Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Peggy Lee, A Canadian woman soldier

Peggy Lee, a Chinese Canadian woman who went to the war. What a spunky woman. They went to war to sacrifice themselves so that Canadian Chinese could have the vote and become a citizen.

In my book, I wrote of a fictitious sibling brother sister pair.

Friday, October 23, 2015

King of bitters

King of Bitters : Andrographis Paniculata or Chuan Xin Lian in Chinese. Chuan Xin Lian (穿心蓮) ...

No, it is not the kind you buy in the pub or bar, but a small Chinese medicinal herb.
As the name implies, a tea made from the leaves is very very bitter. Used in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine.

It contains ingredients which possess astringent, anodyne, tonic,and alexipharmic properties.

It has been traditionally used in healing dysentery, cholera, and diabetes. Influenza, bronchitis, piles, gonorrhea, hepatomegaly, skin disorders, fever and worm infestation. Useful in healing wounds, ulcers,leprosy, and diarrhea. For red eyes, sore throat, tooth ache.

This little herb has been in my great grand mother's garden as long as I remember. I used to dread to take the concoction, and now, in turn my kids won't touch it.

The Chinese SING SAY or doctor says, according to the herb grower, you must use, 3, 5, 7 leaves, always in single form. I don't really believe, I just use some when I feel heaty or general unwell. It keeps your mouth fresh and rids the flurry feeling.

My friend B says, " It is very good for sore eyes , Just make a tea, and wash your eyes.
Most Chinese say it is good as a gargle for sore throat.

My younger sister Margaret. who is a professor in plant pathology remembers, “ Whenever we complained about headache, Mother would ask us to go downstairs and pick a few leaves of the bitter leaves. Then we said, "No more headache" But Mother would prepare for us and we took with a spoonful of sugar after that. “

The Alberton a rich man's house

The Alberton, a rich man's house in Auckland. In my book, I described Kong's house which was torched by the Japanese. I imagine that Kong's house looked like this.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Paradise Road

I watched this, and a friend. Mr. Price from Australia told me his wife was one of the prisoners in real life.

Paradise Road (1997 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Paradise Road
Theatrical release poster

Paradise Road is a 1997 war film that tells the story of a group of English, American, Dutch and Australian women who are imprisoned by the Japanese in Sumatra during World War II. I

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

I remember watching this movie starred by David Bowie.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Japanese: Senjō no Merī Kurisumasu (戦場のメリークリスマス?, "Merry Christmas on the Battlefield"), also known in many European editions as Furyo (俘虜, Japanese for "prisoner of war"[2])) is a 1983 British-Japanese drama film directed by Nagisa Oshima, produced by Jeremy Thomas and starring David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Takeshi Kitano and Jack Thompson.

The film deals with the relationships among four men in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during the Second World War — Major Jack Celliers, a rebellious New Zealander with a guilty secret from his youth; Captain Yonoi, the young camp commandant; Lieutenant Colonel John Lawrence (Conti), a British officer who has lived in Japan and speaks Japanese fluently; and Sergeant Hara who is seemingly brutal and yet humane in some ways and with whom Lawrence develops a peculiar friendship.

Bowie plays Major Jack Celliers, a so-called soldier’s soldier, who comes to a POW camp in Java, in Indonesia in 1942. The titular Mr. Lawrence is Lieutenant Colonel John Lawrence, played by Tom Conti, who is already a prisoner in the camp. He is unique there in that he speaks Japanese and has an understanding of Japanese culture, even if all their customs don’t sit too well with him.
The film opens with Lawrence called to witness the punishment of two men, one a Korean and one Dutch. The Korean man snuck into the Dutch man’s cell and had sex with him, something looked down upon by the Japanese. The Japanese sergeant attempts to humiliate the Korean man, offering him the chance to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) if he will play along. Lawrence tries to stop this, but the Korean attempts seppuku anyway. He is ultimately stopped when the Captain of the camp — Yonoi — arrives. Ultimately, the punishment is put off until he returns from a trip.
That trip is to attend the trial of Colonel Celliers, who had been performing guerilla actions until his surrender to the Japanese when they threatened to kill innocent villagers. The Japanese soldiers officiating at the trial are confused by Celliers’s surrender and agree that he should be put to death, but Captain Yonoi is clearly taken with the defiant British man. A mock execution is staged and Celliers is taken to the POW camp instead.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Consul for Culture, Mr. Zhang Heqing.

