IN the new Chinese Year of the Metal Rat, four Chinese had been arrested for allegedly attempting to kidnap a Filipina teen in Makati (https://ph.news.yahoo.com/4-chinese-nationals-arrested-allegedly-033720333.html), Taal Volcano is recharging, and the World Health Organization is deciding whether to declare the Chinese virus outbreak “a public health emergency of international concern.”
In the new Chinese Year of the Metal Rat, we review the use of rodents in World War II, including the exploding rat: “now immortalzed as part of the SOE legend – was developed in 1941. The aim was to blow up the enemy’s boilers by laying the rat on the coal beside the boiler, with the fuse being lit when the rat was shoveled into the fire. They were never used, as the first consignment was seized by the Germans and the secret was blown. The Germans were fascinated by the idea, however, and the rats were exhibited at the top military schools. Indeed, the SOE files show that the Germans actually organized searches for these rodent explosives. The source of the dead rats was a London supplier, who was under the mistaken belief that it was for London University.”
In the China-Burma-India theater of WW2, it was Hirohito’s loyal subjects who weaponized the rodents. “The growth and care of rats was an important part of the biological weapons research at Unit 731 because they were needed to keep the fleas alive for the plague bombs. It is estimated that 3 million rats lived within the walls of Unit 731. Many of these rats were infected with bubonic plague, and when Unit 731 was destroyed at the end of the war, these rats escaped into the countryside and caused epidemics of plague over several years (Daniels 2001). The free and infected rats produced epidemics of plague in 22 counties in China, costing more than 20,000 lives (Wu 2002).” [Dr. Robert K. D. Peterson, Japan’s Role in Developing Biological Weapons in World War II and its Effect on Contemporary Relations between Asian Countries, Montana State University]
In the new Chinese Year of the Metal Rat, we salute the Rats of Tobruk (mainly Australian garrison troopers who held the Libyan port against Nazi Germany’s Afrika Korps in April-December 1941), Mobile Division-Egypt (7th Armoured Brigade of the British Army, c. 1944, aka “The Desert Rats”), and the British units that inspired the Rat Patrol (Popski’s Private Army, Special Air Service, Long Range Desert Group).
In the new Chinese Year of the Metal Rat, the DOH said it was also monitoring three individuals who showed flu-like symptoms upon arrival from China at the Kalibo International Airport in Aklan (https://ph.news.yahoo.com/child-5-found-positive-coronavirus-074800759.html), the Bureau of Immigration is expecting a surge of Chinese residents in the Philippines who wish to spend the Chinese New Year abroad (https://ph.news.yahoo.com/bi-braces-heavy-congestion-airports-123102223.html), and Senator Imee Marcos had urged authorities to imposed strict immigration procedures on Chinese nationals working for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators [“Solon calls for heightened measures vs. new SARS-like virus,” https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1091523]
In the new Chinese Year of the Metal Rat, we read a medical journal article (“Incidence of rat bites and rat bite fever in Baltimore”) published nearly half a year after the Soviet Red Army’s liberation of Lodz and Krakow in Poland (19 January 1945), Hungary’s surrender to the Allies in Moscow (20 January 1945), and German Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz’s Operation “Hannibal” (23 January 1945): “Wild rats, even more than any domesticated animals, enjoy very intimate living arrangements with man. They can live in the same house, share the same beds, eat the same foods, carry the same internal and external parasites, suffer from the same diseases and plagues. Man has made numerous unsuccessful efforts to terminate this close relationship and has at all times manifested a great distaste for any physical contact with these companions, either dead or alive. Rats on the other hand are less discriminating, even seeking contact with man and treating him much as they do the dying or dead members of their own species—running over him, licking him, biting him and finally trying to eat him.” [Curt P. Richter, Ph.D., JAMA, 02 June 1945; 128(5):324-326]
In the new Chinese Year of the Metal Rat, the Bureau of Immigration had received a report from its agents stationed at the airports that they have intercepted Chinese nationals who showed fake visa-upon-arrival facilities (https://malaya.com.ph/index.php/news_news/erring-travel-agency-suspended/), the Philippine National Police is planning to put up Chinese desks in police stations amid the increasing number of Chinese nationals who are falling victims of kidnap-for-ransom and extortion (https://malaya.com.ph/index.php/news_news/gamboa-told-focus-on-illegal-drugs-scalawags/), and the Department of Health is investigating the case of a 5-year-old Chinese boy who had flown to Cebu to “learn English” (https://malaya.com.ph/index.php/news_news/doh-probes-suspected-coronavirus-case-in-cebu/).
In the new Chinese Year of the Metal Rat, we cheer the efforts of Professor Thomas Weber of the University of Aberdeen to review the historical role of Fritz Wiedemann, Hitler’s former personal adjutant who had offered his services to the Americans and the British but was ignored by the Allies. [https://www.thenational.scot/news/18166634.call-rewrite-history-nazi-whistleblower/]
In the new Chinese Year of the Metal Rat, Senator Nancy Binay had filed Senate Resolution 293, urging the DOH and other government agencies to prepare an emergency response plan and ensure that the government is fully equipped to address a possible outbreak of a mysterious respiratory disease from China. [Nancy to DOH: Activate emergency response plan, http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2020/0122_binay1.asp]
In the new Chinese Year of the Metal Rat, we also celebrate Araw ng Republikang Filipino, 1899: “On September 15, 1898, the revolutionary Congress was convened in Malolos, Bulacan, tasked with drafting the constitution for the Philippines. The Congress was composed of both appointed and elected delegates representing all provinces of the Philippines…The Malolos Congress approved the draft Constitution on November 29, 1898.
It was returned by President Aguinaldo on December 1, 1898 for amendments, which were refused. President Aguinaldo finally approved the draft constitution on December 23, 1898. It was formally adopted by the Malolos Congress on January 20, 1899 and promulgated by President Emilio Aguinaldo on January 21, 1899.”
In the new Chinese Year of the Metal Rat, we note Rattenkrieg: a German term for the Nazi-Soviet Conflict of 1941-1945, especially the Battle of Stalingrad (“War of the Rats”).