Douglas Jung was born in Victoria, British Columbia on Feb 24 1924 and passed away on January 4, 2002. He will be remembered by his legion of friends and the public as an outstanding citizen with a host of accomplishments affixed to his resume.
Douglas graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1953, having the distinction as the first Chinese Canadian veteran granted university training by the Department of Veterans Affairs. After receiving his two degrees-Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws-he was called to the B.C. Bar in 1954. He made history in 1955 by becoming the first Chinese Canadian lawyer ever to appear before the B.C. court of Appeal.
During World War II, he volunteered for special intelligence duties and was assigned to Special Operation Australia which theatre of war covered Southwest Pacific. Trained in Australia as a paratrooper, he and twelve other Chinese Canadian soldiers was destined to operate in Japanese occupied territories in China. “Oblivion” was cancel because General Douglas MacArthur wanted to have the South East Asia command to be an all American operation. Operation “Oblivion” was under the direct control of the British war ministry and it's role was under the direct command of the Prime Minister Winston Churchill. These S.O.A. members ended in Borneo and Guinea. Which four were awarded the M.M. for their war services. After demobilization from active service, Douglas joined the Canadian Army Militia, working his way up to the rank of Captain.
Douglas owned the honour as the first Member or Parliament of Chinese decent in 1957 representing Vancouver Centre. In his maiden speech in the House of Commons he urged Canada to take a leading role in serving as a bridge to the Pacific Rim Countries.
Recognized by his colleagues as an innovative M.P., Douglas was credited for the establishment of the Nation Productive Council (now called the Economic Council of Canada}. He achieved changes in the Old Age Pension regulations. Making it possible for pensioners to receive their pension while living any where in the world. Douglas also achieved the following initiatives obtained $750,000 grant to enlarge the Stanley Park Aquarium, established the Canadian Coast Guard Services, and tuition fees included as a deductible expense by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to represent Canada as Chairman of the Legal Delegation to the United Nations.
Reflecting on his term as a Member of Parliament, Douglas noted with satisfaction when Ottawa implemented the “Amnesty” program, the essence of which permitted thousands of illegal immigrants to regularize their status with the Immigration Department. This measure enable them to apply for the admission of their real families into this country. He was also instrumental in broadening regulations to permit more categories of family members to apply for resident status in Canada.
Time Magazine at that time credited him for pushing for these new progressive changes.
Douglas`s multi-faceted career also included a stint as a judge on the Immigration Appeal Board in Ottawa.
Douglas took a special interest in the welfare of Chinese Canadian veterans. In his view, the contributions made by his fellow veterans were enormous. Without their service and sacrifices, Chinese Canadian might not have received the right to vote and the community would not be as dynamic as it is today.
One of the projects he spearheaded was a visit for Chinese Canadian veterans to their ancestral homeland. During that trip, the veterans received the red carpet treatment from the Chinese government and Douglas was honoured as being the first Member of Parliament of Chinese origin in Canada. On another occasion, he brought a group of Chinese Canadian veterans to Ottawa who were well received by the Right Honourable Ray Hnatyshyn. Governor General of Canada.
Douglas’ record of public service was accorded nationwide recognition.
His profusion of honour included the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia, the highest honour a citizen can receive from the federal and the provincial government respectively. Other awards came from the Chinese Benevolent Association, S.U.C.C.S.S. Chinese Cultural Centre, Chinese Canadian National Council and Chinese Association in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Thunder Bay and Toronto, Ontario, as well as the Quebec Japanese Canadian Citizenship Association in Montreal.
The broad scope of his community involvement was evident by his ready acceptance of the role as Life President of Army Navy Air Force Veterans in Canada Unit #280, Patron of S.U.C.C.E.S.S.: Director of Vancouver Symphony. B.C.: Deputy Director of the Governor General`s 1992 Regional Celebration of Canada 125th. Anniversary. Director of the Far East Relations of the Former Parliamentarians Association and the President of Japan Karate Association of Canada which awarded him a sixth degree Black Belt.