Consul for Culture, Mr. Zhang Heqing spoke on the recent demonstrations in Hong Kong and I met him again at the Photo Exhibition..

Monday, October 12, 2015

Roger Cheng and my Ah Kung

Roger Kee Cheng
Born 16 May 1915
Service/branchRoyal Canadian Corps of Signals

Captain RK Cheng Portrait.jpgChan Kee Seng, born 1882 in China

The most important thing that came out of writing this book is confirmed research from Canada validated my Grandpa and my Dad's narration of Captain Fong. Captain Fong is not a figment of their imagination. Captain Fong aka Roger Cheng was the Captain from Canada who parachuted down to Kapit and led the Allies at the surrender of the Japanese.

I am in liaison with Larry Wong, and Keith Lock of Canada.

My Ah Kung (Grand father Kee Seng) used to tell me about the war stories from the 1880’s. He told me that the Japanese used to have an army camp in Upper Lanang Road by Tai Kuon School not far from our house. It was probably five minutes walk. He recalled the time when the Allies landed soldiers from Kapit by parachute and the allies enlisted the locals and they swept aside the Japanese all the way down to Sibu. The leader of the Allied troops was an American Chinese Captain Fong. The Ibans called him Capitan Jina (Chinaman) The Allies used to strafe the local school by plane to scare the Japanese. He also told me when he and the clans in China had to fight the bandits attacking the village. He said we were landlords in China and very wealthy. He proudly said that our family had 2 big silos to store the grains. My Ah Kung and I shared a bed and he tells me his stories every night when we go to sleep. Mother put an end to that when she told him that I was still a school boy and needed my sleep!***Charles

I heard that he was Canadian Chinese Captain. He was big boy and with a bit of exaggeration he became a towering Chinaman and bigger than any white soldiers. He could be Canadian Chinese! Ah Kung said that in those days all persons of authority were Europeans and never a Chinese. The Chinese has to kow tow to Europeans. This Chinese captain commanded a company of white soldiers (about 100 soldiers to a Company). Ah Kung said whenever the Chinese captain gave orders to the white soldiers the white soldiers will stand to attention and give a big "da bag! (salute) and scream " yes captain sir!" That was why the locals were very impressed and the Ibans called him Capitan Jina! The Chinese would clap hands when they see the white soldiers take orders from this Chinaman! Fancy white people give a "da bag" to a china man! So this man must be very very powerful! I believed that from that time the Ibans started to give the Jina (Chinese) more respect! ****Joseph

Father's story: Ah Kung and others were surprised to hear from the Ibans of a Tuan Cina. Tuan, "Sir" was only meant for the white man. To the Iban: Cina, Chinese then were only farmers, and lowly coolies whom they encountered on the boats. So this Canadian Captain of Chinese origin was really a somebody being called a Tuan. So Ah Kung was so proud to be associated with the Sir. In jubilation, Ah Kung and his fellow villagers of Kwong Tung ba rushed to Tai Kuon School to welcome the arrival of their Canadian Chinaman Captain. They wanted to witness the triumphant victory of the Allies led by their own tall Cina captain over the shameful defeat of the short abominable bespectacled Japanese. The Chinese spat “Phui!!!” in disgust and shouted curses and “Bangsai go do a shit.” The onlookers including the Ibans cheered vigorously. There were peals or claps of thunder, but these didn’t come from the sky.  They came from ripple after ripple of applause as the Japanese surrendered their rifles, long swords, scabbards and short knives. The villagers sneered and jeered. They said they were told that a Japanese soldier never gave up his weapon, unless he admitted defeat, a Japanese soldier would rather die than surrender. Ah Kung and his friends were like blood hounds waiting to watch the Japanese commit Seppuku or hara-kiri. One couldn’t blame them for their jingoistic euphoria, after all these Japanese were men from hell. But these were cowards, they didn’t commit Seppuku to the disappointment of the spectators.  Instead they chose to become PoWs***Henry

The above three narration of the same event were by my three brothers told to them by my Grand Father Kee Seng or by my Father Hiu Fei.  

