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.
Reverend Paul Lau St Martin-in-the-Fields church london chinese new year
‘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 Ling St Martin-in-the-Fields Parochial Church Council london chinese new year
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

St Martin-in-the-Fields

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