Second World War

/Second World War
  •  
    In war, you can pretend to be someone you’re not. Yet, in war, people find out who you really are.

    Hong Kong, 1941. Anglo-Australian civil servant Dominic Sotherly’s colonial sojourn in Hong Kong becomes complicated by his double life in both war and love. Enigmatic Englishwoman Gwen Harmison possesses secrets of her own – plus an unrelenting desire for liberty. Inscrutable Eurasian Chester Drake is but one of Gwen’s secrets.

    From gaiety at the Peninsula Hotel to persecution both inside and outside of internment, the story journeys from war-ravaged Hong Kong to war-weary China.

    From real history, meet the one-legged Chinese admiral who led Hong Kong’s daring ‘Great Escape’ and the Japanese Christian soldier who risked his life for the enemy. And, uniquely during the occupation of Hong Kong, discover how one Englishwoman made history in her defiance of Imperial Japan.

  •  

    “I can’t visualise us getting out of this, but I want to TRY to believe in a future,” wrote 23-year-old Barbara Anslow (then Redwood) in her diary on 8th December 1941, a few hours after Japan first attacked Hong Kong.

    Barbara's 1941-1945 diaries (with post-war explanations where necessary) are an invaluable source of information on the civilian experience in British Hong Kong during the second world war. The diaries record her thoughts and experiences through the fighting, the surrender, three-and-a-half years of internment, then liberation and adjustment to normal life.

    The diaries have been quoted by leading historians on the subject. Now they are available in print for the first time, making them available to a wider audience.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following link to read pages from Tin Hats and Rice. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    Foreword and introduction


  • Japan marched into Hong Kong at the outbreak of the Pacific War on December 8, 1941. On the same day, Graham Heywood was captured by the invading Japanese near the border while carrying out duties for the Royal Observatory. He was held at various places in the New Territories before being transported to the military Prisoner-of-War camp in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. The Japanese refused to allow Heywood and his colleague Leonard Starbuck to join the civilians at the Stanley internment camp.

    Heywood’s illustrated diary records his three-and-a-half years of internment, telling a story of hardship, adversity, and survival of malnutrition and disease; as well as repeated hopes of liberation and disappointment. As he awaits the end of the war, his reflections upon freedom and imprisonment bring realisations about life and how to live it.

    Accounts of life in the internment camp differed widely. One friend, an enthusiastic biologist, was full of his doings; he had grown champion vegetables, had seen all sort of rare birds (including vultures, after the corpses) and had run a successful yeast brewery. Altogether, he said, it had been a great experience ... a bit too long, perhaps, but not bad fun at all. Another ended up her account by saying ‘Oh, Mr. Heywood, it was hell on earth’. It all depended on their point of view.”

    Heywood’s highly positive attitude to life is food for thought for all of us today, in the midst of increasing consumerism but decreasing spiritual satisfaction. We have enjoyed freedom and an abundance of material wealth in the 70 years since the end of the Pacific War, but we may not always recognise our true good fortune.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following links to view sample pages from It Won't Be Long Now. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.   Foreword   Chapter 1 - Capture

  • with a foreword by Irene Eber

    A compilation of 26 biographical accounts from the entire spectrum of Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jewish society offers fresh insights into a remarkable community that lived through the crossroads of China’s 20th-century history.

    Using previously unseen diaries and archival material, Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jews documents the rise and fall of larger-than-life personalities who witnessed the Sino-Japanese War, the Occupation of Shanghai and the Communist Party’s rise to power. Photographs illustrate the life and times of these individuals and the magnificent, cosmopolitan city they called home.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following links to view sample pages from Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jews. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    Foreword  Sample photo pages

  •  

    Robert Wang fled the Chinese civil war at the age of five and came to Hong Kong with nothing. The colony was a harsh place in the 1950s and 1960s. But he was determined to rise to the top – and through hard work and resolve, he got there. The law firm he founded grew into the city’s fifth largest.

    With the clock ticking towards the handover of Hong Kong to China, and no one knowing what the end of British rule would bring, Robert hatched an audacious scheme to safeguard the fortunes of Hong Kong’s richest tycoons. He would convince Singapore to take them in.

    At last, he was walking with kings: dealing one-on-one with the most powerful businessmen and politicians of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. It was an exhilarating experience – but climbing so high has its dangers. After unwittingly offending the wrong power brokers, he was cast aside and left to defend himself against the damnation of corporate rumours.

    Robert’s rags-to-riches story offers a rare look inside the unimaginably wealthy world of Hong Kong’s property tycoons; but also, as he tells the tale of four generations of his family, we learn that it is the traditional values of tolerance, filial piety and loyalty which endure.

    "A riveting read." – Sir Run Run Shaw, Founder, Shaw Prize

    Look inside this book
    Click on these links to view sample pages from Walking the Tycoons' Rope. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts. 

    One  Two  Three  Four

  • by Jonathan Chamberlain, with a foreword by Sir David Tang From the start of the Korean war to the end of the Vietnam war, Hong Kong was a major R&R centre for soldiers and sailors. And there were thousands of local people who made their money making sure these visitors had a good time and got the suits and the girls they wanted. In fact they didn’t just wait for their customers to arrive – they sailed out in a flotilla of small boats to greet the ships as they entered the harbour. And then, when the ships had anchored, they shimmied up the anchor chain to be the first to get the orders for shirts and trousers. These were the tailor shop order men. Peter Hui was one of them. But who was Peter? What was his story? Well, before he took to being a tailor he had been a famous kung fu fighter; a rich playboy, a frequenter of the pleasure houses of Macau; a gambler (he had run three gambling joints in Canton when the Communists walked in); the brains behind a gang of armed robbers (he alone escaped arrest when their third robbery went wrong); an associate of triads – and, before all that, he had been the owner of the biggest string of Mongolian ponies at the Hong Kong Jockey Club – that was during the war years when he was a leading collaborator of the Japanese. He had once, for a very short time, owned all the opium in Hong Kong! Later, after his tailoring days had gone flat, he was paid by a CIA officer to report on events in China. This was during the tumultuous years of the Cultural Revolution, when Red Guard factions fought amongst each other. Some periods in history are best illuminated by the stories of men and women who lived through them. This is one of those stories. As we follow Peter’s life – his ups, his downs – we see in sharp focus what it was like to be a Chinese man in the British colony of Hong Kong through most of the years of the 20th century. This is the true, bizarre story of a man who knew everybody and saw everything. He wasn’t a wicked man. He was just trying to get by, like everyone else. This is his truly fascinating story. And yet this book is not just one man’s story. It is the story of a time and place – colonial Hong Kong, Portuguese Macau and the south China hinterland between Hong Kong and Canton – seen from the unique point of view of a man who was at home at all levels of society. There are, for example, no other published accounts of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong as seen from the non-combatant Chinese perspective. The World of Suzie Wong was a best-selling novel in the 1960s – and this story is its background. If Suzie had been a real girl, Peter would have known her. Look inside this book Click on the following link to view sample pages from King Hui. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.  Introduction