Dear Mater and Pater,
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23-01-2016, 02:00 PM
Dear Mater and Pater,

February 1841

Dear Mater and Pater,

Mercy me. It has been some months since my last missive penned while still aboard the cargo ship that carried me to these strange shores.

Accommodation, The Mission that will be my home for the next seven years, is on a most becoming island that the natives call Singapura. You may know it; it is the southernmost colony of the South East Asian British Empire.

Let it be known that there is much wretchedness and poverty but my spirits are still high.

As advised, I have given your letter of recommendation to the head of the Mission and he has accepted me as a willing helper. I am a little concerned though, papa, that my expectations and those of the other missionaries may be at variance; I believe that my English, and therefore, naturally superior education and skin colour should afford me some luxury yet, to my horror, it appears that I will be treated as “one of the team”. But, dear mama, do not fear for me, for I do not despair.

Yet, at first, while preparations were being made at The Mission, I was temporarily billeted in a squalid quarter that the natives call Little India. It is populated largely with migrant workers and I have witnessed strange ceremonies that are disturbingly, yet also reassuringly, non-Christian; Hindu processions and shockingly, something called the Lunar New Year. Do not worry, I intend to educate these people that there is only one calendar and hence can be only one New Year.

Socially, I am sure, I have unwittingly committed many a faux pas as there are unfamiliar customs and there are temptations to which a sensitive young man should not be exposed; the native girls in particular, although most delightful in countenance, will offer all manner of services; I suspect they flatter to deceive. Some, I perceive, merely try to touch my hair, which must appear most alien to them. But I will not elaborate further to spare mama’s sensibilities.

I began today, and this is the main purpose of this correspondence, with the other missionaries, to formulate plans for spreading the good word of heathenism and the healing properties of opium and, though this is my purpose here, it was during this discussion, Papa, that I gained realisation (and it is with some trepidation that I inform you now) that I suspect that the head of the Mission's (the Dutchman) colonial motivations are towards Hong Kong (so recently a proud British colony (pending ratification)) and ultimately, China … you may wish to inform Lord Russell, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies.

As we discussed, I will do my best to keep abreast of developments and will, without arousing suspicion, report to you as often as I am able.

Please send my love to all the family and tell them I am missing them terribly.

Your loving son, always.

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23-01-2016, 02:06 PM
RE: Dear Mater and Pater,
MALAYSIA?

Check out my now-defunct atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
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23-01-2016, 03:23 PM
RE: Dear Mater and Pater,
(23-01-2016 02:06 PM)WillHopp Wrote:  MALAYSIA?

First thing I saw too. Haven't even read the post yet. :-D
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23-01-2016, 03:41 PM
RE: Dear Mater and Pater,
If it weren't for Mama's sensibilities we could of gotten the real gist of the details.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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27-01-2016, 12:20 PM
RE: Dear Mater and Pater,

January 1845

Dear Mater and Pater,

Sincerely, I hope this letter finds you all in the best of health.

Hope and joy fill me every time I receive word of you and the news from England. It has been four years now and conditions are no less miserable. If it were not for the quality of the local spirits and the endless supply of opium, I would have long ago despaired.

Atheism seems incomprehensible to the natives. So many to educate about the true way and so few of us… infinita sunt numero stultorum. We are all sleep-deprived but remain dedicated to the cause.

Naturally, each year I look forward to joyous Saturnalia festivities and a little rest but to my horror, here on this Gods-unforsaken isle… nothing! Not one bauble nor twinkly light nor decoration nor flagon of mead! My memories of snow and crisp mornings and warming winter fires and indeed any seasons at all, are beginning to fade.

Grand are our plans, I can report, and despite the sparsity of resources, our Mission is still pursuing an aggressively colonial strategy … Indonesia is an aspiration and so too are the Philippines and this will make a welcome change from liqueur-free Malaysia. I am finding it harder and harder to provide education whilst sober.

Hong Kong, as I am sure you are aware from reports from the correspondent of The Times of London, is thriving and I have travelled there on many occasion. The voyage is choppy but the rewards are rich.

