• The Hong Kong Letters

    HK$138.00
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    In 1969, at the height of China’s Cultural Revolution, a yacht sails out of Hong Kong and disappears. The world’s press takes up the story of the crew who are presumed lost at sea. But Gill and her friends are very much alive, held captive in a Chinese fishing village by Communist militia. As she faces questioning by the People’s Liberation Army, there’s a lot that Gill would rather not tell – that her crew-mates are British soldiers; her flatmates are Japanese, old adversaries of the Chinese; or that her boss, the doyen of advertising in Hong Kong, is well known for ‘firing Reds’.

    In this spirited memoir, where Mad Men meets Han Suyin’s A Many Splendoured Thing, Gill recreates a Hong Kong of the imagination. Twenty-one, attractive and naïve, wined and dined by Hong Kong’s elite, Gill learns to stand her ground at her job in an advertising agency under the directive of the narcissistic Mrs Church. Her luck changes when Paddy O’Neil-Dunne joins the firm – he is just as eccentric but much more fun. After several visits to a casino in the nearby Portuguese enclave of Macau, Paddy embarks on the longest roulette game ever played and he insists Gill join in. But Gill finds the sparkling waters of Hong Kong’s seascape more seductive than the world of business and money; she takes up sailing and falls in love.

    The backdrop is a gift. The Colony is an anachronism, a last vestige of British colonialism. Yet as Communist ideology gathers pace in neighbouring China, Hong Kong seizes every new opportunity and so does the author. Unexpected twists and a host of funny, bizarre and whimsical events are captured in her lyrical memoir.

    Carefully bundled and tied together with ribbon, Gill’s letters from Hong Kong had remained untouched for nearly fifty years. When she untied them, she remembered her father’s words: “I think there’s a book in there.”

  • Forty Nights (Eating Smoke #2)

    HK$118.00
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    The stand-alone sequel to the international bestseller Eating Smoke

    Former commando Chris Thrall returned from a year in Hong Kong suffering severe psychosis from crystal meth addiction. The medical profession said recovery was unlikely and recommended admitting him to a psychiatric hospital.

    There’s nothing wrong with me!”

    Chris refused all intervention and his life descended into a chaotic cycle of drug use that almost killed him... until salvation came in a surprising form.

    In this long-awaited follow-up to Eating Smoke, Chris tells a harrowing yet refreshing and often hilarious account of addiction and one gutsy journey to recovery.

    "After the harrowing events in Eating Smoke, if you thought Chris Thrall departed Kai Tak bound for a life of cream teas and Little England 'normality'... then you've likely not experienced the depravity and horror of drug addiction. In Forty Nights, Chris continues to confront his demons with his usual engaging honesty, side-splitting Royal Marine humour and storytelling at its finest." – Phil Whelan, RTHK

  • Designing a Life: A Cross-Cultural Journey

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    Designing a Life tells the inspiring story of Kai-Yin Lo, a determined woman born to a wealthy Hong Kong family who had to build her own future following an abrupt change in the family's fortunes. After a first job at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong, she made her way to Time Inc. in New York to establish a new life.

    Encouraged by her first collection being accepted by Cartier New York, she employed talent, innovation and determination to become a designer of international renown, respected as an ambassador for cross-cultural exchange in art, design and thought.

    “Kai-Yin is a polymath and a phenomenon, having seamlessly juggled an analytical career as a scholar, historian, teacher and editor, with the artistic and imaginative flair of an amazing jewellery, accessory designer and ceramic artist.” – Thomas Heatherwick, Founder, Heatherwick Studio, London

    “In her role as Visiting Professor of the University of the Arts London, Kai-Yin Lo has done very valuable work as an effective contributor and ambassador, promoting understanding and application of cross-culture.” – Professor Jeremy Till, Head, Central Saint Martins, Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of the Arts London

    “Never ceasing to learn and create, Kai-Yin has proven herself to be an outstanding artistic and intellectual entrepreneur who blends harmoniously the aesthetic and the practical. The Asia Society on both sides of the Pacific has benefited from her generosity of spirit and cultural expressions.” – Ronnie C. Chan, Chairman, Asia Society Hong Kong Center

