The British Empire Library

The Evergreen Tea House: A Hong Kong Novel

by David T K Wong

Courtesy of OSPA

Review by Trevor Clark (Nigeria 1949-59, Hong Kong 1960-77 (seconded WPHC 1972-77))
David Wong's fiction is founded in deep research. The Evergreen Teahouse takes us from the Korean War to the Joint Declaration, following the fortunes from boyhood of two sons: one of a businessman who tried to be a good Confucian - deracinated by America, this one becomes an establishment pillar, whose less public life brings a sticky end; the other of a disabled veteran of the Long March who tried to be a good Party Secretary - that one plays a backroom part in China's outpost in Hong Kong, and ends, unsullied, in diplomatic banishment as Party Secretary in his remote hometown. The British characters are a national serviceman turned journalist, a lawyer who shakes the pagoda tree, and a self-indulgent government PRO. These gwailos make friendship with a senior Chinese cadet who, accepting The Queen's shilling, promotes British policy wherever it places ordinary inhabitants' welfare first. UK diplomats and senior HK administrators are shadows - denigration of their ways is voiced by Britons. Assumptions of naive students, torn between loyalty to "China" as a concept and "Western" innovation, are poignant. This portrayal of human relationships should encourage reading of the surrounding history.
British Empire Book
David T K Wong
Muse Publishing Ltd
0 9546102 0 2


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