David-PoonIn 1968, my uncle David Poon swam from Mainland China to Hong Kong to escape the Cultural Revolution. At the time, the British government welcomed these “Freedom Swimmers” because they were a source of inexpensive labor for the colony. After working for a number of years in Hong Kong and sending his wages back to his family in Guangzhou, my uncle immigrated to the United States in 1976 as a political refugee. Through the next decade, he brought my family to New York City one relative at a time, first my grandmother, then my grandfather, and finally, my father and mother. In 1992, I was born, and in 1994, my sister. All of our lives in America and future generations of our family’s experiences are a product of my uncle’s seven-hour swim on that warm summer night in 1968 along the border of Hong Kong.>> Back to Many Faces