are supplied, but many prefer to build their own native houses of nipa palm and bamboo. A certain amount of help is given the lepers in building these houses on condition that they first obtain a permit and build in the proper place in relation to the streets that have been laid out.
Besides the dormitories there are several concrete kitchen buildings where the lepers can prepare their food in comfort.
A plentiful supply of pure water is distributed by pipes to various convenient parts of the colony, and several concrete bath and wash houses are conveniently located. A concrete sewage system leads all sewage to the sea.
In this tropical climate it is, of course, unnecessary to provide any means of heating the buildings. At the time of our visit a large amusement pavilion was nearly completed where moving pictures and other forms of entertainment will help pass the time for these poor wretches who have nothing to look forward to but a lingering death from a loathsome disease.
A large number of the patients who are in the incipient stages showed, to the ordinary observer, no effects of the disease. There were others who at first glance seemed perfectly normal, but on closer scrutiny revealed the absence of one or more toes or fingers. Others had horribly swollen ears: some had no nose left and were distressing objects; but it was not until we visited the various wards of the hospital that we saw leprosy in all of its horror. Here were dozens of cases so far advanced that they were no longer able to walk; they were lying on their cots waiting for death to come to their release. Some were so emaciated as to look almost like animated skeletons. Others, except for and sometimes in spite of their bandages, looked like horrid, partially decomposed cadavers. It was a sight to make one shudder and devoutly hope that a cure for this awful disease may soon be discovered. These extreme cases are cared for carefully and their last hours are made as comfortable as possible.
As we came, out three Catholic sisters entered the women's ward to do what they could for the patients there.
Shortly before leaving the colony we were led to a small concrete structure (near the furnace where all combustible waste is burned), and as the door was opened we saw before us on a concrete slab four bodies so wasted and shrivelled that they seemed scarcely human. These were those who had at last been cured in the only way that this dread disease admits of cure. About forty per month are released by death, and those we saw were the last crop of the here merciful not "dread reaper."
At the back of the colony we met four lepers of incipient stages carrying a long box on their shoulders. Just as they came abreast of us they set it down, to rest themselves, and we saw that in the box was another "cured" leper. He was being carried to the cemetery not only "unhonored and unsung" but also "unwept": not a single friend nor relative followed his wasted body to its final resting place. After this pitiful spectacle, added to the horrors of the hospital wards, we were not sorry to turn our steps back toward the boat. As we passed through the fence at the "dead line," going away from the colony, we were compelled to wade through a shallow box of water containing a small percentage of carbolic acid which disinfected the soles of our shoes, the only things about us that had come in actual contact with the leper colony. In this way all visitors when they leave the colony are compelled, not to "shake its dust from their feet" but to wash its germs from their soles.
As an antidote for dissatisfaction with one's lot in life, or as an object lesson for the pessimists who claim there is no unselfishness in the world, or as an illustration of the value of the medical missionary, this little island, lying "somewhere east of Suez" between the Sulu and the China Seas, is not easily surpassed.
IV. FROM ZAMBOANGA TO SINGAPORE.
When the North German Lloyd steamer "Sandakan" left the dock at Zamboanga she had in the first cabin only three passengers, a Russian of uncertain occupation, a young lieutenant of the Philippine constabulary, and myself. We had, therefore, the pick of the deck staterooms, which is worth while when traveling within ten degrees of the equator in mid-summer.
Zamboanga is the chief city of the island of Mindanao and is the capital of the turbulent Moro province, which includes the well-known island of Sulu with its once-famous sultan.
After a night's run we tied up at the dock of Jolo, the chief town of the island of Sulu. Here my two companions left the ship, so that until we reached the next port, Sandakan, I was the only cabin passenger, and when the ship's officers were prevented by their duties from appearing at the table I had the undivided attention of the chief steward, two cooks, and three waiters. This line of vessels being primarily for freight the "Sandakan" has accommodations for less than twenty first-cabin passengers, and it probably seldom has anything like a full list on this out-of-the-way run from "Zambo" to Singapore. So far as its accommodations go, however, they are excellent, and a pleasanter trip of a week or ten days would be hard to find, in spite of the tropical heat.
While the first cabin list was so small, the third class accommodations seemed taxed to their utmost, and the conglomeration of orientals was an unending source of amusement. They slept all over their deck and appeared happy and comfortable in spite of the fact that they seemed never to remove their clothes nor to bathe; it is probable that to most of them ten days without such luxuries was not a noticeable deprivation.
Leaving Jolo, a picturesque walled city with a reputation for dangerous Moros (one is not supposed to go outside the walls without an armed guard, and many men carry a "45" at their hip at all times), we sailed southwest through the countless islands of the Sulu Archipelago, and after a run of about twenty hours passed the high red cliff at the entrance to the harbor of Sandakan, the capital of British North Borneo, and were soon alongside the dock.
Sandakan is a rather pretty little town of two or three thousand inhabitants, including about fifty white people. It extends along the shore for about a mile and in the center has the athletic or recreation field, that is found in all these little towns, as well as the post office and other government buildings. In this central part of the town are also the Chinese stores, usually dirty, ill-smelling and unattractive; but there are no others. In all this region the Chinese seem to have a complete monopoly of the commercial business.
