Article on the HM King George V Tonga

HM King George V of Tonga
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Written by Rex Morgan

The recent death of HM King George V of Tonga had resonance with many in Australia. Indeed, his successor King Aho’eitu ‘Unuaki’otonga Tuku’aho, was, at the time of his accession to the throne on 18 March 2012, serving as Tonga’s High Commissioner to Australia and was resident in Canberra.

By way of background one should note that the Kingdom of Tonga, consisting of a string of islands 650 kms east of Fiji and 3000 kms north east of Sydney, is a predominantly Christian country inhabited for more than 3000 years by Polynesians with a dynasty of ruling monarchs traceable to the tenth century AD when Ethelred the Unready was King of England.

When white men invaded the Pacific islands the Spanish are regarded as the first to bring death and disease to the people. Early missionaries also forced germ-carrying European clothes onto healthily naked Pacific Islanders bringing about a false modesty and illnesses. In the eighteenth century James Cook made three visits to Tonga between 1773 and 1777 naming one of the atolls (Lifuka) the Friendly Island.

…King George I and Queen Consort Salote…

A period of warlike and savage influence from Melanesian Fijians from 1797 to 1826, described as Tonga’s Dark Age, was transformed into a people of civilised Christianity by King Tupou who was baptised in 1831 and named himself George I after England’s George III and his wife became Salote (meaning Charlotte) after George III’s wife.
Of recent memory is George V’s father Tupou (George) IV who died aged 88 in September 2006 in Mercy Hospital, Auckland, having ruled for 41 years, at one time weighed 220 kgs, was 6 feet 4 inches tall and was regarded as an eccentric. He had attended Newington College and Sydney University and was the first Tongan king to gain a university degree. He was famous for selling Tongan passports and nationality for $20,000 and a few minutes after he died Tonga experienced a 4.7 magnitude earthquake.

At George IV’s Wesleyan Methodist funeral service Australia’s Governor-General Michael Jeffery attended as well as representatives of 30 other nations who observed the traditional 1000 pallbearers accompanying his coffin prior to extensive rituals.

…Queen Salote…

The death this March of King George V reminds many of us of his iconic grandmother Queen Salote, a descendant through forty-two generations from the first King of Tonga Ahoeitu Tui Tonga. Salote, born in 1900 and named after her great great grandmother, was educated at the Church of England Diocesan College in Auckland and succeeded her father in 1918. She was 6 feet 3 inches tall and fondly remembered for her triumphal visit to England for the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (in Tongan: Kuini Elisapesi). This event was described at the time as the largest queen of the smallest kingdom in the world attending the coronation of the smallest queen of the largest kingdom in the world.

In the pouring rain that June day we recall that Salote, wearing the mantle of her GBE (a GCVO and DStJ were to come later), insisted on driving in an open carriage in the Coronation procession using a large handkerchief to wipe the rain from her face as she waved to the enthusiastic crowd.

…King George V…

So we come to the death of Salote’s grandson George V in March 2012. He had succeeded as recently as 2006 at the age of 58 having been educated at Leys School and Sandhurst. He was interested in Japanese art, music and history, model boats and computer games. He had extensive business interests and was a major player in telephone and electrical companies. He was regarded as eccentric and flambuoyant, arriving at his father’s funeral in one of his black London taxicabs one of which he had converted to electric power. He said the cab had room for easy access in uniform and full regalia. In 2005 the Tongan Prime Minister Clive Edwards was accused of plotting a coup claiming that the King had advanced his business interests by taking over the failed national airline. Despite George V having established a democratically elected parliament there were, in 2005, pro-democracy protests leading to a six weeks public service strike.

Close relations with Australia were again exemplified when Governor-General Quentin Bryce was the Guest of Honour and Reviewing Officer of His Majesty’s Official Birthday Parade on 1 August 2011.

King George’s funeral, like those of his predecessors, was an elaborate series of rituals and ceremony. One of the most important of these is the placing on the Royal grave ceremonial black volcanic pebbles soaked in scented oil which are brought from the volcanic island of Tofua where Bligh landed in 1789 after the mutiny on the Bounty. This time honoured ritual is performed by the Royal undertakers who are drawn from an exclusive clan of 20 to 30 members, the Nima Tapu. During the six months of rituals associated with the King’s body at the grave members of the Royal family themselves serve food to the Nima Tapu.

