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Eat pork and live long long

AL Gilkes

Eat pork and live long long

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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]