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They came through : stories of Chinese Canadians The United Church of Canada 1939

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Chinese Canadians
ha»i s
Stories of Chinese Canadians
Published hy
Literature Department,  Woman's Missionary Society-
Helen  G.  Day,   Secretary
Committee on Missionary Education
Kenneth  J. Beaton,   Secretary
Wesley Buildings.  Toronto PRELUDE
WE ARE youth without a country. Our parents were
peasants. They came to this country to make money.
Most of them have done well. They have invested to the point
of sacrifice in our education. Now that we're educated they
don't understand us. Their roots are still in China. We
are Canadian. In thoughts, ideals, feelings, attitudes, we are
a part of this country."
The speaker was one of a group of educated Chinese
young people in Vancouver, holding a conference with a Secretary of the Board of Home Missions in the home of two of
their number, recently married.
"But we're not quite Canadians," broke in one of the other
boys. "No matter how well educated, how cultured, how
Christian (a little tinge of bitterness here) we are, we can't
vote. We can own property and pay taxes, but we can't exercise the full rights of citizenship. Europeans come here and
in a brief space of time qualify for citizenship."
"Yes," said a third student. "We can own property if we
can get a job. Even the professions are closed. Doctors and
dentists can practise in some provinces, but lawyers, pharmacists, teachers and others are barred, just because their parents
were Chinese. There are University graduates working 'in
restaurants and clerking in Chinese fruit and vegetable shops."
"It's worse for the girls," remarked one of them. "A girl
can get a job if she is willing to dress up in Chinese clothes
and sell candy at a theatre or Chinese goods at a special
counter in one of the big stores, but she is not wanted anywhere else."
"And when it comes to a question of marriage," said the
friend sitting beside her, "a Canadian Chinese girl's difficulties are insurmountable. Her parents have all the old-
fashioned ideas about boy and girl relationships, home and
"You should talk," replied one of the older boys. "There
are twice as many boys as girls in the 15 to 25 year age group
in Canada.    Even if you overcome your parents' prejudices and are free to marry the girl of your choice, what chance
have you got of finding her?"
"I can convince my family," said a quiet lad in one corner
of the room, "but I can't overcome the influence of the community. It's wrong to have our people herded together in
Chinatown, where tradition dictates actions—tradition which
belongs to the South China peasant village from which my
grandfather came."
"Most of my problems arise through money," said the
youth who was presiding. "My parents expect me, with my
Canadian education and training, to make money faster tjian
they  have   done.    They  feel   that  I   am  not   delivering  the
There were many other things said that night, concerning
the Chinese Exclusion Bill, the difficulty of finding one-family
homes in decent neighborhoods because of community objections, the problem of making lasting friendships with other
young Canadians.
That was ten years ago. Not much change has taken place
since, except that the number of such Chinese Canadians has
increased. In spite of all these barriers and inhibitions, a
few break through. The three whose stories are related here
went to serve in China. There is a general feeling among
Canadian-born Chinese that they go back to China even
though they have never been there. No doubt they would
feel differently if they were really accepted by all citizens of
this country, for what they are and wish only to be—Canadians, i
And surely Canada needs such gifts and graces as these
young people have to contribute. MISS VICTORIA CHEUNG, M.D.
4 She Has Something Different
The street lights of Victoria blinked mildly into the gathering dusk. On one corner of -a main street stood an unpretentious frame building. As this story begins a group of
Chinese working-men are converging on it, their tread as
silent as their countenances were inscrutable. Up a long
flight of creaking, rickety stairs they pattered softly as if
afraid to disturb the creeping shadows that lingered in the
hallway. They entered a large room on the top floor. It
was a barren, cheerless sort of place, a bit dingy and dirty
from over-use. sombre and cold in its meagre appointments.
But on this particular evening in 1885 an air of joy almost
amounting to festivity pervaded the place. The General Secretary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Church was
being welcomed and invited to baptize the first class of Chinese
to be received into the fellowship of the Christian Church
on our Pacific Coast. There were eleven of them, first fruits
of a long period of service, sacrifice, teaching, preaching,
fellowship and faith. In quiet, steady, undertones they answered the questions and were received as members of the
Universal Church. It was a tremendous step for them to take
—eleven disciples among thousands of their countrymen in
Canada. But the preacher reminded them that Jesus had only
eleven and they had started a movement which made Him
known throughout the world of their day, in a very short time.
Among this class of eleven new Christians we are particularly interested in Mr. S. N. Cheung. Along with thousands
of other Chinese, he had been lured from his village home in
South China by representatives of the contractor who was
building our first transcontinental railway. The story told
and re-told to the villagers was that there was wealth for all in
Canada and the opening of the railway would inaugurate a
new era of prosperity in British Columbia. He was one of
the fortunate group who survived the intolerable crowding
of the voyage, the outbreak of scurvy and other diseases in
the camps, and the enervating toil of railway construction.
When the last spike had been driven, he returned to Victoria
with his little hoard of savings and started a small business. One reason he had been willing to leave the tablets of
his ancestors in the village of his fathers was that his wife's
mother had listened to the preaching of one of these "foreign
devils" and come to believe in their strange doctrine. Not
only that but his wife had been a student in the True Light
School for Girls in Canton and become an earnest Christian.
As for him the faith of the clan was good enough. He would
have no new fangled religion in his house no matter what
"the one inside", (his wife) thought about the matter. While
he was in the crowded road-building camps he saw little
occasion to change this attitude of hostility. When he became part of the Chinese community in Victoria, he began
to get his eyes opened. He soon discovered that the only
real friend that the Chinese had was Rev. John E. Gardiner.
Whatever they thought of Canadians in general, the Chinese
were agreed that Gardiner was a "good" man. Mr. Cheung
began to investigate on his own behalf. Acquaintance ripened
into friendship, not only for the missionary but for his Christ
and in due course he was able to write a letter to his wife
stating that he had become a Christian and would soon send
her money to join him in Canada.
