Chapter

Baptism by Fire

Stanley S.K. Kwan and Nicole Kwan

in The Dragon and the Crown

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9789622099555
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207530 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5790/hongkong/9789622099555.003.0002
Baptism by Fire

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This chapter discusses Hong Kong during the Japanese siege. During the early stages of the Anti-Japanese War, Britain believed that Hong Kong like Singapore was an “impregnable fortress” so long as Britain remained neutral—a position that would not prompt Japan to invade Hong Kong. But with the impending doom and threat brought about by the alliance of Germany, Italy, and Japan, Hong Kong under British rule took precautionary measures and employed all subjects of the British government to join various auxiliary groups of the military. Stanley Kwan was enlisted as a warden of the Air Raid Precaution Service (ARP). What was once considered a war game for many Hongkongers became a real war when on December 8, 1941, Japan waged war against Hong Kong. With Japanese forces ruling the now besieged Hong Kong, the once proliferating British colony was subjected to a period of financial and economical downfall. Under Japanese rule, the Kwans were forced to disperse due to the flailing economic and life conditions in Hong Kong. Stanley Kwan was shipped to Guangzhouwan, the southern most part of China and the last free border of China. The once admired Free China, one of the four world powers, was a crumbling country under Japanese rule and the rampant corruption and hoarding of the Chinese rich people and officials. Living in the last free frontier of China and with the United States intervening into China's war against Japan, Stanley Kwan served as an interpreter for the army under the Foreign Affairs Bureau. In August 1945, Japan surrendered—an event marking the victory of China however, a freedom cut short by the arising conflict of the Nationalist and Communist parties of China.

Keywords: Hong Kong; Japanese siege; Britain; Japan; British colony; ARP; economical downfall; China; Free China

Chapter.  17074 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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