Mo man tai
Harrods to Sell Elixir-of-Life
by Keith Addison
Hong Kong Life magazine Oct. 1994-Jan. 1996

Stories by Keith Addison
Mo man tai ('No problem')
-- "Write whatever you like" -- a weekly column

Tai Long Wan
-- Tales from a vanishing village


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Tea money

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Forbidden fruit

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No sugar

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Treasure in a bowl of porridge

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Hong Kong and Southeast Asia
-- Journalist follows his nose
Nutrient Starved Soils Lead To Nutrient Starved People

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Cecil Rajendra
A Third World Poet and His Works

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Leave the farmers alone
Book review of "Indigenous Agricultural Revolution -- Ecology and Food Production in West Africa", by Paul Richards

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A timeless art
Some of the finest objects ever made

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Health hazards dog progress in electronics sector
The dark side of electronics -- what happens to the health of workers on the production line

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Swag bag
Death of a Toyota

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Zebra Crossing
-- On the wrong side of South Africa's racial divide.

Kwela Jake
Sold into slavery
Finding Tom Hark
Return of the Big Voice
Brother Jake

Curriculum Vitae

The Valley of the Lost Decade
How to Spend 12 Weeks in Bed
Pass the Doggie Bag
If Pigs Could Fly They Wouldn't Need Cars
Stealer of Souls
On the Slow Train with a Skinful of Wine
The Neighbourhood Dragon
From 1994 to 1932 in Only Three Minutes
Singing and Laughing
Have Nose, Will Follow
Harrods to Sell Elixir-of-Life
Galahad's Secret Mission
Escape to Shangri-La
Put it in Your Pocket
What Johnny Should Have Said
The Cockroaches Went in Two by Two
A Complaint to the Inspector of Thunderstorms

