WW2 HK - The chinese civilian experience
I've received the following email asking about this:
i stumbled onto your site doing research about hong kong's history. i am particularly interested in the daily life of ordinary people during the war. there's been a few memoirs in english but most are from soldiers, canadian and one hong kong police officer (prisoner of the turnip heads)
i'm in toronto, canada and although there is a large chinese community here, it's not easy finding elderly people in their 80's who are lucid, english-speaking (my chinese isn't great) and want to be interviewed about the war years.
do you have any suggestions?
i'd like to know basic things like:
- were there still street pedlars during the day since there was not much to sell?
- what time the curfew was in place? were the streets deserted after?
- were there homeless on the streets at that time or did the japanese clear the streets?
- was there running water in the poorer areas?
- how long lineups were for the rice rations? where the depots were?
i have many more questions like these so i'm hoping you can point me in the right direction.
if you could think of any books or memoirs, that'd be great. i've read the piano teacher and enjoyed it, but i'm more interested in the lives of those less privileged.
I'm reading Philip Snow's 'The fall of Hong Kong'. That's definitely relevant. It makes it clear that people's experiences during the 3 years 8 months changed according to who was in charge, and Japan's fortunes in the war. Another book worth a read would be 'King Hui', giving a very different view of life during the occupation.
What other sources can you recommend?