All Roads Led to Shanghai by Clio Calodoukas

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An intriguing tribute to a family and a community likely well outside most readers’ experiences.


In my book All Roads led to Shanghai I try to give my readers a glimpse of an environment so different from present times when, as a young girl during the 1930s and 1940s, I lived in the International Settlement of Shanghai. The scenes I witnessed were unique to this city; some scenes filled me with wonder and delight, but others with sadness and disquiet. I grew up in an era when the world was in turmoil as dynasties fell, revolutions erupted and two World Wars displaced millions of people from their homelands. Shanghai offered people a sanctuary. A thriving financial centre, governed by the British, the city was a community made up of many nationalities. Entry visas were not required and this allowed thousands of refugees to descend upon this city, amongst them Russians fleeing Bolshevik forces, as well as European Jews escaping Nazi persecution. These refugees, having lost their homes and most of their possessions, had to quickly learn to stand on their own feet at a time when there were hardly any governments or charities interested in their welfare. They persevered and created a society that was diverse, vibrant and colourful. As the city grew in financial dominance its inhabitants increased substantially over the years when rural Chinese left their farms and came to Shanghai to seek work in its factories.
I write of my family who were also impacted by these central events of history. My White Russian grandparents, who had to flee from Vladivostok with their two daughters, and had sought refuge in China; my Greek father, who had left Asia Minor just prior to the calamity that befell the Greeks in that region, where thousands perished in death marches, amongst them his parents.
Meanwhile, China was going through its own political upheavals. The fall of the Ch’ing Dynasty had brought about a phase of enormous transition and a growing awareness of China’s subjection to foreign demands. A republic was formed but struggles ensued between Right and Left factions of the Kuomintang. In 1937, a dominant Japan took advantage of China’s political instability, invaded China and occupied Shanghai and a great part of the country. World War II followed and it brought further suffering to China’s inhabitants. The end of WWII saw a re-emergence of hostilities between Left and Right factions ending in a Communist takeover of the country, when all foreign concerns and foreigners in general were no longer welcomed. All foreigners were forced to depart from Shanghai, a city they loved and had called home for many decades.
It is within the context of these events that my family’s story unfolded. We lived in dangerous but memorable times. I am grateful to my father for giving us a good and stable life in spite of the circumstances surrounding us. His positive outlook and good entrepreneurial skills managed to cushion our family from the many political and financial obstacles that constantly impacted on our lives.

About Clio Calodoukas

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The Author hopes you enjoy reading her memoirs. Looking back on her life she felt that she had a story to tell. She grew up in a unique part of the world. Her family's history of dispossession is one that affected thousands of people in the first part of the 20th Century. It makes for interesting reading for those who are unaware of the events that occurred at that time. The Author is now a mother and grandmother and lives quietly with her husband, Jason, in a beachside suburb of Sydney, Australia. She is now retired, after several decades of employment working as an administrator in the arts. Her role in the arts, firstly working for Opera Australia and later for a classical music agency, brought her into contact with famous artists. She was privileged to attend many exciting performances and form friendships with singers, conductors and directors, acclaimed in Australia and internationally - amongst them the late Dame Joan Sutherland and her husband, the conductor Richard Bonynge. Many decades of meeting talented and interesting people in the world of music has made her realize how fortunate she has been in her life.Accompanied by her husband, Clio has made several trips overseas to Great Britain, Europe and the United States where she was extremely happy to meet again her friends from Shanghai. In 1995 Clio and her sister returned to Shanghai - an emotional visit for both of them.Clio hopes you enjoy reading her book. She has created a blog and would love to have a conversation with her readers, especially those who have lived in China. Each person's experience and memory of events is so different
Published June 19, 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 271 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel.
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on Apr 04 2013

An intriguing tribute to a family and a community likely well outside most readers’ experiences.

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