My best Christmas present was from my fellow cadet shipmate of 57 years ago, I’ll just call him Nick, who contacted me from Vancouver as a result of reading the article I wrote in Wikipedia about the Silver Line. Together, there were 4 of us, we tramped around the world very slowly, (to and from Hull, England) on a creaky old Liberty type tub of a ship called the Silvertarn, and there she is.. That was during the Korean War, and we wove around the US/Chinese combatants with the Red Duster prominently displayed. What he sent me for Christmas was a scan of the ship’s logbook. There I’m listed as I.J. Clark, and it seems I was well behaved (pity). Here’s a pdf of the logbook.
Those were the days when a youngster, just emerging from the Second World War in England, could venture out to see the world, much of it in disarray. The sense of wonder was overwhelming; the realization that there were other cultures and ethnically based political systems (we were the first ship to put into the new Communist Republic of China) to think about, and that the world’s makeup of humanity is and always will be essentially tribal. Which has led me to view each country’s approach with a healthy cynicism. There is no one answer, except live and let live (with appropriate controls of course, now that we have those unhealthy WMDs.)