The Shanghai Graduate
At the age of 16, David obtained a scholarship from the University of Shanghai to read for a 1st degree in Mechanical Engineering. He left his poor hut at Kumpong Bugis and was very happy to leave Singapore and have a chance to have a better look at the other parts of the world. He studied hard and was able to graduate with flying colours. While he was doing his practical training in Shanghai, the emergence of the Red Guards forced him to flee for his life. His target was Hong Kong. A bribe of one thousand Hong Kong dollars allowed him to sneak pass the sentry and swam his way to Hong Kong which was then more crowded than Singapore. At Hong Kong, the British Secret Service recruited him to spy on the Chinese affairs. After four years of intensive training at Scotland Yard he went to Nanking where he set up his office, and his profession was Foreign correspondent. This terrific young man, 1.75 meters in height, weighing 70 kg could be the next movie star to act for James Bond. He was quiet and serious and seemed to have only one interest, to have as much as he could out of life.
” I’m David, a British correspondent from Fleet Street, London,” he introduced himself to the editor of the New China daily.
” Glad to know you, David. What can I do for you?” Mr. Tan stared at David.
” I’m working for the betterment of the Chinese,” David studied Tan from head to the feet, wondering if he should tell the truth, which means risking immediate arrest.
” We’re always looking for bright ideas from young people like you,” Tan’s words assured David that this editor might be interested to corporate.
” Please tell me Tan. What do you think of Mao Tse Tung?”
” Chairman Mao was a soldier. If the Chinese had assisted him to go to the University and study for a degree in Economics, the fate of China would have been very much better. No doubt he was the greatest soldier. But after a war, what else can the soldier do? Can you name me two countries which are led by soldiers and are yet successful ?”
David knew his chance had come. He found the person who might be willing to corporate with him. He therefore frankly went on:
” If communism can prevail in Asia, it has to be successful in China. And men are by nature selfish. I don’t see how communism can benefit majority of the Chinese. You’re Chinese and I’m Chinese, let’s work together so that the Chinese can one day walk with their heads high and therefore respected all over the world. My father had to flee China after Sun Yat Sen took over from the Manchus. The Manchus were people from the mountains. What did they know about governance? The British were unhappy with Sun and the Americans who helped him were not sincere. There was string attached. There were chaos all over China.”
” What are my rewards?”
” USD50,000 now and a monthly salary of USD3000 plus an English Cottage with a garden in the English country side all under your name.”
” How do we begin?”
“Employ me as a reporter with your Daily. Assigned me to visit the Chairman of the Nuclear Power Board and give me a column to write about all the glories about the NPB. I’ll need two months to have my works published. By then the new government will think of me as a young loyal Chinese and will allow me to travel freely within the country. I shall be doing a lot of welfare work to raise my social status.”
The chairman of the NPB was Dr.Tee, a bold headed scientist who worked his way up the ladder by whatever means he could think of. He did not believe in retribution. He said when a person dies, that will be the end. There could not be anything else. Those after lives were all nonsense as far as he was concerned. Dr.Tee disclosed that by the 1980’s, the existing nuclear plants would be able to produce all the power needed by all the major towns in China, bringing shame of the so-called advanced countries like the USA, Britain, Germany and France.
” Could you please show me round the plant? ” David enquired.
” Yes. You will leave the camera with the guard house,” Dr. Tee assured him.
It was impossible to destroy all the seven nuclear plants scattered all over China in one mission. David had two small size time bombs hidden in his shoes. The guests led by Dr.Tee visited the plant at Nanking on Monday morning. In August 1976. The sentry guard collected the passes and showed the guests to the main entrance. Dr. Tee took them round and answered all the questions raised. David sneaked to the reactor core telling the technicians he was going to pee but did not manage to find the toilet. He had enough time to stick the time bombs on the wall of the reactor and hurried off. Ten minutes later, as Dr. Tee and the group was on the way to another part of the plant, the reactor core exploded frantically. People living within 10 kilometers thought the whole world was going to an end. Debris were blown sky high. There were roadblocks everywhere. Dr.Tee and all the visitors were detained. The evening paper reported that nine capitalists were arrested for blowing up the main artery of the nation.
David thought of other plan even though he was in the jailhouse. The other eight companions slept so soundly that they could be mistaken to be dead. With the hand grenade, David threatened to blow up unless the guard open the gate. This guard had heard of suicide bombers in the Middle East and therefore did not want to take the chances. As David was dashing out of the room, he punched the guard so hard on the solar plexus that the guard dropped dead. He dashed off without looking back and after about one hour of running, he noticed there was a house on a hilltop. He slowed down, staggered over to the house and knocked on the door.