King George made a number of visits to Thailand and I last saw him in February this year when I was staying at the Oriental Hotel where he was spending several days on his way to Rome to visit the Pope. He was very jolly and looked well, walking with his slight stoop and always dressed in one of his customary light grey Savile Row suits which he wore when not in military uniform and pith helmet. Like many people I was surprised and saddened to hear of his death in Hong Kong only four weeks later.

Until next time,

David Flint

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Anzac Day Message…

Looking at the encouraging and positive records and trends in gradual disarmament’s and reduction of bellicosity, we are forced to conclude we are inexorably moving towards a war-free world.  In a few generations the young inhabitants of the globe will be bemused by the ways of their forefathers, by a past world populated by barbarians who fought among themselves, their unimaginative leaders simplistically resorting to conflict for resolving differences and brutality and violence to steal others territories.

Being an optimist and a pacifist, I am dreaming of a world devoid of armies and WMDs. I reflect upon the remaining and, by the way, ever dwindling armed forces around the world, as the precursors of a different Earth, where ultimately leaders will be held accountable for initiating aggressive action and responsible for maintaining the peace.

In bygone days, yet merely a short lifetime ago, Australia had millions in the Forces. Isn’t it a good sign our soldiers are now just a few thousands? They are dedicated, efficient, educated and, yes, heroic. Yet in their hearts they dream of a world that won’t need them anymore!  In a humble effort to tell pictorially the widows and children of fallen soldiers that their dear ones died for a good cause – world peace – I have created this visual Memory of their valor in Afghanistan.

I have painted traumatic episodes in my life before. But I have not traveled  to the Afghan war zones, so I had to blend previous experience with re-enactments at Holsworthy Army Camp and fervid imagination and recall to come up with my emblematic vision of strategic action.  Unexpected was my reward!….An Honorary Rank, complete with framed uniform! It certainly was the best Christmas present I ever received and am still humbled by it and quite emotional.

It’s a memento I will always relate and refer to, even in times of lasting, even eternal peace.

I wish the widows, children and families of our heroic Fallen a respectful ANZAC Day.

And I extend love and best wishes to all my friends (even others) around the world.

Charles Billich

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Billich Baisse Recipe




Bouillabaisse Recipe

A unique slant on Bouillabaisse…

(Recipe for 10)

Prepare stock by browning in virgin olive oil:

1/2kg onions chopped
3 heads or 30 cloves of garlic
200gms smoked prosciutto chopped

2kg ripe tomatoes
1kg celery or fennel
Bunch of parsley
15 bay leaves
Bunch of coriander
1/2kg smoked salmon
Whole smoked cod
10 hot chillies
2lt water
Bring to boil, simmer for 1hour

1kg various sea fish cutlets chopped
1kg mussels
1kg green prawns
1/2kg octopus
Vegeta and salt to taste
Bring stock to boil and simmer for 5 min

At this point add:
250ml Vodka
50ml Pernod or Ouzo

Serve with polenta
Sprinkle each serve with fresh chopped coriander
Side shot of Pernod


Two Standard Drinks in each serve…!



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Marion Grasby’s Desert Recipe for Billich VS Master Chef

Marion Grasby's Desert Recipe for Billich VS Master Chef

Marion Grasby’s Desert Recipe.

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Letter From Hell 3


Dear Charles,

Forgive me this long silence. Since Bin Laden’s arrival things got worse.
The Taliban’s  behave no better  in this place and won’t let anybody near the
computer.  Bin is beside himself having been cheated out , through sudden and unexpected death, of the thousand virgins he was promised and is now stuck with a toothless old whore.  Of course he blames the Americans for his termination
and lost chance of a last  atonement prayer requested by Allah even of islamic extremists.

Charles, notice the above “forgive me” please, and consider that it wasn’t easy for me to articulate. I have never used the expression in life.
Nor “I apologize”,
Nor “I’m sorry”.
Nor “Please excuse me!”