When Mrs. Cheung arrived, the Chinese Church in Victoria
was soon aware of her buoyant Christian faith and innate
strength of personality. Two children came to enliven the
humble home, a girl Victoria (named after the great Queen)
and a younger brother who was always delicate. Times were
hard for the Chinese and the little business was not too prosperous. Mrs. Cheung had practised as a midwife in China
and she began to follow her profession now, in order to augment the family income. When Victoria was five or six
years of age the mother placed her in the Oriental Home of
the Woman's Missionary Society. In her Chinese way she said
that she could then "lay down her heart" about the little one's
safety when she was on duty in other Chinese homes.
She Gets an Education
In the kindergarten Victoria was an immediate favorite.
She was strong, witty, intelligent, responsive. What more
could the missionaries ask? When she graduated, it was only
necessary to transfer to the public school classes in the same building. Here her record was consistently good, if not brilliant, and she was a favorite with pupils and teachers alike.
Meantime the Chinese Church to which her father and mother
were so devoted provided her with Christian fellowship, an
opportunity to teach in Sunday School and share in Girls'
groups through the week. Gradually, as her Christian experience deepened and widened, she resolved to prepare for
missionary work in China.
Her classmates laughed at the idea. It was preposterous
to think that a Chinese girl, without money could ever get a
University education. But they reckoned without the
Christian Church. The President of the Presbyterian Woman's
Missionary Society was visiting in British Columbia, met Victoria, heard her story and offered her a scholarship. Her
years of study at University of Toronto Medical College were
uneventful except for her high standing in the annual examinations. On the day that her class graduated in Medicine,
Convocation Hall was crowded as usual. There was the
normal atmosphere of congratulation and each student on approaching the Chancellor's dais was greeted with loud applause. When Victoria's name was called, she walked the
length of the hall without applause—then suddenly the whole
audience rose. That shows what her fellow-students thought.
When she graduated she was accepted as the first woman interne in the Toronto General Hospital, a gracious, professional
tribute to her poise and maturity of character and her technical efficiency. That shows what the staff of the Medical
College thought.
She Arrives in China
In 1923, she achieved her heart's desire and arrived in
Kongmoon as a full-fledged medical missionary. As she already had the Cantonese dialect she was able to begin work
immediately. One of her most ardent desires was to build
a house for her parents so that they could join* her in their
native land. The relationship between Victoria and her
mother has always been one of absolute confidence and supreme devotion. Once while she was a medical student Dr.
W. D. Noyes called on her mother in Victoria. In conversation she said, "Dr. Noyes, who am I, that God should have blessed me with such a wonderful daughter?" When Dr.
Cheung was on her first furlough he repeated this conversation and her come-back was, "Not many girls have such a
marvelous  mother."
The Marion Barclay Hospital for women and children in
Kongmoon soon responded to the stimulus of her presence.
Internes, nurses, students, servants, patients—all were aware
that a new and vital personality, a skilful surgeon, a contagious Christian, had taken charge of the hospital. The time
could not have been more unfortunate. Nationalist feeling was
running high. Communist advisers and instructors were
everywhere. The Schools were hot-beds of anti-foreign, anti-
Christian agitation; strikes occurred in schools, factories—all
kinds of places. Any institution with foreign connections
was fair game for the trouble-makers. Yet in five years, this
quiet, self-controlled, efficient, Canadian-born woman broke
all records for out-patients, in-patients, operations, confinement cases and raised the hospital to an all-time high in the
estimation of the Chinese people. So popular did her maternity work become that she had to ration her time lest it
absorb all her energies and when she came back on furlough
she often described herself in her witty way "as a Canadian-
trained Chinese  midwife".
She Refunds the Scholarship Money
During that first furlough, her time was spent mainly in
post-graduate study. One dramatic incident occurred at the
Union Station, Toronto just as she was boarding the train
to return to China. She handed the representative of the
Woman's Missionary Society a sealed envelope. In it was a
check for seventeen hundred dollars, a refund of the total
amount that had been spent on her education. How she ever
managed to save such a sum in five years, out of her missionary salary is a mystery that not even a Chinese astrologer
could unravel. The accompanying letter asked that it be set
aside as a scholarship fund to educate other Chinese Canadians for Christian service.    This was promptly done.
She Meets the Invader
Dr. Cheung with characteristic courage stood up to the full impact of the Japanese invasion. When the other Canadian
doctors were ordered home, she added the men's hospital to
her responsibilities and carried on. When the first bombings
of Kongmoon took place, the hospitals were filled with
wounded and the Mission property was crowded with refugees. The people of Kongmoon firmly believed in their superstition, that their city would not be bombed. They said Kongmoon was protected by a special spirit. But when "the silver
birds began dropping their eggs of death" they rushed in
mad confusion to the Mission compounds for safety.
Kongmoon fell the end of March 1939 but there was no
serious interference with the hospital bv the Japanese during
the balance of that year. They probably did not know that
Dr. Cheung was a Canadian. And what a work she did.
Every plot of ground was dug up and sown in vegetables to
keep up the food supply of the hospital and the refugees.
Classes on all kinds of things were started. These were reserved for the evenings, for the group not only grew their
own vegetables; they raised their own pigs for meat, made
their own bacon and sausages, husked their own corn, preserved all manner of food-stuffs. And the whole routine of
the hospital went on, though only Dr. Cheung and two graduate nurses were left.
Not only that, but.three .or four other refugee camps under Christian auspices depended on this one lonely doctor for
medical advice, vaccination against smallpox, inoculation
against typhus and cholera, treatments for malaria, dysentery
and a host of other ailments. No serious epidemics occurred.