” Please hide me in your house. The police are after me,” David told Ah Yun, who was still keeping the door only slightly opened.
” Why do they want you?”
” For blowing up the nuclear plant!”
” Oh, you traitor. I’ll report to them now,” she ran out of the house towards the police station.
David fired two warning shot into the air. The girl jerked forward. David grasped at her hair and gazed into her eyes and promised to shoot everyone at home unless she offers him a hiding place for a few days.
A group of soldiers and policemen were approaching the house.
” Anybody came here about an hour ago?” the inspector asked, at the same time staring round and round the house as if someone was going to hurl a hand grenade at him.
” No, Sir, no one was here,” the farmer felt the chill ran down from the neck to the feet.
The party searched everywhere but found nothing. They marched off, obviously exhausted by now. David came down from the ceiling to assure the farmer that none of the family would be harmed and that he had to wait for a day or two to catch a train to Shanghai.
” Mr. Chin. I’ll need the corporation of your daughter. She’ll have to travel with me to Shanghai to avoid the attention of the police.”
” That can’t be done,” Chin declared, very much annoyed.
” I’ll pay you USD10,000.00,” David persuaded.
” I can’t allow my daughter to endanger her life,” Chin pretended to hesitate.
“I’ll take care of her. When we reach London, I’ll bank another USD10,000.00 into her account. That’s a lot of money. She can then come back to you and no one will ever know anything about it. That is the reason I do not intend to return to Singapore. It will attract a lot of attention. I have not the slightest intention of hurting China. Only the political principle stands on the way. You see, when majority of the foreign countries wanted to see the Chinese government going bankrupt by refusing to buy Chinese goods, we the Singaporeans kept on buying. Isn’t this a sincere gesture? “
Chin pretended to persuade his daughter but was actually forcing her as could be understood from his tone.
The night train arrived from Wuxi heading to Shanghai. Police surrounded the station. All passengers were scrutinized thoroughly one by one. David pasted a false mole on his forehead above the right eye, exactly as it appeared on his passport. He disguised as an oversea Chinese coming to China to fetch his bride. A senior immigration cast a hard look at David. David nodded at him and quickly moved forward. The train shrilled and the driver pushed the button. The fast speed and the darkness gave David a sense of security. Ah Yun was worried in the cabin. She could lose her life for collaborating with a foreign devil.
” Come, sit up and have a chat,” David studied her body carefully.
She sat up, still very afraid. David began to be ravished by her beauty. Are women more beautiful at night? She had a well-shaped figure and a voluptuous bust.
” The train won’t reach Shanghai until tomorrow night, ” David assured her.
” That doesn’t matter.”
” Ever been traveling before?”
” The first time on board a train?”
” What’s your age?”
” Educated where?”
” Nanking Girls’ High School.”
They chatted for more than an hour. Ah Yun lied down to sleep. David woke her up few minutes later. She lied there, watching the ceiling. She was healthier and better developed than an average city girl.
” Ever been in love before?”
“No suitable one.”
“What about me?”
” You are a foreign dog.”
” Yes, and a better dog.”
” Chukok gave you scholarship to study here. Why do you want to hurt the lands of your grandfathers? Before your country got independence, it was agreed that all people of Chinese origin would not be granted an International Passport. Without passports, you cannot travel overseas. Chou En Lai pitied you people and clearly announced during a meeting with overseas reporters that all overseas Chinese who could not obtain an International Passport may go to the nearest Chinese High Commission, wherever that office may be, to obtain a Chinese Passports. It was for this reason that those foreign countries offered the passports to those Chinese who happened to be born in those places. “
” I don’t like the communists because they could only bring chaos to the world. They have no sense of running a business. They are only good at polishing guns and boots.”
David pulled her up and embraced her. She did not resist. He unbuttoned her blouse and kissed her on the lip. She put her arms round him, surely a sign of approval. David gently pulled off her skirt and began to massage her calf and thigh and then her abdomen, chest, big and beautifully shaped boobs, nipples, and her neck. She was there ready for him. She would cry if David did not get on top of her. Blood flew out between her thighs. The bed was smeared with it. They went to sleep. It was dawning.
Two security men from the Railway Company were checking the passengers on board the train in the morning as instructed by the police. They questioned David as to what he was doing in China. David said he came to fetch the girl who he married yesterday. The guards wanted some concrete proof. Tears could be seen coming out from Ah Yun’s eyes. David pointed to the blood stained towel on the bed. The guards laughed and walked to the next cabin to continue their job.
