YOUNG YUK FOON PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lachlan   
Tuesday, 31 July 2007

aka Young Yee Fong

1911-2002

POLL TAX CERTIFICATE - When he arrived in 1922 he paid the £100 Poll Tax which is recorded at the Office of Ethnic Affairs here.

POLL TAX CERTIFICATE - When his father, Young Sai Sue arrived in 1899 he paid the £100 Poll Tax which is recorded at the Office of Ethnic Affairs here.

CV

Name

Young Yuk Foon

Alias

Young Yee Fong

1911

Born

Guangzhou City (Canton), Guangdong Province China

Home

Ping Dee Village, Jung Shing County

Guangdong Province, China

Father

Young Sai Sue (first arrived NZ 1899)

Mother

Ng Mee Yee

1922

First arrived NZ

With a younger brother Young She King

1935

Departed NZ

for China to marry Lowe Soo Yee

1936

Returned to NZ

Japanese War breaks out

Daughter Born Young Sui Har

1939-45 World War II

Partner in fruit shop Kilbirnie, Wellington

1947

Departed NZ

China

1948

Son born

Young Sui Sang (Steven)

1949

Son born

Young Sui Fai (Leslie)

1950

Returned to NZ

Wellington

1951

Family moved to NZ

Re-united

1954

Daughter born

Young Sui Ling (Lillian)

1952

Moved to Levin

Market gardening

1975

Retired

1990

Moved to Wellington

To be with some family

2002

Died

Wellington, interred Levin

AS REMEMBERED BY HIS SON

Young Yuk Foon's outward life was that of a decent, capable individual typical of his generation. He worked hard, was a respected member of the Chinese community, was a helpful, friendly neighbour, dealt with others openly, kindly, fairly and honestly, provided more than adequately for his family, was a responsible father, lived to see his children prosper and bring up their own families, enjoyed his grandchildren and had a long, peaceful retirement.

Yet, Young Yuk Foon also had a deep inner life that even his family only glimpsed. His intellect was remarkably sophisticated for someone of his generation who had to leave school at thirteen. He read widely and with understanding, and took a keen interest in world affairs. His intelligence would have equipped him for any of the professions that his children and grandchildren were to attain: engineer, professor, doctor, lawyer, optometrist. All he lacked was the opportunity.

That he could never apply his fine mind and sophisticated understanding to any worthy challenge was a misfortune shared by many of his generation, refugees from a collapsing society to one that was kindly but alien. Instead, he expressed it in the small ways that his narrow opportunities allowed: in designing and making clever implements for his market gardening business, in adding interesting and appealing features to the houses that he helped build for his family, in music and artistic decoration. In this way, he raised the aspirations of his children and grandchildren, even as he worked diligently to provide them with a decent life and the opportunities that he never had. They remember and honour him today with respect and gratitude.

LESLIE YOUNG - 25 JULY 2002


AS REMEMBERED BY A GRANDDAUGHTER

I would like to share some memories on behalf of the grandchildren about my grandfather, Ah Ya.

When my sister and I were young, we stayed with Ah Ma and Ah Ya in Levin. I remember sitting at a low, makeshift bench in the kitchen and making knawl kuk. Ah Ya gave me my own piece of dough, which I dropped on the floor several times before fashioning it into a pair of scissors and having it baked. More generally though, Ah Ya was the intermediary between Ah Ma and having to eat more food. With our limited Cantonese, Ah Ya would stick up for us and tell Ah Ma that we were full and didn't need to eat any more.

I remember that Ah Ya was really good at making things, particularly in wood. When we stayed in the holidays, I would periodically check what Ah Ya was doing in his shed. It was a bit of a mystery, but wooden creations popped up throughout the house. I think Ah Ya might have had an endless supply of light blue paint because this was the colour everything seemed to be painted.

I have Ah Ya to thank for our first pets - goldfish. After campaigning long and hard, mum decided we were allowed some goldfish. I remember catching three fish from the big pond at Levin and taking them home in the bucket in the car. Ah Ya of course had countless goldfish, three ponds and a tank inside. I remember being proud that our goldfish were from Levin, which was much better than any pet shop fish.

When Ah Ya moved to Wellington, he brought some goldfish too. He became less mobile and spent most of his time sitting in his chair reading. When he moved to Johnsonvale Home, I would visit him taking the newspaper. I think he was always thinking, and sometimes making very precise calculations. One time at Johnsonvale, from his bed he instructed me to move his chair a few centimetres one way and then the other, until it was perfectly positioned. He then told me to draw a circle on the lino around the base of the chair leg so that if the nurses moved the furniture, he would know where to place it.

At his last Home, Cashmere, Ah Ya was a lot quieter. He had long given up reading the paper, so when I visited I would occasionally take him flowers. It struck me that he might never have received so many flowers in his life, but he didn't seem to mind.

Goodbye Ah Ya. Thank you.

NICOLA YOUNG - 25 JULY 2002



RETURNING TO CHINA

Young Yuk Foon never returned to China after 1950 but...

A hundred years after his father, Young Sai Sue, arrived in New Zealand in November 1899, two of Young Yuk Foon’s grandchildren are studying and preparing to return to possible careers in China.

Andrew Young is studying Modern Standard Chinese and Law at University of Queensland.

Here he has been asked to Compare and contrast the evolution of legal consciousness in China with that experienced in Australia.

Here he gives his view on the Constitutional significance of two recent cases decided in the High Court of Australia.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 July 2007 )
 
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