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Chinese in Trinidad and Tobago
« on: April 02, 2012, 07:37:13 PM »

Chinese FlagChinese immigration to Trinidad occurred in four waves. The first wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in Trinidad on 12th October 1806 on the ship Fortitude. Of the 200 passengers who set sail, 192 arrived. They came, not from mainland China, but from Macao, Penang and Canton. This first attempt at Chinese immigration was an experiment intended to set up a settlement of peasant farmers and labourers. The objectives of this experiment were to populate the newly acquired British colony (Trinidad), and more importantly, find a new labour source to replace the African slaves who would no longer be available once slavery and the slave trade were abolished. It was felt that the Chinese immigrants could work on the sugar estates.

Rice FarmerUpon arrival, the majority of the immigrants were sent to the sugar plantations. The rest were sent to Cocorite where they lived as a community of artisans and peasant farmers. Living conditions there were awful. Very few of the immigrants stayed on the estates for long. Many of those who decided to stay in Trinidad became butchers, shopkeepers, carpenters and market gardeners. The rest returned to China on the Fortitude. Of the 192 immigrants only 23 opted to stay in Trinidad. The experiment was a failure and was never repeated.


    Fortitude - 12 October 1806
    Australia - March 1853
    Clarendon - 23 April 1853
    Lady Flora Hastings - 28 June 1853
    Maggie Miller/Wanata - 3 July 1862
    Montrose - 18 February 1865
    Paria - 25 May 1865
    Dudbrook - 12 February 1866
    Red Riding Hood - 24 February 1866

The second wave of Chinese immigration took place after the abolition of slavery. Most of the immigrants came from the southern Guangdong province: an area comprising Macao, Hong Kong and Canton. The immigrants arrived in Trinidad as indentured labourers between 1853 and 1866. It was normal for the Chinese to migrate in large numbers to countries in South East Asia, but the period 1853 to 1866 saw them migrating on a global scale to countries such as Australia, Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Trinidad received a small portion of this vast movement. Those who came here included both indentured labourers and free Chinese who migrated voluntarily. The indentured labourers were assigned to work on the estates, and their terms and conditions of employment were the same as those given to the Indian indentured labourers. The Chinese indentureship programme came to an end in 1866 because the Chinese government insisted on a free return passage for the labourers. The British government, which had organised the indentureship programme, felt that this was too costly, and ended the programme.


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Re: Chinese in Trinidad and Tobago
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2012, 07:37:21 PM »


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Re: Chinese in Trinidad and Tobago
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2012, 07:39:48 PM »
Cooking in a WokOnce their period of indentureship was finished, the Chinese left the estates. A few of them returned to China, but most of them opted to remain in Trinidad. They became shopkeepers, farmers, restaurant owners and small traders. Many of them set up shops in the rural villages, competing with the already established Portuguese shopkeepers. The Chinese were gradually accepted in their local community and became an indispensable part of village life. The male Chinese proprietor was called Chin and his wife Mary, regardless of what their real names were.

Often customers who were short of cash were allowed to take their groceries on credit. This system was called trusting. The shopkeeper would record the goods taken and their prices in a copy book. The customer would then pay off his debt in installments. The Chinese shopkeeper would deduct each payment from the principal owed until the debt was fully paid off. Every transaction was recorded in the copy book. It must be noted that there was no fixed amount for the installment, no interest charges and no specific time period in which to repay the debt. In fact, very often, the customer would pay off his debt and take a new set of groceries on trust on the same day.

The era of the Chinese shopkeeper is but a memory in the twenty first century. The small shop has given way to the large supermarket owned and operated, not by an individual, but by a conglomerate. Credit and debit cards have replaced the need for trusting from the Chinese shopkeeper. Many of the shopkeepers themselves have either migrated or gone into new businesses.

Over the years the Chinese developed a reputation for being thrifty and hardworking.; Many of them became wealthy and were able to branch out into new fields. The table below compares the occupations of the Chinese between 1806 and the present.

