Gemma Chan on the truth about her father’s life at sea: ‘He knew what it was like to have nothing’

The actor knew her father had served in the merchant navy, but it wasn’t until she read about Britain’s mistreatment of Chinese seamen in the 40s that she understood just how much his experiences had shaped her family

“Take the rest of the noodles and the pak choi and you can have it for your lunch tomorrow.” My dad pushed the takeaway containers and their remaining contents across the table towards me.

“I’ve got loads of food at mine, why don’t you and Mum keep it?” I protested. I knew he’d insist I take the leftovers with me. This routine would always play out at the end of family dinners once I’d left home and, this time around, it felt both familiar and oddly comforting – because it had been a while since our last dinner.

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