    “Kai-Yin Lo is a creative tour de force whose jewelry designs re-interpreting Chinese traditional design principles were at the forefront of a reappraisal of traditional Chinese culture. She also seeks to share her interests with others through the philanthropic support of dialogues and talks that foster an understanding of new issues in Asian culture. These have included some of the most important cultural leaders of our time, such as Xu Bing, Tan Dun, and Shen Wei.” – Melissa Chiu, Director, Hirshhorn Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

  • A Small Band of Men: An Englishman’s Adventures in the Hong Kong Marine Police

    HK$180.00
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    Published by Earnshaw Books

    Les Bird joined the Hong Kong Marine Police in 1976 during a period of rapid change in one of the British Empire’s few remaining colonies, and witnessed the last years of the hard-working, hard-drinking colonial policemen handing out rough justice in the World of Suzie Wong. He led his men in combat with the growing organized crime in the years leading up to the handover of the colony back to China in 1997 and was one of a handful of senior officers instrumental in dealing with highly sensitive issues including a flood of refugees fleeing Vietnam and the increase in the smuggling of guns, drugs, people, and luxury goods either to or from China.

    Filled with gripping stories spanning 20 years, A Small Band of Men follows Bird and his cohorts including his mentor, “Diamond” Don Bishop, an eccentric officer whose volatile temper, larger-than-life personality, and overbearing presence was a major influence in Bird’s career. These tales provide a fascinating insight into the intersection of cultures that is Hong Kong. Supported by his second-in-command, Joe Poon, Bird gained the trust of his band of men to such an extent that they were willing to follow him into danger, even at the risk of their own lives.

    By the same author:
    Along the Southern Boundary

  • Why Your CEO Failed in China: True tales of how not to do business in the People’s Republic

    HK$138.00
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    Previously published, in shorter form, as Business Republic of China

    Jack Leblanc arrived in China in 1989 intending to teach for just two years. He was to spend the next two decades on a very different learning curve as he became involved in a series of business ventures in almost every part of the Middle Kingdom.

    From farmyard to factory, boardroom to banquet, Leblanc witnessed (and occasionally assisted) the transformation of China from a socialist economy into the world's greatest experiment in capitalism. Over time it dawned upon him that the key to success is to manage the differences in Chinese and Western business behaviour. To do well in China you must carefully adapt your strategies – or face ruin faster than you can learn how to use chopsticks.

    This book is rich in practical detail. Leblanc’s experiences make for instructive reading for any foreign executive doing business in China.” China Economic Review

  • Stories from the Royal Hong Kong Police: Fifty accounts from officers of Hong Kong’s colonial-era police force

    HK$138.00
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    Fighting to survive on a police patrol launch during a typhoon, and investigating a murder by a Vietnamese gangster in a refugee camp. Battling riots during the Cultural Revolution, countering drug smuggling and pimping by the triads, and dealing with bank robbers in a hostage situation. These are just some of the stories told in this riveting compilation of personal experiences of former Royal Hong Kong Police officers.

    In 1997, Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty after 156 years of British rule. This collection of no-holds-barred accounts by some 50 individual police officers, put together by three former colleagues, illustrates the last decades of the colony’s colourful history. This is what life was really like on the front line.

    LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK
    Click the following link to read excerpts from the book.

    Contents, preface and three stories

  • Drawing on the Inside: Kowloon Walled City 1985

    HK$288.00
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    Curated by Benjamin Salmon

    Imagine an illegally built mini-city formed of multiple 12-storey blocks, taking up only the area of a sports stadium but home to 60,000 people. What was it like living in the most densely populated place on Earth?

    Intrepid 22-year-old artist Fiona Hawthorne spent three months inside the notorious Walled City of Kowloon, an apparent no-go area right in the heart of bustling Hong Kong. This book reveals the sensitive and extraordinary artworks she created there. It is a unique record of a time and place that no longer exists.

