St Brigid is often quoted as being a patroness of refugees.
She is frequently connected with water (think of wells named in her honour). Thus, we are connecting themes and using her platform to raise awareness of Britain’s treatment of the Chinese Seamen in this ongoing quest for justice, connection and knowledge.
In 1945-6, hundreds of Liverpool’s Chinese seamen were ’rounded-up’ and forcibly deported to China, Singapore or other locations.
Official evidence was hard to locate; with documents strewn across the world; often deliberately hidden from view, making the story difficult to confirm. Prior to their forced ‘repatriation’, many of these men met and married English and Irish women; creating Chinese-English and Chinese-Irish communities; a legacy that continues today.
What of those left behind? Of the men severed from their families and homes? Where did they end up and how did it affect the communities involved?
In 2013-14, The Sound Agents undertook interviews with members of the community, affected by these acts. From verbatim accounts of lived-experiences of the trauma and aftershock, they crafted an incredible play, which has now had several outings. As MP Kim Johnson continues to press the Government’s Home Office for official recognition and an apology for this “shameful stain on our history”, we create a memorial to testimony, featuring Moira Kenny and Ozzie Yue, available globally.
The Curious Disappearance of Mr Foo is a story based on the forced deportation of Chinese seamen from Liverpool, in 1946, using verbatim Liverpool Chinatown oral histories, recorded in 2013.
Podcast commissioner: Liverpool Irish Festival
Writers, producers, recording team and editing: The Sound Agents
The Sound Agents hold all copywrite ownership. This recording has been licenced to Liverpool Irish Festival for this broadcast, but all other rights are reserved. Visit The Sound Agent website for more details of their work.
At the point of release, we would also note a significant exhibition about the Chinese-British story, taking place in the Hornby Library at Liverpool Central Library, 16 Jan-31 Mar 2023, held in partnership with the British Library. This exhibit has also been curated by The Sound Agents. Interestingly, Jack Yue and his son Ozzy Yue -featured in the podcast- are featured in the exhibit. To read more about the exhibit -and its partner in show in London- click here to download a PDF leaflet.
For anyone hoping to learn more about Chinese-British experiences, we were recently made aware of another production called Gold Mountain, written by David Yip and featuring Kevin Wong. To see their production and/or to read more about an alternate Chinese-British experience, visit their project page, here.
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