May 19, 2011|
If an old slave from Kenya published a memoir in 1920 claiming he had sex with Queen Victoria, he may have been killed in an unfortunate accident shortly afterwards, according to the theory of Egyptian tycoon Mohamed Al-Fayed who lost his son in a famous car crash in Paris. But here in Hong Kong, an eccentric Englishman named Sir Edmund Trelawny Backhouse had his posthumously published memoir, “Décadence Mandchoue,” released recently, which includes a story of how he stepped into a homosexual brothel in Peking in 1898 and ended up all the way in the bedchamber of imperial China’s last great ruler, the Empress Dowager T’su Hsi.
Backhouse was no Lawrence of Arabia of China, although he spent 45 years in Peking leading a double and bisexual life as both a law professor teaching at the Imperial University in Peking and an agent for the British Foreign Office.
The world is lucky that China is not ruled by someone like the former Ayatollah Khomeini; nor do we live under a Taliban government. We take texts like these with great calm:
“Next the Empress took my penis into her mouth and continued titillation with her tongue. God it was very good, and I had no ejaculation, as the potency of the drug retarded the flow of sperm. She bade me contemplate her august Person… while at her command I took in my hands her abnormally large clitoris, pressed it toward my lips and performed a low but steady friction which increased its size.”
If you think this is nothing but some broken flash-back sexual fantasies of an old frustrated English seaman in Liverpool who misses his olden days on Lockhart Road in the 1950s, think again when you study the authentic Pekingese slang Backhouse employs:
Apart from the slang, the book is rich with a glossary of the protocol jargon used in the Manchurian Court, for example, “Ching Shui Yin,” meaning “opium time,” or “Li Pi Chang Hsia,” meaning “flogging one to death at the palace gate,” which could only be told by someone who had lived in the Imperial Court as long as Backhouse had, and knows it as well as an old fat rat knows how to scurry its way through the back alleys of Mong Kok.
The controversial “Décadence Mandchoue,” a book with multiple functions, is to be recommended to all those who want to learn good and elegant English, a lost chapter of modern Chinese history, and a couple of extra lessons of advanced sex education after getting bored with his internet porn.