Back in the Day

Old Oct 21st 2023, 4:12 am
  #271  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Earlier in this thread I reported that my mother's grandfather employed nine Pacific Islanders on his cane farm in Queensland in the late 1800s. They were called "indentured labourers", usually kidnapped from their home islands and licensed by the State government to specific employers. I read somewhere that Islanders were paid one pound a year, and were bound to the employer for seven years. Slavery by another name! I suppose at their owner's death they would have been assigned to some other immigrant employer in need of cheap labour.

After chattel-slavery was abolished in the 1830s in the British Empire, all the African slaves either "went bush" or signed indentures with their former owners. Many recruiters (slave traders by another name) signed up illiterates in India, male and female, whose descendants are the "East Indians" in the West Indies today. Jamaica had a lot of them, too, and Chinese. It has been such a God-send for employers that it is still common today in the British colonies. Here in Cayman, a fairly sophisticated little place in other ways, every migrant in the workforce is indentured to an employer, and can change employers only with the formal permission of the government agency responsible. And, it is illegal for them to work "on the side"; if caught doing that, they are summarily sent back to wherever they came from.

Interesting, in this day and age!
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Old Oct 21st 2023, 8:49 am
  #272  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow
Earlier in this thread I reported that my mother's grandfather employed nine Pacific Islanders on his cane farm in Queensland in the late 1800s. They were called "indentured labourers", usually kidnapped from their home islands and licensed by the State government to specific employers. I read somewhere that Islanders were paid one pound a year, and were bound to the employer for seven years. Slavery by another name! I suppose at their owner's death they would have been assigned to some other immigrant employer in need of cheap labour.

After chattel-slavery was abolished in the 1830s in the British Empire, all the African slaves either "went bush" or signed indentures with their former owners. Many recruiters (slave traders by another name) signed up illiterates in India, male and female, whose descendants are the "East Indians" in the West Indies today. Jamaica had a lot of them, too, and Chinese. It has been such a God-send for employers that it is still common today in the British colonies. Here in Cayman, a fairly sophisticated little place in other ways, every migrant in the workforce is indentured to an employer, and can change employers only with the formal permission of the government agency responsible. And, it is illegal for them to work "on the side"; if caught doing that, they are summarily sent back to wherever they came from.

Interesting, in this day and age!
Indentured workers from Britain were a significant portion of early settles to America, some choosing to sign up so that after 7 years they were free to pursue their lives in America.

The 7 years term was derived from slavery as depicted in the Old Testament.
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Old Oct 28th 2023, 6:26 pm
  #273  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by morpeth
Indentured workers from Britain were a significant portion of early settles to America, some choosing to sign up so that after 7 years they were free to pursue their lives in America.

The 7 years term was derived from slavery as depicted in the Old Testament.
Thanks for the info, Morpeth. I don't remember ever reading about the Biblical origin of the "7 years" aspect of indentures. Wikipedia has a whole page to "The Bible and slavery": it's a fascinating read.
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Old Oct 28th 2023, 9:09 pm
  #274  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow
Thanks for the info, Morpeth. I don't remember ever reading about the Biblical origin of the "7 years" aspect of indentures. Wikipedia has a whole page to "The Bible and slavery": it's a fascinating read.
Deut. 15:12 (KJV)

And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.

Indentured servants,then and in the17th century might sell themselves, not always voluntarily ,into slavery to clear debts. In British America many did so to get passage across the Atlantic, and/or promises of land after 7 years, it seems over 40% of the colonists were indentured in one for or another in the 17th century.



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Old Nov 6th 2023, 2:01 pm
  #275  
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I have long wondered why or how seven got to be a sacred/revered number. Any thoughts on this? The Bible says that God rested on the 7th day, yes, but the magic number seems to be world renowned, from long before the Bible was composed.
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Old Nov 6th 2023, 2:51 pm
  #276  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow
I have long wondered why or how seven got to be a sacred/revered number. Any thoughts on this? The Bible says that God rested on the 7th day, yes, but the magic number seems to be world renowned, from long before the Bible was composed.
Its also about geometry, any freemason can explain:

Classical antiquity. The Pythagoreans invested particular numbers with unique spiritual properties. The number seven was considered to be particularly interesting because it consisted of the union of the physical (number 4) with the spiritual (number 3). In Pythagorean numerology the number 7 means spirituality.
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Old Nov 6th 2023, 11:35 pm
  #277  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by uk_grenada
...Classical antiquity. The Pythagoreans invested particular numbers with unique spiritual properties. The number seven was considered to be particularly interesting because it consisted of the union of the physical (number 4) with the spiritual (number 3). In Pythagorean numerology the number 7 means spirituality.
Could be. But seven seems to have been an extraordinary number in parts of the world that Pythagoras never knew. and I doubt if the mathematical oddity of Pythagoras's number-7 would have spread far from his homeland, so soon.

A more likely origin might have been something heavenly. The 7th planet from the sun, Uranus, is an extreme oddity - in shape and rotation - perhaps the survivor of a cosmic encounter of some kind that our ancient ancestors attributed to the gods. It would have to have been something really severe to have made "seven" a fixture everywhere.

(I can't resist reporting an online video doing the rounds, of impromptu responses to selected statements. "According to the Smithsonian, the 18th Century astronomer Sir William Hershel claimed to have discovered Uranus by accident". To which one woman commented crossly, "Yes, all men say that."
Well, I laughed.)
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Old Nov 14th 2023, 3:23 am
  #278  
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Back in the day, there was Stan Freberg. Well, waay back in the day! He was Top of the Pops - more or less - in the 1950s, for goodness sake. He was a comedian who made fun of some of the hit songs of the day, and several of his satirical interruptions became family favourites. In my family, anyway. Wikipedia has a biography, and most of his songs are on YouTube. Here are a few selections, which I mention for my own amusement - and on the off-chance that one or two other old codgers will take pleasure in being reminded of them too.