  • Love, Money and Friendships

    HK$148.00
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    In 1981, David Wong retired after 20 years as an administrative officer in the Hong Kong Government to chance his arm in the city’s cut-throat free market, as the managing director of a large multinational trading corporation. He soon discovered more legal and ethical boobytraps in business than he had bargained for. Nonetheless, he sidestepped them and in 1982, during the Sino-British negotiations to end British rule, he quickly sensed a unwarranted panic over the value of the Hong Kong dollar. He acted accordingly and made himself millions in weeks.

    Wong then visited different parts of China with friends. In the process he fell in love with a young and beautiful member of the Communist Youth League. When he tried to marry her, however, the mainland bureaucracy threw a host of obstacles in his path. After all, he was perceived as a capitalist from Hong Kong. But Wong’s friends used their collective guanxi with members of the Politburo to gain him permission to marry the girl. The title of this volume is aptly Love, Money and Friendships.

    Interlaced with Wong’s narrative are fascinating insights into aspects of China’s long and colourful history and culture.

    LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK Click the following links to read excerpts from the book.

    Introduction

  • Out of stock

    All The Way With Ray: My Autobiography

    HK$188.00
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      "This is the story of my life: my autobiography. It is also the story of the music scene for almost a century in Hong Kong. In the past, I have mainly communicated with fans and listeners through music. This time, however, is different. After years of hard work, I have finally achieved my wish. I am sharing my life story in words and pictures." All The Way With Ray tells the story of a man from humble beginnings who through hard work and dedication rose to become a giant in the music industry. His passion for popular music, especially that of the 1930s through the 1960s, has brought enormous pleasure to millions over the airwaves for more than 50 years. His daily late-night show built almost a cult following among Hong Kong people, here and overseas, especially those of an older generation. More than just a story of one man, All The Way With Ray documents the history of the music scene in Hong Kong from the inception of radio broadcasting in 1929 to the present day. Against the backdrop of the territory's development and vicissitudes of that time, it charts the success of many local celebrities who credit their stardom in Band Sound, cover songs, Cantopop and folk music in no small part to help from 'Uncle Ray'. LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK Click the following link to read excerpts from the book! Chapter One: The Early Years
  • Hong Kong Beat: True Stories From One of the Last British Police Officers in Colonial Hong Kong

    HK$138.00
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    Sex, drugs, gambling, ghosts, drinking, rugby, overseas adventures – and even some police work.

    Hong Kong on the edge of empire was a place teeming with triads, smugglers, Chinese immigrants and Vietnamese refugees. Simon’s memoir of his time in the Hong Kong police force – from the 1970s until after the 1997 handover – is a fast-paced tale of his exploits. From the murky back streets of Kowloon to the open seas in the Marine division, his shocking and hilarious tales offer an alternative look back at what life was really like on the Hong Kong beat.

    LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK
    Click the following links to read excerpts from the book.

    Chapters 1, 2 and 3

  • Along the Southern Boundary: A Marine Police Officer’s Frontline Account of the Vietnamese Boatpeople and their Arrival in Hong Kong

    HK$180.00
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    With a foreword by Lord Wilson of Tillyorn, Governor of Hong Kong, 1987-1992

    We had no jurisdiction outside of Hong Kong waters. But we could see their vessels sinking in heavy seas. It was life or death, right there. We just went.”

    Former Marine Police officer Les Bird tells of the harrowing sea journey to Hong Kong made by tens of thousands of refugees in the years that followed the end of the Vietnam War. As he patrolled the southern maritime boundary of Hong Kong, he photographed their makeshift boats and later the people-smuggling vessels coming in – including the Sen On, a freighter ship that was abandoned by its crew and ran aground on Lantau Island.

    With this previously unpublished collection of personal photographs, taken by himself and his former police colleagues, he tells the stories of these boatpeople – the young children, the father who just bought a boat to embark on a 1,000-mile journey, and the disillusioned North Vietnamese battle-hardened veterans – all searching for a new life.

    LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK
    Click the following links to read excerpts from the book.

    Introduction

  • The Hong Kong I Knew: Scenes and Stories from a Childhood in Kowloon

    HK$148.00
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    Illustrated by Lucy Parris

    Returning to Hong Kong in 1947 after the Japanese occupation, seven-year-old Mark Isaac-Williams had the whole of Kowloon as his playground. Billeted with his family in the once-grand but now dilapidated Peninsula hotel, his life was full of adventure – from the rooftop to the basement, he knew the hotel's every inch.

    Roller-skating and horseback riding in Kowloon's streets and paddling in the hotel's fountain were a child's dream after the privations of war. From rickshaws to firecrackers and ladies with bound feet to the ever-present rat problem and smelly beancurd vendors, the mystique of Hong Kong in the 1940s and 50s is brought colourfully to life by Mark's captivating and richly illustrated story.

    The Hong Kong I Knew captures all the glory and quirkiness of a burgeoning east-meets-west colony at mid-century. Fizzing firecrackers, rickshaws in the rain, balusters of bamboo scaffolding – the charming illustrations and commentary are sure to inspire fond nostalgia for a bygone time.” — Claire Chao, author of Remembering Shanghai

  • When ‘Jesus’ Came to Hong Kong: The remarkable story of the first European football star in Asia

    HK$148.00
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    It took balls to go to Hong Kong.

    When Scottish footballer Derek Currie was made an offer to travel to Hong Kong to play against the one sportsman he had dreamed of meeting on the field, he couldn’t say no.

    From apprentice printer in Glasgow to playing football against Pelé in the Far East, singing with Stevie Wonder and shadow-boxing with Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Currie enjoyed a magical life as one of the first three European professional footballers in Asia. He was quickly nicknamed ‘Jesus’ by Hong Kong football fans.

    Here he traces the early development of professional football in the then-British colony through his own career: the games, the places and the characters he met along the way.

    Given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he didn’t think twice – travelling 6,000 miles across the world to pursue his dream of professional football. In the years that followed, he met international stars from music, showbusiness, boxing and horse racing.

    Here in words and pictures is his amazing story – if not for the photographic proof you could be forgiven for thinking it might be a fairy tale! It isn’t.

    "An illustrious playing career. An excellent read." – Craig Brown CBE, former manager, Scotland national football team

    LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK
    Contents and foreword  Chapters 1 and 2

  • Where Strange Gods Call: Harry Hervey’s 1920s Hong Kong, Macao and Canton Sojourns

    HK$90.00
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    By Harry Hervey, introduced and annotated by Paul French
     
    No. 1 in the China Revisited series
     
    As a young man in the southern United States in the early years of the twentieth century Harry Hervey dreamt of travelling to Asia. He also dreamt of writing novels, movie scripts and travel books. He would do all these things. Eventually, in 1923, Hervey managed to find a way to get to the Far East working on a cruise liner. He was to spend time sojourning in Hong Kong, Macao and Guangzhou. His impressions of his travels through southern China, contained in his 1924 travelogue Where Strange Gods Call, is both lyrical and detailed, as well as atmospheric and informative. Walking from Central to Kennedy Town; the basement “dives” of Belcher’s Street to the private dining rooms of Queen’s Road; Macao’s Praia Grande to its infamous fan-tan houses, Hervey is a fascinating flâneur and guide. So too in Guangzhou, a city in upheaval, where Hervey encounters those fleeing warlord violence in the north and is granted an audience with Dr Sun Yat-sen.
     
    Hervey’s impressions of China would stay with him for the rest of his life, not least in his treatment for the 1932 movie Shanghai Express. Sadly, in the intervening century since the first publication of Where Strange Gods Call in 1924, Hervey’s name and work have been largely forgotten. Yet his early travel writing was to influence his later bestselling novels, popular short stories and Hollywood screenplays which, in turn, influenced American perceptions of Hong Kong, Macao and China.

