My Historical, Adventure, and Romance Novels.
In 1906 the vast Douglas Fir Forest of British Columbia was opened for logging. TIMBER SALE tells the history of French Canadian, Sikh, Chinese and Japanese workers who toiled in the industry as well as the story of Alexander Duncan McRae who built the largest lumber empire in the British Empire.
TIMBER SALE is a fascinating piece of British Columbia history from 1906 to 1916, a time period in which,amazingly, the largest Douglas Fir forest in North America was cut down. Little or no regard for the environment or future generations was given with the timber selling for fire sale prices mainly to the American companies who had already logged existing U.S. forests. Key players include wealthy entrepreneur Alexander Duncan McRae, and French Canadian, Sikh, Chinese and Japanese workers who did the actual labor of removing the giant trees from the forest.
Tarik Singh regretted that he could not understand what his Sikh, Chinese and Japanese fellow workers were saying to each other as the English speaking foreman of his green chain crew at Millside made some loud remark that upset the others tremendously. He turned to his friend Anwar, who, though just recently from the Punjab, spoke English pretty well. Anwar had been a soldier for the British crown and had fought valiantly in England's fights against India's Mughal rulers. Anwar always simplified the words when using English with his fellow workers and Tariq could often understand what he was saying.
"He said it would not be long before white men replace us," Tariq felt great anxiety in his heart as Anwar slowed down and translated the foreman's words. "The company is bringing French workers from the other side of the country."
"Sikhs must go? But we are British subjects. You even fought for the Queen in India."
Tariq felt more pain in his heart as his friend gave a bitter laugh.
"White men here do not understand," Tariq's heart ached as Anwar bluntly told him in a few words the reality of their situation. "Foremen think I don't understand what they say when they talk in front of me. Call us Hindoos, laugh at our sacred turbans, beards, ceremonial swords, and claim that we cause white workers to lose jobs by working for less money."
Tariq groaned. The turbans, beards, sacred swords and daggers that the Sikhs wore were part of their religion. A part that they could not abandon or they would no longer be Sikhs and allowed to access the gurdwara, the temple, where Gurur Nanak could advise through the Holy Book.
"What about us?" Tariq turned as his Chinese friend, Yuen Wong, reacted with anger in his voice to Anwar's words. Yuen was an unusually strong, handsome, Chinese fellow who could manage the heavy labor on the green chain. Tariq strained to understand Yuen's fractured Englsh pronounced with a Chinese accent, most of which words he did not understand anyway.
"Chinese work hard all across this country. Many of us were the first workers to come here. Confucius say be honest, reliable, respect authority. We do all of that. Ten thousand strong of us built the railroad across this country. Many died of scurvy, cold, or explosions as they labored in tents and dangerous conditions through winters and unforgiving terrain with only tea and rice to survive on. Most did not earn enough wages to even return to their country. Now white workers come on railroads we built. White settlers are given land along the railroads, tracks we slaved to finish. Now we are not allowed to settle and bring our families Now we have a five hundred dollar Head Tax as a reward. What happened to onfucius? Sayings do not work in foreign countries?