Children's Fiction




Lawrance, Richard. (1990a). Dragons in the Harbour. Hong Kong: Longman.

This is a story about Chin Chee a boy whose life is devastated during the seventeen-day defence of Hong Kong against the Japanese invasion of 1941.  Chin Chee’s father and his friends mock him because he always sees things that others do not, for instance dragons in the harbour.  No one believes him except his youngest sister, ten year old Chin Ning.  His good friend, Private Ovens, of the Middlesex Regiment, who teaches him English, finds out that the dragon is actually a Japanese submarine lying offshore from  the Star Ferry pier and Kowloon Railway Station.

While Japanese planes bomb Kowloon,  Chin Chee helps Private Ovens transfer goods between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.  Kowloon is captured by the Japanese on the morning of December 13th. The subsequent bombings in Wanchai kill most of  Chin Chee’s  family.  His youngest sister survives but his older brother Chin Tai goes missing.  Hong Kong Island is eventually captured by the Japanese, and Private Ovens is also killed.  Chin Chee then discovers that Chin Tai steals money and jewellery from dead bodies in order to survive. While Chin Chee and his sister are hiding on Mount Kellett, gunfire from an aircraft kills Chin Ning.  A disconsolate Chin Chee wants to commit suicide. He leaves behind all his belongings, puts some flowers into his trouser pocket, picks up his sister’s body and begins to climb  to the top of Victoria Peak. The ending is left ambiguous. (FC)


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