mixmaster blong jesus christ

In 1980, journalist Richard Shears flew to Espiritu Santo, the largest island in the nation of Vanuatu. Back then these Melanesian islands were known as the New Hebrides. The islands were administered by Britain and France in what was known as a condominium.

Vanuatu waters by Ben McDarmont found here

“Consequently, some people spoke French, other English. The original inhabitants adopted Bislama, a type of pidgin English. They also used a picture language that seemed to combine a bit of English and pidgin, resulting in a brassiere being described as “basket blong titty”.

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A toothbrush was “broom blong tut” (brush belonging to tooth), a helicopter was “Mixmaster blong Jesus Christ”. 

image found here

At the time of Shears’ visit, the condominium had two police forces and two jails. Foreign visitors who fell foul of the law could elect to be tried either by the French or British system. Most preferred the French because the gendarmes served wine with meals. 

Gendarme by Owen Franken found here

A telex Shears received from the London Mail’s Foreign Desk read “CANST CONFIRM URGENTEST PRINCE PHILIP LAUDED AS GOD BY JUNGLE TRIBE STOP”. He showed this to anthropologist Kirk Huffman who agreed that it was true:

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The villagers’ belief seems to centre on a trip that the Queen and Prince Philip made in 1974 to Vanuatu aboard Britannia. Tannese legend has it that during a reception in the capital Port Vila, the Duke shook only the hands of men from Tanna. This news reached the residents of Yaohnanen, who were waiting for a gift in return for a pig they had given to a British officer some years before. The tribe sent a letter to Port Vila, asking where their gift was and inquiring about the Duke. In response the British delivered a framed portrait of the Duke, and the worship began.

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All his correspondence, newspaper clippings about him and his portraits are kept in a hut that has become a shrine. Children are taught about a god who lives in England and will one day return.The chief of Yaohnanen, said: “We know he is a very old man, but when he comes here he is going to be young again, and so will everyone else on the island.”

image found here

Published in: on June 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm  Comments (47)  
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