Douglas was predeceased by his two brothers. His oldest brother Major Ross Jung served as medical officer in the Canadian Army Medical Corps and second brother Flight-Lieutenant Arthur Ernest Jung was a bomber pilot in the Royal Canadian Air-Force during World War II.
The following is an abridged text of Douglas Jung`s address at the 40th Anniversary Reunion of Army, Navy, and Air Force Veterans Pacific Command Unit 280. September 6 1987, Chinese Cultural Centre, Vancouver, B.C. Canada.
This transcript was made possible with the kind permission us Sid Chow Tan who recorded the event for Roger`s cable “Chinatown today”
"Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests and dear friends. Seven years ago in Victoria, I had the honour of welcoming those who attended the reunion of the Chinese – Canadian veterans who served Canada. Tonight in Vancouver, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of our veterans reunion.
I take pride in the knowledge that we belong to an exclusive and special club. We paid the “no – admission” fee to join this club and in fact for most of us, we even had to fight to be allowed into the armed force. From a military point of view, there were not enough of us to form our battalion.
Our contribution to the social and economic progress of our Chinese community was a far greater victory then any battle. The success of us veterans was entirely out of proportion to our actual numbers because after the war, we were able to demand and receive for the first time equality of treatment as Canadian citizens.
Unfortunately, after some forty years, there are many among us, particularly the younger generation and new arrivals in Canada, who are not aware that if it had not been for our efforts to demanding recognition of our status as Canadian citizens the Chinese Community would not be as dynamic, as affluent and as welcomed as it is today.
They take for granted that we have always had the right to practice any of the professions, to receive recognition for our distinction in the arts, sports, Business and academic achievement. These people know nothing about the very restrictions as to where we could live and know even less that we were denied the vote and to be recognized as a political voice, and they cannot and do not understand the discrimination which the Chinese community once suffered. For those members of the younger generation, it is almost inconceivable that these social, electoral and economic values existed .
Why should it be this way? Those of us who served during the Second World War were on the whole, less educated, certainly less affluent or sophisticated than the present generation because we never had the opportunity or privilege that Canadians now have. And yet we took up arms and made it possible for others to follow in our footsteps.
Is it too late for us to teach our children or educate our fellow citizens as to the value of what we did? I can tell you, we veterans, individually or as a group, have nothing to be ashamed of. We can hold our heads high because what we did accomplish could never been accomplished or bought with any amount of money.
We, who even denied the most fundamental rights of citizenship, acted as honourable citizens to serve our country in its hour of need.
And no one can take that honour away from us. We are now in the September of our years. Our time and resources are limited and common to all veterans in every land. Some of us have paid terrible emotional, physical and mental price for what we did.
But the price we paid was and remains a symbol of our loyalty and dedication to our country and we can be proud of our accomplishment.
I say this to you. We did something for the Chinese community no other group could ever have done. We should be proud and take satisfaction in the knowledge that without our contribution to Canada as members of the armed forces during the Second World War, none of the rights that exist in the Chinese community to day would be possible.
And to your loved ones and to members of your family, I say this, take pride in our accomplishments. Give to us the privilege to indulge a little bit in our comradeship and also give to us now, your support and understanding because what we did, we did for you.
Be proud of us, as we are with you. Be happy with us and take some time to spread the word and record of us among your friends so that someone will once more be inspired to take up the challenge to be a voice for our community in elected assembly. Do not, I beg of you, let our efforts go to waste simply because no one cares. Our efforts, instead of being recorded as a mere footnote in pages of Canadian history should, at least,, be a blazing and inspiring chapter of the Chinese people in the history of Canada.
And finally, to my comrade – in arms I sent you my warmest and most affectionate greetings where ever you may be, I am proud to be one of you and to all I say, “Well done,” Thank you for the honour and privilege of speaking to you. I wish you all continuing good health and success. I look forward to our next reunion. Until then. God bless."
Submitted by W. Chong EX SOE