 Captain Fong is likely to be an alias of Roger Cheng. I am pleased that we could piece together Captain Fong, and validate Ah Kung's story. I am so excited that with our connection, we can dare say Captain Fong wasn't a figment of Ah Kung's imagination.

Larry Wong, curator of Canadian Chinese Military Museum. 


Roger Kee Cheng served as a member of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals during the Second World War. He saw service in Ottawa prior to undertaking commando and guerrilla training for his subsequent service in the Molucca Islands and Borneo.

Early Life

Roger Cheng of Lillooet British Columbia was living in Vancouver before he joined the military. He graduated from McGill University Engineering School in 1938 with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

Military Service

After completing Signals training at A-7 Canadian Signal Training Centre Lieutenant Cheng was taken on strength of Canadian Signals Experimentation Establishment (CSEE) on 11 August 1942.
He disembarked in Australia on 22 November 1944 where he served with Services Reconnaissance Department (British Military Establishment No. 100) British Security Coordination until 31 October 1945. During this time he was employed on special operational duties in the Molucca Islands and Borneo from 13 July to 24 October 1945.
On 8 December 1945 Captain Cheng embarked at Brisbane Australia on board SS "English Prince" for return to Canada (Unattached List, NDHQ)[1]


In the portrait shown of Captain Cheng he is wearing parachute wings from the 3rd Royal Australian Regiment. He presumably wore these in preference to Canadian wings as he earned them, "having qualified by completing sufficient descents to be deemed as operationally trained"[2] while serving in the South Pacific.

Blog Post[3]

Born on 16 May 1915 Roger Kee Cheng went on to graduate as an electrical engineer from McGill University in 1938, be commissioned as the first Chinese-Canadian officer in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals in 1941, and serve in Borneo as a member of the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD) component of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in 1945.
Second-Lieutenant Cheng began his officer training on 3 October 1941, probably at the Officer Training Centre in Brockville, Ontario. He was promoted Lieutenant (Lt) on 23 May, 1942, and completed his officer training at the Canadian Signal Training Centre in Kingston, Ontario, on 10 August, 1942.
Lt Cheng was then posted to the Canadian Signals Experimental Establishment (CSEE) in Ottawa, and promptly attached to the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (RCOC), and seconded to the Master General of Ordnance (MGO) Branch of the Director of Electrical and Communications Design (DECD). On 1 October, 1943 he was made an Acting Captain. On 27 May 1944, he ceased his attachment and secondment, and was taken on strength of No. 11 District Depot in British Columbia.
From 28 May until 26 August, 1944, at which time he started five days embarkation leave, it is probable that Lt Cheng, was a member of an original group of Chinese-Canadians who became known as the Kendall Group, and underwent special training in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.
On 3 September, 1944, having finished his embarkation leave, Lt Cheng was promoted Captain, and posted to the "Q List", signifying that he was now officially on loan to the British forces. While details of his activities between then and 6 August, 1945, are sketchy, indications are that he, and five other Chinese-Canadians were landed, on that date, in Sarawk, in northern Borneo, by Catalina Flying Boat Upon arrival, the group joined a small British team which was gathering information on the movements of the Japanese as well as about conditions in prison camps in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, where about 25,000 British prisoners of war were being held. The day after the team landed, the Americans dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Although Japan surrendered, many isolated Japanese units refused to accept defeat and the war dragged on for months. The team's major accomplishment was assisting in transferring many emaciated prisoners to Australia before returning home themselves.
On 31 October, 1945, Capt Cheng was attached for all purposes from the SRD to. No 1 Canadian Special Wireless Group, a signals intelligence organization that had arrived in McMillan's Road Camp, Darwin, Australia on 18 April, 1945. He returned to Canada on 5 January, 1946, at which time he was again taken on the strength of No. 11 Disrtict Depot. On 7 March, 1946, Roger Kee Cheng was discharged from the Canadian Army.