Traditional Occupations in 1806


Present Day Occupations

    Art and Design
    Hospitality Industry

Some of the Chinese immigrants became involved in pig farming. Today, they are also involved in the manufacture of products derived from this activity. For example, Macfoods Ltd manufactures pork products such as ham, bacon and sausage while Erin Farm continues in pig farming as well as the manufacture of pork products.

Seine fishing is another activity that owes its existence to the Chinese. Holiday makers to coastal areas like Mayaro, Icacos, Guayaguayare do not realize that when they or their children join the local fisherman to “pull seine” they are involved in an activity that was introduced by the Chinese. This version is called beach seine as it practiced in the shallows. Some practice it the traditional way by throwing nets with weights attached to the bottom. By the 1950’s the tuna trade and other trawling were introduced to Trinidad and Tobago by two local Chinese, one of whom wasSyndey Lee Lum.


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Re: Chinese in Trinidad and Tobago
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2012, 07:40:10 PM »
The Chinese brought their customs, culture, food, games, traditions and way of dress with them when they came to Trinidad. Even though they have been assimilated into Trinidadian society they still observe some of these customs. The wider Trinidadian society in turn has adopted some of the Chinese heritage. This can be seen in the popularity of Chinese food, and the game Whe Whe, the legalised form of which is Play Whe.

   The Chinese New Year, also called Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is the oldest and most important festival in China. It starts with the new moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The date is determined by the lunar and solar calendars rather than the Gregorian calendar used in the West. Therefore the date of the holiday varies from late January to mid-February.

The Spring Festival celebrates the rejuvenation of the earth, and the start of plowing and sowing. Houses are cleaned and brightly lit. It is a time of thanksgiving and family reunions. Families gather for large dinners, and ancestors are remembered and honoured at these dinners. There is an abundance of food.In Northern China steamed dumpling is served. In Southern China a glutinous rice pudding is the popular dish.

The 15th day of the new year ends with a Lantern Festival. Houses are decorated with lanterns and a dumpling made of glutinous rice is eaten. The year 2006 is the Year of the Dog in the Chinese calendar.
The Chinese dragon is a symbol of wisdom, power, and luck in Chinese culture. Unlike Western dragons, the Chinese dragon does not have wings, nor can it fly. It is benevolent, wise and kind. The dragon is revered and respected in Chinese culture, and a depiction of it should not be defiled.

Dragons have been a symbol in Chinese folklore and art for a long time. Temples and shrines have been built to honor them, and Chinese emperors in ancient times traced their lineage back to dragons.

Chinese dragons control the rain, rivers, lakes, and sea, and can ward off evil spirits, protect the innocent, and provide safety. Most pictures of Chinese dragons show them playing with a flaming pearl. Legend has it that the pearl gives them their power and allows them to ascend into heaven.
Dragon turtles combine the longevity of a turtle and the power of a dragon. The dragon head turtle is a powerful symbol of obtaining balance in life.
In Chinese, “knot” means reunion and togetherness. Chinese often use knots to protect themselves from bad fortune or evil and express good wishes to friends and family. Every knot is weaved from one thread. Thousands of years ago the Chinese people used knots for fastening and wrapping. Today, Chinese knots are both practical and ornamental.
The three-legged frog is a popular symbol of prosperity in Chinese culture. It is usually depicted as having eyes and flared nostrils, and it sits on a bag of Chinese money, with a coin in its mouth. It is used today as a wealth generator and should be placed near safes and financial documents. One frog placed within view of the front door will invite money into the home.
These mirrors feature the eight trigram of I-Ching with their special protective emphasis. The power of convex ba gua will ward off any negative chi and the concave ba gua will absorb positive chi in a person's surroundings.

These represent the gods of Longevity, Abundance and Prosperity. Lu is the god of abundance, Shou is the god of longevity, and Fu is the god of prosperity.

