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Sunday, 1 May 2016

Mrs Wu's painting

A late entry for this week, but better late than never! Sepia Saturday prompt #328 shows two women carrying a painting they are saving from destruction. I saved this fine watercolour painted by my Chinese friend Yin-Sun's mother Mrs Wu from being given away to charity a few years ago.  Mrs Wu had given it to my mother Jean many years earlier and she treasured it, but when she was downsizing to a retirement village it would have had to have been given away had I not been there to rescue it and give it a new home. It now hangs on our living room wall, beautiful and elegant in that uniquely Chinese style. 

Mrs Wu and her husband came to Australia from Taiwan in the 1960s and I met Yin-Sun when we attended primary school together as 8 year olds in Canberra in 1961. His father worked with what at the time was the Chinese Embassy but he must have encountered what he felt were some insurmountable personal difficulties there, because sad to say he committed suicide the following year, leaving Mrs Wu to bring up their two sons Yin-Sun and his brother Yu-Sun. My classmates and I knew only that Yin-Sun was not at school for some time, and then came back again. I believe it was only many years later that Yin-Sun was able to discover the possible reasons for his father's death.  It must have been very very hard for Mrs Wu in a strange country, speaking little English, but she had good friends in the Chinese community to help her and her boys did well career-wise, becoming an IT specialist and an optometrist respectively. Mrs Wu painted beautifully and was also an avid Majong player. The boys quickly became Aussies and translated for their mother when necessary.

 Yin-Sun moved to California to work with IBM in the 1970s and married there. He and his wife were divorced after some ten years and we lost contact with him for a while afterwards. Sadly his brother Yu- Sun fell victim to stomach cancer when only a young man in his 30s. He left a son, born posthumously, to whom Yin-Sun was a loving uncle.  Mrs Wu survived into her 90s but suffered from dementia for some 10 years before her death and in the end was unable to communicate with Yin-Sun when he visited her in her care home in Adelaide.

We got back in touch with Yin-Sun in the 2000s and he stayed with us several times on his visits back to Australia, the last time being in 2011. In 2012 we were shocked to hear that he himself had been found to have invasive cancer, which claimed him in just 3 months, aged 59.

 I'm really glad to have this painting and a few photos and other mementoes to remember the Wu family in happier times.

Happy times: l-r Yin-Sun, Mrs Wu, Yu-Sun and Jean, in California for Yin-Sun's wedding in 1983.
R.I.P. to them all.

For more blogs inspired by this week's photo prompt, go to