Interview with Chinese Londoners Reverend Paul Lau and Eugene Ling, St Martin-in-the-Fields church
London celebrates Chinese New Year in a big way, with an annual Chinatown parade and a cultural festival in Trafalgar Square. For an insight into London’s Chinese side, we’ve interviewed two members of the community at St Martin-in-the-Fields church, Reverend Paul Lau and Eugene Ling.
On the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields is literally at the heart of cosmopolitan London and its services reflect this: the church holds Chinese-language Christian services. We visited its underground crypt-turned-café to meet Reverend Paul Lau and a member of the Parochial Church Council, Eugene Ling.
‘I was born in Hong Kong and worked there for 13 years, then after seven years in New Zealand I came here in 2000’ explains Paul (above). ‘There’s been a Chinese congregation here for over 50 years. In Hong Kong, we would have four days off for Chinese New Year, but in London we work.’
Eugene (above) was also born in Hong Kong and came to London 20 years ago as a student: ‘On Sundays, we’ve normally got a 10am service, so you know when the parade is passing because there’s so much drumming and it drifts into the church.’
You can have a taste of the traditional celebrations, says Paul: ‘They let off 10,000 fire crackers in Trafalgar Square. You can’t legally fire those anywhere else.’
St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, WC2N 4JJ
Find out more about the Café in the Crypt at St Martin-in-the-Fields, or read our list on how to celebrate Chinese New Year 2019 in London.
Discover more Chinese Londoners in our interview series below:
Ellen Chew, Rasa Sayang restaurant founder
Lucy Mitchell, MD for SeeWoo Oriental Food Specialists
An-Ting Chang, CEO for Chinese Arts Now
Ruby Wu, Dim Sum Master for Ping Pong