The fisherman symbolises wisdom and patience.
Kwan Yu was born a commoner, over 1700 years ago, at the end of the Han Dynasty, completely unaware of the fact that he was destined for greatness. He first came into the limelight when he came to the rescue of one of his neighbours, who had been victimized by corrupt government officials. Physically, Kwan was very large and powerful with a distinct, red face. He was considered a formidable adversary. He was a local hero to his peers who respected him as he helped those who were exploited. His quest was to uphold justice and foster peace and order among his people. He was revered for his wisdom, honesty and compassion, and is a symbolic representation of righteousness, loyalty, humility and justice. He is the patron saint of the Chinese Martial Arts.
Jade (Yu) symbolises nobility, perfection, constancy and immortality. It has been an integral part of the lives of Chinese of all positions and classes for centuries, and is considered to be the most valuable of all precious stones. It was used not only for the finest objects and cult figures, but also for grave furnishings for high-ranking members of the imperial family. Today, this gem is still regarded as a symbol of goodness, beauty and perfection.
Kuan Yin, also known as Quan Shi Yin, is the Goddess of Compassion in Chinese culture. Quan means to inquire or look deeply into, Shi means the world of people or generations, Yin means cries. Kuan Yin is considered to be the feminine form of Avalokitesvara (Sanskrit), the bodhisattva (or Enlightened One) of compassion of Indian Buddhism, whose worship was introduced into China in the third century. As the sublime Goddess of Mercy whose beauty, grace and compassion have come to represent the ideal of womanhood in the East, she is frequently portrayed as a slender woman in flowing white robes who carries a white lotus - the symbol of purity - in her left hand. Ornaments may adorn her form, symbolizing her attainment as a bodhisattva (or Enlightened One), or she may be pictured without them as a sign of her great virtue.
Double Ten Day is the national day of the Republic of China (which is now administered from Taiwan)and commemorates the start of the Wuchang Uprising of 10th October 1911 which led to the collapse of the Qing dynasty. It is also known as National Celebration Day in Taiwan (Taipei). Double Ten is celebrated not only in Taiwan, but in other parts of the world, wherever people of Chinese origin reside, including Trinidad and To
Fans have been used by Chinese people to keep cool in summer for over 3000 years and are still popular in the rural areas. They are also used as artistic props in plays, dances and story telling and even home decorations. There are three major types of fans: feather fan, folding fan and silk fan.
Feather fans are the oldest type of Chinese fans. The feathers from eagles, magpies, cranes, kingfishers and peacocks have all been used to make fans.
   The silk fan is full-moon shaped and called the round fan. The frame is usually made of iron or bamboo slips. A peace of silk is stretched over the frame and is then decorated with colored drawings. It used to be popular among young ladies in the royal court and those in wealthy families.
The folding fans are the most popular in China. They date back to the Song Dynasty, about 700 years ago. Emperors and their ministers used them. The mount of the fan was made of ivory, sandalwood or mottled bamboo and was often carved with figures of birds, flowers, landscapes and even poems.
The 5th Day of the 5th month of the lunar year is called Duan Wu Festival or Dragon Boat Festival and is celebrated everywhere in China. This Festival dates back to about 2000 years. According to legend, the Dragon Boat Festival in China commemorates the death of a national hero, Chu Yuan, who drowned himself in the Mi Lo River to protest the corruption of the rulers at the time.
Because he was unable to persuade the king to mend his corrupt ways, Chu Yuan tied an enormous rock around himself and threw himself into the waters of Tung Tin Lake in Hunan Province.
   Many attempts were made to recover his body but it was never found. Much later, his ghost was seen in the spot where he drowned, moaning that he had been devoured by monstrous water creatures.
Today, the dragon boat races honor his memory. Participants sit two abreast, with a steersman at the stern and a drummer at the bow. The addlers race to reach the finish line, urged on by the pounding drums and the roar of the crowds.


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Re: Chinese in Trinidad and Tobago
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2012, 07:40:32 PM »

Chinese Dragon DanceThe Dragon Dance originated in China during the Han Dynasty (180-230AD) as part of the farming culture and spread throughout China. The dance symbolises the bringing of good luck and prosperity to human beings on earth in the year to come. Green is the main colour of the dragon and symbolises great harvest. Other colours are yellow which symbolises prosperity, red which symbolises excitement, and silver which represents the scales and tail of the dragon. These glitter constantly and create a feeling of joy.