For their first morning as husband and wife, David ordered four eggs, two cups of Chinese tea, two plates of onions fried with pork, and some bananas. Ah Yun ate quietly, as if some serious thing had struck her.
” What about staying at London with me?”
” Why do we stay at London? You told me you came from Singapore?”
” Yes, I’m from Singapore. But we have to hide in London for a few months. Later on I’ll take you back to Singapore. You can find a job and will be offered a Singapore PR.”
From Shanghai they flew to Hong Kong, obviously free from the dangers now. Unfortunately David received a second order to go for another mission to destroy the nuclear plant at Canton.
” Hong Kong calling London. Mr. Heath, small size shoes are very popular in China. Please airfreight two thousand pairs.”
” Wait at Kaitak airport tomorrow at 1200 noon. Our representatives will hand over the bills for you to sign,” Heath confirmed at the other end.
As arranged two men fetched David at the airport. They arrived by Air Vietnam via Singapore. The three men went to the Mandarin Hotel after a ride on the Star Ferry to Room 502 on the fifth floor. David began to sense he was trapped. The two men Chong and Wong were Chinese spies stationed in South East Asia. The robust Chong pointed a pistol on David’s neck, and moved five steps backward and shot at the bulb at the ceiling to show off his skill. The bulb shattered and pieces of glass were scattered all over the carpet of this sound proof room.
” Speak or we’ll make you do,” Chong told David.
” My shoe is hurting me, may I take it off?”
” OK, but don’t raise your hands above your waist or I’ll fire,” Chong agreed.
David bent down to pull the pin on the hand grenade and flung the shoe at the enemies and dived to the farest end of the room. The heads of the enemies were partially blown off. David cleared the dust on his body and hurried off through the emergency exit to catch the boat to Kowloon within ten minutes. The nuclear power plant was fifteen kilometers from the town. David killed one of the guards, as that guard was alone outside the gate. The corpse was dumped into the nearby drain. The other guard happened to march out from the main building. David fired the .2 pistol at the guard and pulled the body away to avoid attention. He moved very carefully wondering if this was to be his last few minutes to live. The two nuclear scientists were in their air-conditioned room. They noticed David was there and told him to get out since not even the guards can be there. David apologized and went off, but not before planting the time bomb on the wall near the reactor core. That was late evening. At 10.00 pm the second nuclear plant explosion shocked the whole world. Foreign critics intimated that he Chinese nuclear scientists did not know what they were doing.
All foreigners in China were detained and questioned. No radio communication with the outside worlds was allowed. David was on board a bus when the armed forces investigators arrested him.
“You look like that wanted guy, ” the tough private told him.
” I’m a sales man from London,” David argued.
David was brought to the 30th Battalion in Canton.
Col. Chua studied him thoroughly, from the boot to the head.
“You are the man. What have you got to say now? We the communists won’t kill. We’ll have some fun out of you. Look at this British spy of yours. We caught him in 1964 and cut off both his hands.” The colonel stared at David.
Two executioners were called in. The chain saw was still running. David pretended to faint. They propped him up and revived him.
” I must take off the shoes. I prefer to die without the shoes on,” David begged.
” Do anything you live. My guards are around with guns. If you move away from that spot, they will open fire, but only to bring you down,” the colonel laughed scornfully.
David pulled the pin and flung the shoe at the guards and the colonel. Col. Chua was thrown out of his armchair. For the first time in his life, Col. Chua realized that he was not invincible.
David dived towards the guard and snatched the gun from him to pump some leads into the colonel to make sure he would die. To avoid the approaching guards, David had to run upstairs to the tenth floor and then slid down to the street by using the sewage pipes. He was lucky because the military jeep was there with only one guard. He opened fire and instantly killed the guard. He went to the driving wheel and sped off, pieces of leads could be heard still dropping at the back of the jeep.
David dumped the jeep into a valley and hurried back to Victoria hotel where Ah Yun was waiting. The couple boarded a Royal Thai Airline and spent the honeymoon at Pattaya before leaving for London.
At Pattaya, two Chinese Nationals wanted the Thai authorities to deport the couple to China. They were under arrest by the Thai police. It seemed death was the only sure thing to happen to the loving couple. However, just as the couple was to board a plane heading to Shanghai, a couple of representatives arrived from London with a British passport for David and one for Ah Yun, proving beyond any doubt the young couple was innocent.
As David and Ah Yun arrived in London, they were very surprised to see Ah Yun’s father and mother waiting for them at the airport. They were British citizens.
The truth was two tourists assisted the old couple to leave China, knowing that death within the next few days was surely to occur to them.
Copyright © 2003 Poh Tiong Ho