Interview with Jessica Poon from Wild Swans


Jessica Poon, one of our community chorus members in Wild Swans, recently spoke to Spot On magazine about Chinese culture in London and being part of Wild Swans.

What are the highlights of Chinatown for you? Perhaps the shops/restaurants or secret gems you’d recommend to tourists?

I particularly like the bubble tea shops dotted around Chinatown, such as ‘Bubblology”. My favourite place for bubble tea is probably at the diner opposite Leicester Square tube station. The Japanese ‘Puikura’ photo booths in Little Newport Street, which allow you to take memento photos of yourself and your friends in the form of A5 sheets of decorated photos. I highly recommend it, especially as a great way to commemorate a day well spent in London.

Have you ever taken part in Chinese New Year in London? Can you tell me a little bit about your experiences of the event?

I was very young when I was first taken to Chinese New Year celebrations in London– from what I can recall, it was unsurprisingly noisy and congested, but compensated with its vivacious dancing, larger-than-life props, and costumes; the traditional dragon dance in particular is something I always associate with the high spirits of New Year festivities.

What one lasting impression of Chinatown and the Chinese community in London would you like visitors to London during the Olympic Games to take away?

That London is a welcoming city which brings the old and the new together alongside a variety of different cultures; of which the Chinese community is one aspect that contributes to the buzz of London life. I hope that visitors will take advantage of all the great facilities and services that Chinatown has to offer, and am sure that everyone attending the Olympics will make a number of lifelong friends.

Can you tell us about your involvement in Wild Swans, including your feelings on the book and its importance in today’s culture?

I’m one member in a Community Chorus of 20 others in Wild Swans; we populate the stage and represent a sample of China in one small space, in effect providing a feeling of claustrophobia for the audience! For me, the significance of Jung Chang’s book is phenomenal, for its impact on the Western world in publicising the atrocities of the Mao era as well as being fundamentally family orientated, and concerned with the extremities of social change that China has undergone in the last 60 years or so. What I also appreciate is the fact that Wild Swans tells her story through the eyes of three generations of women, which is quite unconventional considering that the balance of power in Chinese society seems to rest largely with men.

Interview by Rebecca Jenkins for Spot On magazine. 

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