Chinese Lion DanceThe Chinese Lion Dance goes back some one thousand years. The first record of the performance of an early form of the Lion Dance dates to the early Ch’in and Han Dynasties (Third Century B.C.) The lions express joy and happiness. From the fourth day to the fifteenth of the New Year, lion dance groups would tour from village to village in traditional China.

The Lion Dance also plays an important role in the consecration of temples and other buildings, at business openings, planting and harvest times, official celebrations, and religious rites.

Ribbon DanceDuring the Tang dynasty, the emperor once dreamed of a palace where he was surrounded by beautiful dancing fairies in colorful flowing robes. This dream turned into a command for a dance with spectacular displays of long silk ribbons to make his dream come alive. The traditional Chinese ribbon dance, once performed only for royalty, is now popular among all walks of life for its grace and beauty.


The ChenogsamThis traditional Chinese dress has been in existence for over 300 years. Cheongsam is the word used in western countries to describe this dress. It means “long dress“ and comes from the dialect of the Guangdong Province. In other parts of China it is called qipao.

The cheongsam is popular both in China and in the west. It is easy to slip on and comfortable to wear. It sports a high neck, closed collar and either short, medium or long sleeves, depending on the season or one's preference. It is buttoned on the right side, with a loose chest, a fitted waist, and slits on both sides. It is worn at different lengths, and can be worn on both casual or formal occasions. It can also be made from different types of materials.


Chinese cuisine is viewed as being one of the richest and most diverse cuisines in the world. It is also steeped in customs and rituals. Different foods can be eaten to produce specific desired outcomes.
   On New Year's Day Chinese families eat a dish called Jai, which is supposed to bring good luck
   The lotus seed will bring luck in having a baby boy
   Black moss seaweed stands for wealth
   Dried moss curd means wealth and happiness
   Bamboo shoots mean everything will be good
   Fresh bean curd or tofu is not eaten because it is white. White is unlucky because it symbolises death
   A Chinese meal typically consists of two or more general components. A carbohydrate or starch such as rice or noodles, and accompanying dishes of meat, fish, vegetables or other food. Spices such as ginger, garlic and spring onions are used in food preparation and preservation. Most dishes in Chinese cuisine are prepared in bite-sized pieces. The traditional eating implements are chopsticks, used for solid food. Soups are eaten with a wide flat-bottomed spoon. In traditional Chinese culture knives and forks are considered barbaric because them are seen as weapons. In Trinidad and Tobago, the Chinese community use both chopsticks and knives and forks.
For centuries China was an agriculture-based economy, subject to the forces of nature. Sometimes there were surplus harvests; other times a natural disaster could wipe out the food crop. To deal with this problem the Chinese people developed food preservation skills designed to extend the shelf life of many foods. A wide variety of preserved Chinese food is available. Food is preserved by smoking, salting, sugaring, pickling, drying etc. Foods preserved include eggs, meat, fruits, vegetables, and fish. The Chinese who came to Trinidad brought these skills and traditions with them. Today they are still in use and have become popular in the wider community. This can be seen in the consumption of preserved mango, plum and pommecythere to name a few.
The custom of eating moon cake can be dated back thousands of years. Moon cakes symbolise the reunion of families and couples. The exchanging of gifts during the mid autumn festival is an hospitable custom and lovers give moon cakes to show their passion.
Chinese tea culture refers to the methods of preparation of tea, the equipment used to make tea and the occasions on which tea is consumed in China. Tea drinking was popular in China for centuries and was regarded as one of the seven daily necessities. Today tea is considered a national drink in China and is grown in several provinces.

Tea culture in China differs from that of the West in terms of preparation and tasting methods, and the occasions on which it is consumed. The serving of tea is viewed as a sign of respect. Because of this, an elaborate tea ceremony has developed over the years. There is a ritual involved in the tea ceremony and rules must be followed. Emphasis is placed on the type of tea, its taste and its smell.

Chinese tea is also used in traditional Chinese medicine.


