Not The South China Morning Post

April 1997

8,600 BC  The superior Chinese culture learns how to cultivate rice.

6,300 BC  The superior Chinese culture invents paper, printing, the magnetic compass, civil service exams and lipstick.

3,200 BC  The superior Chinese culture designs and produces gunpowder, paper money, the jet engine, open heart surgery and colour TV. A rebellious splinter group develops extremely vivid orange and puce variants of lipstick and is shunned by the rest of the civilization.

1,200 BC  The superior Chinese culture builds ocean-going ships, including aircraft carriers, and conquers the whole of Africa, India and North and South America.

1,199 BC  The superior Chinese culture pulls out of Africa, India and North and South America after finding nothing of interest, cleaning up behind them so well that no evidence of their presence has ever been found.

20 BC   The superior Chinese culture potters along and thinks about building an extremely long and pointless wall. The rebellious splinter group, having refined a wide variety of nauseating shades of lipstick, develops a new technology called �Karaoke� and heads south to the Pearl River Delta in search of start-up capital.

AD 1   Barbarians in the West decide to start numbering years from this point, starting with �1�.

AD 20   With only 4 million people having starved to death building the first 9 miles of it, the �Coming Soon - Great Wall� is judged a great success. The superior Chinese culture orders another 1,200 miles� worth.

AD 600  Isolated from their northern compatriots, the lipstick-and-karaoke clans of the Pearl River Delta start to adopt deviant cultural traits, i.e. real estate development. The first step involves the renaming of a sewage-strewn body of water �Fragrant Harbour�.

AD 1000  The emperor executes 26 million people for not wanting to starve to death building another 20 miles of the �We�re Nearly There - Great Wall�. He then loses interest. A friendly eunuch writes to him and advises him to �take up a hobby, such as book-binding.�

AD 1001  The emperor, being short-sighted, mis-reads his eunuch�s advice and begins the practice of foot-binding.

AD 1250  The first 7-11 opens in Causeway Bay, selling a wide variety of glossy lipstick.

AD 1600  The Portuguese sail 8,000 miles, then go 50 miles to the left and end up in Macau, home to a huge over-supply of residential property. What a bunch of losers!
A short history of Hong Kong (as approved for distribution in Hong Kong schools by the Xinhua News Agency, June 1997).
AD 1838  The superior Chinese culture suddenly and mysteriously forgets how to construct a wide variety of strategic hardware, eg cannon, ships, naval charts.

AD 1839  The British turn up with, er, cannon, ships, naval charts, and a large quantity of narcotic substances.

AD 1839.001 The superior Chinese culture starts buying narcotic substances from the British, on the grounds that they�re cheaper than the previous suppliers, who lugged the stuff overland from Burma.

AD 1840  The superior Chinese culture cedes Hong Kong island to the British �for ever and ever, honest� under threat of having to go back to their old suppliers.

AD 1860  OK, so you can have Kowloon, too.

AD 1870  An attempt to poison the entire Western population of Hong Kong goes wrong when the local baker puts too much cyanide in the bread. (100 years later, his great-great grandchildren launch ATV World).

AD 1898  Yes, alright, take the New Territories. The feng shui there�s crap, anyway.

AD 1900-41  Puffy red-faced Brits get drunk and act like they own the place. The 7-11 in Causeway Bay does OK.

AD 1941  The Japanese, finally hearing about the karaoke idea, turn up. Everyone else mysteriously leaves.

AD 1945  The Japanese go. Everyone mysteriously comes back.

AD 1949  The Communist Party takes over in China.

AD 1949.001 Huge numbers of Chinese people mysteriously make a bee-line for Hong Kong.

AD 1950-80  Hong Kong suffers strikes, riots, shanty towns, corrupt police, corrupt civil servants, institutionalized racism, open sewers, outbreaks of disease, sweatshop factories and other fun things. The British build a huge fence to keep the superior Chinese culture out.

AD 1982  The superior Chinese culture demands the return of Hong Kong to the motherland from the Brits.

AD 1982 plus 3.5 seconds    After a tremendous amount of soul searching, the Brits say �yup, it�s yours�.

AD 1989, June 4th   A large quantity of strawberry jam is accidentally left lying around Peking�s Tiananmen Square. The Hong Kongers get the wrong idea entirely. Everyone gets depressed.

AD 1991  Then they cheer up - the first good news in 10,000 years: bra manufacturers announce that bra sizes have increased in Hong Kong over the last decade, owing to more protein and fat in the diet.

AD 1997  Chris Patten is boring, Lu Ping is boring, 7-11 is boring, the lipstick is boring. The handover is boring, boring, boring. We waited all this time for this? Despondency reigns. With narcotics no longer available, people start developing a physical dependency on the
South China Morning Post....