It Is one of the epics of the Japanese invasion. But the
nerve strain was terrific.
j One day a middle-aged woman with a bad carbuncle on
herback came to the hospital and wanted to sell the Doctor
her two daughters because times were so hard. The trio certainly looked "all in". "How have you managed all these
months?" The woman replied, "I washed for the "New
Settlers" (one name for the Japanese; another is graven
images) and they gave me leavings from their table for myself and my six children. My husband helped some by selling grass for fuel, but my back has been so painful the last
ten days that I couldn't do much, so we have eaten only when people have taken pity on us". "But7' persisted Dr. Cheung,
"there is a soup kitchen run by business men in the city is
there not?" "Yes, there is, but much trouble and many
barriers exist between the place of storage and our bowls so
that many have to starve.'W
That's a tabloid description of thousands of families,
caught in the maelstrom of war's devastating currents, finding
in the kindly Doctor and her hospital a place of help and
healing. It takes faith and grace to gather your suffering
household around you and pray as she often did at eventide.
"May we be ministers of Thy mercy, messengers of Thy
helpful pity to all who need Thee. Hasten the time when all
men shall love Thee, and one another in Thee, when all barriers that divide us shall be broken down and every heart
shall be filled with joy and every tongue with melody."
She Has Something Different
I will try to compress the secret of this singularly useful
and fruitful life into a single story.|f_ Among her most intimate
friends were a young man and his wife from California. Both
were American-born Chinese. Both were graduates of Leland
Stanford University. Both represented families who had made
money in the United States: Both were believers in morals
and ethics but not in religion, certainly not in Christianity.
Both were seized with a desire to give their lives to the rebuilding of China. They travelled on this continent and raised
very large sums of money, in both United States and Canada.
They returned to his family's ancestral district near Kongmoon. They bought a large tract of land for agricultural
experiments and teaching purposes. They erected a complete
system of schools including a High School. They built,
equipped, and staffed a modern hospital, complete with power
plant, waterworks system, laboratories and operating suites
which were the last word in technical efficiency. They often
argued with Dr. Cheung, expounding their belief that "science
would save China."
There came a time when the young woman fell seriously
ill and she chose to enter the Marion Barclay Hospital as a
patient. After the crisis was passed and she was convalescing,
Dr. Cheung was sitting by her bed one day when she said,
I "You know, Victoria, you have something different here.
There's a spirit about this hospital that ours hasn't got. When
I get better I want you to come over often and help me do
something about it.";*?
Yes, she has something different, this cultured, Christian
Doctor whose only ambition for today is to out-do yesterday
in unselfishness. Her hospital breathes the spirit of devotion to Jesus Christ which is the mainspring of her own life.
[When the Japanese finally took over the whole of the
Mission plant, she could have left as other missionaries did.
But she couldn't bring her mother back to Canada. Our laws
made that impossible and she would not leave her.
For the duration of the war they will live quietly in the
anonymity which China's millions make possible. We can
only pray that God will protect and sustain her until the lines
of communication open again and her ministry of healing is
resumed. /
I The Church Meant More to Him
'The Yeng Ping District in the province of Kwangtung in
•*• South China has long been famous for two things, the
number of robbers produced per square mile and the number
of Chinese who emigrated to other countries. If both these
things had not been true, this story would probably never
have been written. Both of them were the result of the extreme poverty of the people. There were few families, who
for self-protection, did not have representatives among the
robbers and very few who were not in receipt of money from
relatives who had crossed the Pacific in tiny ships to where
there were said to be mountains of gold—California and British Columbia.
In a very humble home the father died suddenly, leaving
the mother with two boys and no money to raise them. When
the Buddhist priests had beaten the last gong and droned the
last chant of the funeral ritual and devoured all her food and
money in the process, the widow sat down to take stock. Her
plight was sad but not hopeless. She would write to her
husband's two brothers who had gone "out the gate" as the
Chinese say, and ask for money. One was a miner near Nanaimo and the other a merchant in Vancouver. She would ask
them to forward the fare for her eldest son to join them in
Canada and money to put the younger one in school. The
uncles in Canada went into a huddle on receipt of this letter.
Of course they must help their sister-in-law, in her distress.
For what other purpose had they come to Canada than to
"establish their family"! It would cost them $500 head tax in
addition to the steamship ticket to get the older one into
Canada but times were good and he could soon redeem himself. Since every family must have one scholar, they would
provide money to educate the younger one. Sun Yat Sen of
South China birth and training was about to launch his revolution and all the Chinatowns on the Pacific Coast were agog
with expectation. The two uncles were proud to educate a
nephew who might be one of Sun Yat Sen's leaders. Six
months or so after she had written to Canada, the sister got
13 a letter containing money for the passage and a promise of
regular payments in the future.
The Robbers Raid the School
tin a Boys' School, a short journey from his native village,
the younger son, whom we shall now call Philip (because that
was the name he afterwards chose for himself) was enrolled as
a student. The school was in the foothills. Several rooms in
a Buddhist temple had been cleared out for dormitories and
classrooms. The meditations of the priests were broken and
their chanting interrupted by a hundred lusty-lunged school
boys chanting the Classics at the top of their voices. Philip
was shy and lonesome, for after all, he was only eleven. He
didn't see why he couldn't have sailed with his brother across
"the great ocean" to the land of the foreigners. He had often
stood on the edge of the crowd in his home village while
some wanderer just returned from overseas told tales of the
queer habits, strange clothes and fabulous wealth of the Canadians. He wanted, more than anything else, to see the
"mountain of gold". And his wish came true much, very
much, sooner than he had ever dared to hope.
A group of sleepy school boys were rudely roused from
slumber one night by the ping, ping of rifle bullets breaking
the oppressive silence of the stately temple. In no time at all
several of the robbers dropped through the unlocked windows
into the dormitories. Others battered down the great black
doors with their gilded carving. The terrified boys were
herded into the classroms where robbers passed up and down
the aisles asking their names. Mrs. Chu's son was petrified
with fright but he showed the nimbleness of wit which was
to be one of his stand-bys throughout life. When the robber
pointed his gun at him and asked his name, he gave the "clan"
name, knowing full well there were several members of the
band using that name—and clan loyalties are very strong in
China. When the robbers cleared out with the Abbot's strong
box and two boys to hold in the hills for ransom, the pupil
they were after was left behind. The raid had been made
because in their mountain lair, word had reached the bandits
that Philip's uncles had struck it rich in Canada.   His mother,
14 they reasoned, could pay a "fat" sum for his release, once
they got their hands on him.
