作者 伊丽莎白 – 阿什利-布朗
伊丽莎白女士（Elizabeth Ashley-Brown)是U3A(The University of The Third Age Adelaide Inc)中文普通话班的成员。这个班起建于1994年，至今己有28年。她参加学习历时也十年有余。学习期间颇有心得与感触。乃将一位华裔先民 Ho Cheoh 或稱 Ho Chee （何志）先生在澳洲的生活事蹟的回忆与调查考证用英文记录下来以表达感怀之意。
Ho Cheoh 1
This is the story of a very special Chinese man who became my grandmother’s cook and household help many years ago in Perth, Western Australia. His name was Ho Chee. He was born in China towards the end of the 19th century but unfortunately, we do know exactly when he was born, what part of China he came from or even what his native language was.
这是关于一个非常特别的中国男人的故事。很多年前在西澳大利亚珀斯，他成为我祖母的厨师并照料家务。他的名字叫何杰(Ho Chee) ，出生19世紀末的中国，但遺憾的是，我们不知道他确切的出生日期，他来自中国的哪个地区，甚至他的母语是什么。
We believe he was sent to Europe during the First World War, probably as part of the Chinese Labour Corp. Sometime after the war he came to Broome in Western Australia where he worked for a number years as a pearl diver. The life of a pearl diver was very hard and dangerous in those days. The greatest risk was death or paralysis from the bends or decompression sickness. It was in fact the bends that ended his life as a pearl diver and left him with permanent paralysis in one of his legs. We can only imagine what his life was like in Broome because Cheoh never spoke munch English and we spoke no Chinese.
Sometime after the beginning of the Second World War, my grandmother in Perth needed some household and the only person who could be found for her was Cheoh who had been sent down to Perth after treatment for the bends. Thus began his association with my family, an association which would last until he died many years later.
Cheoh’s early years with my grandmother was probably difficult for both of them. He couldn’t cook or speak English and probably wouldn’t have wanted to be there anyway. She couldn’t cook either and certainly couldn’t speak any Chinese but she was determined to have someone to help in the house. Again, I can only imagine how this unusual relationship developed but from my earliest memories of my grandmother’s house, Cheoh was always there.
待续。 1729 2022/3/11
Ho Cheoh 2
Over time Cheoh became devoted to my grandmother and my sister, my brother and I were privileged to share in that devotion. My grandmother in turn took great care of Cheoh and looked after his interests at all times. When the Australian government in 1940s wanted to sent him back to China she fought them on his behalf. She argued that it would be inhumane to send him back as they didn’t know where he came from and with his paralyzed leg, he would not be able to find work to support himself. The government eventually agreed to let him stay as long as she took total responsibility for him.
隨时间的流逝，Cheoh 尽心竭力照顧我祖母，我和我的兄弟姐妹也因着祖母的关系受Cheoh的照料。作为回報，我祖母也非常照顧Cheoh ，并且时刻维护他的利益。在1940年代，澳洲政府要將他遣送回中囯时，祖母为他挺身力爭。她認为，这一决定不人道的，因为他们并不知道他来自哪里，况且他的腿瘸了，也不可能找到工作来養活自己。最终政府同意让他留下，只要祖母Cheoh在澳的生活工作全权負責。
In 1957 my grandmother married again and Cheoh went with her when she went to live on her new husband’s sheep station in South Australia. It was there I remember him best as we often went to stay with my grandmother and her husband.
1957 年，我的祖母再婚，Cheoh 隨我的祖母去了南澳大利亚，和她一起住在我袓母新丈夫的农塄里。而我对他印象最深的时候就是在那里，因为我们经常去农埸与我的祖母和她丈夫住在一起。
After my grandmother died, Cheoh stayed on the sheep station until he too died on 19 August 1968.We never knew how old he was because whenever anyone asked him how old he was he would simply say “fifty five”.
What a fascinating life he had led, one that started somewhere in China and ended up on a sheep station in South Australia. He is remembered with great love and affection and indeed admiration by the surviving members of his Australian family.
Elizabeth Ashley-Brown 2011