A hundred yards or more from the shore the hills rise steeply from sea-level to a few hundred feet, and over these hills are scattered the attractive bungalows of the white residents. There is also here a handsome stone church, overlooking the bay, with a school for native boys in connection with it. The hills farther from the town are heavily wooded, and the timber is being sawed at mills along the shore road. On the streets are seen men of several nationalities, Chinese, Malays, Moros, East Indians, and occasionally a Caucasian in his customary white suit and pith helmet; but of all these the most dignified and stately is the Indian policeman. He is tall and slender, with frequently a fine black beard; his head is covered with the usual white turban, set off with a touch of red. His gray spiral puttees generally do not quite reach the bottom of his khaki trousers, thus leaving his knees bare. Hanging from his belt is his club, similar to those carried by American policemen, and jangling in one hand is usually a pair of steel handcuffs. In passing white men he often raises his hand in a formal military salute that would be worthy of a major general. Altogether he is a most impressive personage and, with such examples constantly before them, it would seem incredible that the citizens should ever cause a-disturbance. An interesting contrast was seen in a group of men, sitting idly in the shade and watching eight little Chinese women stagger by with a huge tree trunk that would seem too heavy for an equal number of strong men to carry: but this is "East of Suez, where the best is like the worst," whatever Kipling meant by that.
At Sandakan the first cabin passenger list was increased 100 per cent by the advent of a young Danish rubber man—not a man made of young Danish rubber, but a young Dane from Singapore who had been inspecting rubber plantations, of which there are many on Borneo.
Leaving the capital city at sunset we arrived at Kudat, our next stopping place, early the next morning. With a very similar location this is a much smaller town than the preceding, consisting of four or five hundred people including half a dozen Caucasians. In spite of its small size it has a small garrison of native soldiers and the inevitable recreation ground. Besides this there is here a race track at which a meet was about to be held. Attracted probably by the races was the ubiquitous moving picture show, set up in a tent near the race track. It is impossible to escape the "movies." I attended a moving picture exhibition given in the cockpit of a small Philippine village about fifty miles out from Manila, and here was another in a still smaller village on the Island of Borneo, hundreds of miles from anywhere. In the same way it is impossible to escape the voice of the phonograph. On several occasions I have heard them in tiny nipa shacks in small Philippine villages, and in a Moro shack in Kudat, built on poles above the water, I heard the sound of what seemed a very good phonograph of some sort.
In the northeast corner of Borneo is its highest mountain, Kini or Kina Balu, the Chinese Widow, supposedly so named because of the fancied resemblance of its jagged top to the upturned face of a woman. It is really a very impressive peak and, being seen from the sea, it looks its full height of nearly fourteen thousand feet; being exactly under the sixth parallel it is, of course, too close to the equator to be snow-capped. Its position near the coast enabled us to enjoy it as we approached the island from the northeast and as we passed around and down the west coast, so that it was visible for nearly three days. Other mountain peaks of five or six thousand feet are visible along the west coast but they appear insignificant in comparison with old Kini Balu.
Leaving Kudat in the evening we arrived at Jesselton the following morning. This is a town of about the same size and character of location as Kudat, but as the northern terminus of the only railroad on the island it seems much more of a metropolis. It has a clock-tower, too, the pride of every Jesseltonian heart, located in plain view of the railroad station so that there is no excuse for the trains leaving Jesselton more than two or three hours late. There is here again the recreation field and market house, and, of course, the usual Chinese stores and Indian policemen; besides this it is the home town of the Governor (an Englishman, of course) of British North Borneo. But the railroad is the chief feature of Jesselton. To be sure it is only a narrow gauge, but it carries people, if they are not in too big a hurry, and freight. The engines are of English type but the cars are—original, surely. There are first and third class passenger coaches, no second class, to say nothing of a baggage "van." The third class cars have simply a rough wooden bench along each side and seat about twenty people. The first class cars are of two types: the first is like the third class with the addition of cushions to the seats and curtains to the windows; the second kind is a sort of Pullman car; it is of the same size, but instead of the benches it has about half a dozen wicker chairs that may be moved about at will.
Having a few hours to spare I decided to take a ride into the country. I had already climbed one of the hills where I could get a view inland to Kini Balu, over miles of jungle where no white man has ever been. But I wanted to see a little of this country, from the car-window at least. So I entered the station and interviewed the station master, a portly official of great dignity. He told me, in fair English, that the train on the "main line" had left for that day but that I could take a "local" out into the country for about three miles. This was better than nothing, so I climbed (and climb is the proper word) aboard the first class car of the local that was soon to start. I was the only first-class passenger and I felt like a railroad president in his private car. Soon after starting the conductor entered. He was a tall and, of course, dignified East Indian in turban and khaki uniform. He had the punch without which no conductor would be complete, and, suspended from a strap over his shoulder, was a huge canvas bag, like a mail bag, the purpose of which puzzled me. The fare, he told me, was fifteen cents to the end of the line; on giving him a twenty-cent piece I found the purpose of the canvas bag; it was his money bag, and he carefully fished from its depths my five cents change. The Borneo pennies are about as big as cart wheels so this bag was not so out of proportion as it might seem. In exchange for my fare he gave me a ticket marked "fifteen cents," which he gravely punched. I did not know what the ticket was for as I thought there would hardly be a change of conductors in a run of three miles, but I kept it and in about five minutes the dignified conductor returned and gravely took up the ticket again; this impressive performance was repeated on the return trip.
After leaving the crowded(?) streets of the city our speed rapidly increased until we were traveling at a rate of not less than ten miles an hour, which was fast enough considering there were no airbrakes on the train of three cars, and we had to be ready to stop at any moment when somebody might want to get on or off. Doubtless the "flyers" on the main line of the British North Borneo State Railroad run at even greater speeds than this. The dignity of the officials of this miniature railroad was most interesting, and was almost equal to that of a negro porter on the Empire State Express.
Leaving this railroad center early the next morning we arrived, before dark, at our last stop in Borneo, Labuan. We had added 50 per cent to our cabin passenger list at Jesselton by taking aboard a young English engineer from South Africa.