Daylight found a medley of excited boys and teachers,
their bedding in tight rolls on their backs," their feet clad in
straw sandals, merging with the landscape as they hit the
narrow, winding trails for home. Mrs. Chu acted with despatch. She knew that Elder Lee's second son was about to
return to Canada. Philip could go with hirry| Soon she bade
her baby boy a tearful farewell. It was hard to see him go,
even though she did not know that she would never see him
again. Hong Kong, with its bright lights, busy streets, British
soldiers and sailors, left the country boy speechless with
wonder. The whole city was seething with excitement for it
was 1911, the year of the Chinese Revolution, but he was too
young to understand much about it. Soon they went aboard
what seemed to him then to be a tremendous ship, one of the
original Empresses. With hundreds of other Chinese he was
crowded into the steerage compartment in the hold of the
vessel. Throughout the long, monotonous Pacific crossing the
little boy was treated with great kindness by the men. Many
of them were returning to Canada after a visit home. With
that love and consideration for children characteristic of the
race, they joined in telling him of the country to which he
was going and how he must behave in order to get along.
Canada Was Strange to Him
At last one morning, someone shouted in Cantonese,
"That's Canada", and a few hours later he was being greeted
by his uncle and his elder brother. The uncle paid his $500
head tax, registered him as a student with the immigration
authorities, called a taxi and took him to Vancouver's Chinatown. This wasn't the Canada he had expected. Narrow
streets, dilapidated buildings overcrowded with Chinese, subterranean tunnels, a confused jumble of shops, gambling
joints, opium dens, restaurants, theatres and joss houses. It
was months before he ventured to travel anywhere except from
his uncle's shop to school and back. Indeed, he found school
an all-absorbing interest. He knew no English but so applied himself to his studies that he graduated from Public
School in three years.    Then came a family crisis.    His uncle
15 felt that he should go to work now. He had his debts to pay.
But the brother, now a cook in a small hotel, fanned the
flame of his desire for learning. Meantime, Philip had
made a discovery that was to determine his whole future.
He had found one building in Chinatown that was unique.
Here were congenial, friendly people; here were classes to
help with his English; here was a doctrine of love and forgiveness and brotherhood that appealed to him because he
saw it in action in human lives. Here in the Methodist Mission too was a dormitory where he went to live now, while
he obtained a High School education.
Several great events marked his High School course. He
became an officer in the Cadet Corps. He was a member of
the School Debating Team. Although none of his relatives
were Christian, he publicly accepted Christ as his Saviour and
was baptized by Dr. Geo. E. Hartwell. He joined the preaching bands that proclaimed the Gospel in the street corners
of Chinatown. He met lily Chow, a class mate, and fell in
love with her.
The Church Gives a Medical Scholarship
When he graduated with honors, Dr. S. S. Osterhout recommended him to the Methodist Board of Missions to receive a
scholarship enabling him to study Medicine at the University
of Toronto. The Dominion Government, convinced by now
that he was a bona fide student refunded the $500 to his
uncle, which freed him from any sense of obligation and
opened the way to the attainment of his ambition of becoming a medical missionary among his own people. While
studying in Toronto, along with Edward Gung, he organized
a Mission among the Chinese at 19 Chestnut Street. It is now
incorporated in the Bay St. congregation of the Church of
Christ in China. He often spent his week-ends and holidays
holding religious services for Chinese in London, Hamilton
and other cities. He overcame many obstacles but there was
one problem that would not down. Every letter received
from his mother in the old, unchanging, home village extolled
the virtues of the girl she had formallv selected to be his wife.
Eagerly she repeated,  that the middleman  was reliable, the
16 girl's family highly desirable, her dowry satisfactory. Sternly
she demanded that he return to be married. Finding it impossible to make her understand, he returned to Vancouver at
the end of second year Medicine and in a Christian ceremony
married the girl of his own choice.
Lily Chow's father had come to Canada in 1898, leaving
her and a baby brother in the mother's care. He soon recognized that although he had a good Chinese education and was
able to launch the first Chinese newspaper in Vancouver, he
would have to learn English. He enrolled in the night school
of the Methodist Mission. The record does not state how much
English he learned but we do know that he found out about
the love of God, revealed in Jesus Christ and was baptized by
Rev. James Turner. Letters were immediately despatched to
his wife telling of his new-found joy and peace, asking her
to discard the family gods and seek someone who could teach
her the true doctrine. By 1908, when he had money enough
to bring his family to Canada, Lily and her mother had already been baptized in China and they were reunited as a
Christian family, not in Vancouver's Chinatown but in a neat
little home in one of the residential areas of the city. After
she graduated from High School, Lily took a Commercial College Course and was serving as secretary in a lawyer's office.
She entered whole-heartedly into the establishment of a happy,
Christian home, to which six children, five girls and one boy
have since added their gaiety and laughter and a second-generation Canadian viewpoint.
The Oriental Hospital, Vancouver is an Opportunity
On graduation from the University of Toronto, Philip won
a scholarship which enabled him to do two years post-graduate study in New York. When he returned to Vancouver the
new Chinese Institutional Church was in process of erection
on Dunlevy St. He was able, in a short time, to move his.
office and dispensary into this building and become identified with the program of the Methodist Church as a medical
missionary. He became Superintendent of the Sunday School
and in one year increased both the enrolment and the attendance one hundred percent.     Along with Dr. S. S. Osterhout,
17 the Superintendent of Missions, he had some part in organizing and equipping the Oriental Hospital. It is hard to overstate the contribution of a thoroughly-trained, Christian,
Chinese doctor to the poorer Chinese. He knew their language,
their psychology, their fears and superstitions. When they
came to him for professional services they got more than
One of his most famous patients was old Jung Dai Wai.
