I had a very tight and rushed schedule on the day I visited and photographed George WONG [黃潮福] whom I never met before. The atmosphere was odd at the beginning of our conversation. Soon after, when we talked in Cantonese about his six years of childhood in China from age eight, George began to recollect and unfold his childhood memories. Some time after, he wrote me a seven-page long Chinese letter narrating the return journey between New Zealand and his hometown Gualing Village [瓜嶺村] and his life in China. The tone of his letter is plain but is loaded with subtle details of his experience. The letter is a manuscript that historians would value when studying the journey of past sojourners and their life in-between places.
It was until recently, after more than a year, that I read the letter again and wrote back to George a short Chinese letter. What has imprinted in my memory is his collection of the Chinese textbooks from his childhood education which he is emotionally entangled in.
King Tong HO
约了黄潮福拍照当天, 时间很紧迫。这是我们第一次会面, 最初谈话不太自然, 不久之后, 我们用广东话交谈, 气氛就很不同了。他谈及八岁时, 在广东生活六年的童年往事。后来, 他写给我七页纸的长信, 敍述他从纽西兰回到家乡瓜岭村、及在中国的生活。语句虽平淡, 但细致描述他的经历, 是一篇旅居外地的人生体验, 是一封历史学者珍惜的书信手稿。
约一年后最近, 我重读此信及覆了他一封短函。我印象最深刻的是他收藏着儿时上学的中文教科书, 充满着情感的记忆。