Spitting is good for something!

The full-throated spitting that goes on here is amazing. But it’s not nice to bring it up, regardless of the fact that it is ever-present. However, this – this is cool.

The latest Eric Liddell biography spends a lot of time describing life in Weihsien, an internment camp to which the remaining foreigners in China were sent by the Japanese during World War II. News and uncensored communication from the outside world were strictly forbidden. The internees couldn’t even buy food from local Chinese merchants; the only people who regularly went in and out from the camp were some local Chinese workers who emptied the latrines. One interned missionary teamed up with one of these workers and devised a way to get messages into and out of the camp:

For several months Father Raymond DeJaegher, a Belgian priest, had been communicating with the outside world through a coolie who helped empty the camp latrines. The coolie, with his eye on DeJaegher, would bend over to blow his nose or spit on an ash pile, thus depositing a message in a tightly wrapped wad of waterproof paper. The priest would casually retrieve the pellet and leave outgoing messages in a prearranged place. …and soon, messages began to be smugged into camp from the two escapees, giving the [internee leadership] accurate information about the progress of the war. (p. 274)

When two men succeeded in a carefully planned escape, they used this system to feed accurate information back into the camp and help coordinate aid from the outside.

I bet none of those interned foreigners ever dreamed they would one day be glad for all that spitting.

2 thoughts on “Spitting is good for something!”

  1. That’s a tough assignment. Not only would people get suspicious if I kept glancing at their spit, it would really slow me down; it’d take twice as long to walk anywhere!

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