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Doing Time With Nehru

Voices of Deoli

Blog

book Journey continues in Kolkata...

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 10:28 AM Comments comments (0)
November 25
On the introduction of Hsieh Ming Tung we went to the Sunflower Beauty Salon to meet his sister-in-law, Patsy, and to have a haircut. PC had a massage while I had a haircut. Patsy's sister who is married to Hsieh Ming Tung once worked for my mum at her beauty shop in Darjeeling which was located above Park Restaurant. Small world!

That afternoon PC and I met Paul Chung, President of the Indian Chinese Association for Culture, Welfare and Development. I had met him online in September so it was a pleasure to meet him in person. He gave us his perspective on living in India now as an ethnic Chinese. He and his organization as well as others, like myself, are seeking for an official apology from the government of India for the wrongs they had inflicted on the Chinese in the aftermath of the border war of 1962.

North Point boys preparing for war

Posted on December 24, 2012 at 6:58 PM Comments comments (0)
After I gave my book talk, one of the North Point boys (I still refer to them as boys — and Loreto girls — even though most of us are in our 60's and 70's) came to me and said that my story triggered a memory he had of that time. He was one of the senior boys in school and shortly after the 1962 war broke out, the senior boys were taken to a nearby military base and given basic training on how to use rifles in the event the Chinese were to invade Darjeeling. He said half way through the training their guns jammed. This is what really happened to the Indian soldiers at the front and many lost their lives!

Journey continues..

Posted on December 24, 2012 at 6:51 PM Comments comments (0)
My last entry was on November 28. Several things occurred on our Asian travels in connection with my book. I had brought 3 dozen books to Burma in the hopes of sharing my story with the other alumni from Loreto Convent and North Point, Darjeeling. A full and busy agenda was arranged for us — from sight-seeing, shopping, lunches, to gala dinners and dancing away the evenings. 

I didn't see any opportunity to talk about my book other than on a one-on-one basis. Finally, I on the last day at Bagan, November 15, I spoke to Paula if there was any way I could have 5 to 10 minutes to give a book talk. She thought about it and said it was a full itinerary but had a suggestion that I give a talk on the bus that morning on the way to the lacquer factory. There were two buses, so she said give a talk on one bus on the way to the factory, and then give another talk on the second bus on the way back to the hotel. I happily accepted the offer. Both talks were well received and none of the people had heard of Chinese internment in India and were intrigued with the story. These people were attending school in Darjeeling when the 1962 border war broke out. I ended up selling 20 books and still had enough to take with me to India!

The Journey continues in Burma..

Posted on November 28, 2012 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

It's been many days since I posted anything. We're in Calcutta now but after we left Burma, we got a terrible cough which we still have. The trip in Burma was very interesting. Yangon (Rangoon) is very much like Calcutta on smaller and far less congested scale. One of the sites we visited was the famous Shwedagan Pagoda with the golden jeweled stupa. We flew there from Yangon to Bagan and practically filled the plane with our LCD/NP alumni. Bagan is the old city of three thousand pagodas. 

On the last sightseeing day, I was given time on the bus to give a talk on my book. There were two buses so I gave a talk on one bus on the way to the lacquer market, and then on the second bus on the way back to the hotel. Everyone was intrigued by my story and, as usual, had not heard about Chinese being interned in India. Even though most of the reunion attendees attended school in Darjeeling, they had not heard about this. It was good to enlighten more people.   I also learned from a couple of the boys from North Point that at the time the war broke out, the senior class at North Point was taken to a military barrack and trained to use guns, just in case the Chinese soldiers came over the border and invaded Darjeeling. After a few practice sessions, the guns jammed. This was what really happened at the front lines, when the Indian soldiers were sent to fight the Chinese in the Himalayan Mountains. They were not given adequate clothing for the climate in the high elevation and many froze to death. They were supplied inadequate ammunition and their guns jammed while they were trying to fire. Eventually, they were defeated.  

The other thing I learned was the boys  had to use their blankets to cover the windows in the dormitories during the black out. They got so cold since it was winter and there was no heat in school.