Monday, April 27, 2015

So happy to hear from a reader

 so happy to hear from a reader.



I have just started reading your book.  It is giving me some insight into my family history as when I was growing up it was never talked about nor did we sit down and have a talk or discussion about and I do not know why.   I do not know any cultural heritage at all.
Did you publish your book yourself?  It is great that you had family support and help in writing your family history down.
Thanks for your inspiration and wish you all the best?

I borrowed it from the Public Library.
A friend has read it and mention it to me.
I am living here in Auckland.


Cheers,
PS

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ann's speaking engagements






Ann's writing has led to speaking engagements. Here Ann spoke at The New Zealand Chinese Association.

Ann has spoken on many topics from Asian Culture, bereavement, to doctors, to libraries,  to university students and high school students.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

World War 2 and Mum and Dad

陳鹞飛/陈鹞飞
My parents were married during the World War 2, (Japanese War), they didn't take a wedding photo.

When the Japanese soldiers came to Borneo, Mum was 12 years old. At fifteen, Mum gave up her dreams of studying in the big city. She became a candidate for a child bride match making session because it was rampant that the Japanese soldiers were catch girls to be their comfort women.
Her grandma, my  Ah Tai promised her that she would choose a young man of fine character, educated and from a good family. Ah Tai went out to reconnoiter with her cousin Lai Siong who was a match maker. She must have loved her granddaughter so much to travel during the perilous war time in a little canoe. Together they scoured fifty miles of both sides of Rejang River, and the whole of Sibu town.
Word came that five miles upriver was that fine young man who fitted the bill. He was unfortunately not a Hakka but a Kwong Ning boy and a Chan. Mum and dad were wedded after seeing each other just once.
They married in March, and had been married  6 months when the war ended.
 We were naughty and used to tease them,"Would you have married each other if it wasn't for the war?"
They teased us back, "What do you think?"
 We cheekily asked,"Why didn't you have a wedding photo? Did you elope?"


World War 2 and my Dad.




My Dad, John Chan Hiu Fei.
Dad was barely seventeen when the Japanese soldiers invaded Borneo.

Dad was an unsung hero.
All the men and boys 15 and over were forced to do the Romushu, the Japanese forced labour.

First it was hard labour to build the road to the airport.
Then he was forced as a civilian worker as a field clerk for the Japanese.

After the war, he was thankful that while he accompanied the Japanese soldiers to the villages, there was no revolt by the people, or he could have been killed. Many a time, he was spat at.

Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore





Father became a boarder at the Malayan Seminary ran by the Seven Day Adventist Church. It was the Youngberg Memorial Hospital[1]

The boys in the boarding school found on the bottom of the desk, POWS from Australia and New Zealand had carved their names and addresses. They asked who ever found these addresses to please contact their family. 

Whenever he could, Father went to the Kranji Cemetery, perhaps to reflect on how life had been changed forever. Perhaps he went with a gratitude to those young men buried there.

Before 1939 the Kranji area was a military camp and at the time of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, it was the site of a large ammunition magazine. On 8 February 1942, the Japanese crossed the Johore Straits in strength, landing at the mouth of the Kranji River.

There are now 4,458 Commonwealth casualties of the Second World War buried or commemorated at Kranji War Cemetery. More than 850 of the burials are unidentified. The Chinese Memorial in Plot 44 marks a collective grave for 69 Chinese servicemen, all members of the Commonwealth forces, who were killed by the Japanese during the occupation in February 1942. Within Kranji War Cemetery stands the Singapore Memorial, bearing the names of over 24,000 casualties of the Commonwealth land and air forces who have no known grave. The land forces commemorated by the memorial died during the campaigns in Malaya and Indonesia or in subsequent captivity, many of them during the construction of the Burma-Thailand railway, or at sea while being transported into imprisonment elsewhere. The memorial also commemorates airmen who died during operations over the whole of southern and eastern Asia and the surrounding seas and oceans. The Singapore (Unmaintainable Graves) Memorial, which stands at the western end of the Singapore Memorial, commemorates more than 250 casualties who died in campaigns in Singapore and Malaya. Many of the graves carry no name just an inscription to 'A Soldier'

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