Harrods to Sell Elixir-of-Life

Organic lemmingmilk yoghurt is soon to be made available in London's Knightsbridge. The preserve of the exceedingly wealthy, this rare and exotic product has legendary health benefits bestowed by the unique blend of micro-organisms in the yoghurt culture, which encourage a perfect balance of the vital intestinal flora in humans.
___The Hong Kong premier, Chairperson Strangelove Chang, whose genetic fingerprints have now established as fact his claim to be the early Qing Dynasty Emperor Ching Kuo-xiu (1652-), has revealed that his extraordinary longevity is due to his thrice-daily dose of powdered Huang Shan ginseng root with a lemming yoghurt milkshake mixed with an ounce of ground panda-liver and a tot of rum.
___This has been substantiated by reports that the mysterious Mutual Cooperation Agreement between the People's Republics of Hong Kong and Norway is in fact underpinned by a devious arrangement that transfers enormous quantities of counterfeit designer denimwear made by Hong Kong-owned factories in China to Norway, from where it finds its way into bona fide Levi-Strauss and Wrangler warehouses in the West, to be supplied as authentic jeans back to China's huge and wealthy middle-class bureaucrat market.
___Norway's middleman profits from this more than pay for the entire production of lemmingmilk yoghurt, which is flown to Hong Kong.
___Despite extensive covert US operations against the private armies run by the Evil Jeans Barons in the Norwegian fjords, the deal has been so profitable that it has been cited as the main reason the Norwegian economy survived the cataclysmic world economic collapse of 2007, after the new Ice Age brought on by the Greenhouse Effect had seen Western energy use soar to heights that used up the total world oil reserves as well as the entire dendrothermal capacity of the tropical rain forests in only 19 months.
___But all that mattered to the arch gerontocrat in Hong Kong's Forbidden Penthouse was that he had cornered the world market in the fabled lemmingmilk health drink.
___Limited quantities of the elixir have been available to the very rich and well-connected, as Chairperson Chang has preferred to market the small amounts in excess to his own needs rather than share it with Hong Kong's second-echelon gerontocrats.
___However, two new developments have changed the lemmingmilk situation radically. One is that the Arbuthnot-Gromm fjord partridges which milk the lemmings on the way down are being decimated by what is believed to be a rogue variant of the deadly English sea-lion virus.
___The virus was encouraged, it is thought, by the illegal processing in an Oslo beavermince-and-rollmop-burger factory of Finnish reindeer meat, still polluted by radioactive caesium from the Sizewell disaster.
___This factory was supplying the MacTucky international burger chain after worldwide consumption of beavermince-and-rollmop-burgers soared when it was discovered that they helped suppress both pimples and Alzheimer's disease in teenagers, and the supply of beavers had run low.
___The Oslo factory secretly dumped radioactive reindeer offal in the sea, where it was eaten by virus-carrying seals. The caesium caused the virus to mutate; killer whales preying on the seals passed the new virus into the sea, whence it passed to the Arctic medusa fish, which is the winter staple of the fjord partridges, which soon started dying.
___The lemmings, in turn, died unmilked. Milk hunters raiding cliff-face partridge nests last season found many nests deserted, and the symbiotic pitcher-plants which grow beside them empty and dying.
___Production is reported to have been a mere 29 per cent of the previous season's yield.
___The second development was a breakthrough announced by Britlem plc, the commercial arm of the British Captive Lemming Association based at Dover in Kent, where they hold grazing rights on the cliff-top tundra.
___Unbeknown to Chairperson Chang and his henchpersons, a dissident fishing cormorant breeder, Comrade Suzetta L. Wong, who fled her fishing commune in the Pearl River Delta two years ago, had been cooperating with the Dover group to find a substitute for the partridges.
___This involved playing recordings of lemming squeaks to cormorant eggs in incubators and subjecting the newly-hatched chicks to lemming-nest-based virtual reality synthesisers to persuade them that their mothers were lemmings.
___A subtle twist was to build an Oedipus module into the synthesiser program. Comrade Wong reported best results from young male cormorants which exhibited some degree of imagination on the Corbitz-Slee scale.
___Poorest results were always from female birds, which tended to get distracted by male lemmings.
___The moment of truth for the cormorant initiative came in secret trials at Dover last July, when members of the Captive Lemming Association released 170 organically-raised lemmings at the frozen clifftop while Comrade Wong, below, released 85 imaginative young male cormorants. It worked – the birds had milked most of the lemmings before they were halfway down.
___As Association members loaded the squashed lemmings from the bottom of the cliff onto a waiting MacTucky truck, Comrade Wong emptied the Durex milk-sheaths attached to the rings round the cormorants' necks.
___The result: 13 pints of full-cream organic lemmingmilk.
___Tests showed that the vital adrenaline level upon which the correct fermentation depends (the whole reason that lemmings are only milked on the way down) was as high or higher than the optimum levels recorded in traditional fjord collections.
___The Association's strategy is to mount a discreet publicity campaign in the People's Republic of Knightsbridge and Kensington to sell the 20-odd gallons of lemmingmilk yoghurt now being produced at Dover each month.
___Selling price will be 15 organ-bank credits per quarter-pint – only slightly less than Chairperson Chang reportedly pays (albeit in counterfeit denim).
___The good Chairperson, who must be starting to feel his age as his Norwegian lemmingmilk runs out, will certainly hear of this.
___The Association plans to use its growing control of the lemmingmilk yoghurt market as an ace in the next round of negotiations with Hong Kong over the return to People's Britain of the leasehold territories of Scotland and Tunbridge Wells.
___Mr Grimble Thang, chief executive of the Organic Lemmingmilk Research Association, said: "We've put it to the British Foreign Minister, Dr Hokusai Yamamoto, and he said he'll let us know. We suggested that the British delegation at the talks might demand Mayfair back too, as a premium – it's organic lemmingmilk yoghurt, after all."
___Meanwhile MacTucky UK is in the midst of a growing storm following findings that certain enzyme-like compounds occurring in lemming brains can cause a human form of Lemming Spongiform Encephalitis (LSE), or brainrot, which is reputedly even more debilitating than the teenage strain of Alzheimer's disease the popular MacTucky beavermince-and-rollmop-burgers are supposed to help prevent.
___The controversy arose following investigations by this reporter into why MacTucky UK had suppressed the results of a poll of teenagers in Dover it had commissioned, which revealed that 87 per cent of respondents, when asked why they preferred MacTucky beavermince-and-rollmop-burgers, replied: "I can't remember." The other 13 per cent didn't understand the question.
___Ironically, the only known treatment for LSE is – lemmingmilk yoghurt. But the beaverburger kids can't afford it.
___Britlem was unhelpful. "If the teenagers were organically raised they wouldn't get either disease, nor pimples," said Grimble Thang, who celebrated his 139th birthday last week by skating non-stop across the English Channel and back.

I wrote this 1990 in a fit of impatience. I was running an environmental publishing agency out of London and doing a job for a big organics group that kept humming and hahing and making me miss their deadlines. Now it seems strangely prophetic. If you think it's completely mad, well, so do I, but then, so is this:

Deadly Fast-Food Superbug Kills One, Sickens Hundreds Of Teens: Teenagers are being hit by a fast-food salmonella superbug that has already killed one victim and made 332 others ill. -- The Times, London, 9 September, 2000

Man dies from 'fast food bug': Government experts are investigating an outbreak of a fast-food superbug which has claimed one life and made hundreds ill. The outbreak is being caused by a strain of salmonella that is resistant to all commonly used antibiotics. Most of those affected have been teenagers and young adults, which has led doctors to believe that it may be caused by fast food. -- BBC, London, 11 September, 2000

Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic In Children Coming: An increasing number of American children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The rise in type 2 diabetes cases in young people has led experts to label the disease an emerging epidemic. Until recently, the disorder was known as adult-onset diabetes because it occurred mostly in men and women over age 50. -- Reuters Health, New York, 13 September, 2000

And so on.

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