4. My Birth Place Maba, South of Shaoguan 馬壩 / 马坝 – 韶關 / 韶关

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Submitted by OldTimer on Sat, 08/08/2020 - 14:38

We learn from our parents at some point in time when and where we were born.  In my case, I learned about it in 1950, one year after our family moved from Guangzhou to Hong Kong.  There wasn’t much space for this active five-year old boy to play in grandparents flat.  But I made the most of it.  When father heard me playing, he would say “你 個 馬 壩 仔! (You Maba baby!)”  I could see his smiling face and sense of relief.  Mom didn’t say anything, perhaps father’s words had already covered it, not until many years later.  

I had no idea where Maba was.  We children were not encouraged to be inquisitive.  One thing is certain – they never told us children about WWII and the subsequent civil war.  It was their decision, I believe, to not burden us children with the memories of those horrible years.

From over-hearing their conversations with relatives, I learned about their wartime evacuation.  One day,  my uncle (to be precise, my grandpa Yee's younger brother’s son*) and mother were talking about them running from advancing Japanese soldiers.  Mom said she was lucky and thankful of his loud warning “Auntie, duck down quick!”, for bullets from the invaders were flying just above them.  Some relatives reached Shaoguan / 韶關, which was made temporary provincial capital during the war.  Mother, carrying me at the time, travelled not as fast or as far.   It was in a refugee camp in Maba where I was born, on November 9, 1944.   Maba is located, in flying distance, about 270 kilometres north of Hong Kong.  It must have been a very long and difficult journey using primitive roads and trails in those days.

*Uncle Joe Yee, first on right of photo.  Mother third from right.

Relatives in Kamsack, SK (1968)
Relatives in Kamsack, SK (1968), by OldTimer
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