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Subject: Cultural Studies »

Mabel Wang about her early years with her husband David Wang

Mara Moustafine and Mabel Wang.

Mabel Wang describes her early years with her Shanghai born husband David Wang (Wang Neng Hwan)



Date Added:

06 February 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

14.4 MB






... actually he was a captain in the Chinese Army, he was sent overseas to go to Singapore because he was in the intelligence. They sent him to Singapore but he was waiting in Calcutta for transport to Singapore and before he had got transport, Singapore fell so he was very lucky that he wasn’t trapped in there during that war. So he – so because Singapore fell he was sent on to Melbourne because there was an office here – there was established a Chinese military mission, there was, they were all Wangs, Captain Wang, Colonel Wang and my husband was another Captain Wang, they were all Wangs because it’s a very common name, it’s like Smith, you know, but more so than Smith because there’s millions of – millions and millions of Wangs. [Laughs


And anyway so he came and he – was based here with the Chinese military mission for – he was here for about just about – just under two years. Because it’s such a small community we met – any Chinese who arrived here, we’d meet them – you know because Dad would somehow you know, meet everybody. Dad got him to live next door. [laughs] My dad got him to live next door there was a boarding house so he lived next door in Carlton.


Then he had to go back, he was called back and on the way back he went through Burma and India and then he went back – finally went back to Chungking and he was there until – oh he was sent to different places while he was there and then he was – after the war which is August ’45, after that he went back to Shanghai.


After the war, I got the first ship back that I could get a berth on. I went to Shanghai in August 1946 and then – and my dad came with me and then my father somehow, I don’t – oh no, I think I learnt later that he met the Australian trade commissioner in Hong Kong where we stopped and he must have asked him if he could give me a job. So I got a job before I got there, at the trade commissioner’s office. [laughs] So the trade commissioner and the consul had the same office, shared the same office in the Jardine Building on the Bund and so I was employed there as a local employee and the rest of the people were from Canberra.


It was – only 12 months after the war – it was you know, it was not in ruins, because where I lived and where I worked was the international settlement, so that was intact but the outside of that the Chinese part was you know pretty awful, the part you took was Hong Kew (sp?) was a Chinese part and that was – had suffered terribly during the –


End transcript