Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ABC Wed Letter P for Private

a Private is the lowest rank in the military. These solders are probably privates in the Canadian Army.

My grand dad was a private citizen in Sarawak Borneo.

Yet, their lives were connected. Grand dad had a Hero who was the Captain of the Canadian Army.

Hi Larry,

Thanks for confirming that our Ah Kung's hero isn't a figment of his imagination.

Before these Canadian Chinese soldiers, the Chinese in Sarawak/Borneo were looked down and regarded as country bumpkins. The Ibans aka dayaks were head hunters, and to have the Captain as the boss of even the white soldiers was hard to imagine. This subsequently made the Ibans respect the Chinese.

My brothers remember from Ah Kung this "Big and Tall" Chinese whom they address as Captain Fong. We don't know how that Captain Fong, but it certainly took place, The word, "DAPAK" a local term for salute, was used when the white soldiers even "DAPAK"ed this Captain Fong was something incredible for a white man to do to a Chinese man. This elevated the Chinese position.

Another thing why my Ah Kung was so proud was the Canadians were Cantonese. We the Cantonese was a minority immigrant group who came to Sarawak/Borneo later and were country bumpkins to the early group, the Foochows. By having the Canadian Chinese speak Cantonese, the same language, as us, was something that made Ah Kung so very proud.

Where that court was held at Lanang Road, was only a few minutes from our house was a great significant thing. I can imagine my Ah Kung and our relatives would have gone up to their Captain China and make themselves to be known. ( My Ah Kung was the elder of the village.)

That is very interesting that the Capt. Roger Cheng was considered as a superior over the Whites.  Mind you, Roger had an engineering degree and when he joined the Army, he automatically became an Officer.  And he was a big man.
Larry Wong from Vancouver, Canada.  I am the curator of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum

abc15 (1)


  1. Interesting piece of history. My father worked with a partly Chinese crew, some of them became his friends until he died.
    Wil, ABCW Team

  2. Good to know about this.
    Happy ABCW!

  3. My dad was a PFC, though briefly a corporal.