In 1972, Barbara's Mother asked Roderick if he knew of anyone who would be a suitable partner for her.He introduced an acquaintance of his who was a cook and also owned a takeaway restaurant in London England.After a few meetings there was a click between them and not much later they decided to get married (11). The family would immigrate to England where they would run a Chinese takeaway restaurant in Barkingside, Ilford, a northern London suburb.

However, due to problems with the procedures of becoming a naturalized British citizen, Barbara was unable to obtain a passport (25). It was decided that Barbara and the uncle would stay in Hong Kong until Barbara had a passport and her mother went to England to arrange everything there. Her mother left for England in 1973. It finally took a year and a half before Barbara also immigrated to England.

In that period, the uncle took care of Barbara. He continued the strictly supervised upbringing with extra focus on getting good grades in school. So no friends, no parties, come home as soon as school is over (14). During this period, the uncle painted most of Barbara's portraits.

The combination of the strict rules and Barbara's character that did not want to live by the rules and the traditional paths, led her to develop a secret life. A life that brought her freedom, attention and romance through lies to her family. She also received help from her group of friends. For example, parties were organized in the afternoon so that she would be home before 6 p.m. and boyfriends were not allowed to come near her home. She enforced this rule so scrupulously strict that it was not known to many where exactly she lived (14).

This made life very complex for Barbara, who was only 14 years old. She had difficulty meeting the expectations placed on her regarding good results in school (25). In addition, she had to hide her secret life with the accompanying fear that her lies would be discovered. And her main concern was the well-being of her mother in England. On top of this all came the financial crisis in Hong Kong in 1974 following the stock market crash in England and Hong Kong. This also caused financial problems at Barbara's home. The uncle's salary was no longer sufficient for the ever-increasing cost of living (25).

The transition to England was not easy for her mother. She had no knowledge of the English language and culture. From the letters that Barbara wrote to her mother during this period it was clear that her mother complained a lot about her life in England. Barbara tried her best to reassure her and encouraged her to persevere (25). In a letter to her stepfather and her mother in October 1973, she wrote in response to a telephone call from her mother at 3 am (8 pm in London) that day.

To her stepfather (she calls him uncle Tang) she writes:  There must be something that made mother agitated and anxious. But, I didn't know how to console mother at that moment, so I decided to immediately write this letter to ask what happened and also to persuade mother to take it easy and not to get too angry. In this cruel world, we can't prevent more. Only when we don't panic in emergencies and keep a clear conscience, can we deal with it.”

To her mother she wrote: Mother you don't need to deal with those sly and inhuman wretches, because good and evil will always be rewarded, it is only a matter of time. I don't believe we will be bullied forever. So why don't we just take the short end of the stick this time? We can start it over again so long as we work hard. The most important thing is your health. Mother, you can't get too annoyed, it will hurt your health. You should not fight with Uncle Tang, because you need someone to talk about with and take care of you. I hope you can calm down, forget the unhappiness and have a happy and easy life soon.”

In the letter she wrote to mother in November 1973, it is clear that there are considerable tensions between her mother and her stepfather : “Though something happened this time caused you and Uncle (Tang) to worry all the time, hesitated and frustrated, I hope no matter what happens, you should not have any conflict with Uncle Tang. Don't just get mad and irritable. Angry and irritability will not help. As is said, with anxious mind, you can't find tactics. What is more, you know Uncle Tang does care about you very much. Sometimes he lose his temper because he had some annoyance. He didn't intend to hurt you. Try not to fight with him. everything will be all right later on. In this dog-eat-dog world, you ought to be cautious in all matters. As is said, human feelings are as thin as paper, therefore, uncle Tang, you have to be careful with everything, and counsel with mother more often.”

The political and economic situation in England also deteriorated during that period and that had a direct effect on her mother's life, as can be read in the letter to her mother dated 24 February 1974:  I learned from your letter that the national affairs in England are not looking good, but I am relieved to hear that it has not affected the economy. It is, however, a problem that there's difficulty in finding labour. I've heard that even Mother has to work in the kitchen.”

It is striking (and a pity) that Barbara does not write anything about her own life in her letters to her mother.

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