He had spent forty years in Canada doing the hard, menial
tasks assigned to Chinese. Then one day he was found ragged
and dirty, lying in an alley off a Chinatown street. He was
blind and useless and had no relatives in this country. Somebody told Dr. Chu about him, with the result that he was soon
resting in a clean bed in a tiny, private ward of the Oriental
Hospital. As care, medicine and good food restored his general health, plans were made to have him operated on for
cataract. Dr. E. H. Saunders, one of the city doctors, with the
co-operation of the Vancouver General Hospital performed
the operation free and soon old Jung could see again. A
visitor asked him once—"How does it feel to be able to see?"
"It's just like being born again," was the exultant reply. And
this was literally true, for before the old man died two years
later, his spiritual eyes had been opened and he recognized
Jesus as Lord and Master.
Dr. Chu had a part in the negotiations which led to the
acceptance by B.C. Hospitals of Chinese girls as nurses-in-
training. He was keenly interested in the International communion service in First United Church where ministers and
members of Chinese, Japanese, East Indian, European, Canadian Indian and other Churches meet once a year to celebrate
together the greatest Christian rite of fellowship. He was
much sought after as a speaker by Churches, Clubs, Fraternal
Societies and other organizations, especially after the Japanese
invasion of Manchuria. His influence however, was always on
the side of maintaining friendly relations between the Chinese
and Japanese in Canada.
China Calls and He Answers
In spite of all these successes and this growing influence,
18 he still wanted to go to China as a missionary. In October,
1933, armed only with a letter of introduction to our Dr. J.
Oscar Thompson of Canton Christian Hospital, and steamship
tickets for himself, wife and five girls ranging in age from
11/2 to 11 years, he made the great venture of faith and returned to Canton. It proved to be indeed a venture of faith
and courage. Dr. Thompson was not able to place him in a
satisfactory position for the first year. His wife and Canadian-born children, unaccustomed to the hot climate, different
food and poor living conditions were sick continuously. He
had to send them back to Vancouver, where they arrived in
July 1934. In the early Fall of that year he received an appointment as professor in Chiang Kai Shek's Military Medical
College with the rank of Colonel. When the term ended the
following spring, he returned to Vancouver because he could
not stay away more than two years without sacrificing his
right to re-enter this country. The future was dark with uncertainty. He was passionately fond of his family and the
separation was irksome. His practice in Vancouver was gone.
In China, war with Japan was regarded as inevitable and
duty called him back. A cable from the College urging his
return, settled the matter and he was back in Canton in time
for the opening of the Fall term. All of the foreign instructors in the institution were German and it was characteristic
of Dr. Chu that he began to study the German language with
the hope that some day he might do post-graduate work in
Germany. His teaching and influence in the College were of
such a high order that he was personally commended by the
Generalissimo and presented with an Officer's sword, which
today is one of the family's most cherished possessions. Two
years soon passed and he had to return to Canada once more
to renew his passport. Meantime, Japan had invaded China
and the whole future of the College was uncertain.
What next? Life seemed to be full of problems. The
family finally decided to move to Toronto and in the spring
of 1938 he made another start by the establishment of a private
practice in that city. It was not long before he was recognized as a leader by the whole community. In Red Cross
campaigns, Chinese Relief, Victory Loan drives and other
city-wide movements his services were eagerly sought.      His
19 practice grew and his place in the Canadian medical profession was re-established. The family were happy in their new
environment and it looked as if his influence was to be
measured only by his capacity to withstand the strain of a
growing practice and constant speaking. Suddenly he was
stricken with a very rare disease and on January 18th, 1944
was called into the presence of the Great Physician.
It may be that worthier tributes have been paid to him but
as an epitome of his life, I like this incident. The Chinese
Nationalists were very anxious to stage an elaborate public
funeral. His wife said, "No! We will bury him from the
Bay Street Church for the Church meant more to him than
all the other organizations with which he was ever connected."
21 She Sees the Need
The campus of the West China Union University has seen
many strange things happen but few created more interest among staff and students than the happenings at the
Language School during 1941-2. A Chinese-born Canadian
was teaching a Canadian-born Chinese the new National
language of China. The pupil was Mi§gJ|£aj^£t Lee*Reg,N,
of Montreal; the teacher was Rev. J. G. (Jim) Endicott, M.A.
Nobody in the community got more amusement out of the
whole situation than this vivacious, happy, Canadian girl who
had made missionary history by being appointed to a language
area where the dialect was different to that used by her parents
who spoke Cantonese.    She wrote home to say,
"The Chinese teachers of the Language School are quite
astonished by my presence in their midst. This Asiatic dressed
in Western clothes, who knows the characters, does not speak
their dialect, yet can chatter away with the other missionaries
in their foreign tongue is something new. Often while reading I forget and say the words in Cantonese. You would be
amused at the disgusted looks I get from my teachers. Sometimes I find the tones very much like our Cantonese dialect.
At other times they are very different and I wonder if I can
ever learn this language."
A Popular Camper
Master it she did, however, as she has conquered other obstacles which stood in the way of her attaining the goal for
which she strove. Margaret's early life story, is very, much like
that of any normal Canadian, Born into a Christian home,
she can never remember the time when prayer, hymn singing
and other aspects of worship were not as much a part of her
as the air she breathed. In^ the ^hinese Church on Dorchester
&Wshe_.jv,as. in succession, Sunday. SchooLscholar, member_of_
the C.G.I.T., teacher, President of Young People's Union, as
her" experience fitted her for advancement. In Public and
High School she won prizes with consistent regularity largely
because of her thoroughness and determination.    Her origin-
; ality often cost her marks as few teachers are prepared to
give adequate credit to a pupil with a flair for the unusual.
As an intermediate she attended jhe C.G.I.T. camp at Cedar
Lodge and very quickly stood out among the girls by her
^ni5il^-OS-.§gJ2.e in ways and places that others disliked.