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Re: Chinese in Trinidad and Tobago
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2012, 07:40:51 PM »


Chopsticks, called kuaizi (quick little fellows) in Chinese, are traditional eating implements in East Asian countries. Chinese people have been using chopsticks for over 3,000 years. It is believed that early Chinese people retrieved their food from the fire using sticks and twigs. Later, rising population and scarce resources caused them to save on fuel by cutting their food into small pieces for faster cooking. Knives were not needed for these small pieces, so chopsticks became the tableware of choice. In addition, it is believed that Confucius identified knives as instruments of slaughter, and not fit for the table.

Chopsticks are usually made of wood, bamboo, ivory, metal, or bone. In modern times they are also made of plastic. Chinese chopsticks are normally about 10 ½ inches in length, rectangular in shape, and tapered to a blunt end.
Traditionally, in a Chinese meal, each individual diner is given his/her own bowl of rice, while accompanying dishes are served in communal bowls which are shared by everyone at the table. Tea is served in a teabowl.
The wok is a versatile round-bottomed cooking vessel originating in China. The word wok is of Cantonese origin. The curve of the wok allows for maximum cooking with minimum fuel consumption. The food cooks faster. The wok is also versatile since it can be used to boil, stir-fry, steam and deep-fry food. The wok is used extensively in Chinese restaurants and is even used by non-Chinese in their home cooking.

Below are the profiles of some of the people of Chinese heritage who have contributed to the development of Trinidad and Tobago.


SYBIL ATTECK (1911 - 1975)
Sybil AtteckSybil Atteck was one of Trinidad and Tobago's leading artists and this country's first outstanding female painter. She was a founding member of the Trinidad and Tobago Art Society and her work is prized both at home and abroad.


AMY LEONG PANG (1908 - 1989)
Amy Leong PangAmy Leong Pang was a founding member of the Society of Trinidad Independents, a group of local artists who met to discuss ideas and themes to paint in the early 1930s. Dedicated to painting and developing West Indian themes and experimenting with various styles, Amy Leong Pang was a pioneer in her time and a close friend and collaborator with the artist Hugh Stollmeyer.

CARLISLE CHANG (1921 - 2001)
Carlisle ChangCarlisle Chang was born on 21 April 1921, in San Juan. He attended Tranquility Government School. His early art education included a correspondence course from the Washington School of Art, a two year study program under Amy Leong-Pang, and a Master's certificate from the New York Institute of Photography. In 1950 he won the British Council Scholarship, which enabled him to study poetry, painting and mural painting at the L.C.C. Central School of Arts and Crafts, London, where he received the diploma in 1953. He also won an Italian Government Scholarship to the Instituto Statale d'Arte for Ceramics in Faenza in 1953.

Chang returned to Trinidad in 1954, and in 1955 opened an art studio. The period from 1955 to 1980 was the most productive and rewarding time of his career, with over ten murals in various media, costumes and sets for both theatre and ballet, concepts and designs for more than 12 years of Carnival and easel paintings in water-colour and oils. His work was sought after by both local as well as foreign curators from Europe and South America. He designed the Coat of Arms for the Federation of the West Indies, and the one for Trinidad and Tobago. In addition he was member of the sub-committee for the flag and insignia of Trinidad and Tobago. In 1970, Chang started Guyapa Industries Limited, which produced various forms of handicraft. He switched to interior design. He worked on such projects as the Seetaram House, Santa Margarita, the Nigerian High Commission and various branches of the Workers’ Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. Two of his most renowned pieces are Conquerabia (2002) and the 40-foot mural entitled The Inherent Nobility of Man.

Chang received various awards in recognition of his achievements. These include the: VII Bienal de Sao Paulo Bronze Medal (1963), the Chase Manhattan Inaugural first prize, Humming Bird Medal-Silver for Fine Arts (1964), Citation from the Press Club of Lausanne Switzerland (1972), Beryl McBurnie Foundation Certificate of Honour (1987), President’s Honour Award for Art (1991), Trinidad Art Society’s Golden Anniversary Honour Award (1993), and National Carnival Bands Lifetime Achievement Award (2001). He died in 2001.

