|Country of Origin
|Ha Wang Chun, Wang Sui Heung, Toishan, China
|Date of Birth
|Year of Arrival in Australia
|Peter Liu OAM
The remarkable stories of Lew Nam and his son Dr Eddie Liu OAM, OBE, Hon.D. Qld Univ. Part 3
Lew Nam was not an educated man but an ounce of intuition is worth a pound of tuition!
Confucius said: ‘Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.’
Lew Nam ventured out to Australia at considerable personal risk and immediately saw its beauty – its prolific opportunities, and its potential to secure quality lifestyle standards for future generations compared with the abject poverty of his homeland. He reacted against the brutal pessimism that was ubiquitous in China and proved beyond reasonable doubt it’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest!
Lew Nam arrived alone, without money, without English language skills, and without a job. All that he had in his possessions were the ability to learn fast and the discipline to save. Benjamin Barber, an eminent sociologist, once said, ‘I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures . . . I divide the world into learners and non-learners.’ The Chinese sage, Tze-sze, said, ‘To be fond of learning is to be near to knowledge.’
It was not about self-interest as far as Lew Nam was concerned. He had a passion for learning because he wanted his sons and grandchildren to climb to previously unscaled heights of achievement in ‘The Lucky Country.’ Lew Nam envisioned himself as being the conduit for future generations to rise above mediocrity in his domicile of adoption – Australia.
As a society in Australia today, we tend to value natural, effortless accomplishment over achievement through unrelenting effort. Society endows its sporting and business heroes with superhuman abilities that propelled them inevitably toward their greatness. Australians are not alone in this view of the world. The Americans and French also disdain effort! Pierre Chevalier, a high-profile French businessman said, ‘We are not a nation of effort. After all, if you have savoir-faire (a combination of know-how and cool), you do things effortlessly.’ Whilst Lew Nam and his sons acknowledged endowment, they embraced good old-fashioned effort in the firm belief, no matter what your ability, maximum and overwhelming effort is what ignites that ability and converts it into accomplishment!
Effort is fortune’s right hand.
For Lew Nam, it was an onerous financial burden paying for two sons to travel to Australia by ship and to attend Christian Brother’s colleges both in Hong Kong and Melbourne. The following generation pushed even further with effort in providing tertiary education for their children at Australian and American universities. The fourth generation of the family is following the same time-proven path, that is, exerting staggering levels of personal effort and total commitment to learning!
Eddie was born in the Year of the Water Dog. Occupying the 11th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Dog symbolizes character traits such as loyalty, compatibility and kindness. Dogs frequently offer kind words and useful advice, always listening and lending a shoulder when necessary. Dogs often become deeply involved in others’ lives. Ensuring others are happy is more important to the Dog than wealth, financial or business success. Dogs are determined individuals – always wanting to master a new subject before moving on and always finishing what they start. Dogs value friendships; they’re loyal, honest, trustworthy and reliable and have strong morals and ethics.
At age 16, Eddie arrived on the S.S. Tanda after a long journey for an unaccompanied teenager unable to speak English fluently. Eddie, like other passengers, suffered from seasickness caused by the lashing, seasonal typhoons and turbulent open seas. Incidentally, on the ship’s menu, there was only one Chinese dish – Yeung Chow Fried Rice. To this day, some seventy years later, Eddie says that Yeung Chow Fried Rice is one of his all-time favourites! He went back to Hong Kong for three months in 1939 on the S.S. Tanda and stayed with his mother who lived at their commercial building in Tak Ku Ling Road, Kowloon. Little did Eddie know at the time he would never, ever see his mother again when he left. She was tragically killed just a few years later as a result of the Japanese inflicted carnage.
The SS Taiping -named after the Chinese word Tai-Peng meaning everlasting peace
On December 6th 1939, Eddie sailed back to Australia on the SS Taiping to further his studies at Parade College in Melbourne. This was the only ship departing for Australia at that time but initial enquiries by Eddie revealed the ship was full to capacity with British evacuees fleeing the escalating second Sino-Japanese War in Shanghai.
See Part 4.