    This publication of Hervey’s impressions of southern China also includes the sketches of his good friend the Savannah artist Christopher Murphy Jr., which were included in the first edition of Where Strange Gods Call and bring Hervey’s descriptions further to life.

    “Approaching Canton we were gliding past ugly, ramshackle dwellings and go-downs; grass-thatched house-boats, sampans, junks, and lighters, and millions of roofs that were flung in uneven terraces against the sky.”

     

  • Wanderings in China: Hong Kong and Canton, Christmas and New Year, 1878/1879

    HK$90.00
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    By Constance Gordon-Cumming, introduced and annotated by Paul French
     
    No. 2 in the China Revisited series
     
    Inveterate Victorian traveller and prolific artist Constance Gordon-Cumming, born in Glasgow in 1837, roamed far and wide from the Scottish Highlands to the American West; the islands of Hawaii to southern China. Even among her many adventures, her 1878/1879 trip to Hong Kong was momentous. Gordon-Cumming arrived just before Christmas 1878 to inadvertently witness the terrible “Great Fire” of Hong Kong that swept devastatingly through the Central and Mid-Levels districts.
     
    She then moved on to explorations of the streets, temples and Chinese New Year festivities in Canton (Guangzhou). Her detailed descriptions of the teeming streets of the city’s commercial districts and New Year temple fairs contrast with her temporary residence in the relative calm of the foreign enclave on Shamian Island. Venturing out of the city on expeditions, Gordon-Cumming gives us perhaps one of the most complete descriptions of the now long-gone market gardens of Fa-tee with the famed nurseries that cultivated a bewildering variety of flowers and ornamental trees.

    Finally Gordon-Cumming returns to Hong Kong to observe the annual "Derby Day" races at Happy Valley in February 1879, a major event on Hong Kong’s Victorian-era social calendar. Gordon-Cumming is at one and the same time that rare travel writer who, while plunging into the throngs and crowds, manages to observe the minutiae of life around her.

    “The flames rapidly gained the mastery, suddenly bursting from fresh houses here and there, where least suspected, and spreading from street to street. That night we stood watching this appallingly magnificent scene – the flames rising and falling, leaping and dancing, now bursting from some fresh house, shooting up in tongues of fire, now rolling in dense volumes of black smoke.”

     

  • LING-NAM: Hong Kong, Canton and Hainan Island in the 1880s

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    By Benjamin Couch 'BC' Henry, introduced and annotated by Paul French
     
    No. 3 in the China Revisited series
     
    Benjamin Couch “BC” Henry was a missionary in Hong Kong and southern China in the second half of the 19th century. He arrived in 1873 and remained until 1894. Yet he was much more too – a keen observer, a skilled naturalist and an intrepid explorer. His fascination with the flora and fauna of Hong Kong and southern China are obvious throughout the pages of LING-NAM.
     
    The bulk of his career in China was spent in what was then commonly known as “Ling-nam”, the Pearl River Delta and environs of Guangzhou. These excerpts of Henry’s travelogue LING-NAM, published in 1886, contain one of the most detailed walking tours of Guangzhou that has survived. Similarly so his travels through the silk, tea and market garden regions adjoining the metropolis. Abd finally, we have Henry’s ground-breaking account of his expeditions around Hainan Island in 1882, then the most extensive undertaken to date by a foreigner. He was also a keen anthropologist interested in the island’s various ethnic groups, such as the Lois, as well as the various languages and dialects of Hainan. Henry’s portrait of southern China was built up over 20 years work and exploration in the region and provides one of the most in-depth looks at southern Chinese life from the growth of Hong Kong, to the bustling streets of Guangzhou, to Hainan’s “Island of Palms”.

    “Drifting slowly by a large collection of flower-boats, gay with lamps and mirrors, and richly furnished with black-wood sofas and embroidered curtains… Dire confusion is often created among the slipper-boats, whose anchorage adjoins, by the surging of the steamer against their outer lines, causing them to jump, and sputter, and dart about like a swarm of ants, shell-like craft, whilst they vociferously hurl maledictions at the great steamer.”