The Island of Labuan upon which the town of the same name is situated lies just off the northwest coast of Borneo. It came under the protectorate of Great Britain in 1846 and, though small, has a more up-to-date appearance than any of the other towns visited. The stores are mainly of concrete with red tile or red-painted corrugated iron roofs, which, among the tall coconut palms, are very attractive in appearance. There is one main street, parallel to the beach line, that is extended as a modern, oiled road for some miles into the country. Along this road are the very attractive official buildings, each with its sign in front; also the recreation field and the residences of the few white inhabitants. All of the streets are clean and have deep cement gutters on the sides that lead to the sea or to the various lagoons that extend through the town. Water pipes also extend along the streets with openings at convenient intervals. Extensive coal mines are located near the town, but for some reason they were not profitable and the cars and docks for handling coal are now nearly all idle. On one of the lagoons is a rather artistic Chinese temple of concrete, well built and in good repair.
On the main street is a school, and, seeing a crowd of natives at the door, I joined the throng to see what was going on inside. It proved to be the singing hour, and about fifty little Chinese boys, from six to ten years of age, all in neat khaki uniforms, were singing at the tops of their voices, led by a very active Chinese man. The little fellows seemed to enjoy the singing thoroughly, and, after hearing several songs, all in Chinese, of course, to strange and unusual tunes, I was surprised to recognize one of the tunes—it was "John Brown's body lies amoulding in the grave" though what the words were I was unable to tell since, like the other songs, they were in Chinese.
At Labuan the last of our cabin passengers came aboard, two Englishmen, one a mining engineer, the other a government man. Since no more stops were to be made in Borneo, the Sandakan headed in a southwest direction straight for Singapore, and in exactly three days we entered that busy harbor and dropped anchor among the more than two dozen other ocean liners from all parts of the world.
Singapore is one of the busiest seaports in the world and the hundreds of vessels of all sizes and types against the background of handsome white and cream-colored buildings make a very interesting and impressive sight.
Thus ended a most interesting voyage of nine days, through a region seldom visited by any but a few Englishmen who are interested in some way in the development of that, as yet, little developed part of the world. Although it is a trip that is easily arranged by visitors to the Philippines it is one that is seldom taken by the tourist.
V. SINGAPORE, THE MELTING POT OF THE EAST.
In Singapore, it is said, can be seen more races of men than at any other one spot in the world, so that it has been well named "The Melting Pot of the East." It is also sometimes spoken of as "The Gateway of the East," since all vessels bound for ports in the Far East call there.
It is said, perhaps without sufficient historical evidence, that the town was first settled by Malays in 1360 A. D.; but as a port of any importance its history begins in 1819 when it was ceded by Jahore to Great Britain through the instrumentality of Sir Stamford Raffles, whose name is perpetuated in connection with many of the local institutions.
In the early days, in fact until the introduction of steamships, there was much annoyance and danger from pirates at sea and robbers on land, but that of course is now long past and one is as safe here as in any other part of the world.
The present-day Singapore is a thriving town of more than 250,000 inhabitants, and is one of the busiest harbors in the world; more than three dozen sea-going steamships may sometimes be seen in the harbor at the same time, and the number of rowboats and other small craft is legion.
On landing one is fairly overwhelmed by the rickisha men, for the jinrikisha, the two-wheeled Japanese cart, is the method of travel in Singapore, though one may hire a pony wagon (ghari), or even an automobile at very reasonable rates. As to the electric cars, or "trams," the less said the better; they would disgrace a city of one-tenth the size of Singapore.
The streets are excellent and are nearly all level, so that the rickishas, usually pulled by Chinese, make good time. Many residents own their own rickisha and hire the man by the month; more well-to-do people, and there are many wealthy people both native and foreign in Singapore, have their own teams and automobiles.
While there are regular rickisha stands in different parts of town, especially near the hotels and other public places, there are few streets so unfrequented that one cannot "pick up" a rickisha at a moment's notice. Umbrellas are scarcely needed, for in case of a shower one may call a rickisha to the curb and be whisked to his destination dryshod. In fact there is very little walking done in Singapore, especially by Europeans; it is so easy to get into the ever-present and alluring rickisha. Moreover, it is very hot in the sun, for Singapore is only a little more than one degree from the equator. There is a regular scale of prices for public vehicles, but the newcomer is always "spotted" and is charged double or treble the regular fare until he learns better than to heed the pathetic or indignant protests of the rickisha men.
Like other cities in the East Singapore is a mixture of beauty and squalor. In the region of the banks, steamship offices, and wholesale houses there are many handsome buildings: but in the Chinese districts that make up the greater part of the business section, for the Chinese merchants far outnumber all others, there are narrow crowded streets, small houses, and large and variagated smells. There is also a notorious and wide-open red-light district that is a disgrace to a modern and supposedly civilized town.
While the saloon is not particularly in evidence the indulgence in stengahs (Malay for half), or whiskey and sodas, is well-nigh universal among the European population, not always excluding the women and clergy. Since alcohol is said to be particularly dangerous in the tropics it would be interesting to know the total effect of this general indulgence. It is generally conceded that after a few years of tropical life Europeans must go home to recuperate; it would be interesting to know if the use of strong alcoholics bears any relation to the frequency of these necessary trips to temperate regions.
Certainly life seems easy and pleasant in Singapore, especially among government officials. About eight or nine o'clock in the morning a stream of rickishas, carriages and automobiles carries the men down town from their pleasant and often very handsome homes uptown or in the suburbs. Many of the finest of these homes are owned by wealthy Chinese merchants. About five in the afternoon the stream sets in the other direction, carrying those whose day's work is over back to their cool villas or to some recreation ground where tennis, cricket, golf, or football may be enjoyed for an hour or two before dark. Dinner is usually between seven and eight and is over in time for evening entertainments which begin late. Although too far from the beaten tracks frequently to enjoy first-class dramatic talent, there are the ubiquitous "movies," and for the transient visitor the Malay and Chinese theaters are of great interest.
An excellent race course provides entertainment of that sort at frequent intervals. For the more serious-minded the extensive Raffles Museum and Library is centrally and beautifully located.
The beautiful Anglican Cathedral is the largest church in the city, and many other denominations possess smaller but attractive churches.
