Winnie Cheung and Mei-fung Lee

Winnie L. Cheung was born to refugee parents in cosmopolitan Hong Kong, where she was surrounded by people converging from China and all over the world. She is fascinated by the forces behind people’s migration, and is curious to know how individuals’ identities are shaped by the knowledge of their families’ history. Professionally, Winnie has worked as an educator in universities in Hong Kong and Vancouver, promoting international relations and intercultural understanding. In the community, she has been tirelessly building bridges between first-generation immigrants and local-born Canadians of diverse backgrounds. Her contributions to international understanding, racial harmony and multiculturalism have been recognized by Rotary International, the University of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, the City of Burnaby and the Provincial Government of British Columbia.

Mei-fung Lee was born to an affluent family whose fortune was shattered as bombs began to fall on their home town in Canton in 1937. An avid listener to her debonair father’s brilliant storytelling, Mei-fung became an engaging storyteller to her own children, regaling them with stories from her life as a child refugee. Though illiterate, she tenaciously committed the details of those harsh years to her memory so that she could recount it in writing one day. She did so half a century later. The result was Childhood Lost – a moving account of what life was like for the ordinary people during the Sino-Japanese (1937-1945) seen through the innocent eyes of a precocious child. She hopes her story will inspire others to work towards peace.

Photo credits: Reo Ma.