Thursday, November 10, 2016

My latest book: The Playgroup

The Playgroup, paper back. ISBN 978-0-473-37871-4
Available at: Wheelers Books or from me,
eBook: Kindle Amazon ASIN: B01N0AWTOL

This book talks of a hotchpotch SAHM (Stay At Home Mums) jelled by a common denominator, the Playgroup. This book will resonate in women who went to Playgroup with their children or grandchildren. This hotchpotch include mothers of nuclear families, single families, bereaved parents, widowed, widowers, cancer survivors, volunteers, and so on. Issues like death, bereavement, cancer, adoption, fostering, and remarriage are sensitively discussed.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Interview of Captain Roger Cheng

Cheng, Roger: my Army recollections
Description Item is an interview/narrative of Roger Cheng's experiences during World War II. Captain Cheng was trained at a secret Chinese-Canadian camp in the Okanagan. Interview took place on February 22, 1971. 

Hi Ann,
Thought you might enjoy this… You can hear my dad being interviewed by Reginald Roy (1971) on the war.
It’s long but is only interview he ever did (Audio - 2 clips).

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Phyllanthus niruri or Dukung anak.

I have been looking for this wild herb for a long time. When we were young, my mother would send my siblings and I to collect by pulling these herb, roots and all. She boiled this for us to drink. I found this growing a in pot sharing another plant in Singapore.
We called this MA ZAI CHO. Phyllanthus niruri or Dukung anak.

Traditional medicine

My Sis E inherited the skills of a traditional medical practitioner.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Chinese immigrants

In my books, From China to Borneo to Beyond, and World War II, Chinese immigrants were not considered a citizen of Sarawak.
The Brooke Government had made it very clearly the law of ius sanguinis the rule of the blood, you are a Chinese regardless of where you are born.
I found my Father-in-law's entry certificate. He was considered an alien.

Saturday, April 9, 2016


I found this millipede in the jungle when we went to Mulu caves. It was basking in the sun.

Friday, March 18, 2016

sweet potato rice

During the World War II, there was an embargo on ships crossing the South China Sea. There was no rice import, an staple of the people. People planted root vegetables like sweet potato/kumara, tapioca and pumpkin as staple.

Dad said when you eat this day in and day out, withour any oil or salt, you soon get very tired of it.

The world has turned around. I like sweet potatoes , and sometimes I steam them on top of the rice.

rubber tree

some 70,000 seeds being smuggled to Kew in 1875, by Henry Wickham, at the service of the British Empire, from Brazil and stole some rubber seeds aka Hevea brasiliensi.

From those stolen seeds, they grew to supply the rubber gardens in Malaysia and Borneo.
The original rubber trees were very good, but took too long to reach a productive age. Then the good old scientist developed a smaller tree but produced more and called it high yielding tree.

My plant is a miniature tree. It's a tribute to both sets of my ancestry. It was rubber that brought them to Borneo.In 1907, my Great Grand father was scouted to lead a developing company to grow this important cash crop.

During the World War Two, trading ceased. People stitched up rubber sheets and wore them. The more enterprising ones even made shoes.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Up side down tapioca

Manihot esculenta, with common names cassava (/kəˈsɑːvə/), Brazilian arrowroot, ... Like other roots and tubers, both bitter and sweet varieties of cassava ...

It must be properly prepared before consumption. Improper preparation of cassava can leave enough residual cyanide to cause acute cyanide intoxication and goiters, and may even cause ataxia or partial paralysis.[8]  wiki 

My father told me there is a folklore that it is very important to grow them the right way up, or the tapioca would be poisonous. It would be better not to eat them.
Tapioca is a dietary staple in Africa, Asia and South America, and you'll also find it in beverages and puddings in the United States. Although commercially packaged tapioca is generally safe, the plant can be highly toxic if not prepared properly.
Tapioca naturally produces cyanide, which is poisonous to humans; however, the cyanide may be removed during processing. By eating poorly prepared tapioca, you may risk cyanide poisoning according to the American Cancer Society. Symptoms include headache and dizziness; in severe cases, you may experience convulsions or coma. It is suggested that if a person is allergic to latex, it is best not to eat tapioca.

I used this story in my World War II, about a family dying after eating the up side down tapioca.

My Ah Kung/Grandfather and his clothes


This is Myanmar's shan traditional attire. (Photo on the left) I asked permission from my friend Nang Kham Set if I can borrow the photo. She has kindly said yes.

