Saturday, April 18, 2015

Asian Report for 21 April 2009 ( 15′ 03″ )

This week on the Asian report we meet Danny Lee and Ken Chan, two local born Chinese who served during the Second World War.

From Afternoons on 21 Apr 2009
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 Fight that helped end hostilities at home

By Lincoln Tan
5:00 AM Thursday Apr 24, 2008

Attending the Anzac Day service used to be an annual routine for World War II veteran Daniel Chan Lee.

But the 93-year-old former transport soldier at 7 Royal Military Transport Unit says he is now too old for parades and will instead spend tomorrow remembering those who died fighting for New Zealand, including his brother.

Willie, his elder brother, who served as a fighter pilot in the Air Force, died when his plane crashed in Cheshire, England, in 1942.

Mr Lee, one of six boys, also had a younger brother, Harry, who served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Mr Lee said New Zealand in those days had laws that discriminated against the Chinese, who were singled out as "undesirable aliens".

It had regulations such as the poll-tax, tonnage ratio, literacy test and thumb printing to limit the number of Chinese coming to New Zealand.

However, Mr Lee said many of the local-born Chinese still considered it to be an honour to be able to serve the country as soldiers, and he said the Army was a "like a different world".

"There was no racism there because we were all united with a common desire of wanting to serve our country, our home."

Mr Lee said his brother Willie is proof of how "colour blind New Zealand gets" when it comes to the Anzacs and other soldiers who died at war. Willie's name is listed on the Roll of Honour in Auckland War Memorial Museum's Hall of Memories.

"It didn't matter that he was Chinese; Willie was treated just as every other fallen soldier in the war."

Mr Lee said it had been his dream to fight overseas, but the Army said he looked too much like a Japanese.

Dr Manying Ip, an associate professor of Asian studies at the University of Auckland, wrote in her book Dinkum Aliens: Chinese New Zealanders in World War II: "In spite of their marginalised status, the hostile social climate, and their very small number (2,943 in the 1936 census), patriotic Chinese New Zealanders, mostly local-born, served in the Air Force, Army and Home Guard.

"World War II marked the crucial turning point for the Chinese community in New Zealand," Professor Ip wrote.

"The status of Chinese rose markedly, and Chinese market-gardeners [who grew produce for the troops] were classified as essential industry workers, their patriotic fundraising efforts within New Zealand and the valiant war resistance back in China were praised and acknowledged."

Mr Lee said he would not attend a service this year.

"By serving in the Army, the Chinese proved that we are just as loyal to New Zealand as anyone else, and I guess in that alone, the victory is ours."

Chinese had barred from naturalisation since 1908, but after World War II, New Zealand laws were changed to allow them to apply for citizenship.
Dan Chan LEE

Notice | Condolences
Dan Chan LEE Notice
LEE, Dan Chan On April 9th 2015. Dan slipped away peacefully at Wesley Village aged 99 years old. Dearly loved husband and best friend of the late Teresa. He will be sadly missed by his many nieces and nephews and their families. Dan recently celebrated his 99th birthday with his family and many friends, he lived a long and prosperous fulfilling life. In lieu of flowers donations to the St John's Ambulance would be gratefully appreciated and may be left at the chapel on the day of the service or at www. The entire service for Dan will be held in the Eastern Suburbs Chapel of the Morrison Funeral Home, 79 Line Road Glen Innes on Wednesday 15 April 2015 at 12:30 pm. All communications to the Lee Family c/- the above Funeral Home.

Published in The New Zealand Herald on Apr. 10, 2015
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April 10, 2015
LEE, Dan Chan Loved uncle of Marcia and Jack, Lincoln (deceased), Stephen, Lisa and wee Maya. May you rest in Peace, you will be sadly missed.

Dan LEE, Auckland
April 10, 2015
LEE, Dan Chan Uncle you meant a lot to us all. You and aunty were always there to take care of us kids. You were our grandparents, you taught us a lot - how to use chopsticks, behave, have manners, play mahjong, and eat well. Yumcha 2-3 times a week was the norm. We are going to miss our meals together and most of all whenever we walked into your room you would light up and give us a big smile cos you were so happy to see us. Love you lots and happy that you are with aunty now. Steph, Tash and family

Dan LEE, Auckland
April 10, 2015
LEE, Dan Chan Loved uncle to Vivien (deceased), Melissa and Family always in our hearts.

Dan LEE, Auckland
April 10, 2015
LEE, Dan Chan Much loved and respected uncle of Elaine and Lee Kun. Cherished great uncle of Vanessa, Denise, Chris and family. Gone but not forgotten. Forever in our hearts. You always enjoyed a social occasion, your presence will be sorely missed.

Dan LEE, Auckland
April 10, 2015
LEE, Dan Chan Loved uncle of Margaret and Laurence Chong. Great uncle to Chris, Leanne, Stuart and Justine and their families. We will miss our weekly lunches. We will remember your determination to get to 100 but that was not to be, you were generous to a fault. Rest in Peace. We will remember you always. Love from us all.

Dan LEE, Auckland