Sat, Apr 25, 2009 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's Mailbag

A letter from Han-na

Dear Johnny,

As an occasional online reader I find your writing enjoyable.

R. Hannah

Johnny replies: This is officially the shortest letter I have ever received and, I’m proud to display, is quite complimentary.

To mark the occasion, I am going to write one of my longest responses.

As it happens, one of my trend-chasing granddaughters spied this letter on my home computer and got all quivery and excited.

“A-gong,” she cried, jumping up and down and clapping her hands, “is that a letter from Hannah Montana?”

Naturally I didn’t have the first inkling of what she was talking about, so after a few minutes of confusion, she opened a Google Web page and typed in “Meng Han-na” (孟漢娜).

“The Earth God give me patience,” I spluttered as row after row of Web sites, YouTube videos and photographs spilled down the screen.

“Why would a person like Hannah Montana want to write to an old grump like me?” I asked as my monitor vomited every happy color of the rainbow. “She’s young, attractive — for a Westerner — energetic and doesn’t sing too awfully.”

“But A-gong, aren’t you famous in newspapers and on the Internet?”

I looked at my granddaughter sternly.

“What could possibly have given you that idea? The closest thing I got to fame was holding Chiang Kai-shek at gunpoint — and that was nearly 40 years ago. It’s been downhill ever since.”

The poor dear looked rather crestfallen, so to cheer her up I rummaged around some of the Meng Han-na Web sites and discovered that a new movie had been made about her.

That’s the ticket, I thought, and promised to take my granddaughter to see the show, even though I expect to be gritting my teeth for the duration.

That’s the problem with being a grandparent: I have to endure the vibrancy of youth who never saw what I was like when I was younger — and their colors are so much brighter than in my memories.

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