PAT CHU FOON (1931 - 1998)
Pat Chu FoonPatrick Warsing Chu Foon was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad on 3rd October 1932. His family lived above his father's shop on Park Street. He attended Rosary Boys RC School and later Tranquility Intermediate for his higher education. He developed a talent for drawing butterflies, peacocks and the nature scenes he saw on the Chinese Art his father had brought from his homeland. Carnival too, was to inspire Pat's love of colour, which was later expressed in his carnival costumes.

In 1963 Chu Foon received a scholarship to study at the University of the Americas, Mexico, where he gained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine and Applied Arts in 1967. He continued his studies in sculpture at the Universidad National de Mexico, Academia San Carlos. He was the first Trinidadian and one of the first Caribbean artists to exhibit his work at the International Salon, Museum of Fine Arts, Mexico.

On his return to Trinidad and Tobago in 1968, Chu Foon joined the Ministry of Culture as a teacher at the Teachers Training College. Later he became a Cultural Officer II within the Ministry. From the period 1981 to 1984 Chu Foon held office as the Acting Director of Culture and Youth Affairs. He became the Cultural Officer II from 1984 until his retirement in 1988. During his career Chu Foon held many exhibitions both at home and abroad. A few of his many works include the Ghandi Statue, Tribute to the Steelband Movement, and Claude Noel. He also has many abstract paintings located at the Bank of Nova Scotia, Trinidad and Tobago Limited.

Chu Foon’s first honour was the Chase Manhattan Award for painting in 1960. He went on to attain the Hemi Scholarship Award from the University of the Americas in 1963 and various Trinidad Art Society awards. He was the first artist to receive the Hummingbird Medal - one of Trinidad and Tobago's national awards for sculpture - in 1983.



William H. Scott was born in Trinidad in 1885. He started in business in 1905 with the Prince Street Bakery. He later diversified into other business ventures such as wholesale and retail, lumber and hardware, real estate, and wholesale and retail chemists and druggists. He was also a director of Colonial Life Insurance Company Ltd., and was a benefactor of several charitable causes.

Louis Jay Williams was born in Trinidad in 1897. He started business as a manufacturer's agent and eventually founded L.J. Williams Marketing Co. Ltd. He was the first Trinidadian businessman to use a local broadcasting station for advertising purposes. He also established the Australia to W.I. Shipping Service. He was a supporter of education and the local film industry.


SIR SOLOMON HOCHOY (1905 - 1983)
Sir Solomon HochoySolomon Hochoy was born on 20 April 1905 in Jamaica, and arrived in Trinidad at the age of 2. He grew up in the village of Blanchisseuse and attended St. Mary's College from 1917 to 1922.

In 1927, he began his distinguished career in the Civil Service. He served in various posts, and quickly worked his way up the organizational ladder. He served in the following posts during his career in the Civil Service: Junior tally clerk (1927), Labour Commissioner (1949), Deputy Colonial Secretary (1954), Colonial Secretary (1956) Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. Upon attainment of Independence in 1962, he became the Governor-General until 1972.

Several honours were bestowed on him - the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) in 1952, the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St.George (K.C.M.G.), the Knight of the Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (G.C.V.O.), and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.). Sir Solomon was among the first to be conferred with the Order of Trinity in 1969 - the inception year of the Order of the Trinity. He died on 15 November 1983.

Gerald YetmingGerald Yetming was born on January 4, 1945. He attended St Mary's College. In 1964 he joined the Royal Bank of Canada (now Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd). He became Executive Director - International Business Group in 1992 and Executive Director - Retain Group in 1995. In 1997 he became Executive Director - Overseas Banking and Corporate Resources. He was promoted to Group Director - Regional Banking RBTT Financial Holdings Ltd. in 2000. He also held positions on the boards of a number of Companies.

He was also Deputy Chairman of the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex Authority, and a member of the National Information Systems Advisory Group.

