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Volume 4 Number 2
May 2002

Editor's Note

Much thanks again to all the contributors to the newsletter. This issue is highlighted by the first instalment of Anne Ozorio’s account of Rosary Hill during the war. Thanks also go to Fatima Renfro for her reflections and report on her exchange student visit to Macau.

                The AGM was well-attended and our membership continues to grow thanks to the hard work of our President and executive committee and all our committees in trying to make our Casa meaningful and very much a part of our social and family lives.

                Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in our Casa and enjoy the Mother’s Day theme of our May 11th meeting.

                Remember to bring your lawn chairs to the annual Picnic!


Visit of Parliamentarians from Acores.

We were invited by the Portuguese Consul to attend a Lunch on 28th April at the Club House of Associacao do Divino Espirito Santo, in Surrey, to welcome seven Parliamentarians from Acores. Our President and Secretary attended. The Delegation was only in Vancouver for a day and proceeded to Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg.

The musical blare of trumpets and drums of the musicians, all attired in red and gold, preceded the Consul Dr. Pedro Sampiao and his wife and the Parliamentarians into the Hall in which there must have been some 200 guests. The Consul warmly welcomed the Acores Delegation, and spoke briefly about the 50th Anniversary of the emmigration from Acores, and possible festivities to celebrate the occasion.

The Representatives of the Acores Delegation in return expressed their appreciation and pleasure in being here. They were impressed at the warmth of the people and thanked everyone for attending the Reception. A nice lunch was served after which we were entertained by a Group of Portuguese Dancers, and later followed by the Children, gaily dressed in their Portuguese Customs, to give an exhibition of their talents.

It was a nice afternoon well spent. 

Dates to remember

      11th May, Saturday -  Meeting at 2 pm

        Mothers’ Day Tea @ 3 pm. followed by music & dancing.

        Be sure to be there and take home a Souvenir.


       15th June, Saturday - Annual Family Picnic at Queen’s Park

         11.30 am to dusk.

          Fun day for the children and music and games for all.

          Members $5.00 and Friends $6.00


        13th July, Saturday - Meeting @ 2pm.  It’s time for information on new  developments.


        14th September, Saturday -  Meeting @ 2 pm.  Come and meet old friends and new members, and enjoy the refreshments.


       9th November, Saturday - Meeting @ 2 pm.  It’s always a joy to get together.

         It’s Social Time after the meeting.


        All Meetings will be held at the Community Room in Metrotown, Burnaby.

          Further Special Events will be advised in due course. 


 Memories of Rosary Hill
By Anne Ozorio

December 8th 1941 was the second Sunday in Advent.  People should have flocked to church for early communion, followed by a hearty, leisurely lunch with relatives and friends.  Early that Sunday morning, however, the Japanese attacked.  The day before, Saturday, the men had been working in their offices.  This Sunday, instead of resting, they reported for battle duty and never went back.  By Christmas many were dead and others imprisoned.  Suddenly an entire community was bereft of fathers, brothers, sons and husbands.

The Japanese occupation was harsh.  There are horrific accounts of atrocities and hardship, of homes being destroyed, women raped, people being killed on the streets for no reason at all.  Overnight, many people became refugees.  With most wage earners called to war, many families had no means of support.  In the prisoner of war camps, the men could at least count on food and shelter, however meagre that might be.  Outside camp, their families had to struggle on as best they could.  Because the majority of the men in Hong Kong Volunteers came from stable, middle class backgrounds, their families were in no position to suddenly adapt to abject poverty.  Women and children, who'd known a sheltered life, were suddenly, savagely, destitute, their anxieties about their men compounded by the sheer horror of having to struggle on and survive without support.

Were it not for the Red Cross, the community could well have collapsed.  At first this assistance took the form of distributing cash allowances.  However, the scale of the problem was such that rising costs and deteriorating conditions soon made this inadequate. It was then suggested it might be safer for dependants to live communally, much in the same way as those in internment camps like Stanley.  The alternative, for many, was starvation. When people arrived in camp, they had already suffered months of deprivation. On any given day, there were 50 hospital cases and 100 outpatients, or roughly one in five inmates, in the camp clinic, many suffering from malnutrition.