The central building of all is the beautiful Victoria Memorial Hall with its tall clock tower and chimes. In front of this white building is the black statue of an elephant, presented to the city by the king of Siam to commemorate the first visit ever paid to a foreign city by a Siamese monarch. In the neighborhood of the Cathedral and Memorial Hall are the hotels, which are good in most respects but whose charges to transient guests are usually exorbitant: here is also the main recreation field where cricket, tennis and football are played every afternoon by both natives and Europeans.
While these churches, residences and parks (including the well-known botanical gardens) are interesting, it is the oriental element that has the greatest charm for those from other lands. A rickisha ride through the teeming streets of the Chinese or Malay quarters, especially at night, is most interesting. If taken during the day a Chinese funeral procession with its banners, bands and tom-toms may be met; in fact the death-rate among the squalid Chinese residents is so high that funerals are of very frequent occurrence.
At the docks and other gathering places one is fascinated by the constantly shifting sea of strange faces and costumes; sometimes the lack of costume is more noticeable than the costume, as among the coolies or laborers from India or Arabia. Chinese, Japanese, various races of Malays and East Indians, jostle elbows with Englishmen, Americans and every other race under the sun except perhaps, the American Indian. It is surely a motley throng and the tower of Babel was nowhere compared to this conglomeration of tongues.
The oriental is a rather mild individual as a rule and wrangling and fighting is probably less common than among occidental communities.
Several interesting temples are to be seen in Singapore; their quaint architecture is always interesting to the occidental tourist, and the hideous images to be seen within will repay the trouble of removing one's shoes, which must be done before admittance is granted.
When the sights of the city have been exhausted a visit to Jahore on the mainland (Singapore is on a small island) of the Malay Peninsula will be interesting. Here is the summer palace of H. H. the Sultan of Jahore; also a large and handsome mosque. Here is also a wide-open gambling establishment where hundreds of Chinese may be seen playing "fantan."
On the return from Jahore, if interested in such things, a visit to a rubber estate may be made, and the whole process in the manufacture of rubber may be seen in a few hours; it is a strange and fascinating process and is, perhaps, the most important industry of the Federated Malay States.
It is interesting to compare Singapore which has been a British colony for nearly a century with Manila, a city of about the same size, that has been under American rule for less than two decades. The results that have been accomplished in the latter place along the lines of sanitation, education, and other civilizing influences should make an American proud of his native land.
VI. HOW RUBBER IS MADE.
One of the principal products of the Malay Peninsula is rubber. Like most people who have never happened to investigate the matter my ideas as to the way in which an automobile tire is extracted from a tree were very hazy; so, with another American, who had charge of a mission school in Singapore, I boarded the Jahore express on the F. M. S. R. R. (F. M. S. meaning Federated Malay States) and after a run of half an hour arrived at the Bukit Timar rubber estate some ten miles northwest of Singapore.
The Bukit Timar is an up-to-date plantation of more than one hundred thousand trees, and here we saw the whole process, from tree to sheet rubber, as shipped to all parts of the world and sold by the pound. Rubber trees grow to a considerable size, but this being a young plantation most of the trees were not over six or eight inches in diameter. In the middle of the estate was a very attractive bungalow where lived the manager and his wife, a young English couple, and the former very courteously showed us about his place and explained the different processes.
"Tapping" begins at daybreak, and all the juice or latex is collected before noon. Dozens of native and Chinese men and boys are employed in this process, some of the latter being so small that they can scarcely carry the two buckets of latex on the bamboo stick over the shoulder.
In tapping, a very thin and narrow piece of bark is gouged off, just deep enough to make the tree bleed, but not deep enough to kill it; so that by the time the bark on one side of the tree has been cut away that on the opposite side has had time to regenerate. The process is thus a perpetual one and the tree lasts indefinitely.
The exact method of tapping varies, but usually it is begun as two slanting grooves that converge to form a V. The latex oozes from the freshly cut bark, runs down the converging grooves to their point of union, and is caught in a small glass cup or other vessel suspended under a tiny spout at the apex of the V. The method of tapping shown in the photograph is different from this somewhat, though the principle is the same. The latex that oozes from the grooves is a pure white, sticky fluid resembling milk; about a tablespoonful is obtained each day from each tree.
By the time each man has tapped or gouged all of the trees assigned to him (perhaps two or three hundred) the first-tapped trees have bled all they will for that day, so that collecting is begun at once. In each cup is a little water to prevent the latex from coagulating and sticking to the bottom.
The first V is cut several feet from the ground, and the amount that is gouged from each side of the V each day is so very thin that it will be months before the apex of the V reaches the ground, by which time the regeneration of the first cuts will be well under way.
After the flow of latex has ceased for the day a narrow strip hardens along each groove, like gum on a cherry tree. These little strips of rubber, with bits of adherent bark, as well as any drops that may have fallen to the ground, are collected in bags and carried to the factory to be made into sheets of cheap grades of commercial rubber.
After the trees have been tapped the latex is collected in carefully cleaned tin buckets, brought to the factory and strained into huge earthenware tubs. It is then put into enamelware pans about twelve by thirty-six inches in size and three inches deep, and a very weak acid (usually acetic) is stirred into it. In about half an hour the acid coagulates the latex (like rennet in making junket from milk) into a soft, pure white mass, about two inches thick and of the area of the pan. This soft mass of rubber is carefully floated out of the pan onto a table, where it is rolled on both sides for a few minutes with a wooden rolling-pin to squeeze out the excess of water and acid. It is then carefully lifted into a large vessel of pure water to harden until the next day.
The next day it is run several times through smooth steel rollers under dropping water, where it is flattened out into sheets of about an inch or less in thickness and of a proportionately greater area. It is next passed through roughened steel rollers that mark it off into ridges and depressions like a waffle.
