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Eddie Fung Book Lecture and Signing
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Eddie Fung is the only Chinese American soldier to be captured by the Japanese in early 1942 during World War II. The movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai was dramatic but this story was the real drama. Eddie was put to work on the Burma-Siam railroad as a Japanese prisoner until the Allied victory in August of 1945.

9/19/2008
When: 9/19/2008
6:30 PM
Where: 5858 S. Gessner
Houston, Jade Village Restaurant 
Contact: Debbie Chen
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Eddie Fung is the only Chinese American soldier to be captured by the Japanese in early 1942 during World War II. The movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai was dramatic but this story was the real drama. Eddie was put to work on the Burma-Siam railroad as a Japanese prisoner until the Allied victory in August of 1945. The warmth of character underscores his life. The title of the book, The Adventures of Eddie Fung: Chinatown Kid, Texas Cowboy, Prisoner of War, presents how special his life has been and the context of his adventures. 


Do not miss this book lecture and book signing by Eddie Fung and Judy Yung, his wife and co-author.  
Lecture, Book Signing, and Dinner: $20 per person at the door. 
Email James Tang at jamestang@pdq.net for reservations.  
 
Books can be pre-ordered at a discounted price of $15 per copy by contacting Debbie Chen at oca@ocahouston.org or 713-446-8430.
 
Excerpt from AsianWeek:




The Adventures of Eddie Fung: Chinatown Kid, Texas Cowboy, Prisoner of War By: John O'Malley Reading Eddie Fungs memoir, The Adventures of Eddie Fung: Chinatown Kid, Texas Cowboy, Prisoner of War, one marvels at Fungs gumption to attempt the outrageous, his ability to survive incredible hardships, and his honesty, innocence and curiosity. Fung introduces an eclectic panoply of characters that ultimately prepared him to survive the ordeal of being a prisoner of war, a guest of the Japanese, forced to work on the infamous Burmese-Siam Railroad. Born in the heart of San Franciscos Chinatown in 1922, Eddie grew up in a segregated community with clearly defined borders  Sacramento Street (south), Pacific Avenue (north), Kearny Street (east) and Powell Street (west). It was basically 12 square blocks. I didnt know the word ghetto then, but I knew that we were confined to living within these boundaries, Fung writes. Eddies ability to scrounge food for his family during the hard times of the Depression likewise helped him and his POW family survive in the prison camps. 
 
Fungs first taste of life outside Chinatown came when he was sent to summer camp at Hills Farm in Marin County. Later, Fung spent summers on a farm near Stockton. He had chores to do but still spent a lot of time wandering around the farm, which for a Chinatown kid who had always lived in crowded quarters must have seemed like heaven. These first encounters with wide-open spaces fueled his desire to escape the claustrophobic confines of Chinatown. 
 
After turning 16, Fung put his escape plan into action. He had saved up about 100 bucks (quite a sum at the time) and, because of his love of horses and nature, decided to work on a cattle ranch. Fung bought a reduced fare ticket (he could still pass as a 12-year-old) to Midland, Texas. Eventually, he found a rancher that was willing to take him on as a greenhorn (novice); starting pay was $10 a month plus room and board.  
 
Fung discovered that cowboys had a code of ethics that permeated their actions and relationships. Their word was bond, and they helped each other out in a spirit of cooperation and friendship. If someone was sick or injured, others stepped up to help out, without keeping score. This sense of camaraderie also existed in the POW camps, where ones very existence depended on looking out for each other.  
 
After almost two years of the ranching life, Fung sought new adventures and decided to join the Army. Failing to get permission to enlist from his mother (he was only 17), he joined the Texas National Guard, which was soon to be federalized in 1940.
 
As war drew near, Fungs unit was shipped out to the Philippines in December 1941. En route, Pearl Harbor was bombed, war with Japan was declared and Fungs ship was diverted to Java. Unfortunately, the Japanese soon invaded Java, and Allied forces surrendered on March 8, 1942.
 
Dutch, British and Australian POWs joined Fungs Texans in the unenviable task of carving the Burmese-Siam Railroad through the mountains and valleys of dense jungle. After many months of monsoons, tropical diseases, short rations and excruciating physical labor, Fung contemplated giving up and letting go of life. Adding up the pros and cons, the only thing that tipped the balance was my curious nature. I wanted to see what the next day would bring & so I hung in there. Fung was eventually freed from the POW camp after the war ended in 1945.
 
Almost 60 years later, Judy Yung, an American studies professor at U.C. Santa Cruz, realized Fung embodied an oral historians dream: a fantastic memory, a sense of humor and a dedication to getting the story right. The fact that they got married during the writing and editing of the book only made it better.


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