Book review: Anna Lo: The Place I Call Home
by Allan LEONARD
15 August 2019
Anna Lo writes with a crisp and concise manner, demonstrating her fine skills in English that she makes reference to in her memoir. The Place I Call Home is a chronological story, from her childhood to current retirement. It gives a valuable, firsthand insight of the experiences of an immigrant to Northern Ireland.
Lo’s inquisitive nature shows, for example, when she described some of her employment as a journalist: “I got out and about, interviewing Chinese chefs, students, academics and medical doctors, probing into their life stories and finding out how and why they had ended up in this far-flung corner of Europe.”
After ten years stewarding the development of the Chinese Welfare Association, Lo entered politics and became the first China-born parliamentarian in Europe. The chapters about her ten years at the Northern Ireland Assembly are succinct, highlighting her quick learning curve and major accomplishments, particularly on the Environment Committee and in progressing race relations legislation. One lesson she learned was the change in relationship with the media, from being a sought after voice of a local ethnic minority community, to a politician that must be rigorously scrutinised.
Lo shares the personal dimensions of her life with consideration and respect, but she doesn’t hide the truth in her dealings with her immediate family and her two marriages. She grew from these and other experiences of life, which she relays well in her own words.
The Place I Call Home is a personal story of persistence, hope, and action, one which anyone can appreciate, regardless of background or origin.