year of birth
My dad, Kenneth Lo, came to Britain in 1936 from China, he trained at Cambridge University and he was able to speak English in a way that most immigrants of that time couldn't do. He became a spokesman for the community and eventually wrote Chinese cookery books. My mum was a farmer's daughter from Bedfordshire. She was training with Egon Ronany for Corden Bleu and they met doing multicultural food events in London. During that time, there was a lot of animosity about their mixed race marriage. We found letters from my English grandmother and great aunts saying to my mother, "Don't do it, think about the children, do not marry that Chinese man, think about the children".
This card box came from my English maternal grandmother, it's a lacquered box which has been constructed for the Victorian England audience. It's covered in a willow pattern, images of China and Chinese officials, exotic vegetation, beautiful willow trees in black and red lacquer, it’s clearly made in China. My grandmother had this box in her room. My grandmother particularly loved me, I spent a lot of time playing with this box and over the card playing, I was being acculturated into a British culture from her.
As an older academic, I look at this box and understand why I was so fascinated by the card box. It represents all the Orientalism that my grandmother would have been in involved in, like having tea in Liberty’s, which was the prime place for buying and collecting oriental things. She loved Chinese things...but she didn't want a Chinese man in the family. This card box represents that conflict over a Britain that loves oriental things, but not Oriental people. At the same time, I absolutely love this box, I love this! It’s really hard not to love it but it comes with a lot of conflict and comes back to a lot of racist interactions.
我的父親Kenneth Lo1936年的時候從中國來英國。他在劍橋唸書，在當時大部分移民都不會說英語的情況下，他能說英語。他成了華人社區的代言人，之後寫了很多中餐烹飪書。我媽媽是貝德福德郡一個農場的女兒。她跟隨Egon Ronany學習廚藝。他們在倫敦的多元飲食文化活動上認識的。那個時候人們對混血婚姻很敵意。我們找到了我的外婆和曾姑母寫給我媽媽的信，要她不要和我爸爸結婚，為孩子著想。不要嫁給那個中國人，為孩子著想。