Dan Moalem - Growing Up In Shanghai








Front Cover of 'Growing Up In Shanghai' Get your copy of the Growing Up In Shanghai eBook

Excerpts From
'Growing Up In Shanghai'

"A friend of our family had a blue vase about a metre high standing in their hallway. It was used as an umbrella stand. We children often took it outside and used it as a home base when we played rounders.

One day an auctioneer also called at this house looking for artefacts to sell. The blue vase was among the items he carried away with him. The owner was sure he could find another, equally attractive umbrella stand.

A week later the auctioneer returned and gave the stunned owner a cheque for US$350,000. The vase was Ming, of a kind in great demand among collectors… " [Chapter 4]

Venus Cafe       "... in 1935 [my mother's] brother-in-law asked her to go into business with him. He wanted to open a cabaret. She agreed, and the Venus Café and Cabaret was born. Within a year it had become a flourishing business, offering excellent food, dancing, fabulous entertainment and floorshows. There were even a few slot machines. Liquor was served, and the establishment provided dancing girls for customers ... The Venus Café soon ranked among the most celebrated in Shanghai." [Chapter 4]

"Our family woke up on the morning of the 8 December 1941, the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, to find that Shanghai had become an occupied city. I recall that night vividly, since it was also my sister's birthday. We heard heavy artillery fire coming from the waterfront. An American warship had been attacked and its crew captured." [Chapter 6]

"My parents realised immediately what was about to happen. We were going to be incarcerated in a camp. Hurriedly, they tried to put their affairs in order. Within the week allowed, my mother arranged to store some of our furniture and household goods with relatives and friends. Other goods were put into a warehouse. Her real valuables, such as silver, gold and jewellery were packed in a steel box and secretly buried..." [Chapter 6]

"We woke early on the morning of 15 August 1945. As usual, we went to get our ration of drinking water. Everyone in the queue was looking bewildered, since there was not a guard to be seen. We thought perhaps that they were testing us, to see if we would break any rules while not being watched..." [Chapter 7]

"Our Amah came running to see us one day. She had been made to attend an indoctrination meeting, with the Communist cadre running it ordering her, like all other foreigners' servants, to stop working for us. She was distraught. She had felt like one of our family. She pleaded with us to let her stay. She offered to sneak into our flat before daybreak and leave after nightfall, and was obviously prepared to take this huge risk..." [Chapter 9]

"We applied for and received visas for Australia, for we had relatives in Sydney. Then we needed an exit visa from the Communist authorities… When we presented our papers to the official in charge, he aggressively started questioning my mother ... When my mother told him that I had graduated in Engineering, he was immediately interested. 'We need engineers to build up the new China,' he said, belligerently. 'You can all go, but he has to stay. It will take about ten years to help us.'" [Chapter 9]

Get your copy of the Growing Up In Shanghai eBook