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Re: Re: prisoners of war in Shanghai

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Posted by michael cowan ( on October 04, 2006 at 07:03:46:

In Reply to: Re: prisoners of war in Shanghai posted by James Bretherton on February 25, 2006 at 05:50:27:

My father was interned in Lung Wha camp by the Japanese in (I think) 1943. He was a director of China Printing and Finishing Company, a subsidiary of The Calico Printing Association of Manchester. James Ballard (author of ĎEmpire of the Suní) was the son of a colleague of my father and a contemporary of mine. After the war my father spoke little of life in the camp but I recall mention of the Swiss Ambassador (also interned despite his countryís neutrality) who had a radio in his mattress that kept the camp in touch with outside events. He also taught me an unforgettable ditty from one of the campís musicals, making fun of their incarceration:

Goodbye goodbye Iím off across the bar,
Goodbye goodbye goodbye goodbye ta-ta,
Goodbye goodbye Iím off across the main
But Iíll be back in a half an hour to say goodbye again!

When the war ended my father was taken-in by Chinese friends (C.T.Wang and his wife Dolly Liu, during which time he became an expert in Chinese cooking thanks to Dolly who later published ĎChow!í) until he could find space in a US Airforce Dakota that brought him to Sydney, Australia, in a series of short hops. He returned to Shanghai in 1948 to run CP&FC but had to leave when the Communists took over in the following year.

I was born in Shanghai in 1936 and left with my mother and sister in September 1941 for Australia, together with many other women and children. A lot of families (like the Ballards) didnít make it and were eventually interned in one of the several camps in Shanghai. I returned to Shanghai in 1986 and found it pretty much as I remembered it as a boy. I was the first person from Unilever to restore ties with its old China Soap Company, taken over by the Communists and run by Shanghai Daily Chemical, with whom we agreed in 1986 a joint venture to produce Lux Toilet Soap. During the discussions the Chinese kindly put us up in one of the luxurious villas built by Chiang Kai-shek to entertain his political friends in the days of the KMT. The chow was excellent!

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