ESU/ Fringe Club Play-Reading for November
Date, time and place: 20 November 7.30 at Colette’s
The play this month:
The George Wong Case by Peter Jordan - a Hong Kong history play
This month we are very fortunate to have Peter Jordan, the dramatist and director of the play, to introduce his original play, set in post-Japanese occupation Hong Kong. George Wong was a garage mechanic who had lived for a time in America, where he said he experienced racial discrimination. He renounced his American citizenship, and returned to Hong Kong. In 1941, the Japanese invaded the colony, and Wong was recruited to the Kempeitai, the Japanese military police. After the British returned at the end of the war, Wong was put on trial for treason. He claimed that he was only a car driver for the Japanese, but many witnesses accused him of taking part in interrogation, torture and murder. One woman even physically attacked him in court, and his wife and children were pelted with stones outside the court.
Wong’s defence lawyer, Lo Hin-shing, argued that as the British had lost control of Hong Kong, they could no longer protect its inhabitants and, therefore, they could not expect their continued allegiance. He also made a distinction between allegiance and loyalty, arguing that Wong could switch allegiance to the Japanese in order to survive, but could still remain loyal to the British. Furthermore, as Wong was not a British citizen, he could not be tried, let alone guilty of treason.The case raised issues of loyalty, allegiance, justice and, most importantly, identity. As there was no physical evidence of Wong’s guilt, the judge had to decide the case on the basis of the witnesses’ evidence. It is possible he may have been biased, as he had also been imprisoned and tortured during the Japanese occupation. Similarly, defence counsel Lo Hin-shing may also have had an ulterior motive, as he too worked for the Japanese during the occupation.The script is mostly based on South China Morning Post trial reports and one or two other documents.
All are welcome.
Facilitators: Mike Ingham & Julian Quail (Lingnan University)
Guest Facilitator/ Introducer: Peter Jordan (City University, H.K.)