The camp Director recalls that she was elected Scribe of the
Camp Council because most of the girls did not want to waste
happy camping hours writing minutes. She went to the Director for instruction as to how they should be done. She
never once failed to have them ready when called for. She
went beyond her instructions and added little touches of her
own—souvenirs of hikes and trips, a list of birds that had
been recognized, a rare flower, found and named at camp,
pressed on the page. That set of minutes was kept for a
long time as an example to future Scribes of how much might
be made of such a routine piece of business.
.l!ieJELjSS£ that the girls ejected her
Little Chief of the Camp. During that session an interesting
incident occurred which is described by Miss Nina Yeomans,
M.A. the Director, in the following paragraph,
"One of the most exciting of traditional Camp events was
the   annual  trip   down  lovely. Lake  Mem on  the
ancient steam-boat "Anthemis". The iwenty:fivejailes .to New-
jgprltook several hours; lunch was taken to eat on board; the
more fortunate girls who won the Captain's confidence bulged
with pride at being allowed to preside at the big steering
wheel. In particular, the opportunity to spend a small sum
for ice-cream or souvenirs in the little Vermont town, to look
in store windows and to read the movie "ads" in a city atmosphere already made strange by half a dozen days of camp
life created an astonishing amount of excitement. Senior
Campers who had made the trip half a dozen or more times
were just as thrilled as the greenest Intermediate.
Before leaving the boat it .was necessary to consult the„.Im-
migration Inspector and sign an undertaking to leave none
"of the girls behind. Here, as in many other ways, it fell to
Margaret to pioneer for many later campers. The trip had
not been made in her first year at camp and she was so taken
for granted in her second year that it never occurred -to the
23 staff that any objection would be taken to her Oriental background. The Immigration Officer, takingjpne glance over the
crowd, at once took exception to her and said she must not
get off the boat; her Canadian birth made no difference.-__The
leaders, taken by surprise, went into a huddle to discuss what
should be done.. Margaret guessed what had happened and
at once offered to stay alone. One or two of her friends offered to stay with her, giving up the anticipated ice-cream and
But it did not stop there. In a few minutes the whole
group had decided they would not get off the boat if Margaret must stay there. The amazement of that Immigration
Officer, accustomed as he was to many of these excited groups
of girls from camps on the lake, was amusing. At first he
refused to believe it was not a trick meant to send him back
to his office, so that they might all go uptown as soon as his
back was turned. He retreated to the window of his office
and watched for a while. After a few minutes, convinced
that the girls meant what they said and worried at blocking
so much good business from „shops,^*?feturned and,
""on" the personal guarantee of the Director to take 'that Oriental back with her', not only allowed this queer gang to go
uptown but arranged with the captain to prolong the boat's
stay to make up for the delay.   That became a precedent from
"which" the camp was able to draw support on many later
occasions when we were privileged to have Indian, Chinese
and Japanese friends at camp."
a~ When she graduated from High School her ambition was
to be a teacher. Friends and teachers agreed that she would
be a good one. Children loved her and her keen sense of
what is interesting and beautiful, combined with her natural
vivacity would have made her a great success in that profession. She applied to the Normal School and was accepted,
since ncT one suspected that she was Chinese. Later she was
flatly refused the privilege ofliving in residence, and thexer
f6T?~couId~nof attend. In vain it was pointed out that she
"was a second generation Canadian Christian, that her scholastic
record was good, and that her experience in camp demonstrated that she could live and work with other girls. .Prejudice won the day, with the excuse that if they graduated her,
24 she could not find employment in Quebec anyway, an assertion that afterwards proved unfounded. ]^|
A Good President
It was a cruel blow but her natural buoyancy and sincere
Christian fajth soon conquered any inferiority complex which
this experience brought. She carried on her activities in the
church and during the fall was unanimously elected President
of the Senior Girls' Council of Greater Montreal. She not
only presided at meetings with poise and dignity but she
brought to them a new understanding of the problems of senior
girls in a cosmopolitan city, especially those who like herself
suffered from any sense of racial discrimination. As a climax,
it was her privilege to light the central candle at the city-wide
Christmas vesper service, when for the first time, girls representing eleven nationalities from the Church of All Nations,
the Chinese Church, the Negro community centre, the French
Protestant Church of St. John and the Indian Reserve at
Caughnawaga lit their candles at the same central flame and
mingled their gifts of song and Christian experience in the
worship of their common Christ. Such a Vesper service has
since become an annual event.
Meantime she was quietly thinking through the problem of
her own life work. "If I can't serve my Master as a teacher,1_.
said she, "I'll find another profession. My parents can't afford to put me through Medicine, which I would like, so I.
will take training as a nurse!" But no hospital in Montreal
would register a Chinese girl as a nurse-in-training in those
days, on the plea that they would not be acceptable to the
On the advice of friends she finally sent an application to
the~hospital where Dr. Victoria Cheung had just finished a
resident internship during her first, furlough. No reply had
been received when she went to Cedar Lodge as a group leader
for the C.G.I.T. camp. What happened is described by the
Director in this way.
"Day followed day without reply. She stayed for Leadership Camp. Still no word. As time slipped by hope was
dimming.    The last day of Camp  came.    Those of us who
25 must stay to close camp climbed on the step of the big bus
crowded with merry friends returning to home and work. The
mail was late and arrived at the gate on the main road three
quarters of a mile down the lane just as we did. It was distributed on the spot. There was an official-looking letter for
Margaret. Yes, it was the acceptance of her application by
the Women's College Hospital of Toronto. Her joy was
shared by all. As the bus started for the city, she grasped my
arm and with eyes shining, asked 'Wouldn't it be wonderful
if I could be camp nurse?' That is Margaret always thinking,
not of personal success, but of service."
