Mary Poppins meets Ah Wong

It may surprise some to know – I sure was – that P. L. Travers (the Australian-born author of the Mary Poppins stories) also wrote an interesting and for her times sympathetic account of her childhood association with a Chinese cook. 

Ah Wong takes care of the children, rejects their efforts to convert him to Christianly and saves all his money. Travers was ignorant as to why he might do this so earnestly merely believing he was saving to return to China rather than perhaps the more likely supporting relatives in China. The story ends with a chance reunion in Ah Wong’s old age as he is taking ship in Sydney to finally return to China. (See No. 14, No. 21, No. 29 and No. 31)

It seems this was only republished in 2014 as it was originally produced as a Christmas gift, though with 500 copies there were plenty to go round. A fascinating addition to our Chinese Australian literature in which distasteful medicine is dispensed without sugar!

See also No. 11 for more Chinese Australian literature.