Harry Belafonte's Banana Boat song had several of them. The sudden and unexpected presence of a family member in our house was explained by "I come tru de window". Every spider was a "highly deadly black tarantula" to which the standard response was, in the voice of an American hippie, "Ooh, like, I don't dig spiders, man!". The recalcitrant pianist on "The Great Pretender" lives on in my house with "don't stop me now, man; I've got to where I like it." Well, as they say - you had to be there! And - all right - one more for all (!) the old codgers still with me... From Freberg's version of "The Rock Island Line": "it makes a difference to the sheep!" Linda and I would blurt that out whenever it was needed, and giggle, and the blank looks made us giggle all the more. Sigh... Back in the day...
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Old Nov 20th 2023, 1:39 am
  #279  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

As an old codger, I naturally revel in reminiscences, which is why I started this thread - and also the Life's Turning Points thread in the Maple Leaf forum of the Canada section. The latter thread has petered out, which is a pity. After all, migration is when Turning Points happen for migrants - right?

The Maple Leaf is a very active forum, especially compared with the Australian Barbie, and is well worth checking out once in a while, wherever you live. It's always interesting to see where and how other BE migrants live, and to ask oneself "Why did I/we immigrate to where we did, instead of to somewhere else?" I migrated to Canada once, back in the day, and so did Linda, separately. Then we migrated to four other places before, in our late 30s and with a very young son, settling here in the Caribbean. That very young son inherited our restlessness, and is still un-settled in his late 40s. Thanks to the advent of WhatsApp, it's an easier world now.
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Old Dec 2nd 2023, 3:47 am
  #280  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by uk_grenada
... Classical antiquity. The Pythagoreans invested particular numbers with unique spiritual properties. The number seven was considered to be particularly interesting because it consisted of the union of the physical (number 4) with the spiritual (number 3). In Pythagorean numerology the number 7 means spirituality.
Oh, okayyy. But wasn't the number held in special awe long before Pythagoras? I've always thought it was revered - or at least respected - in places that never knew Pythagoras. Am I quite wrong about that?
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Old Dec 2nd 2023, 10:28 am
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow
Oh, okayyy. But wasn't the number held in special awe long before Pythagoras? I've always thought it was revered - or at least respected - in places that never knew Pythagoras. Am I quite wrong about that?
Oh yes, i have no doubt that other civilisations revered numbers. Masons for example dont refer to god, the organisation believes in a higher being but what you call it is irrelevant. They refer to whoever as 'the great geometrician of the universe." Geometry being most important...
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Old Dec 12th 2023, 8:30 pm
  #282  
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Here's a snippet about one of the cars of "back in the day"... I grew up in the days of stick-shift cars, and can't remember when automatics became common in my household. My most memorable car was a 1960 crash-gearbox Beetle, bought at a garage in Hamburg in '64 and formerly used by the City Police there. I still flinch at the memory of learning how to drive it, in genuine fear that the whole box would drop onto the autobahn every time I changed down!

Later, it took Linda and me to Turkey, where it spent the winter in a Customs shed while we went hitching. Then we drove it up behind the Iron Curtain and out at Checkpoint Charlie (illegally!), to its eventual sale-for-a-song in London. A couple of hiccups along the way, but nothing terminal. Does any other BE member remember the crash-gearbox?
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Old Dec 12th 2023, 8:46 pm
  #283  
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Remember! I still have one in London, a 1930’s Bentley supercharged. Scary device, if you get it wrong, it’ll break your fingers.

It lives in air conditioned splendour 360 days of the year, and is driven maybe 3-4 times a year. It’s like a Rolex watch, a fine investment but of little practical use.
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Old Dec 19th 2023, 3:07 pm
  #284  
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Sigh... It seems that most of our BE visitors are too young to be interested in the cars of "back in the day"! But their parents would have had to cope with such things as tubes inside cars' tyres. One of my vivid memories is watching a repair shop in Belarus (then part of the Soviet Union) put new tubes into two of my Beetles' tubeless tyres! They had never seen tubeless tyres before. "But how does the air not leak out?" they asked. My reply was "Well, sometimes it does leak out; that's why I'm here!"
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Old Dec 19th 2023, 9:50 pm
  #285  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow
Sigh... It seems that most of our BE visitors are too young to be interested in the cars of "back in the day"! But their parents would have had to cope with such things as tubes inside cars' tyres. One of my vivid memories is watching a repair shop in Belarus (then part of the Soviet Union) put new tubes into two of my Beetles' tubeless tyres! They had never seen tubeless tyres before. "But how does the air not leak out?" they asked. My reply was "Well, sometimes it does leak out; that's why I'm here!"
I too have had a leaky tubeless tyre repaired by adding a tube, did the job and a lot cheaper than a new tyre. On the same theme, I've always wondered why tyres on cars in the US seem to hold their pressure better than those in the UK. Perhaps it's because there are far fewer bends? Fewer pot-holes (I couldn't possibly comment) or just better tyres. Certainly they last a lot longer.

As for things young people may not know about - and I certainly don't miss - starting cars with a cranking handle? Get the choke position right first. What's a choke? Well some were said to find it useful for hanging their handbags on!

But I have to hand it to them, young people are far better than I when typing (thumbing) on a mobile phone.
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