These sheets, now tough and elastic, are hung in a closed chamber and smoked until they reach a proper shade of brown, when they are ready for shipment. The smoking process, which is to preserve the rubber, often takes many days, though at the time of our visit the manager of the Bukit Timar estate was experimenting with a method that would complete the smoking in a few hours.
The production of rubber in the Malay Peninsula is of rather recent date and it has increased by leaps and bounds. In the various "booms" that have taken place many fortunes have been made—as witnessed by the palatial residences about Singapore—but many have also been lost, though the witnesses to these are not so evident.
Whether the increased demands for rubber will justify the thousands of young trees that are still being planted, not only on the Malay Peninsula but on Borneo and other islands of the Far East, remains to be seen; but, judging from the opinions of several rubber experts of Singapore, this is quite doubtful.
VII. TWO CHINESE CITIES.
After a voyage (unusually calm for the China Sea) of four days from Singapore, the S. S. "Buelow" slowly steamed among the islands at the entrance and came to anchor just after sunset in the beautiful harbor of Hongkong. There is really no city of Hongkong, though letters so directed will reach their destination, and even the residents of the city in whose harbor we were anchored would have spoken of living in Hongkong. The name "Hongkong" belongs to the small island, ten miles long by three wide, that lies about a mile from the mainland of China. Along the north or land side of this island lies the city of Victoria, with a population of 350,000, commonly known by the name of the entire island, Hongkong.
Practically the whole island is occupied by mountains of a maximum height of about 1800 feet, so that the town has only a narrow strip of level ground along the beach and extends in scattered fashion to the very top of the ridge.
As we came to anchor the twinkling lights of the streets and houses were just beginning to appear, and in a little while, when the short tropical twilight had changed to darkness, the shore line was a mass of lights which gradually became more scattered toward the hill-tops, where often a single light marked the location of some isolated residence. Across the harbor another smaller group of lights showed the position of Kowloon, a small seaport on the mainland and the southern terminus of the Kowloon and Canton Railroad. On the water between the two towns, really one great harbor, were thousands of lights, indicating the position of invisible steamships, junks, tugs, launches and sampans. Most of these lights were stationary, showing that the vessels to which they belonged were at anchor, but some of them were in motion, and hardly had we come slowly to a standstill and dropped anchor before we were besieged by a swarm of launches and sampans all clamoring for passengers to take ashore.
As is customary in the East, steamers usually anchor in the harbor at Hongkong at some distance from shore, so that the larger hotels, as well as Cook's Agency, have private launches to take passengers ashore. Since it was rather late to see anything of the town most of the cabin passengers preferred to remain on board for the night, and the view of the lights of the harbor and town as seen from the ship was well worth enjoying for one evening.
The next morning we were able to see the meaning of the lights of the night before. The business part of the town, with its crowded Chinese sections and its fine municipal and office buildings, lies as a narrow strip along the shore, while struggling up the mountain side are the residences, churches, schools, etc. of the English and wealthy Chinese residents. On this mountain side is also a most beautiful and interesting botanical garden. On the highest point of "The Peak," as the main peak of the range is called, is a weather observatory and signal station, and from this point one of the most beautiful views in the world may be obtained; to the south, the open China Sea, with numberless green islands extending almost to the horizon; to the north, the mainland of China, fringed with low mountains; between the mainland and the island the long, narrow strait forming the harbors of Victoria and Kowloon; at the foot of the mountain the densely crowded business streets; and extending up the almost precipitous northern slopes of the mountain the beautiful, often palatial homes of the wealthy residents. Winding along the mountain sides a number of fine roads and paths give access to these homes, but to reach the higher levels, especially, there may be seen the cable tramway, going so straight up the side of the mountain that it is almost alarming to look forward or back from the open cars. The homes nearer the foot of the mountain are usually reached by means of sedan chairs carried by two, three or even four coolies, while in the level business section the usual means of travel are the electric cars and the ever-ready rickishas. Horses are practically unknown except for racing purposes; carts are pulled by Chinese coolies instead of by horses, and merchandise is carried by coolies in baskets or bales on the shoulders. It is an interesting though unpleasant sight to see strings of Chinese men and women toiling up the steep sides of the mountain, carrying stones, cement, window frames, timbers, and all other material used in building the palaces in which the wealthy people live. For a day of this back-breaking labor they are paid about what one of their rich employers would give for one of his best cigars. Every stick, stone and nail in all of these houses has been carried up all these hundreds of feet on the backs of men and women, chiefly the latter.
In a beautiful little level valley between the bases of two of the mountains is the play ground of Hongkong, known as "Happy Valley"; here are tennis courts, a golf course, etc. overlooked on either side, rather incongruously, by a Chinese and a Christian burial ground.
Having visited the various points of interest about Hongkong, which is really a part of the British Empire (ceded by the Chinese in 1841) though a vast majority of its residents are Chinese, I decided to have a look at a real Chinese city, Canton, located about ninety miles up the Canton River. As Canton happened to be in the throes of a revolution at that time, people were flocking by the thousands from there to Hongkong. Cook's Agency was warning people to keep away, and Hongkong papers had as headlines "Serious Outlook in Canton"; but I did not expect ever to have another chance to visit this typical Chinese city, so I boarded one of the boats of the French line that left Hongkong late in the evening for the run up the river. I learned later that one of these boats had been "shot up" a few days before by the revolutionists, and that a number of the passengers had been killed. However we were not molested, and reached Canton about eight the next morning.
After daylight we were able to get an idea of the country on either bank of the muddy river; it was low and marshy, every acre being planted in rice. Occasionally, on a slight elevation, would be seen a pagoda-shaped temple, standing lonely among the rice fields, where doubtless it had stood for many centuries.
At frequent intervals we passed small native boats, some of them with sails and loaded with goods, most of them rowed by one or more oars. It was to be noticed that when there was only one oar it was being worked vigorously by a woman, while a man sat comfortably in the stern and steered. These people were evidently going from the crowded villages in which they lived to work in the rice fields.