St. Albert's Convent, at 43 Stubbs Road, had been built as a seminary in 1936 for the Dominican Order but because of the Spanish Civil War it had never been fully occupied.  It was beautifully situated in the hills among pine trees, the main building enclosing a large courtyard.  Although it was "a healthy district reasonably safe from bombardment" it had been the scene of fighting although it was designated a field hospital, and part of it was damaged. One of the more bitter battles in the fall of Hong Kong had been fought at Wong Nei Chong Gap, just a short distance away, and it was also the scene of a massacre of prisoners of war.  The women knew this, indeed some of them had lost husbands there, and knew that not all the bodies had been found.

Internment may not have been compulsory, but refusing to enter camp meant that all allowances would cease. These women may not have been incarcerated but they were prisoners nonetheless. They had no choice.  From the start it was made clear that the camp would be Spartan, and that only the destitute need apply. Thus, no fewer than 370 people preferred to forgo Red Cross help altogether rather than be interned.

By October 1943 there were 664 inmates, of whom 294 were children below 14 years of age. Only 40 men were included, many of  whom were boys over 14.  This was effectively a women’s camp, teeming with young children.

A census taken in November that year showed that there were 182 persons of Portuguese extraction, 84 Chinese, 128 British-by-marriage, and 215 Eurasians.  Also included in the camp were destitute third nationals who had no means of support, including 6 Iranians and 11 West Indians. Most were related to the men of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps, and others were non-white dependents of British servicemen.

The "Notice to Participants" issued to potential internees warned that internees needed "sporting spirit to make the best of it so that things should not be too unbearable" and that "scandal mongers, chronic trouble makers etc. will be firmly dealt with".  From time to time, inmates were issued warnings that anyone spreading "rumours" about poor conditions would be asked to leave. Women coming into camp didn't need to bring furniture although they had to provide their own bedding, towels, clothing, crockery and cutlery. They were also encouraged to bring useful items such as books, thermos flasks and sewing machines.


 It’s Spring Again!
By Margie Rozario

 Yes! It’s Spring!  The warm breeze blew pretty flowers into the Hall of the Holy Family Church, and the air within was electrified with joy and laughter from the 130 members and friends that were assembled for a dinner treat of ‘Cozido’ and two varities of ‘Minchi” - ‘ Sutate’  e ‘Caril’, and a vegetable dish of ‘couve e linguica.’  As usual, the desserts were plentiful and delicious ‘ a la Filho Macau’.

             It was indeed a Casa Family Gathering, from 7 yr. old Michael Haslam to 101 yr. old Great Grandpa Humberto Pires.  The happy camaraderie in our Casa is such that some members will even join us in their wheelchairs, and for this occasion we had four dear ones who were happy to enjoy the music and participate in the dancing, not physically but spiritually.

             Furthermore, the South Sea Wind blew by and to the strains of ‘Tiny Bubbles’ our very own Hercia Delgado swayed with the ‘bubbles’ ably backed up by her husband Steven. The roar was not that of the tumbling surf but the applause and cheers that vibrated the surrounding walls.  Then on to South America and the merry line dancers ‘a huffing’ and ‘a puffing’ endlessly without even a little break.

             No wonder the day was such a success!

             Our thanks to the hardworking Social Committee, the many donors, helpers, and so on, and not forgetting the Members and Friends, especially those from Seattle without whom there would have been no party. 

Thank you all - see you again in the Fall for another Grande Festa!


 Some Reminders


*** For more info on the Vegas Trip please contact Cathy Fung  (604) 263-0180


*** CD’s by Rudy Diaz are available through our Sr. VP Anthony Leung


*** Mandy Boursicot: The Five Elements

May 1 - June 1, 2002

Diane Farris Gallery
1590 West 7th Avenue
Vancouver, BC, V6J 1S2
(south east corner of 7th and Fir)


HK Sister elected Canossian Superior General Hong Kong (SE)

Sunday Examiner, Hong Kong, March 10th, 2002

Sister Marie Remedios, a native of Hong Kong, was elected Superior General of the Canossian Daughters of Charity during their 14th general chapter being held in Rome.

At the chapter, which began on the 8th of Feb and will continue until the 25th of Mar, the election of the new Superior General was held on Friday, March 1.  During the remainder of the chapter other officers of will be decided in line with the renewal theme of "rediscovering the relevance of our Canossian Charism in the Third Millennium to the people of our times"

The newly elected Superior General, Sister Marie Remedios, is a memberof the Hong Kong and Macau Province of the community.  Of Portuguese descent, she was born in Hong Kong and was graduated from St. Mary's Canossian College.

