chapter  2
16 Pages

The Kwok Family After Liberation

Businesses were slowly taken over by communist forces and eventually nationalised; property was confiscated and family histories interrogated for evidence of a now-tainted connection to the West. For the Kwok family, 1949 spelled the end of their sprawling financial networks, as it was no longer possible to move people and goods across the mainland border. Soon after 1949 the Wing On company became a joint state-owned enterprise and the remaining Kwok family left for the United States or Hong Kong, while the department store continued to flourish. Daisy Kwok spent part of the war in Hong Kong, while Mavis Gock Ming returned to Sydney. In Shanghai in the late 1950s Daisy too was experiencing a stark shift in her economic fortunes. Daisy attracted a dedicated circle of students, and it was perhaps her desire to practise and polish her own spoken English that led her to socialise frequently in foreign diplomatic circles.