At Canton the river, which is there only a few hundred yards wide, was jammed with craft of all kinds, including one or two small war vessels and hundreds, probably thousands, of sampans. The latter carry passengers and small quantities of freight; they are roofed over more or less completely and serve as the homes of the owners' families, all the members of which take a hand in the rowing.
The foreign (mostly English and French) quarter of Canton is known as "the Shameen" (meaning sand-bank), a small island in the river connected with the city proper by a couple of bridges. It has beautifully shaded streets and fine houses, and is utterly different from the Chinese Canton. At the Shameen's one hotel, which charges the modest rate of from four to eight dollars per day for very ordinary service, I was told that conditions were "very uncertain" and that nobody was allowed to enter the walled city after 9 P. M. without a pass.
A guide having thrust his services upon me before I could get off the boat, we left the Shameen, crossed one of the bridges and plunged into the network of streets where, without a guide, a stranger would be lost in a few minutes.
In a few of the streets outside of the walled city rickishas are the usual means of travel, but inside the walls most of the streets are too narrow for rickishas to pass one another, and paving of large flagstones is too rough for wheels, so that the sedan chair is the only means of locomotion except one's own legs. My self-appointed guide said he would get chairs for seven dollars per day ($3.00 in American money) but I told him I expected to walk and that if he wanted to go with me he would have to do likewise; he immediately professed to think that walking was the only way to go, so we agreed to see the town afoot. After we had walked pretty briskly for three or four hours he inquired meekly, "Can you walk this way all day?" People in the tropics are not usually fond of walking, but Ping Nam was "game" and made no further remarks about my method of locomotion. Some of the less frequented streets where there were no sun-screens overhead were very hot, but in the busy streets the sun was almost excluded by bamboo screens and by the walls of the houses on each side, so that the heat was not nearly so oppressive as might be expected in so terribly congested a city. Many of these streets were so narrow that a tall man could touch the houses on each side with outstretched hands.
On each side were stores of all sorts with open fronts with gay signs and with gayly colored goods on display, making a picture of wonderful fascination and everchanging interest.
Although we wandered for hour after hour through a perfect wilderness of such streets we saw not a single white person; it seemed as though I were the only Caucasian among the more than a million Asiatics, though this, of course, was not actually the case.
In the busier streets the crowds filled the space from wall to wall, so that when a string of coolies came along, bearing burdens in the usual manner from a stick over the shoulder and humming the cheerful though monotonous "get-out-of-the-way" tune, we had to step aside, close against or into some store to let them pass; and when an occasional chair came along it swept the entire traffic aside as a taxi might in a crowded alley of an American city.
In spite of the density of the population the people all seemed happy and contented; even the little children with faces covered with sores, as was often the case, appeared cheerful, and ran and played like other children.
In the stores the people could be watched at work of all kinds, from blacksmithy to finest filigree silver work inlaid with the tiny colored feathers of the brightly colored kingfisher; and from rough carpenter work to the finest ivory carving for which the Chinese are famous. Of course the amount they pay for some of this work of extreme skill is ridiculously small, yet their living expenses are so small that they are doubtless in better circumstances than many of the workers in our larger cities.
The silk-weavers, working at their primitive looms in crowded rooms, excite one's sympathy more than most of the other workers, though they too seemed to be quite cheerful over their monotonous tasks.
Through these crowded streets we wandered, the sight of a white man and a camera exciting some interest, though not a great deal. Canton is said to have been the scene of more outrages of one sort or another than any other city in the world, but in spite of the fact that a revolution was supposed to be in progress we saw no signs of disorder. There were soldiers and armed policemen everywhere, and groups of people were frequently seen reading with interest proclamations posted at various places; what the nature of the proclamations was I was, of course, not able of myself to learn, and Ping Nam did not seem to care to enlighten me, possibly thinking he might scare me out of town and thus lose his job.
Occasionally stopping to watch some skilful artisan at work or to make some small purchase, we went from place to place visiting temples and other objects of especial interest. Some of these temples are centuries old, others are comparatively new. Some are comparatively plain, others like the modern Chun-ka-chi ancestral temple, which is said to have cost $750,000 "gold," are wonderfully ornate, with highly colored carvings and cement mouldings. Others are of interest chiefly because of the hideous images they contain; one of these has hundreds of these idols and is hence known as the "Temple of the Five Hundred Genii."
After visiting several of these temples and the picturesque flowery pagoda we set out for the famous water clock that is said to have been built more than thirteen hundred years ago. It is now located in a dark little room in the top of an old house and is reached by a winding flight of outside stone stairs. It consists of four large jars of water, one above the other, so that the water may run slowly, at a definite rate, from the upper to the lower jars, and gradually raise, in the lowest jar, a float with an attached vertical scale that tells the time. In the window visible from the street below signs are placed at intervals that tell the time indicated by the clock.
From the water clock we visited the ancient "City of the Dead," a small cemetery just outside one of the old city gates. These gates, some of which are large and imposing, pierce the dilapidated wall at intervals. The wall, about six miles in circumference, is surrounded by the remains of a moat, now chiefly useful as an addition to the picturesque landscape and as a breeding place for mosquitoes. The top of a city gate, reached by a winding stone stairway from within, is a convenient place from which to view the densely crowded roofs of the adjacent part of the city.
From the "City of the Dead" we made for the fairly wide street along the river front; here we took rickishas, much to the relief of my tired guide, to say nothing of my tired self, and were soon at the Canton terminus of the K. & C. R. R. The station was thronged with people waiting for the Kowloon express.
The road-bed of the K. & C. R. R. is excellent, and the cars and engine, all of English make, made a very respectable appearance.