A Resourceful Nurse
When she graduated with honors at the Women's College
Hospital she won a scholarship, enabling her to spend a year
in the School of Graduate Nursing of the University of Toronto. Before shejvent off to West China as a missionary she
returned to Cedar Lodge as Camp Nurse as she had dreamed.
Her influence was incalculable and her professional skill outstanding.
"Her ready judgment and quick action saved one young
man his arm that summer. A lad who helped in the kitchen
had run a wire into his finger, resulting in blood-poisoning.
The finger had been opened but did not clear up. Rather
than face a second operation, he said nothing about it. It
did not escape Margaret however, and she reported his serious
condition. It was Sunday morning — eight miles from the
nearest doctor—no car in camp! Just then her family arrived
on a visit, bringing with them Dr. David Lim Yuen, a brilliant
young McGill graduate and a guest whose visit had been anticipated with pleasure. She might easily have been excused
had she forgotten the boy in the kitchen who did not want
her services anyway. What was the astonishment of the
leaders to discover that she had made simple but careful preparations and before they could turn twice round the young
doctor was operating on the now badly inflamed arm. The
camp physician assured the Director the next day that they
had saved the boy's arm, possibly his life."
26 An Observant Traveller
Early in the fall she sailed for China. It was not her first
trip to the Orient as she had been there once before with her
father and her brother Wilson. When they reached Hong
Kong it was decided that the women of the party should go on
to Chengtu by plane while the men went round to Rangoon
and over the Burma Road with the baggage. Margaret
didn't miss any of the fun or excitement either, as the following sentences from her letters show.
"We were told at the airport that we could take only 35
lbs. of baggage. But as there were no restrictions on our
weight up to 200 lbs. we decided to put on as much clothes
as we could. Well! You should have seen me after I put on
3 pairs of stockings, 2 sets of underwear, 3 slips, my tailored
suit and blouse, sweater, raincoat and my tweed coat on top
of it all. Our pockets were stuffed with anything that would
go in there. I never felt so dressed up in my life. I weighed
25 lbs. more so you can imagine what I looked like.
It took 4 hours and 50 minutes to reach Chungking, the
present capital of China, a distance of about 1,000 miles. The
trip was thrilling and I enjoyed every minute of it. We left
by night because it's safer. The pilot went up 20,000 feet to
fly above the clouds lest we should meet a Japanese plane
wandering around. He reached Chungking in the early morning just as the sun was rising. It was a most glorious sight.
I shall never forget it. We humans feel very small indeed
when we see the wonders of God's handiwork.
When we landed at the airport the air raid sirens were
screaming. There were buses ready to take the passengers
into the open country. There we scattered to lie flat on the
ground under the trees. We could see Japanese planes flying
overhead but no bombs were dropped in our vicinity. When
it was over we were taken back to the airport to continue on
our trip to Chengtu.
We reached Chengtu just as another alarm was sounded
and we had to take shelter in the dugouts. We found the
place full of people. Everybody was doing their best to make
things as pleasant as possible. I shared candy and fruit with a
lady who gave me cookies.    We discovered that we had mutual
27 friends. She was an international Y.W.C.A. Secretary and
she knew Miss Gates and Miss Vance of our Montreal "Y".
This is a small world. It gives me a queer sensation to sit
in a hole in the ground. I kept wondering what was going
on outside and was so relieved to get into the open air again."
Three months later she described another air raid. "Things
have been somewhat quiet lately but today being nice and
clear the Japanese decided to pay us a call by sending 12
planes to Chengtu. They flew around for an hour or so,
southwest of the city looking for the airport which is 30 miles
from the city. They found it too, for we heard the thud of the
bombs and the explosions of the shells from the anti-aircraft
guns. It was too far for us to see it today but sometimes
when the raid is not unpleasantly near, we go to the verandahs or roofs and watch the fight. When they come nearer
home we go 'downstairs to the shelter in the basement. One
day we were having dinner when the sirens sounded and we
all ducked under the dining room table. It doesn't bother j
me any more now." I
In another letter she describes the loneliness of her first
Christmas and tells of how it was relieved by the great kindness of people who sent her gifts, some of whom she
had not even met. She was already discovering that there is
no fellowship in the world like that among those far from
home and devoted to the cause of winning people to Christ.
She speaks of a Student Christian Movement retreat attended
by 150 Chinese students. Her language was not yet good
enough to hear everything but she was much impressed by the
tone of the meeting and the good time these Christian young
people had together. "I had a lovely time and I like it
here," she wrote.
But she was also seeing apd hearing other things as every
true missionary does. Of "hw walk to and from the temple
where the retreat was held, she says, as if she were once
again writing the minutes of a day in camp, "I saw such a
lot of cute-looking little children, so sweet and yet so sober-
looking. Some of them look as though they need medical
care. One doesn't have to be in the profession to see that
the need is very great for public health education and child
■*- training. I am wondering how long it will take to change
the attitudes of these people who have been doing things the
same way for generations. My seniors say that a great many
changes for the better have taken place since they came. I'm
glad I can have a part in this great work but I can't do anything until I learn the language. I'm told that I am making
good progress.    I hope so."
Jhe Mission Council sent her toPenghsien, 30 miles.north
of Chengtu for second year language study. She lived in the
dormitories with the teachers and students of our Woman's
Missionary Society's high school for girls, which had been
ordered out of Chengtu by the Government, because of the
bombing. The buildings were a make-shift, temporary group
of near-shacks erected in the mud of what had been a vegetable garden. But the spirit of the teachers and girls was
wonderful. Margaret taught them conversational English.
They corrected her Chinese idiom. She joined in their games,
their dreams, their patriotic work. She led a C.G.I.T. group
and loved it. In this she was the inheritor of much material
worked out in the Canadian Churches and translated by older
missionaries. A record number of the graduating class decided to take up nursing as a profession, an unmistakable
testimonial to her influence.
