Ah Hong, Chinaman [The Bulletin, 21 August 1886]

[Editor: This untitled article, about a Chinese man being buried with both Anglican and Chinese traditions, is an extract from the “Personal items” column published in The Bulletin (Sydney, NSW), 21 August 1886.]

[Ah Hong, Chinaman]

Ah Hong, Chinaman, recently buried at Bombala, had coin; consequently he was much respected, and his honoured corpse was followed to the grave by many local residents. As it is stated that the Church of England burial-service was read by a white clergyman over Ah Hong’s remains, we conclude that the lamented Mongolian gentleman was of the Anglican persuasion.

However, there appear to have been one or two ceremonies in connection with the “planting” of Ah Hong which we understand to be distinctly non-Anglican. For instance, a sovereign was placed in the dead Chinaman’s mouth, and the poor clay — fire clay, let us hope — of Ah Hong was attired in two suits of clothes and sent off, bridal fashion, with a shower of rice.

The question thus arises, what was Ah Hong? Was he an ordinary heathen or a member of the Church of England? If the latter, the sovereign, clothes, and rice business was clearly superfluous; if the former, then we are entitled to argue that the C. of E. burial-service was wrongfully read over a wall-eyed pagan.

However, we congratulate the Anglican c1ergy on their growing liberality, and we anticipate with much pleasure the fast-approaching time when Primate Barry will officially order that a sucking-pig, two stolen fowls, and “plenty blandy” be placed, in conformity with the directions of Confucius, on the grave of every defunct church-warden.

The Bulletin (Sydney, NSW), 21 August 1886, p. 22 (columns 1-2)

Also published in:
The Gippsland Times (Sale, Vic.), 23 August 1886, p. 3 (Morning edition)

Editor’s notes:
blandy = (Chinese vernacular) brandy

Bombala = a town in south-eastern New South Wales, located south of Cooma, south-east of Jindabyne, and near the Victorian border

clay = in the context of mankind, a reference to the idea that God made man out of clay; from Genesis 2:7 in the Old Testament of the Bible, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”, which has sometimes been referred to as God making man out of clay (e.g. “Man is made out of clay; he is an animal. Into the clay of man God has breathed the spiritual life; he is a son of God.”) [see: Rev. Lyman Abbott, “Conversion”, The Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), 13 August 1892, page 9]

C. of E. = Church of England

heathen = someone who follows a non-Christian religion; an adherent of a polytheistic religion; a pagan

pagan = someone who follows a non-Christian religion; an adherent of a polytheistic religion; a heathen

Primate Barry = Alfred Barry (1826-1910) Bishop of Sydney (1884-1889) and Primate of Australia
See: “1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Barry, Sir Charles”, Wikisource

wall-eyed = having eyes in which there is an abnormal amount of the white showing; having large, bulging, staring eyes; having excited, glaring, or agitated staring eyes, such as looking in anger, astonishment, fear, frenzy, rage, or similar; having an eye, or both eyes, with little or no color, having a light-colored, white, or bluish-white iris, or having a white or opaque cornea; a condition in which the eyes point in different directions (exotropia, a form of strabismus), whereby (when looking straight ahead) one or both eyes look away from the nose; (slang) drunk, intoxicated (also spelt without a hyphen: “walleyed”)

[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]

Speak Your Mind