Cedric Mah was a fearless Canadian-Chinese airman–rejected from the RCAF because of his race–who braved the Himalayas to support Chinese troops fighting in Japan. He was on a route dubbed “the graveyard of the skies.”
Mr. Mah died a few years ago in Edmonton. He was 88.
Cedric was 8th of 11 children. His love for his family expanded his world and proved his valour. For one thing, he convinced his younger brother, Alex, to rescue their 13-year-old sister from China by smuggling her through the Himalayas to the coast in a coffin.
Around the same time, Cedric spotted another sister walking along the road in a crush of refugees, wrapped in the Hudson’s Bay blanket that he had sent her from Canada couple of years before.
He escorted her to safety.
The entire Mah family were reunited in Canada at the end of World War Two.
In a late 20th century Ontario version here is my small story. Small, maybe, but it has thriven in my memory ever since that chilling night at that dock on Georgian Bay. Another tale of a brother’s love for his sister.
Tim, 6th in a family of 8 children, came out to Banff, Alberta to rescue me from a horrible job as a preyed-upon saloon waitress. He was 17 and I was 19.
We hitched-hiked home to Ontario and one night the temperature dropped to dangerous levels and we had no blanket. Tim climbed on top of me, as we lay on the beach that long night, warming me with his body. He likely saved my life.
That tidy teenage heat, that love, that critical creativity stuns me still. The night was long but longer still the gratitude.
We’re in our fifties now with quilts and comforters, slippers and cats and furnaces, dining in each other’s toasty home and chatting about our grown-up children.
Cedric Mah’s sisters, elderly women now, remain alive to miss him.