An Enthusiastic Missionary
Now at last she was ready for work. The great moment
for which she had been preparing had arrived. Her first assignment was a particularly tough one.^rVThe Woman's Missionary Society hospital for women and children had been
destroyed by fire. It was re-opened in the vacant buildings,
once occupied by the High School students with whom she
had been living. Her task was to supervise the Training
School for Nurses and she found the practical teaching jdiL
ficult in the face of shortages of both clrugs and equipment.
"We are going through very difficult days," she wrote, "and
we pray that we may be given grace and strength to see this
thing through."
Meantime, on the campus of the/We?t_C^jnaJJiiiftrjJUniver-    * j
sity  outside the city,  a great  new University  Hospital_jva^J/£v^A_
29       ? '
Jk taking shape. In defiance of bombing, of shortages, of incredible inflation, the work went steadily forward. When completed this hospital will have 500 beds and the large outpatient department will care for at least 500 patients per day.
It is the teaching hospital for medical, dental, nursing and
pharmacy students of this university, supported by five cooperating Mission Boards from England, America and Canada. The maternity patients from the temporary Woman's-
Missionary Society Hospital where Margaret was nursing
were the first group to move into the new hospital quarters,
in February 1943.    Here is her description of the transfer:
/ "The moving was not a simple formula of comfortable,
Svell-equipped ambulances. The patients were carried by
stretcher from their beds and placed on thick straw mats on
the floor of a truck. The little babies were also moved in this
fashion, except that they lay in the arms of their mothers.
The new beds were made up in readiness to receive the occupants of the truck as they arrived in groups of five or six.
It must have been a rough ride for these patients through the
city along the bumpy streets. Fortunately it was a sunny day.
It took a whole day to. move, to settle down and to start the
wheels of the machinery going again." ~"l
Since that time, staff and students of the School of Nursing
of the Peiping Union Medical College, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, driven out of their beautiful buildings in
Peiping have come to Chengtu and made the University Hospital their home. Their Principal, Miss Nieh, has become
Superintendent of Nurses as well as Principal of the Training
School. M^rgai^t_is_n{)j¥,_»Superyisor of the operating-room
and teacher of operating-room technique. She welcomes the
co-operation of staff from occupied China because it makes
for improved nursing service in the University Hospital and
for higher professional standards throughout all of West
China. But she is not satisfied. Reminding ijsjhai in spite
of this increase in personnel the hospital is still understaffed,
she writes in one. of. her...recent letters: "We. need .nurses;—
both native and western-trained nurses. We cannot begin to
cope with the work or do it as thoroughly as we would like
to do it.    The need is very great."
It is fitting now that we should ask ourselves what we are
going to do to help our Chinese Canadian boys and girls solve
their problems. There are many other potential leaders
among them. Most of those who have attained a position
which satisfies them have done so through the help of the
Christian Church. In this the United Church of Canada has
taken a very worthy part.
1. Let us make friends of the Chinese in our community.
A laundryman in a small Ontario town said once, "It is hard
to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, when one knows
as little English as I do."
What happens when the community takes an interest in
these lonely folks? In a little Alberta village there was one
Chinese cafe. The people of the Church and Community
treated the - proprietor as a citizen. He responded wholeheartedly. When he died every other place of business was
closed for the funeral. School children formed a voluntary
guard of honor. The United Church was crowded for the
service. The next day one of the Sunday School boys went
into the store of the Superintendent of the Sunday School
and said to him, "You'll have to be my friend, now that Lem
is gone."
2. Let us find encouragement in the achievements of Chinese Canadians, who belong to our own Church. Here are a
i.eW-_of the many who might be cited.
Lang Wong, M.A., of Toronto University in Chemical Engineering is one of the engineers in connection with Chinese
Industrial Co-operatives. His sister, Fay, a graduate in Arts
has an important position in the civil service at Chungking.
Tommy Wong is flying bombers over the hump from India
to China for Pan-American Airways and the C.N.A.C.
Peter Wing was with the Canadians at Hong Kong and
is, presumably, a prisoner of war.
Ming Chong, B.A., M.D., graduate of McMaster and Toronto, is in New York doing post-graduate work in Medicine.
Mary  and Clara Wong, champion  basketball  players  of
/   ■        t fZ~($^( ^^-^^
iff 4- the University of Western Ontario, are now practising medicine at London and Hamilton, respectively. One brother, Bill,
formerly on the Western University Rugby Team, is a Captain in the R.C.A.M.C., now studying. Psychiatry as a postgraduate subject at the request of the Canadian Army.
Wah Leung recently graduated at the head of his class
in Dentistry at McGill University.
Frances Thom, Reg.N., graduate of our Lamont Hospital,
is now on the staff of the Woman's College Hospital, Toronto.
Wilson Lee, brilliant graduate of McGill, is now overseas
with the Canadian Army Medical Corps.
3. Let us encourage these young people as they establish
homes to integrate themselves into our regular local church
fellowships. They need encouragement, for securing homes
in desirable localities is not easy. Two educated, Christian
Chinese young people, after they were married, bought a
house in an Eastern city. They were both High School graduates, spoke English perfectly, were second generation Christians. A man who lived on the street circulated a petition
asking the Council to forbid the owner to sell them the house.
He was Dutch. His wife was Austrian. Both spoke broken
English because they were refugees. His argument was that
wherever there were Chinese there would be opium dens and
fan tan joints. A good many people signed his petition, but
fortunately the Council was not so gullible.
One of our finest Chinese families (the children are third
generation Christians) bought four houses in an Ontario city
before they were able to get possession of one. In the first
three instances, the neighbors put pressure on the landlord
to cancel the sale. After they had been in their new home
a year, the woman next door gave a community tea in their
honor.    She was proud of her new neighbors.
4. Let us get into touch with our local members of parliament in interviews and by letter and let them know that the
Christian conscience of Canada demands the repeal of the
Exclusion Bill of 1923 and expects that in any new treaties
made with China, Chinese will be admitted into this country
on the same terms and given the same rights as we expect for
our citizens entering China.
.   ; •
l ■   :   .  


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