Children's Fiction




Hollingworth, Brian. (1974). Five days on Lantau. Hong Kong: Heinemann.

This is a story about a seventeen or eighteen year old boy called Peter Lau Chi Cheung who lives on Argyle Street with his family.  Peter has just finished the School Certificate Examinations. One day while Peter and John Chan, his neighbour and classmate, walk down Granville Road, they bump into Mr Lam, one of their old teachers.  Mr. Lam has started a Youth Club in a church hall on Queen’s Road East for some poor boys in Wanchai.  He invites both of them and their two classmates, Thomas To and Hermes Pang, to a 5-day Summer Camp at the Silver Mine Camp in Lantau to help him take care of the boys. 

At the camp, the four friends are uncertain about  their leadership over the boys who swear a lot and have obviously led very rough lives.  One morning, Mr Lam brings the boys to swim at the beach.  Peter and his friends are asked to look after four boys each, but Peter falls asleep while on duty and is woken up by the  youngest boy in his group who tells him that Chan Chi Wai, a nine year old boy, is drowning about fifty yards from the shore.  Peter tries to rescue Chi Wai but he finds it hard to fight against the undercurrent.  Eventually, Mr Lam comes to the rescue.  Peter stays in bed for the rest of the day, and as he cools off on the veranda that evening, he sees a strange boy stealing vegetables and gives chase, eventually catching him near the Ngong Ping peak. 

Peter discovers that the boy is a refugee from Fatshan where he lost his family in a great flood.  The boy had sought help from his uncle in Happy Valley, but when he realized that his uncle was also  living in a  squatter hut, he  decided to stay on Lantau, alone.  He does not want to be dragged back to the city where people will try to reform him and make him a good citizen; instead, he wants freedom.  Peter is undecided about reporting  the incident to Mr Lam. 

At the Ngong Ping Monastery, Peter is inspired by the monks who chant in a half-forgotten language, and he realizes that there are many ways of living.  Mr Lam would not understand people who do not choose his way of living, and he would not understand the boy living in the wild.  (FC)


All entries and data copyright © The Hong Kong English Literature Database