Eat pork and live long long
Prior to last week, the name Bama County was as familiar to me as was the name of Solomon’s second son by his 699th wife or of his first daughter by his 299th concubine.
According to The Bible, this famous king of ancient Israel officially had 700 of the former and 300 of the latter but there’s no account of how he was able to satisfy all of their sexual needs unless, as Bajan men would conjecture, he had a box full of you-know-whats.
Anyway, although I believe that, like me, none of you would have heard or known about Bama because of its location in a little known part of the world, that county and Barbados share a phenomenon that is most unique. They both have “nuff, nuff” centenarians.
I do not know what’s the latest count for Barbados and at the time of writing all the relevant offices for sourcing such statistics were already closed for the weekend. Searching the Internet only confirmed what I already knew, namely, that Barbados and Japan have the highest per capita occurrences of centenarians in the world and ours include a “super-centenarian” by the name of James Sisnett who celebrated his 112th birthday last February 22.
Bama is ranked fifth and is a county in Hechi city in the northwestern Guangxi province on the southern end of the Yunnan-Guizhou Highlands in China. No wonder none of us ever heard about it. But just by chance I was searching for some information online and was attracted to a headline which read: Centenarians Drive Up Tourism In China’s Bama County.
The words “centenarians” and “tourism” in one sentence shouted “Barbados” at me, so I had to continue reading to discover what it was that off-the-map Bama was doing with its centenarians in the interest of tourism that world-renowned Barbados was not doing with ours.
This out-of-the-way and remote mountainous county in China boasts of just over 70 centenarians and about 250 other people over the age of 90. It is attracting tourists by the thousands just to see and be among them.
Li Meixiao, director of a tourism group, attributed the county’s growing popularity to tourists’ changing tastes. “Many people come with a wish to see the centenarians in person, taste what they have (to eat) every day and breathe in the fresh air we have,” he said.
I can’t state categorically, but I believe, based on the frequency of the Governor General’s visits, that Barbados would have to have a lot more that 73 centenarians. Hint, hint, Ministry of Tourism and Barbados Tourism Authority.
Now here is the hidden truth about what really attracted my attention to Bama. Xiangzhu, translated “flavoursome pigs”, are a speciality of Bama County and are famous for their delicious meat. So check it out:
Bama – the county of flavoursome pigs and centenarians. Barbados – the country of proper pork and centenarians.
The moral of my story? Eat pork and live long, long, long.
• Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm. Email [email protected]