17 August, 2018, 1:00 am
SINCE retiring from vocational teaching, Theresa Yee Show has all the time to enjoy travelling and visiting families in Fiji and abroad.
We met the retiree at Nukulevu Island Eco Resort, which is nestles in the beautiful Natovi Bay, where she was spending her time helping her cousin look after the backpackers on the island.
During her stay, she spends her quiet time at her tent, reading books or just sitting at the sandbanks to enjoy the green surroundings. It’s a life anyone would dream of but she says she’s not staying long on the island.
“I’m just here to help out my cousin and my nephew, who own the eco-resort, after this I’ll be heading to Suva to see my sister,” she said with a smile.
The eldest of six in the family, Ms Show says she has had to look after her parents and siblings growing up. It was one of the reasons she never married or had children.
“I taught vocational for secretarial studies in Levuka for more than 20 years,” she shared.
“It was a community-based initiative. Back then, no scholarship was available and education was expensive so the community thought to do a community project for school dropouts. We started at Levuka Public School in a small room with 20 students. I taught shorthand, business English, office practice, and typewriting. It was such a beautiful experience.”
Ms Show says growing up in Levuka was quite interesting.
“I attended a school where segregation was still practised. Europeans and part-Europeans were put on one side of the school while the Chinese and iTaukei students were separated into another. There was a fence separating us. But it certainly didn’t stop my parents from marrying,” she said chuckling.
Her parents were of mixed iTaukei and Chinese heritage. Her father was a Yee Show with maternal links to Jioma, Kadavu while her mother was a Ting with maternal links to Vusasivo in Natewa, Vanua Levu.
“My paternal grandfather was a Chinese man who came to Fiji in the 1930s. He was a farmer. At the time Chinese men would come to Fiji to work and save then send for their wives and children,” explained Ms Show.
“So when he met my iTaukei grandmother he told her that he wouldn’t be able to marry her because he was already married and had children but if she still wanted to stay with him, then he was willing to look after her.”
Ms Show said her grandfather worked hard and sent money back to China. It was during the 1940s and the World War II was raging across the world. When it was time for his family to come over one of the three ships that were on its way to Fiji got bombed by a warplane. This put a stop to his family’s wish to come over.
“So my grandfather stayed with my grandmother and they had two children, one of whom is my dad,” she said.
Today, the Yee Show family have since grown to be one of the successful business families in Fiji.
The former vocational teacher, who spent most of her life at Levuka, says she still enjoyed the odd travel overseas but it was her mother who was close to her heart.
“She is 85-years-old and still resides in Levuka. I’m very close to her, as I’ve stayed with her all my life,” she said.