In 1900s, all the men who left Quaang Tung to Borneo dressed like this. Frog buttons and fishermen's pants. Over time, some of them changed to wearing western clothes. My grandfather aka Ah Kung continued to wear it until he died in 1976.

When I was young, I was rather embarrassed he adhered to his Chinese culture. He was like a countrybumpkin wearing slippers/jandals.

 When Bruce Lee became famous, young Sibu boys mistook my Ah Kung to be a Kung Fu Master and nagged at him to teach them Kung Fu. He was tired of them following him, one day, he opened his bamboo umbrella and they all ran away. They thought it was his Kung Fu move.

As I grew older, I am proud of my Chinese roots, and equally proud of my Ah Kung. I wrote about him in my books From China to Borneo to Beyond. In my World war II book, I fictionalised him as a hero.

In the photo, the elderly gentleman wore a fedora. I went at lengths to describe another character who wore a fedora.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mum, a war bride

Rewind back to 1945:

It was the second world war, the Japanese soldiers were taking girls to be their comfort women and men to be their solider. Great Grand Ma, Ah Tai was desperate for a husband for Mum.

Ah Tai wanted the son of this Town family P.

This Town family P. didn't want a country bumpkin girl to be a daughter in law.

It was not meant to be that he should be my dad.

Instead the next best was country bumpkin Dad. 

So Ah Tai chose Dad.

This country Bumpkin was the best choice after all.

He was the first in the region to get a scholarship to study in England, and became a senior government officer.

All of us were college educated. None of the children of that Townie man went abroad. Whew!!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The flash flood

The sky is angry,
The clouds are swollen with rain.
It buckets and buckets.
In no time, there is a flash flood.

When I was young and ignorant,
We loved the flood that came to our thighs.
Dad made a makeshift raft with a petrol barrel.
We cheered and swam at our free swimming pool.
The fun didn't last.

When the water recedes,
along came the dead dogs and cats
and chicken, succumbed and gave up their ghost.
Then came the cleaning,
the yukky mud was no fun at all.

Friday, February 26, 2016



 I wrote about flash floods in the book. This seemed incredible. This is what has happened in 2016.

Flash floods in Kuching By ADIB POVERA - 27 February 2016 @ 10:09 AM

Read More :
Flash floods in Kuching By ADIB POVERA - 27 February 2016 @ 10:09 AM KUCHING: Heavy rain since last night caused roads in the city, including the road near Padang Merdeka, to be submerged by flash floods this morning. Heavy rain since last night caused roads in Kuching, including the road near Padang Merdeka, to be submerged by flash floods this morning. Checks by the New Straits Times showed flash floods had also inundated other roads, including Jalan Tun Openg, Jalan Batu Lintang, Jalan Padungan, Jalan Tabuan Dayak and the roads near the Sarawak General Hospital. According to Kuching Zone Fire and Rescue Station chief Tiong Ling Hi Jalan Tabuan Dayak was among the worst affected by the downpour, with floodwaters about 1m. “Our men and assets are on standby now and ready to be deployed if the situation worsens,” he said.

Read More :
Flash floods in Kuching By ADIB POVERA - 27 February 2016 @ 10:09 AM KUCHING: Heavy rain since last night caused roads in the city, including the road near Padang Merdeka, to be submerged by flash floods this morning. Heavy rain since last night caused roads in Kuching, including the road near Padang Merdeka, to be submerged by flash floods this morning. Checks by the New Straits Times showed flash floods had also inundated other roads, including Jalan Tun Openg, Jalan Batu Lintang, Jalan Padungan, Jalan Tabuan Dayak and the roads near the Sarawak General Hospital. According to Kuching Zone Fire and Rescue Station chief Tiong Ling Hi Jalan Tabuan Dayak was among the worst affected by the downpour, with floodwaters about 1m. “Our men and assets are on standby now and ready to be deployed if the situation worsens,” he said.

