The Dragon and the Crown by Stanley S.K. Kwan and Nicole Kwan Hong Kong University Press HK$250 If a memoir is how one remembers one's own life, the account of the experiences of Stanley S.K. Kwan in The Dragon and the Crown is not just a collection of personal recollections. It says volumes about the collective memory of Hong Kong Chinese amid the sea change since the 20th century. Kwan was born in 1925 to a traditional Chinese family, educated in, and had a colourful career in colonial Hong Kong before emigrating to Canada in 1984. Assisted by his niece Nicole, Kwan recounts how his life and that of his family were changed by events on the mainland before and after the founding of the People's Republic and, also importantly, the ups and downs in Hong Kong straddling the 1997 changeover. Kwan's family was in the yinbao business, known to foreign businessmen as native banks. His family suffered misfortune when political turmoil hit southern China in the 1920s. Events on the mainland not only changed Chinese history but also had a tremendous impact on Kwan and his family. Driven by patriotism during the Sino-Japanese war, Kwan joined the Nationalist army, working as an interpreter for American troops in southwest China. When the Chinese Communist Party took power in 1949, two of his brothers, like many intellectuals in Hong Kong, were inspired by the birth of the new China and returned to the mainland to play a part in the nation's reconstruction. Kwan chose to stay in Hong Kong. He became a 'China watcher' at the American Consulate General before joining the Hang Seng Bank - which he describes as a local bank with Chinese characteristics - in 1962 until his retirement in 1984. While recounting his experiences of launching a weekly Chinese newsletter that was instrumental in building ties between the bank and overseas Chinese, Kwan gives a first-hand account of the unveiling of the Hang Seng Index in 1969, which was designed as the 'Dow Jones Industrial Average of Hong Kong'. Being a close adviser to Sir Quo-wei Lee, one of the key figures behind the Hang Seng Bank's success and Hong Kong politics in the 1980s, Kwan sheds some light on the art of political balancing by Lee while sitting on the Legislative Council as an appointed member. Meanwhile, the Hang Seng Bank itself became the target of China's united front in the 1970s. And when the question of 1997 was on the agenda, Kwan found himself increasingly drawn into the interplay between the communist authorities and the business sector. His personal experience of being targeted in the Chinese government's united front game plan is illuminating and interesting. Kwan's patriotic feelings faced a reality check when he took what he describes as a pilgrimage to new China via Macau in 1973. It was a reunion with mixed feelings of joy and sadness when Kwan met his two brothers in Guangzhou. Both had survived - not without harm - after being persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. Rehabilitated later, his brothers have remained on the mainland. His brothers' political ordeal made itself felt when Kwan faced the question of whether to stay or leave when the fate of Hong Kong after 1997 was in the balance in the early 1980s. His painful journey to a decision, recollection of scenes of departure at Kai Tak airport, his arrival in Toronto and the experience of leading a new life in Canada have invoked the memories of many Hong Kong people. Months after he watched the live television broadcast of Hong Kong's handover ceremonies in Canada, Kwan visited Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen; he was amazed by the breathtaking changes. But after years of living in a democratic and free society, he says the mainland has a long way to go in human rights despite its economic success. While some have acted on the Chinese saying 'fallen leaves return to their roots', Kwan has chosen to follow another saying: 'fallen seeds take root where they land'. These seemingly contradictory words of wisdom aptly describe the choices Kwan and his family made. They also illustrate the perennial conflict in Chinese in Hong Kong and overseas as they search for their identity.