He was a foundation member of the Organisation for National Reconstruction (ONR), and served as High Commissioner to Canada for Trinidad and Tobago from 1987 to 1989. In the General Elections in 2000, he was chairman of the National Campaign Committee, and was sworn in as Minister of Finance on 22 December 2000. Mr. Yetming is married and has two sons.

Besson, Gerard A. The Angostura Historical Digest of Trinidad and Tobago. Port of Spain: Paria Publishing, 2001.

Besson, Gerard and Brereton, Bridget. The Book of Trinidad. 3rd ed. Port of Spain: Paria Publishing, 1992.

Look Lai, Walton. The Chinese in the West Indies 1806-1995: A Documentary History. Mona, Jamaica: The Press University of the West Indies, 1998.

Look Lai, Walton (editor). The Chinese of Trinidad and Tobago since Independence: a Who's Who and Social Portrait 1962-2006. Compact Disc, 2006.

1806-2006: 200 Years of Chinese Arrival in Trinidad and Tobago. Port of Spain: Trinidad and Tobago Chinese Arrival Committee.

Johnson, Kim. Descendants of the Dragon: the Chinese in Trinidad 1806-2006. Ian Randle, 2006.

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Re: Chinese in Trinidad and Tobago
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2012, 08:25:09 AM »
The male Chinese proprietor was called Chin and his wife Mary, regardless of what their real names were.

I was always curious as to the history of dem locally bestowed names

when I was at Rosary boys, it had two shop across the street from each other on Park st... the shopkeepers in both stores was Henry and Mary
Little known fact: The online transportation medium called Uber was pioneered in Trinidad & Tobago in the 1960's. It was originally called pullin bull.

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Re: Chinese in Trinidad and Tobago
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2015, 09:18:40 AM »
Eugene Chen: revolutionary and iron-fist diplomat
Linda Chen,

Eugene Chen (陈友仁), considered by some as China’s “most important diplomat of the 1920s”, was born in Trinidad, then a British colony. His father, Chen Guangquan, known as Achan, was the first revolutionary in the family. Achan took part in the Taiping Rebellion (太平天国运动) against the Qing Dynasty and when the rebellion was crushed by the Manchus, fled the country on a British ship as a stoker which took him to Trinidad.

Eugene was the oldest of Achan's nine children. In 1899, he became the first Chinese lawyer in Trinidad as well as in the Caribbean region, perhaps also in the world. Raised as a Catholic, Eugene did not speak any Chinese. Through his work as a lawyer and property investor, he made a good living in Trinidad.

 In 1911, when he was living in London, he learned about the revolution in China and decided to come back and serve the country which, despite having never been to, he still considered as his own. He came to Beijing straight from London and worked for the Beiyang Government, then headed by Yuan Shikai (袁世凯), as a legal advisor with the Transportation Ministry. According to I-wan, he submitted his passport to the British Embassy with the words "I am not a British anymore, I am a Chinese."

In 1913, Eugene quit his job with the government and worked as Chief Editor first with the Peking Daily News and then with the Peking Gazette (京报) which he founded. Patriotic and revolutionary, he did what was within his power to support the Chinese revolution, publishing and writing anti-imperialist articles which often contained caustic criticism of the government. These articles brought him to the attention of Sun Yat-sen (孙中山).

In 1915, when Liang Qichao (梁启超), a well-known Chinese scholar and reformist, wrote his famous article 异哉所谓国体问题者against Yuan Shikai’s attempt to revive the Chinese Monarchy, Peking Gazette was the only newspaper to agree to publish it, which was a very brave move. The article was then reprinted by other newspapers and became a big sensation at the time.

On May 18, 1917, he wrote an article titled “Selling China” in which he revealed the secret negotiation between the then premier of Republic of China, warlord Duan Qirui (段祺瑞) and the Japanese on the notorious Twenty-One Demands (二十一条), stirring up a big disturbance in China which landed him in jail. He could have easily avoided the imprisonment by declaring his British citizenship as suggested to him by his friends, but he chose not to do so.