  1. Jump up 1 Canadian Special Wireless Group - Part II Orders - 9 Jan 46
  2. Jump up 1 Canadian Special Wireless Group - Part II Orders - 26 Nov 45
  3. Jump up http://semaphoretosatellite.blogspot.ca/2011/10/captain-rk-cheng.html
  6. Photohunt : Hero
  7. http://whistlestopphotohunt.blogspot.co.nz/
  9. unt.blogspot.co.nz/

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


 Gary and Nancy Young <ngyoung@xtra.co.nz>

What is the book about? It talks about the Japanese occupation 1942-1945.
Location Kwong Tung Bar from Sibu to Kanowit.
Why have I chosen this: It is where I am from, and The Brooke Govt had a rice mill at the Tai Kuon school aka Upper Lanang road camp, The Japanese set up a camp there to use the mill, and Captain Roger Chieng aka Fong came down from Kapit to the Tai Kuon Camp.
Finally, My Ah Kung and Ah Pa lived 10 minutes from the camp and were eye witnesses to the surrender of the Japanese at Tai Kuon Camp.


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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Willow tree.

When I visit Western Springs, I cannot walk past this "willow" 柳 /liu tree without thinking of my dad's lesson. He told me willow represents a brothel in Chinese.

In the book. young girls were taken by the Japanese soldiers to become their comfort women. I didn't want to use the word willow. These girls were forcefully abducted. I chose the name Cherry Blossom Inn instead.

Pukeko-moor hen'Swee Jiang Gai

Pukeko, is a marsh/moor hen in New Zealand.

In the Japanese Occupation in Sarawak, the people trapped a small version of birds we called swee jiang gai. Even at peace time, Grandpa and my dad trapped them. They were very small, and hardly any meat on them. Yet they were very delighted to catch them.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dr Henry Chan, Worldwide Fund For Nature (WWF) Malaysia head

When Henry was little, the family said he looked like Great Grand Father Mr. Chan Kwong Kuok. Ah Kung said he would do great things.

KUCHING: For Dr Henry Chan, Kuching is the seat of power.
The Worldwide Fund For Nature (WWF) Malaysia head of conservation for Sarawak zooms in on how the capital city has become home to many top decision-makers, from both government and private sectors.

Kang (centre) flanked by Chan (second left), Hon and staff members of WWF-Malaysia Sarawak office hold the flyers promoting the ‘Kuching For Me’ contest.



Great-Grand Father Chan Kwong Kwok 
 At 18, Great-Grand Father Chan Kwong Kwok was a Xiu Cai (an equivalent of a bachelor’s degree). He was the only Xiu Cai in the village. Unfortunately, because the family was poor, he could not pursue his further studies to the ultimate the Zhuangyuan(状元),Great-Grand Father was headhunted and offered the position of the “governor”, the head of this big company Kong Nan Seng Agricultural Co, in August, 1907. He led the second batch of Cantones, a group of bachelors, to Sibu. He was to lead a few more journeys, the 3rd where my grandfather came. This group including women and children.
Great Father co -founded a school for the children of immigrants. This school still exist.

The Durian tree.

My friend Ahmad Faizi‎ of the Malaysia Gardeners posted this photo and it is just right as a pictorial description of a story in my new book, "WW2".

There are many stories about Durian, our revered King of fruits.

How do I describe the fruit. It's like a good thick custard. A good fruit is not just sweet. It should have a touch of bitterness. The best way to eat durian is to squat on the floor.

Most Europeans and China citizens do not eat durian, they can't stand the smell of it. The aroma indeed is so strong, that it is not an understatement that it smells like s***. There is a saying, if you like durian, you will come back again.

I had written the Japanese set up their Camp at Lalang Road aka Tai Kuon Road, One night there was a terrible storm. The little durians fell and pelted the Japanese. The Japanese thought it was the grenades. The storm got worst, the bigger durian fell. The Japanese thought they were canons. It frightened the hell out of them.

Thanks Ahmad for your photo. I teach high school and university students "How to write."  I told them to be observant. Your photo came at the right time.