Ah but my first foray into Indonesia did not go well, being effectively under house-arrest and not being able to leave the confines of the camp for fear of endangerment of my person … but fortuitously and unlooked for, there was a place of entertainment within, and the locals were exceedingly friendly and the spirits flowed.

In conclusion, I am bowed but undaunted: destruere doctrinam aeternum

Please send my love to all the family and tell them I am missing them terribly.

Your loving son, always.

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27-01-2016, 12:23 PM
RE: Dear Mater and Pater,
Shanghai? ok, stop it.

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27-01-2016, 02:16 PM
RE: Dear Mater and Pater,
You're on a mission and your wishin
Someone could cure your lonely condition
Lookin for love in all the wrong places
No fine girls just ugly faces


So… one minute opium, then sobriety and then some spirits…. I dunno, maybe you oughtta try something' else- Bust a move! Wink
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27-01-2016, 02:27 PM
RE: Dear Mater and Pater,
(27-01-2016 02:16 PM)LadyJane Wrote:  You're on a mission and your wishin
Someone could cure your lonely condition
Lookin for love in all the wrong places
No fine girls just ugly faces


So… one minute opium, then sobriety and then some spirits…. I dunno, maybe you oughtta try something' else- Bust a move! Wink

Yup. That kinda sums it up.

Weeping

(though my girls wouldn't be happy with that description)

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27-01-2016, 02:49 PM
RE: Dear Mater and Pater,

February 1846

Dear Mater and Pater,

Verily! I am outraged, incensed and my hackles are well and truly UP!

Apologies to lapse into a colloquialism but … Who does he think he is?

Not to mince words … Our ‘oh so perfect’ Mission leader has asked me to write a ‘personal development plan’. I know! Unbelievable!

Could I be more apoplectic? My ghast is well and truly flabbered; a Dutchman even hinting that there is ANY way an Englishman can improve!

Oh! Apparently my delivery of the one true message is “indelicate” and, wait for it, “too English”!

Utter nonsense! How can one be TOO English!!!

Verily, I'm sure you are as shocked as am I. He says we speak with insufficient enunciation of consonants and my words are slurred! Outrageous!

Even he goes so far as to suggest that this has to do with my opium addiction!

Regarding indelicacy; I have been asked to be more sensitive to cultural differences. No longer can we use words like "bible" when referring to On The Origin Of Species, or use phrases akin to "the gospel according to Darwin". And of course, disparaging references to the Quran are to be avoided (well I'm not a complete fool; it is obviously unwise to infer the fallacies of Islam, especially in Indonesia or Malaysia. That is a lesson you only have to learn a few times and in my own defense, I was very drunk).

Included as “sins” (apart from slurring): Over-estimating the intelligence of my flock -- a staggering irony when I'm obviously taking such pains to hide my innate superiority!

Since a recent journey to Siam, I have now adopted the relatively innocuous: "mantra". Allowances for local peculiarities I am willing to make for the sake of the mission but who benefits from documenting my "faults" in a personal development plan? It will be a long time before I calm down and longer still before I intend to put quill to parchment for this self-assassination.

Leader in name only, he is, it seems, a believer in "spiritual coaching", alleging that it is Mission policy to "get the best" out of his subordinates... And the unseen Mystical Hand wrote at Belshazzar's feast "Mene, Mene, Tekel u-Pharsin”. Daniel 5:25… You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Ahhhhh! I must return to this letter at a later opportunity when my humours have steadied.

... ...

Now, it appears that there is a favourable outcome to this debacle: I have been summoned to appear before the Most High Excellency… our Dali Lama of Atheism. It will be a most arduous journey, I fear, that begins in Malaysia and will take me to, at first, Shang-hai. I will be leaving within the week and I will keep you both abreast of my travails.

Destruere doctrinam aeternum. experiendo laetitia in aeternum.

Please send my love to all the family and tell them I am missing them terribly.

Your loving son, always.

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27-01-2016, 04:26 PM
RE: Dear Mater and Pater,
The point is...there is no point. No?

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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