I came across “Shanghai Boy” by late Ron Ratcliffe on the net quite accidentally. A self-published family legacy book covering three generations, this book was not written for literary enjoyment. There are salacious details, slapping of servants (what is usually glossed over in Shanghai based memoirs), and the unique perspective of Shanghai as seen by an English-German adolescent.

What interested me the most in this book is one sentence in reference to the Shanghai Sikhs, their “questionable sex habits.” Intriguing but nothing beyond that to explain why the author came up with that conclusion. Did the author’s grandfather,  (an SMP officer who trained Sikh policemen) see them indulge in indiscriminate sex? Then he passed this discriminating judgement? Well, we’ll never know.

More than the teenager, it’s his grandfather and mother who seemed to have interesting details to offer on life in Old Shanghai. The grandfather & his short-tempered wife who would straighten servants not through scolding but by hitting them, their daughter whose birth was well, quite a surrogacy plot and her stint on German-run XGRS radio station.  More on this in my next post.

Here’s the link to the book: