Gwok Choy: A Family Memoir from the Sino-Japanese War

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9781452881867: Gwok Choy: A Family Memoir from the Sino-Japanese War
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Among western writings and historical accounts of World War II, very few recount first-hand experiences from the perspective of civilian refugees at the Pacific front. Gwok Choy: A Family Memoir is a rare exception in that it is an autobiography of an American-Chinese boy growing up in China, repatriated as a teenager in the United States, then serving as an enlisted man during the Korean War.
        Told using blended first-person and third-person narratives, this eye-opening biography is a life lived in two worlds; at its heart is an unforgettable journey--literally a trek--through several provinces in China, parts of California, and a detour in Korea.
        In Chapter One, the genealogy of the family is traced back hundreds of years to its location in a village in Canton. Wing Fay, whose name translates to "Eternal Sunshine," is the pioneering hero of the saga. He is the first to emigrate to America, a lengthy costly ocean journey in the late nineteen tens. After a decade of hard work and uncommon success, he returns to China, coming back to America with his second wife. Although Lucille (Mei Jun) and Walter (Gwok Choy) are born in Monterey, the desire to reunite the family and settle in China leads Wing Fay to sell off all his assets.
        Chapter 3 narrates the early part of Gwok Choy's childhood in Gum-Gok-Huan. As he recollects, except for the death of his mother, this was a period of relative tranquility and happiness. This idyllic lifestyle ends as Japanese encroach from many directions. Their lives are disrupted permanently when Gwok Choy is kidnapped. Wing Fay is forced to return to the United States for another extended period of labor. Over a span of seven years, Gwok Choy grows up--essentially without a father. When second-cousin Elaine and her husband decide to travel to unoccupied territories inland, the eleven year old decides to travel with them.
        Chapters 6 and 7 describe the journey inland. Told first-hand, it is fraught with details of the treacherous conditions because in actuality during the early 1940s these provinces were partitioned into sectarian zones. The challenges of Dzo-Nan are a recurring theme in these chapters, whether it is crossing the Xi River or fleeing on foot from Liuzhou. Coinciding with thousands of other civilian refugees, Elaine and her family flee to safety in Gwei-Yang. In just two years, the war has depleted their resources. In the mistaken notion of becoming self-supporting, Gwok-Choy and his younger cousin join a cadets training program--ultimately bound for Burma. 
         The end of the war several years later brings with it the "winds of change"; Gwok Choy decides to apply for immigration. Although Gwok Choy is repatriated back into the United States without suffering from long, doubtful delays, he understands very little English. Chapter 8 & 9 recount some amusing vignettes, while Wing Fay expends his savings to purchase a small grocery store in Fresno. Dire circumstances also force much of the family to flee Red China. 
         Further trials occur after Walter (Gwok Choy) is drafted to serve in the Korean War, as detailed in Chapter 11. Following Walter (Gwok Choy)'s honorable discharge from the Army after serving two years, the family appears to be on the road towards assimilation, however, this does not come without sacrifice. Wing Fay, the early hero of this saga, has become afflicted with diabetes and suffers a gradual demise.
        The Epilogue commemorates Wing Fay as the man who bought freedom for his family by sacrificing his own life dreams.     
---Prepared by Columbia Press

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For many years I felt a sense of dislocation within the family, as if our lives were not contiguous whether in time, space, or even blood relations...We had never been allowed to openly reflect upon our roots, how we came to be in the United States. My grandfather died an unhappy and unfulfilled man, a merchant and laborer displaced by wars and afflicted by disease. His greatest accomplishment was his courage and determination in unifying and charting a path for his family here in the United States, despite the Chinese Exclusion Act, and ongoing Revolution in China. This book traces years of toil and effort, and the personal costs behind the founding of a Chinese-American family. It includes my father's own rites of passage serving in the Sino-Japanese, then Korean wars. --- quote by CHW, Author

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Book Description CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Paperback. Condition: New. This item is printed on demand. 192 pages. Dimensions: 8.5in. x 5.5in. x 0.5in.Among western writings and historical accounts of World War II, very few recount first-hand experiences from the perspective of civilian refugees at the Pacific front. Gwok Choy: A Family Memoir is a rare exception in that it is an autobiography of an American-Chinese boy growing up in China, repatriated as a teenager in the United States, then serving as an enlisted man during the Korean War. Told using blended first-person and third-person narratives, this eye-opening biography is a life lived in two worlds; at its heart is an unforgettable journey--literally a trek--through several provinces in China, parts of California, and a detour in Korea. In Chapter One, the genealogy of the family is traced back hundreds of years to its location in a village in Canton. Wing Fay, whose name translates to Eternal Sunshine, is the pioneering hero of the saga. He is the first to emigrate to America, a lengthy costly ocean journey in thelate nineteen tens. After a decade of hard work and uncommon success, he returns to China, coming back to America with his second wife. Although Lucille (Mei Jun) and Walter (Gwok Choy) are born in Monterey, the desire to reunite the family and settle in China leads Wing Fay to sell off all his assets. Chapter 3 narrates the early part of Gwok Choys childhood in Gum-Gok-Huan. As he recollects, except for the death of his mother, this was a period of relative tranquility and happiness. This idyllic lifestyle ends as Japanese encroach from many directions. Their lives are disrupted permanently when Gwok Choy is kidnapped. Wing Fay is forced to return to the United States for another extended period of labor. Overa span of seven years, Gwok Choy grows up--essentially without a father. When second-cousin Elaine and her husband decide to travel to unoccupied territories inland, the eleven year old decides to travel with them. Chapters 6 and 7 describe the journey inland. Told first-hand, it is fraught with details of the treacherous conditions because in actuality during the early 1940s these provinces were partitioned into sectarian zones. The challenges of Dzo-Nanare a recurring theme in these chapters, whether it is crossing the Xi River or fleeing on foot from Liuzhou. Coinciding with thousands of other civilian refugees, Elaine and her family flee to safety in Gwei-Yang. In just two years, the war has depleted their resources. In the mistaken notion of becoming self-supporting, Gwok-Choy and his younger cousin join a cadets training program--ultimately bound for Burma. The end of the war several years later brings with it the winds of change; Gwok Choy decides to apply for immigration. Although Gwok Choy is repatriated back into the United States without suffering from long, doubtful delays, he understands very little English. Chapter 8 and 9 recount some amusing vignettes, whileWing Fay expends his savings to purchase a small grocery store in Fresno. Dire circumstances also force much of the family toflee Red China. Further trials occurafter Walter (Gwok Choy)is drafted to serve in the Korean War, as detailed in Chapter 11. Following Walter (Gwok Choy)s honorable discharge from the Army after serving two years, the family appears to be on the road towards assimilation, however, this does not come without sacrifice. Wing Fay, the early hero of this saga, has become afflicted with diabetes and suffers a gradual demise. The Epilogue commemorates Wing Fay as the man who bought freedom for his family by sacrificing his own life dreams. ---Prepared by Columbia Press This item ships from La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9781452881867

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