World: King of Cumshaw

He hardly looks like the stuff of legend: plump and puckish, a shy grin on his broad leg-of-mutton face, a shoulder holster sagging from the armpit of his sweat-blotched, green T shirt, a drinker of nothing more stimulating than cream soda. Yet Senior Chief Petty Officer Bernard G. Feddersen, 35, of the Seabees, is renowned from Danang to the Delta as the sharpest cumshaw artist in all Southeast Asia.

Cumshaw derives from the Chinese kam sia (grateful) and entered U.S. naval argot during the 19th century when ships calling at Canton began swapping rum...

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