Somewhat lighter-than-usual posting these next three days, as I hack through yet another killer Wired deadline—the last major work task of an exhausting 2010. I was tempted to just toss up a few YouTubes between now and Thursday morning, but that wouldn’t be very sporting. So I will instead offer some quick hits about topics near-and-dear to Microkhan’s heart, starting with a twofer about the satellite business and the Kingdom of Tonga.
For those who don’t follow politics in the South Pacific, Tonga has recently been teetering toward something resembling a democracy—albeit one still dominated by the nation’s aristocracy. One of the figures who seems likely to retain a good deal of power is Princess Pilolevu Tuita, the king’s sister and the chairperson of Tongasat, Tonga’s dormant satellite company. Yes, the tiny nation has a stake in the space race, though mostly due to the machinations of a Swedish-born telecommunications executive who dreamed of using Tonga’s political privileges to make a fortune. The whole sad story is here, including this snippet about how the princess was coaxed into heading up Tongasat:
Tuita has always claimed her involvement in Tongasat was party of God’s plan for Tonga to lead the way in Christianising China. It was why Tonga switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to Beijing and it moved Tongasat to Hong Kong.
“I believe that God invented us to do this work otherwise we could have become just another foreigner knocking on doors in Beijing for years without having a chance to meet the leaders of China.”
Track Tonga’s lone satellite here. No idea what purpose it’s currently serving, though it does appear to be making a nice figure-8 pattern above Sri Lanka these days.