|Author Taking the Plunge - February 1983|
After leaving school I went out to live with my parents in Hong Kong. Just before leaving my parents took advantage of Chinese New Year and we went on a diving holiday with a group of friends. We ended up in Cebu in the Philippines on a 61 foot trimaran which came complete with a crew and an unexpected group of German tourists. The Trip was memorable for a number of reasons, not least the fantastic diving, the superb weather and of course the rum.
The following poem recalls an event which took place one morning which highlighted the fact that even in the most idyllic places in the world there are people who are prepared to do almost anything for cash.
The title is a line from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance.
Early Memory – Philippines I – Let The Pirate Bumper Pass
We were on a diving holiday
on a charter from Cebu.
Every day we dived a bit
and sunbathed and rested too.
The food was horrendous
curried eggs at every meal.
But the local rum - called Añejo
made the evenings pass real well.
The swig of rum, a slurp of Coke
then shake the head and swallow,
then pass the bottle on
to some other fellow.
Now pirates ply their evil trade
in the South China Sea;
and unbeknown to all of us;
the yacht had an armoury.
Every night a guard slipped out
and took up his position.
Carrying an AK 47
as he embarked upon his mission.
I didn’t know he was aboard,
until I awoke one morning,
with a rum induced fuzzy head
and my bleary eyes screamed warning!
For there; a few inches from my head
was the barrel of a gun!
and a chap that I’d not seen before;
a lump formed in my tum…..
My mind raced with thoughts of pirates
taking us hostage or worse.
But he left me with my hangover
……..Wishing he’d been a nurse.
John Carré Buchanan
24 April 2012