After four months in prison, Eugene was released only to face the closing of his newspaper, another retaliatory act by the government to shut him up. He left Beijing and went south to join Sun Yat-sen. In Shanghai, he established another newspaper Shanghai Gazette (上海时报) as Sun advised, which carried out the same tradition of the Peking Gazette, denouncing the government for yielding to the Japanese imperialists.

In 1918, he joined Sun in Guangzhou, then called Canton, and became his close advisor. To support Sun's revolutionary work, he even persuaded his wife to return to Trinidad and sell all their property.

In 1919, he drafted the memorandum which was adopted by the Chinese delegation and submitted to the Versailles Peace Conference in France. While in Paris, he was approached by the Russians who gave him the original copies of the Lansing-Ishii Agreement, a secret agreement between the Americans and the Japanese to transfer the interest of the Germans in Shandong province (山东省) to the Japanese.

Eugene immediately sent one copy to Sun, who published it in China, which was believed to be one of the factors that triggered the history-changing May 4th Movement (五四运动). Another copy was sent to the Republican senator William Borah in the US, and was believed to have played a role in the success of the Republican Party in the coming presidential election.

The famous Three Policies of the Kuomingtang party, “Unite with Russia, Unite with the Communists and Help the Peasants and Workers” (联俄联共,扶助农工) that were issued in 1924 were the brain child of Sun Yat-sen and four KMT veterans, including Eugene Chen, who had become Sun’s close ally and developed a leftist stance of anti-imperialist nationalism and support for Sun's alliance with the Soviet Union. He also drafted Sun’s “Will to Soviet Union”, one of his three wills, the original copy of which was returned to China by the Russian government on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 2009.

The apex of Eugene’s diplomatic career came after he became the foreign minister of the Wuhan Government (武汉国民政府). He was mostly remembered for his contribution in recovering the sovereignty of the Hankow & Jiujiang British Concession (汉口、九江英租界) in 1927, which was quite a feat considering China’s weak position at the international stage at the time.

The succesful recovery, to a large extent, was achieved through a clever ruse by Chen. As a lawyer, Eugene knew well that according to the British law, when the property is completely abandoned, the Chinese government has the right to take it back. To that end, he advised to the British who came to him for help fearing for their safety, that they should retreat to their warships on the Yangtze River where they could be protected by the British Navy. So the British left, leaving only the Indian police at the concession who were then invited for drinks and lured away.

The British Government reacted by sending the Indian Fleet to the China Sea, which Eugene had known all along by collecting garbage from the British Consulate and piecing together cables that were sent to London. He knew that the ships would come at the low season which means they cannot came up the river. In the end, the British government was forced to concede and return the sovereignty of the concession back to the Chinese.

In this photo of the third meeting of the second Central Committee of the Kuomingtang on March 10, 1927, Eugene Chen (third from right in the front line) is sitting right in front of Mao Zedong (毛泽东, third from right in the second line).

 In 1927, Chiang Kai Shek (蒋介石) set up the nationalist government in Nanjing and failed to win the support of Eugene who was loyal to the leftist government in Wuhan. Later that year, he accompanied Song Qingling to Moscow and from there went to Europe. Throughout the rest of his life, he struggled to fight Chiang and his policies which resulted in his repeated exile in Europe during the 1930s.

After the outbreak of China’s war with Japan, Eugene returned to Hong Kong. In 1941, while waiting for a possible appointment as the Chinese representative in the League of Nations, he was captured by the Japanese and put under house arrest. Later he was taken to Shanghai where the Japanese worked hard on him trying to persuade him to take the position of foreign minister in Wang Jingwei’s (汪精卫) puppet government, but without success.

In 1944, Eugene suffered from a tooth illness. A few days after being treated by a Japanese doctor, he passed away. His remains were allegedly reburied in the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery (八宝山革命公墓) in Beijing after the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Eugene Chen’s grave at Babaoshan.

(To access the original article, click on the source stated above).

Special recognition: Keith Subero mentioned Eugene Chen while a guest in discussion on i95.5FM today.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 09:35:52 AM by asylumseeker »
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Re: Chinese in Trinidad and Tobago
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