KING TUPOU IV
From America to Tonga:
Careful and very longtime readers of our humble blog know of our fondness for the life well lived, and the obituary well written. The NY Times reported on the death of our favourite monarch, and we feel compelled to highlight the wonderful facts of King Tupou’s life. The King was the ruler of Tonga and the 10, 000 island Polynesian archipelago.
At 460 pounds, King Tupou was regarded in 1976 as the world’s heaviest monarch. Then at age 70, he went on a health kick and lost 200 pounds through diet and exercise which included riding his bicycle on the airport’s runway in the mornings. He lived to 88 years of age, giving hope to the more rotund among us.
The King was said to hold his island’s record for pole vaulting, at ten feet, set when he was 14 in 1932.
You just don’t hear much about Polynesian Pole Vaulters these days.
A man of letters, and a college and law school graduate (From the University of Sydney, Australia) the King commissioned the first dictionary of Tongan, the Polynesian language, and led a spirited effort to have the letter “B” replaced with the letter “P” although the reasons are far from known to us, and must be Tonganian in nature. Somehow “Rumbole” doesn’t work. We liked the King, but we like the “P” more.
The King proclaimed full independence from England in 1970 and was present for the first Tongan television transmission.
In 1990 the King saw fit to take advantage of a loophole in international law and claimed the last 16 desirable and unoccupied satellite orbital spaces for Tonga’s “space program”. However the 119 nation satellite consortium awarded Tonga only six spaces. The King was accused of using the loophole to lease the spaces for profit, but claimed them in a need to “upgrade his country’s telecommunications”.
At the time, only 4, 000 citizens in his kingdom had a telephone.
You have to love a Polynesian Monarch with chutzpah.
The King toyed with the idea of establishing nuclear waste storage facilities and oil refineries on uninhabited islands in his kingdom, and authorized the selling of 30 million dollars worth of Tonga citizenships at $20,000.00 a pop.
In summary, King Tupou IV led an extraordinary life. Monarchies are on the decline and we will not see his likes again. As opposed to yesterday’s post, he was distinctly “Un American” and that is not a bad thing.
Sometimes it’s a good thing to step back from our small world here in Miami and recognize the diversity of life and lives.
OK. Now back to the Prosecutor vs. Defense attorney debate that broke out in the comments section last night.