For nearly half of the distance to Kowloon I had my section of the one first-class car to myself, as I was the only Caucasian on the train: then an English civil engineer and his family came aboard and shared my compartment for the rest of the way. The second-and third-class cars, of which there were half a dozen or more, were crowded with natives, with boxes and bundles of all sorts and sizes.
After making the run of about ninety miles in something less than three hours we reached the ferry at Kowloon, and in a quarter of an hour more we were again in Hongkong, as different from Canton as though it were on the other side of the world instead of being only three hours away.
VIII. MEANDERINGS IN MODERN MANILA.
Manila, after twenty years of American control, is a fascinating mixture of past and present; of romance and commercialism; of oriental ease and occidental hustle.
Enter through one of the beautiful old city gates, say the Santa Lucia, which bears the date 1781, and one finds himself in the old or walled city, Intramuros, still very Spanish in its appearance, though the government offices and other public buildings are here located. The massive gray stone wall, started in the early part of the seventeenth century, was originally surrounded by a moat, with drawbridges. It is said that a very efficient American official once suggested the desirability of having the wall whitewashed; fortunately his idea was not carried out.
In contrast to the comparative quiet of the narrow streets of the Intramuros the docks along the Pasig River, that flows through the heart of the town, present a scene of bustle and confusion worthy of a city of its size, some 300,000 inhabitants. Here may be seen vessels of all sorts, from all parts of the world: steamships, junks, tugs, rowboats, and cascos, the last being the name given the native barge for carrying freight. The casco is covered by a roof of matting, made in sliding sections, with a cabin in the stern where the family of the owner lives.
While there is an excellent electric street railway system and plenty of automobiles to be had, the common method of getting about is to 'phone for, or to hail, a passing one-horse vehicle, of which there are three distinct types charging different fares for the same service; the more expensive vehicles are, however, more comfortable and have better horses. Like the taxi-driver of New York or the rickisha-man of Singapore the driver of the caratella or caramata will charge all the traffic will bear, and it is well for the newcomer to inquire of an old resident what the proper fare for a given distance is before starting.
The typical vehicle for hauling freight is the low, two-wheeled cart, drawn by the slow-moving, long-horned carabao or water buffalo, one of the most characteristic animals of the islands. This beast is well-named, since it delights to lie buried in a muddy pool of water, with just its head above the surface. It may be seen in the larger lakes, swimming or wading in the deeper waters at a distance from the shore. In the cities it is a quiet, peaceful brute that one brushes against without a thought, but in the country, where is browses in the open fields, it behooves the white man to be very circumspect as he passes in its neighborhood, for it seems to have an aversion to the Caucasian race and will frequently charge in a very unpleasant, not to say dangerous, way. It is said that the carabao never shows this hostility toward the natives. A peculiarity of the law is such that should a man shoot a dangerous carabao to protect his own life he would have to pay for the animal he killed.
Of course for small amounts of freight, in Manila as in all places in the Orient, the ubiquitous Chinese coolie is the usual means of transportation, and with a huge load at each end of a bamboo pole across his shoulder he shambles along with a curious gait, between a walk and a run, that he seems capable of sustaining for an almost indefinite time.
The "Chino" of course is the merchant of Manila as of all the cities of this part of the world. The main shopping street, the Escolta, is fairly lined with Chinese stores of all sorts, some of them quite extensive; and some of the narrower side streets, in the same neighborhood, have practically no other stores than those kept by the Chinese. It is wonderfully interesting to wander about these narrow, winding streets, and into the dark, sometimes ill-smelling stores, but one should early learn the gentle art of "jewing down" the prices that are first asked for goods that are offered for sale. The Oriental always asks much more than he is willing or even eager to accept. You ask the price of a garment, say, and are told "Two pesos": you shake your head and say "Too much": "Peso and half" will then be tried: you again say "Too much" and perhaps turn as though to leave the shop; "How much you give?" says the crafty merchant; "One peso," perhaps you suggest; "Take it," says the eager merchant as he hands you an article that should probably sell for half the amount paid. You leave the store feeling good over having gotten ahead of the crafty Oriental, and he probably chuckles to himself over having cheated the rich American.
Most of the shopping is done in the morning or late in the afternoon. For several hours, during the heat of the day, many of the stores are closed while the proprietors enjoy a midday lunch and siesta.
When tired of shopping or sight-seeing one may wander into a nearby church or rest in some public park or square, such as the Plaza de Santo Tomas. Many of these old squares are exceedingly picturesque and attractive.
The different sections of the city are given distinct names, as though they were separate towns, but they are separated by imaginary lines only. In one of the more residential of these sections is the great Manila General Hospital, an up-to-date, modern plant; nearby is the main part of the University of the Philippines, whose students, it is said, compare quite favorably with the average college students of America. In this same neighborhood is also the main part of the Philippine Bureau of Science, where trained chemists, geologists, botanists, zoologists, bacteriologists, engineers, and other scientific experts are engaged in numerous lines of investigation of importance to the welfare of the islands. Most of these experts have, in the past, been drawn from the United States, as have the professors in the University. Just what will be the condition of affairs in these high-grade institutions when the islands are entirely under native control is somewhat problematic.
While the hotels are not numerous in Manila one may secure the best of modern service by going to the Manila Hotel, down on the water-front, just off the great promenade and playground known as the Lunetta, where everybody goes at night to see everybody else and to listen to the band. Or one may see more of the native, especially the Spanish, life of the town by stopping at the Hotel de Spain, in the heart of the town, just off the Escolta. Here one may be quite, if not luxuriously, comfortable at a much more reasonable rate, and may enjoy watching the Spanish and other foreign guests of the hotel instead of the usual crowd of military and other well-dressed Americans that frequent the Manila Hotel.
Although the population of Manila largely adheres to the Roman Catholic Church, many of the Protestant denominations have churches of their own, and a flourishing Y. M. C. A., with a fine, modern building, is available for the men of the city.
