SINGAPORE AND THE EQUATOR 3
loads of coral and sponges, "balloon-fish and strange sea treasures that are sold at the wharf.
A tribe of young Malays in dugout canoes meet every steamer and paddle in beside it, shrieking and gesticulating for the passengers to toss coins into the water. Their mops of black hair are bleached auburn hy the action of sun and salt water, and the canoe and paddle fit as naturally to these amphibians as a turtlea s shell and flipper. They bail with an automatic sweep of the hollowed foot in regular time with the dip of the paddle; and when a coin drops, the Malay lets go the paddle and sheds his canoe without concern. There is a flash of brown heels, bubbles and commotion below, and the diver comes up, and chooses and rights his wooden shell and flipper as easily and naturally as a man picks out and assumes his coat and cane at a hall door. And in their hearts, the civilized folk on deck, hampered with their multiple garments and conventions, envy these happy-go-lucky, care-free amphibians in the land of the breadfruit, banana, and scant raiment, with dives into the cool, green water, teeming with fish and glittering with falling coins, as the only exertion required to earn a living. Cold and hunger are unknown; flannels and soup are no part of charity; and even that word, and the many organizations in its name, are hardly known in the lands low on the line.
Sa pore is the great junction where travelers from the East or the West change ship for Java; a commercial cross-roads where all who travel must stop and see what a marvel of a place British energy has raised from the jungle in less than half a century. The Straits Settlements date from the time when Sir Stamford