- Paperback: 122 pages
- Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc. (January 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805977325
- ISBN-13: 978-0805977325
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,237,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Escape from Heng Yang: The Memoir of a Six-Year-Old Refugee Girl Paperback – January 1, 2008
About the Author
Eugene Lo Wei was born in LeShan, China, during the war against Japanese invasion. His parents had to escape from Nanjing just prior to the Rape of Nanjing holocaust in 1937, three years before Eugene was born. Eugene came to Chicago, Illinois, with his parents when he was eighteen, freshly graduated from high school.
He later graduated from the University of Illinois with honors in chemistry and again from MIT with a master's degree. After four more years at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Eugene taught college chemistry for six years before working in the water treatment industry. He joined the Alliance for Preserving the Truth of Sino-Japanese War (APTSJW) in 1993.
In 2002 he founded the American Museum of Asian Holocaust WWII in Falls Creek, Pennsylvania. He is currently married to Amy Dongmei Hu from China.
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They left their beloved hometown and encountered a lustful Japanese soldier hungry for woman. The kids screamed and cried to stop the draft. I closed my eyes in tears with the horror of the Rape of Nanking 1937 in mind. The round-spectacled Japanese officer intervened out of the image of his own family and his boy at home. Obviously, Confucius's golden rule "do not do onto others what you do not want others do on to you" superimposed Bushido.
Further down the journey, they hid in the hen house with her uncle family and baby cousin to avoid Japanese troops. The uncle tried to stop the crying by strangling the baby to the shock and horror of the little girl. It was heart wrenching in this family tragedy. It is a crime against humanity for Japanese to wage aggressive war against her neighbors.
In dodging Japanese bombs, the family chanced Chinese retreating army and Captain Tsang on a huge brown horse by a dirt road. Captain Tsang recognized the fleeing parents were not farmers but intellectuals. Somehow, the porters and the two boys were lost. The anxiety and stress filled the next two chapters.
With the troops left, they found themselves in an abandoned city in despair. The parents tried to end their lives by jumping into the river. It was the girl's cry for life called up parents' will and hope to come back even stronger as a family. My tears and admiration go with their faith and courage.
The Chinese greater family of fraternity warmed the heart from an old magistrate to offer the family support and father as a private tutor. As Japanese troops were pressing in, they decided to go on their journey after three days. The train ride miraculously met a searching soldier with message of the boys in Captain Tsang's custody. It was exciting to see the dramatic family re-union.
However, subsequently, her mother was hit by malaria in a strange town. It was fortunate for her father to meet his former favorite student, a local faculty capable to help. Soon, all had to head upstream by sampan. Settled in a small town, the father had to settle by selling yams. Moving on, they met Uncle Zhai and headed west. Creatively, they did stage plays with their yam selling experience. "It was a tiny story distilled out of the sentiment from peoples forced to leave their home after witnessing atrocity after atrocity that was systematically displayed by the invading (Japanese) forces" (P.100)
As they made their final distance by mule carts and donkey to Chong Qing (Chung King), people were running and shouting, "Japanese Emperor has surrendered! We Win! We Win!
This personal story shared the readers the horror and courage in the Japanese invasion and occupation. Originally written in Chinese, it was translated by Eugene Lo Wei in making it available as the Chinese counterpart "The Diary of Ann Frank". The family escaped from Heng Yang in a long, dangerous journey to freedom. The kids walked, rode in baskets, on horse back, on jam packed trains, on sampans and on mule carts. Between fortunes and misfortunes, there always was a guarding angel. It was their courage, endurance and survival to witness the final day of victory and peace.
This book is a good high school reading material. The masterpiece drawings by artist Ling Shan make the story alive and impressive. It would be helpful if Eugene explained more in some of the italic Chinese for English readers. A book list will help readers to the subjects such as Flying Tigers, Rape of Nanking, Germ Warfare, Unit 731 and Comfort Women
As Japanese government still whitewash, distort and flatly deny their history of aggression, peace loving citizens have to work together so as to prevent Japanese crime against humanity from happening again.
The war ended in 1945 with the Japanese surrender. Yao's diary covers this one year of the war, from the viewpoint of a young girl who has only a glimmer of understanding of the complete tragedy boiling around her. Her parents do their best to protect the family.
Understanding the invasion through the eyes and ears of a six-year-old asks that we lay aside our own concepts and vision of these events, and imagine instead this history a child might see. In original Chinese, Yao records scenes that we know to be horrific. But Yao describes them with compelling innocence and a matter-of-fact tone. Wei's translation seals in the story of courage and determination to escape to the relative safety of Chongqing for US readers.
The final chapter is the news of the Japanese surrender in 1945, and the peace this brings. But can the family return to the innocent carefree prewar days? Can one ever forgive and forget the unimaginable suffering of being driven from home and cast on an uncertain journey without a future?
The author compares this work to another child's diary of WW II. While Anne Frank is known throughout the world, little is recorded of the numberless families, such as the Yao's, who bore the brunt of the Japanese Imperial Army savagery. Wei's translation offers a chance to make these stories personal. It will appeal to younger readers who can more readily interpret a child's view of these events.