The Life of Jok Wing Chow

By ck765
  • The Birth of Jok Wing Chow

    The Birth of Jok Wing Chow
    Jok Wing is born in a small town in southern China called Kaiping. He is an only child.
  • Living a rural lifestyle

    Living a rural lifestyle
    Like many families at the time, Jok Wing's family were farmers who lived in a small town. They made their living by growing rice and crops.
  • Japanese Invasion of Manchuria

    Japanese Invasion of Manchuria
    In 1931, The Japanese invaded the northern Chinese province of Manchuria, annexing it as a part of the Japanese Imperial Empire. It was the start of many years of bitter conflict between China and Japan; Japan's ultimate objective was to take all of Asia under their control.
  • Rumours and stories spread about Japanese Atrocities

    Rumours and stories spread about Japanese Atrocities
    Stories about Japanese oppression in northern China spread to southern China, which had not yet been occupied by Japan. Many worry for their safety and well-being. Jok Wing recalls one such story which describes a man who hid in a tree to escape the Japanese soldiers. He was so nervous, that he wet his trousers. The soldiers, seeing the urine shot him down from the tree. There were also many stories about starvation and rape.
  • Moving to Hong Kong

    Moving to Hong Kong
    At the age of 6, Jok Wing's parents decided that it was not safe to live in China any more after hearing all the stories of death and suffering. They decide to move to Hong Kong to live with relatives in the city. They believed that it would be safer in Hong Kong, under the protection of a mighty western power, the British Empire.
  • Attends Primary School

    Attends Primary School
    Jok Wing went to primary school during the years that he stayed in Hong Kong. He learnt Chinese, basic arithemetic, history and a bit of English.
  • Japanese begin full-scale invasion of China

    Japanese begin full-scale invasion of China
    The Japanese invasion and subjugation of China began in earnest in 1937, marking the beginning the Second Sino-Japanese War. During this war, appoximately 20 million citizens perished and 95 million Chinese fled the country.
  • Period: to

    Second Sino-Japanese War

    The Second Sino-Japanese War is the name of the decade of Japanese Occupation of China and many other Asian countries, where local citizens were oppressed and exploited in the name of the preservation of the Japanese Empire.
  • Japan Occupies Hong Kong

    Japan Occupies Hong Kong
    Hong Kong fell to Japan after weeks of battle. During the occupation, Japan forced Hong Kong citizens into poverty by banning the Hong Kong Dollar and forcing them to buy Japanese Military Yen at an unfavourable exchange rate. There was inadequate food, poor rationing standards and heavy unemployment. Many days, they would go to bed only having had one bowl of rice for an entire day.
  • The Empire of Japan reaches its peak

    The Empire of Japan reaches its peak
    By 1942, the Japanese Empire had reached the height of its power; it ruled from Korea all the way south to Indonesia. Japan exploited its colonies of great wealth and natural resources.
  • Temporary Stay in Nicaragua

    Temporary Stay in Nicaragua
    With the poor living conditions under Japanese rule, Jok Wing's family decides to move yet again, to somewhere safe, out of the continent. They used their emergency savings to purchase boat tickets. The only place they could get a boat to is Nicaragua, a small country in Central America.
  • Japanese Surrender

    Japanese Surrender
    By the end of 1945, after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese, heavily demoralised, surrender WWII. Soon after, all the Japanese troops in China surrender to General Chiang Kai-Shek, ending the age of Japanese imperialism.
  • Opening a General Store

    Opening a General Store
    Soon after settling in Nicaragua, Jok Wing's parents opened a general store. It was successful, and allowed themselves to earn a living and live in the country for a few years longer than they had planned to. Jok Wing helped around the shop stocking shelves and doing cashier work with his parents.
  • Attending a Nicaraguan University

    Attending a Nicaraguan University
    Even with a limited command of the Spanish language, Jok Wing attends Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, a university in Nicaragua, to get an tertiary education. He enrols in courses that are taught in English, where he refined his English that he had started learning in primary school.
  • Chinese Civil War ends

    Chinese Civil War ends
    While Jok Wing and his family were in Nicaragua, China had been in the middle of a bitter civil war between the commuists led by Mao Zedong, and the Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kai-shek. Since Jok Wing's family was out of the country, they did not suffer as much as most Chinese did.
  • Return to Hong Kong

    Return to Hong Kong
    By the 1950s, the Chinese Civil War had ended and Hong Kong had been returned to British rule. Deciding it is safe to return back to Asia, Jok Wing takes an aeroplane back to Hong Kong.
  • Settles in Wan Chai

    Settles in Wan Chai
    After a month in the city, Jok Wing finally chooses to settle down in a neighbourhood called Wan Chai. He is old enough that he does not live with his parents any more; his parents remained in Nicaragua to take care of the shop for a few more years. While in his new neighbourhood, he meets his neighbour, Ah Gim, who he would marry just two and a half years later.
  • Marriage

    Marriage
    Jok Wing marries to Ah Gim Fong
  • Opens Restaurant

    Opens Restaurant
    After a few years of saving, Jok Wing opens up his own restaurant, which specialises in seafood. After struggling for a few months, it slowly gains patronage, becoming a profitable business. It required working 12 hour days and being a manager, cook and cleaner to maintain the restaurant.
  • Birth of first son

    Birth of first son
    Jok Wing and his wife have a son named Sau Yan.
  • Birth of Second Son

    Birth of Second Son
    Jok Wing has a son named Chiu Yi, or Michael as an English name. Chiu Yi's son is named Christian.
  • Jok Wing's father sells his store

    Jok Wing's father sells his store
    Jok Wing's father was attacked by robbers while working in his Nicaraguan store. He received serious injuries and needed to stay in a hospital for a few days. After that experience, he sold his store and moved back to Hong Kong with his wife to live with his son's family.
  • Jok Wing's parents pass away

    Jok Wing's parents pass away
    Jok Wing's father, who had taken care of him through the years of the Japanese Occupation passed away in February of 1986. His mother passed away a few months later
  • Retirement

    Retirement
    Jok Wing retired in 1995 after many sucessful decades in the restaurant business.
  • Visiting his home town

    Visiting his home town
    For his 80th birthday (a very auspicious day in Chinese culture), Jok Wing and his wife visit the village where he grew up, Kaiping. It has changed in eighty years, but he remembers the places of his childhood. He also met a few people that lived in Kaiping during the war, too.
  • Cruise Ship Holiday

    Cruise Ship Holiday
    Every few years, Jok Wing and his wife go on a cruise, usually around Europe, Asia, and Australia. This year, however, they visit Japan. There is still some animosity between Jok Wing and the Japanese for what happened in the past, but he overall has forgiven them, and does not blame current generations for what happened. Rather, he wants the Japanese to learn about what happened so it will not reoccur in the future.
  • The Present Day

    The Present Day
    Both Jok Wing and his wife continue to live in Hong Kong to this day.