Read More :


KAPIT: Last Thursday and Friday saw river transport at a standstill as wooden debris clogged Baleh and Rajang rivers which adversely affected navigation from Sibu to Putai, a distance of some 300km.
JOURNEY INTERRUPTED: Four days after the massive wood debris laid a siege on Baleh River and Rajang River, the water at the upper reaches of Baleh is still muddy. Many outboard engine owners claimed that their engines were spoilt due to the sand and silt.
This massive logjam along Malaysia’s longest river was a cause of grave concern and drew wide-spread discussion and speculation on the causes, especially in Facebook and other blogs on the Internet, thus getting the attention of foreign media and environmental groups.
A man from Sungai Melatai, a tributary of Baleh River, gave the following account of the cause.
“The cause of the ecological disaster and the extensive environmental damage has nothing to do with the rain or rising water level because on the day it happened the water level along Baleh River was low and normal. There was extensive landslide of between five and 10km on both banks of Sungai Melatai. This has nothing to do with farming activities. It is caused by human disregard for the environment through extensive logging activities.”
A child died when its mother could not send it for medical treatment in Kapit due to the logjam. Two men in a Land Cruiser died in the landslide.
“We are very angry but helpless, it is time we wake up to protect our environment,” a teacher who was a relative of the mother said.
A bank employee said political leaders should not blame the weather and appealed to the government to engage an independent body to investigate and get to the root cause because the people deserve to know the truth.
A retired army personnel and a fish breeder from Sungai Sut, who wanted to be known as ‘Robert’, lamented that many types of indigenous fish had died along Sungai Melatai to Sibu, depriving the people of their source of income and protein. According to Tuai Rumah Kilau who returned from Tunoh to Kapit on Friday morning, the massive riverbank erosion was caused by the eruption of dykes formed by sediments, wood and other debris caused by long periods of logging activities.
When contacted, the Superintendent of Land and Survey Kapit Affin Bawi said the massive landslide was the culprit. His view was confirmed by an officer from Sarawak Rivers Board.
An elderly casual worker identified as Jilan explained that the Ibans described the phenomenon as ‘baruas’ or massive landslide affecting a huge area, when nature gives way.
“All the fish would die and in my young days I used to follow my parents in the longboat to catch lots of fish that appeared on the surface”, he said.
The massive logjam prompted an onlooker to exclaim that one just could jump from one log to another to reach the other side of the river bank.
An elderly Chinese was heard murmuring to himself that this could be the first signal of ‘the end of the world’ because of massive destruction to nature caused by humans.
Among the many reasons, the phenomenon could be attributed to the heavy rainfall in the interiors of Kapit, particularly in Baleh, which had caused the river to burst its banks and grab debris and deadwood along the way.
But surprisingly a check at the Kapit waterfront revealed that the water level was low and the velocity of flow was very slow and normal.
On Friday, the situation returned to normal. The extent of damage it had caused to the shipping industry is yet to be ascertained.

Friday, February 19, 2016

COMMANDO BAY on Okanagan Lake designated an official provincial historical place under the B.C. Heritage Conservation Act

Recently the British Columbia government asked for nominations of historical places that demonstrated the contribution of Chinese Canadians to the development of the province. We are delighted to report that COMMANDO BAY on Okanagan Lake has now been designated an official provincial historical place under the B.C. Heritage Conservation Act. In WWII, Commando Bay was the location where a select team of Chinese Canadians were first secretly trained for Operation Oblivion. They were the initial group to be trained in guerrilla warfare techniques with the intent of being dropped behind Japanese lines.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Book Review by Helen Wong, NZChinese

Book Review by Helen Wong    New Zealand Chinese Association > Newsletter 2016 -  

World War II in Borneo, Tales of my Grandpa
It is the anniversary of 70 years after the end of
the WWII

This book is divided into 2 sections, Section A is the
facts of the WWII in a village in Borneo. It has the
records of a case study of a villager who were taken to
Burma, suffered but survived to claim from the
Japanese, and Captain Roger Cheng from Canada
who led a troop to liberate the villagers from the
Japanese Occupation

Section B is fictionalised recounts of the villagers
during these four years. It is fictionalized because the
survivors are dead now, but they left behind rich oral
stories. These are the stories of my ancestors.
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. 1
Ann Chin is an author of several books, all drawing on
personal experiences. If you have an interest in the
Japanese War and the Borneo experience, this is a
must read For enquiries  ISBN: 978-0-473-339005

Thursday, February 4, 2016

old outhouse

my paternal grandfather's outhouse was similar to this. It is on stilts and a giant size vat. It gave me inspiration to write a chapter on it.

ann book cv


Ann Kit Suet Chin-Chan.