     

  • China Revisited: a series bundle

    HK$280.00
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    China Revisited is a series of extracted reprints of mid-nineteenth to early-twentieth century Western impressions of Hong Kong, Macao and China. The series comprises excerpts from travelogues or memoirs written by missionaries, diplomats, military personnel, journalists, tourists and temporary sojourners.

    They came to China from Europe or the United States, some to work or to serve the interests of their country, others out of curiosity. Each excerpt is fully annotated to best provide relevant explications of Hong Kong, Macao and China at the time, to illuminate encounters with historically interesting characters or notable events.

    Save 20% by buying this bundle which includes the following items in the series. Please click on their titles below to read full details.

    1 x Where Strange Gods Call: Harry Hervey's 1920s Hong Kong, Macao and Canton Sojourns

    1 x Wanderings in China: Hong Kong and Canton, Christmas and New Year, 1878/1879

    1 x LING-NAM: Hong Kong, Canton and Hainan Island in the 1880s

    1 x Roving Through Southern China: An American’s Explorations of Hong Kong, Macao and Canton in the early 1920s

  • Searching for Billie: A journalist’s quest to understand his mother’s past leads him to discover a vanished China

    HK$148.00
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    Ian Gill’s first visit to Hong Kong in 1975 takes an unexpected turn when he meets his Chinese mother Billie’s friends, colleagues and fellow ex-prisoners of war, lifting the veil on a tumultuous past in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

    He moves to Asia and unravels her intriguing journey: from controversial adoption by an English postmaster in Changsha to popular radio broadcaster in wartime Shanghai, from tragedy and a doomed romance in a Japanese internment camp to being decorated by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the United Nations. He discovers a great-grandmother in a determined English farm girl who ends up owning a well-known hotel on the China coast in the 1870s – and he finally meets his father for the first time on a Canadian island in 1985.

    The backdrop for this fascinating family story is China’s turbulent century from the Anglo-Chinese wars of the 1840s to the advent of communism.

    Look inside this book:
    Contents and Chapter 1

  • Roving Through Southern China: An American’s Explorations of Hong Kong, Macao and Canton in the early 1920s

    HK$90.00
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    By Harry Franck, introduced and annotated by Paul French
     
    No. 4 in the China Revisited series
     
    In the 1920s the American travel writer Harry A Franck was known to readers as the “Prince of Vagabonds”. His wanderings were family affairs and he arrived in southern China in 1923 with his wife, their two young children and his mother. Franck always claimed that his travel plans were random, subject to chance encounters and whatever caught his eye.
     
    He arrives in a Hong Kong which is building modern department stores and large houses while labourers sleep on straw mats beside the harbour. In Macao he visits temples, ancient forts and, of course, casinos. And then to Canton (Guangzhou), a city in flux where new buildings are transforming the waterfront, the ancient city walls are being demolished, and the traditional rookeries of small lanes are being replaced by wide asphalt roads as the city rapidly modernises. Franck also provides us with a highly detailed description of Shamian Island a year after the tumultuous strikes and boycotts that meant naval gunboats and barbed wire still protected the small foreign enclave.
  • The Girl Who Dreamed: A Hong Kong Memoir of Triumph Against the Odds

    HK$138.00
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    At the age of 14, Sonia Leung was raped by her ping-pong coach.
     
    She had moved from China two-and-a-half years earlier to join her family in Hong Kong, but she could not fit in. The family of six lived in a cramped subdivided hut in a Kowloon squatter village but rarely communicated with each other. The difficulties of adjusting to colonial Hong Kong heightened the tensions between her parents. Feeling trapped and unloved, Sonia was too afraid to tell anyone about the rape. She saved money by working part-time at McDonald's and, a year later, she bought a one-way plane ticket to Taipei and ran away from home.
     
    The Girl Who Dreamed is a memoir of her childhood in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – and how, through work and further education, she found her way to an independent life away from the family and world from which she needed to free herself.