It was part of Tito’s cult of brutality. I spent most of my efforts promoting it and practicing it. No place for niceties in my Yugoslavia! Etiquette and genocide don’t mix!
You will , however, appreciate the fact that I didn’t spare even my closest collaborators.
I knocked most of them off, in a state of blind paranoia, typical of communist
dictators.  But here in Hell I have all the time to reconsider things and an infernal perspective can reveal new horizons.

I spend a great deal of time beating myself on the chest and with the “Mea Culpa!” mantra which brings me some miraculous divine relief from unbearable heat.
And you know what…I have concluded by extension and observation that apology is the most successful political gambit, the most efficient economic stimulus,
the speediest way  to regain image, lost reputation and  new dignity.

Apology saved Germany, my archenemy, from permanent doom and gloom. Remember, immediately after its demise, Germany embarked on an intensive campaign of self-condemnation, abjectly apologizing to everyone it hurt during WWII, starting to make reparations and paying compensation. Through atonement Germany was able to raise its chin again and it has been the model of  pride through exculpation and success through humility and humane behavior!  Apology gave Germany the status of Economic Miracle for all times!

You got the gist of what I”m hinting at…
If  only Filipovic and his communist mates apologized to Croatia for MY annihilation of i.2million Croatian and other lives!

If he apologized on my behalf  to the millions of Croatians scattered around the world because of ME, the Godawful system I created, my mismanagement and destruction of the Croatian economy, the devastation of the legal system, the dispossession of people and clergy,  he would create the premise of a new start.

If he apologized to the Croatian people for the monstrous psychological schism and ideological  antagonism I have created between Croatian at home and those in the diaspora, he would help the re-establishment of  trust and love between them. He would  reduce the sad diffidence and suspicions in their relationship.

If he apologized for the horrendous injustices, the cheating and stealing of the naive repatriated  Croatian simple folk as well as the unsuspecting professionals who have been sucked in by a ruthless class of philo-titoists economic doctrinaires he would help the revival of a  morally and ethically fossilized Croatia.

And guess what?

The Croatian economy would kick-start again. New investment would pour in from diaspora and all friendly and  robust economies the world over.  Ask Professor Filipovic to start today and watch the apology miracle unfold in front of your eyes.  It could be the only option for the salvation of Croatia…forget the BandAid chimera of the European Union. What does the Union gain from the inclusion of a rotten apple?  More Greece?  More Portugals?  And what can it give Croatia, except reluctant  third tier membership and some aid with thick strings attached.  Nothing will work better than sober, self-imposed Croatian solidarity and cohesion.

Charles, I can’t access the President, I know you can.
And he will listen to my words, he will treat them like Gospel! They come after all from ME!

Now you understand why I chose you as my correspondent. Your type of passion, your understanding of the essential issues holding Croatia back from real progress, suggest to me you would be in tune and in agreement that the apology ploy is more than a secret weapon….it’s a public and infallible one!

By the way, I think your painting of the Srebrenica massacre is iconic. Milosevic showed it to me…As usual my little apprentice is influenced by the way I think and act.  He now also wants the Serbs to start apologizing. They must apologize to all the Balkan peoples they have victimized from time immemorial. Without the apologies, the Serbs will face a permanent stagnation.

Your totally contrite and abjectly sorry,

Josip Groz Tito

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A Reincarnation Of… Whom?









02 9252 1481 

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To My American Friends…

The first decade has passed slowly, as painful instants seem eternal.

The pain lingers.Yet the evil is still there.
Nobody expected it to go away fast.
Yet it is going…

It will never go voluntarily and we have to be vigilant and take the noble fight against evil to the end… to the ultimate victory over it.

The people of the United States of America are targeted because they are the greatest threat to the forces of evil in the world.

Ten years after the greatest tragedy in American history, they are far from being dispirited. They may feel lonely in their fight at times. But we in Australia will never let our friends down!

The forces of evil are perceptibly weakening, which is encouraging.
Yet we will have to wait another decade for the complete demise.

We and our other friends and allies will do it together!
Australia shares, on this day of Remembrance, the sorrow of the People of the United States of America.

Charles Billich                                         +61 2 9252 1481

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