After her Religious Profession in 1962, she served in various Canossian schools in Hong Kong for many years until she was elected provincial superior of the Hong Kong and Macau Province of her Congregation in 1985.  She served six years in that capacity.

 In June of 1992 Sister Marie Remedios was appointed the Episcopal Delegate for Education by Cardinal Wu.  She served with distinction in this capacity until May of 1996 when at the 13th general chapter of her community she was elected vicar general of the Canossian Sisters.  Since that time, Sister Marie has resided in Rome, Italy.


 Discovering My Heritage
By Fatima Natascha Renfro


            For three weeks over Christmas 2001, I was given the opportunity of experiencing first hand and up close the full flavour of the Macanese culture of Macau as a guest of Fundacao Oriente.

            I left Vancouver on December 17th arriving in Hong Kong on 18th. I stayed in Hong Kong with my relatives for two days and was taken on a grand tour of Aberdeen, Repulse Bay, Stanley, The Peak, Central, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok and of course ‘Shopping’. It was great but the crowds, the noise and the pollution make one appreciate the quality of life here in Vancouver.

             I arrived in Macau on December 20th and was picked up by my host family Mr and Mrs Herculano Ribeiro (goods friends of my parents). That weekend was the Commemoration of the 2nd ‘Anicersario do Estabelcimento da RAEM’ (2nd anniversary of creation of the Macau SAR). My host family invited me to attend the Sarau Musical E De Dancas Lainta E De Salao in celebration of the anniversary with a special opening by the Chief Executive of Macau, Edmond Ho. Stanley Ho with his wife and many famous Hong Kong and Macau Singers and Entertainers were in attendance. It was a grand night. 

            Spent a very warm and traditional Christmas, Attended Midnight Mass and had many Christmas dinners and lunches with my hosts’ very large extended  families. New Year’s was another huge dinner with everyone playing mah jong and cards. Stayed up really late and went out to eat Congee and Chu Cheun Fun for breakfast. It seems everybody in Macao loves to eat and is eating all the time. I have never eaten so much Macanese food in my life. It was great but oh so fattening!

            I had a brief meeting with the Macau branch of ‘Fundacao Oriente’. They presented me with some pamphlets and a book on Macau. Unfortunately, due to a mix-up, I did not get to meet my fellow exchange student from Sao Paulo.

            Macau, although extremely crowded and noisy by our standards, was a breath of fresh air compared to HongKong and I truly felt the mark left by our Portuguese Culture on what is a purely Asian/Chinese landscape. East really meets West in Macau and have learned to live together for 500 years. There is such a feeling of history and culture. I visited all of the main attractions old and new, too many to name here. My host family took me to Guan Jhou(Canton) where we stayed overnight and I got to see the true face of China, quite different from Hong Kong and Macau and light years different from our China Town in Vancouver. It was fascinating to have had the opportunity to compare the different cities and to appreciate their uniqueness,

            Shopping was cheaper in Macau than Hong Kong but the cheapest was in China. If only I could have bargained in Cantonese.

            In Macau, the spirits of the past speak to you at every turn. It was a very moving experience and I deeply felt the impact of the Portuguese presence there and, in turn, how China impacted our forefathers and the rich legacies left to my generation thousands of miles away.

            It really hit home when I paid my respects at the grave of my Grandmother and saw the many generations buried there. The cemetery was like a little haven, the final resting place of the Macanese right in the heart of the new Chinese Macau. Part of Portugal in Asia will live on forever. 

            All good things come to an end and on January 5th, with a sad heart I left Macau for Hong Kong. I stayed over in Hong Kong and got to see ‘Danny Diaz’ (Of the old Diaz Brothers Group) who was doing a solo act at a Hotel in Hong Kong. It was a great show.

            I left Hong Kong on Saturday January 6th. 2002.

            I wish to thank ‘Fundacao Oriente’ for allowing me to participate in this memorable trip and thank ‘Casa de Macau’ for putting my name forward and co-coordinating everything. I will never forget my excellent three weeks in Macau and I take away from it a deeper understanding of the world my parents grew up in.

             Muito Obrigada


Editor’s Postscript:

Cicero’s POW memoirs will continue next issue. 

 Please email any comments or contributions to or or fax them to (604) 737-2266 for my attention.  Thank you.

    Tony Tavares



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