Life in such a town is certainly very attractive, and there is a charm about the place that makes one wish to return; but it is a long, long way from home and from many of the things that may be had only in the greater countries of Europe and America.
IX. A PACIFIC PARADISE, HONOLULU.
The long voyage to or from the Orient is delightfully interrupted by the stop at Honolulu, capital of the Hawaiian Islands, about 2,100 miles southwest of San "Francisco. This interesting group of volcanic islands named in 1778 by their discoverer, Jas. Cook, the Sandwich Islands after the Earl of Sandwich, then Lord of the British Admiralty, is said to be the most isolated group of inhabited islands in the world. It is possible that the real discoverer of the islands was not Jas. Cook, but a Spanish seaman named Juan Gaetano, who sighted them in 1555. Cook and his men were treated as supernatural beings and worshiped by the superstitious natives as gods, until the death of one of the sailors showed that they were mere mortals; and in 1779, by their overbearing conduct, the Englishmen came into conflict with the irate natives and Jas. Cook was killed. "His body was taken to a heiau or temple; the flesh was removed from the bones and burned, and the bones were tied up with red feathers and deified. Parts of the body were recovered, however, and committed to the deep with military honors, and a part of the bones were kept in the temple of Lono and worshiped until 1819, when they were concealed in some secret place. A monument erected by his fellow countrymen now marks the place where he fell on the shores of Kealakekua."
In 1893 the queen was deposed and a provisional government was established, to be succeeded, in 1894, by the Republic of Hawaii. In 1900, by an act of Congress, the Hawaiian Islands became a territory of the United States. Of the one hundred and ninety and odd thousands of inhabitants of the islands, in 1910, nearly eighty thousand were Japanese. The native Hawaiians come next in point of numbers and are the most interesting people to the average tourist. Though dark-skinned, they are quite different in appearance from the negro, and many of the young men and women are decidedly good-looking.
As the vessel enters the beautiful harbor, with the city of Honolulu spread out along the shore and the mountains rising abruptly in the immediate background, the well-formed young men and boys are seen alongside in the water or in native boats, ready to dive for the coins that the passengers seem always ready to throw to them. These amphibious people, like most of those in the tropics, are perfectly at home in the water and seem never to tire, no matter how far they may go to meet the incoming vessels, as they slowly wind their way through the tortuous channels among the treacherous coral reefs.
To the south of the entrance to the harbor, which it guards with batteries of concealed cannon and mortars, is the extinct volcanic mountain known as Diamond Head, shown from the land side in the picture. A grass-covered, bowl-shaped crater of perhaps half a mile diameter may be entered through a tunnel on the land side, where Fort Ruger is situated. The rim of the crater, which is only a few hundred feet high, may be easily scaled and in most places affords easy walking and a fine view of the harbor. In the higher portion of the rim, seen in the right of the photograph, is a heavy battery of big guns, concealed in passages in the solid rock, that could probably protect the entrance of the harbor below from any ordinary fleet. Visitors are not allowed to see these rock-hidden batteries, whose existence would never be suspected from the smooth, apparently unbroken surface of the rock as seen from the harbor.
Like many other beautiful places, Hawaii is said to have the "most perfect climate in the world." Add to this wonderful climate and beautiful scenery, of sea and mountains combined, the fact that there is supposed to be not a snake nor a poisonous plant nor an insect worse than bees in all the islands, it would seem that this is truly a paradise, without even the serpent to cause trouble.
For the tourist there are excellent hotels and all the conveniences of a continental city, and amusements of sufficient variety to suit the most blase. For those who are merely stopping off for a day on the way to or from more distant ports it is hard to decide which of the many interesting places to visit. If it be his first visit, the mere city streets with the royal palms and other magnificent trees, the stores, the cosmopolitan crowds and other strange sights and sounds will be fascinating. A drive to the Punchbowl, the Poli, or more distant points, may be taken in a few hours, while if interested in natural history the gorgeous fishes and other marine forms to be seen at the Aquarium will be a revelation to one accustomed only to the life of the temperate zone.
At the Bishop Museum the natural history, ethnology, etc., of the islands may be studied in a synoptic form. It is here that the famous war-cloak of Kamehameha I is on exhibition. It is a truly wonderful garment, four feet long, with a spread of ten feet or more at the bottom. It is made of the yellow feathers of the mama bird, and when it is realized that each bird furnishes but two small tufts of feathers, one under each wing, it will be imagined how many thousands of these small birds were sacrificed to make this one robe. It is valued at $150,000. It is carefully protected from dust and light but is exhibited to visitors to the museum.
In the cool of the evening, when tired from a day of sight-seeing, the traveler may listen to the Honolulu Band, on some public square. It is composed of native musicians, but the instruments are those of the ordinary American brass band, and but for the cosmopolitan character of the audience one might imagine himself in a city of southern California or some other subtropical part of the United States.
Besides having the most equable climate in the world Honolulu claims the most perfect bathing-resort on earth, Waikiki Beach. The water is certainly all that could be desired, but the not infrequent sharp masses of coral that project up through the white sand of the otherwise perfect beach are decidedly objectionable, and the writer cut a gash in his foot, by stepping on one of these pieces of coral, that was many days in healing.
Another of the points of interest in the city is the Royal Mausoleum, where are the bodies of many of the royalty of the Hawaiian dynasties. The Hawaiian alphabet consists of but twelve letters, and the preponderance of vowels in many words seems remarkable to an English-speaking person. For example one of the bodies in the Royal Mausoleum is that of "Kaiminaauao, sister of Queen Kalakaua"; it will be noticed that eight of the eleven letters in this name are vowels. In this Mausoleum doubtless now rest the remains of Liliuokalani, the last queen of Hawaii, who was deposed in 1893 for attempting to force a less liberal constitution upon the people. She married an American and twice visited the United States, after his death.