Ann Kit Suet Chin is a New Zealand Chinese writer. She was born in Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia. She attended Methodist Primary and Secondary School in Sibu. She graduated from Windsor University in Canada, Auckland University and Auckland University of Technology.

Ann is the fourth child of the late John Chan Hiu Fei and Mary Kong Wah Kiew. She is married to Chin Chen Onn, PhD. She has three surviving children, Deborah, Gabrielle and Sam. Her third child, Andrew died when he was a baby and is the inspiration of her first book.

作者 陈洁雪



Diary of a Bereaved Mother
ISBN 9780473187095 

This is a real life story of losing one's only son. This experience has made the author strong and caring. This tragedy has been a great help for her to help understand other bereaved people. The author is very brave to write this book. It has not been easy and she aims to touch,...

featured in the Aucklander.

I appeared in Television 1 Down Under program. It's ok to cry On baby bereavement.
I spoke in the Baptist Women's Annual Convention, North Island Chapter.  
My book was exhibited  at the Peacock 
Art Gallery, Upton Country, Dorset, Park England.

I  presented a workshop on Asian Infant Bereavement at the Sands National conference for Sands families and medical personnels for 200 attendees in September 2013

Used as a reference book for NICU staff at the University Hospital, Toronto. 

Dr Simon Rowley is a consultant at Starship Children's Hospital who's been given a copy of the book.
"It is a good reminder to all health professionals that when our patients leave us, the story does not end for the parents. The detail is amazing, and every little thought and action seems to have been recorded as it happened, and then has been reflected upon.
"For parents undergoing similar experiences this book could be a great comfort. For health professionals, I would see it as essential reading."



By Chin-Chan, Ann Kit Suet
ISBN 9780473239008  English
ISBN 9780473309626  Chinese


This is a hundred-year-old journal of two families, the Chans and the Kongs. It traces the first movement in 1907 from Kwang Zhou, China to the jungles of Borneo. It is a six-generational record with the second wave of movement to England, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Australia, USA ...

This book records with humor the life of a busy and active family through World War II, the formation of Malaysia and Confrontation. It is a personal reflection of a way of life that has moved on and provides insight into a family and its relationships. It is most of all a work of love and respect for the Chan and Kong families and for Father and Mother.

M M Ann Armstrong

Lodge International School
She explained the people in Sarawak, especially among the Chinese community, could relate to the book as it traces their roots and identities.
“From China to Borneo and Beyond kindled a lot of interests in the state. I am very happy to hear a publisher is going to print a Chinese version of it.”
From China To Borneo and Beyond was her second autobiography book, which is a hundred year old journal of two Families, the Chans and the Kongs. The book contains records of historical events and current affairs endured by her family from 1907 to 2006 such as the Opium war, virgin tropical jungle, the Japanese World War, colonial days, revelation and fighting with the communists. 



This book is about the embodiment of the darker side of today's society.
ISBN  978047325414-8

1 July 2013

a fiction novel – Mail Order Bride. The story, set in Auckland, New Zealand, touches on social issues such as teenage pregnancies, drugs, paedophile and the like. The book took two months to finish.

Her third book, Mail Order Bride is the first fiction piece from Ann. She said that the book targets an audience of young adults and that it appeals readers interested in social issues and ills that young adults have to face.



Women suffers from oppression. This story traces the life of Nadine who overcomes her own problems of oppression, grows up to be a social worker and helps women who have suffered from physical and mental violence, domestic violence, rape, pornography, swinging, sex slavery, human ...
1 July 2014
Interest Age
All ages

Judy Lawson, Counsellor
A book I would use in my work as a reference. 

World War II in Borneo, Tales of my Grandpa
ISBN:9780473339005 (Pbk)

It is seventy years after the end of the World War II, or the Japanese occupation in Borneo. Captain Cheng aka Captain Fong and his Canadian soldiers are remembered in their role of leading the surrender of the Japanese.

I've been reading your book World War Two in Borneo: Tales of my Grandpa.  I was a bit hesitant to start it, since it is combined fiction and fact and I didn't want to get the history mixed up in my mind.  However,  I'm finding it very compelling to read.  

Canadian documentary maker, Keith Lock.

Traces the lives of 2 girls. The poor girl is sold to the rich girl as a slave aka mui zai to serve her for ever. Different Chinese Tradition are explained, and tragedy brings them to the South Seas. The Japanese invasion, the slave protects her mistress and is sent to a brothel as a comfort women.