mr chans son didi in garden by banana tree ping shan 1955

Mon, 02/19/2024 - 06:53
Date picture taken


Looking at your photos you had a good relationship with the local villagers. Was that true of RAF Ping Shan in general, or was it something specific to you?

'Didi' would be in his seventies now - it'll be great if he gets to see this photo.

No, I think that it was just me mixing like this.   Didi and a couple of other youngsters lived in shacks within metres of the Guardroom.   They would come round to the guardroom when I was on duty and say 'Bay nhoh mim bau, um goy neh'' (I don't know if that is how to translate their rerequest for bread!).  I started out just giving them sliced bread which they wold run off with to their homes, later it became butter and Jam and sometimes tinned food..  I wanted to learn chinese and the young children's speach was an easyish way to do this.   Mr chan asked me in a few times to share a family meal, as a thank you I suppose.   He had been a teacher, somewhere in China, and spoke quite passable english.  As far as my relationship with the villagers was concerned, this was because a young lass, of about 16, wanted english conversation practice.     My invitation to visit included the time of the funeral of Mr Tang (I diddn't realise the standing of the family at that time).   I asked permission to take photographs of that occasion and this was granted, much to my suprise.

Your Cantonese lessons certainly paid off, as your photos give a much closer view of village life than most. I agree that children's Cantonese is the easiest to understand - nice and slow, with simple vocabulary!

I wonder if this was the boy's real name or if it was just the common Cantonese 弟弟 meaning younger brother?