Racism in Sports?

Yao Ming was the first Chinese basketball player to hit the NBA and he encountered a lot of racism – both subtle and blatant – during his first year in the League in 2002. Not long after Yao started playing for the Houston Rockets, Shaquille O’Neal had this to say:

It didn’t take long for the media to roast O’Neal for his stupid racist remarks and this followed shortly (good thing social networks were not as powerful back then):

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Shaq’s Apology Not Good Enough

Emil Guillermo, Special to SF Gate

>Published 4:00 am, Tuesday, January 14, 2003

You can bet Trent Lott wishes he could come back in a second life as a 7-foot-1-inch, 335-pound black man playing center for the Los Angeles Lakers.

What Shaquille O’Neal said about people of Asian descent is more direct and more racist than anything Lott may have conjured at Strom Thurmond‘s last birthday party.

And yet, today, Lott has been thoroughly ridiculed and stripped of power, while O’Neal remains playing above the rim, a beloved multimillionaire sports celebrity.

Why can a famous black person get away with saying something a famous white person could never say?

 The double standard must have Lott practicing his foul shots.

You can read the rest of this too-little-too-late apology story from SFGate by clicking HERE.

Interestingly, Yao Ming was just inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame recently alongside of none other than Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson.

But even with all the publicity following O’Neal’s ignorance, that racism still seems to be there in albeit subtler ways as applied to newer – but still rare – Chinese players like Jeremy Lin. Another YouTube video recently went viral after Lin and his fans tried to point out this subtle racism on the part of game officials who then immediately tried to do a PR spin by “reviewing” penalties against Lin for rough play when compared to violations against him. Of course, the officials found no impropriety in their rulings after a short review. But they forgot that Lin was an Economics Major at Harvard and had a clear understanding of how data analysis (sometimes called facts) can make a solid argument. Which led to that video which is now climbing towards 2 million hits already:

So what do you think? Are Jeremy Lin and his fans being oversensitive or do the facts speak for themselves? Is racism towards Asians still pervasive in professional in American sports? You decide. Check out the video. And maybe post a comment below.

The Gift of Learning Two Languages

MeAt5Over most of my life, I’ve often wondered about my ability to learn languages quickly and easily. Was it because of speaking Chinese first as a child? Was it because of adding a second at an early age? Or maybe it was our unique upbringing? A recent article posted on MedicalXpress about a new study about Chinese children learning a second language stirred up a lot of personal memories again about growing up Chinese.

We never spoke English at home until I started school because Mom never really learned much English in all her years in Canada. I still remember being dropped off in Kindergarten when I was nearly 6 because my birthday was in December and my entire English vocabulary included my name, address and phone number, and a few choice words like ‘bread,’ ‘butter’ and ‘milk.’

A week later, I was put into a small room with a couple of other kids and we were all given a small workbook with pictures on each page. I had no idea what the teacher was saying to us but I do recall her making sounds like “Bzzz! Bzzz!” and I would circle a picture of a bee on the page. A day or so later, I was taken to another classroom where the kids got up one-by-one – as trained – and introduced themselves to me in English:

“Hello, my name is Vannie.”

“Hello, my name is Connie.”

“Hello, my name is…” until everyone in the class had introduced themselves to me. Not that I had any clue as to what they were saying to me at that time nor did I even know what to say back!

Turns out it was some basic IQ test and they had shoved me into Grade One! No idea how I managed to pass that test. And no one had even notified my Father! Anyway, a few weeks later, I was already learning the alphabet and reading and writing. By the end of Grade One, I was speaking, reading and writing English. By the time we hit Grade Four, all the kids in my class were introduced to French (remember, this was Canada, eh?) and I remember having no problems picking up a third language. And this led me to learning other languages quickly like Latin and Spanish (when I lived in Mexico for nearly a year).

I’ve long suspected that it was learning two completely different languages at an early age that gave me the ability to learn other languages quickly. And even though I’ve been rusty at my other languages, they seem to come back quickly whenever I get immersed back into that culture.

But I’ve been worried about my Chinese language skills because in small part as we only learned a very simplistic version of Cantonese that was native to our tiny region in Southern China. And not using it much for years made me concerned that my Chinese-speaking skills may have just gone away.

Then this study comes out – and there’s hope!

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First language wires brain for later language-learning

December 1, 2015

You may believe that you have forgotten the Chinese you spoke as a child, but your brain hasn’t. Moreover, that “forgotten” first language may well influence what goes on in your brain when you speak English or French today.

In a paper published today in Nature Communications, researchers from McGill University and the Montreal Neurological Institute describe their discovery that even brief, early exposure to a language influences how the brain processes sounds from a second language later in life. Even when the first language learned is no longer spoken.

It is an important finding because this research tells scientists both about how the brain becomes wired for language, but also about how that hardwiring can change and adapt over time in response to new language environments. The research has implications for our understanding of how brain plasticity functions, and may also be important information about creating educational practices geared to different types of learners.

You can read the rest of this article from MedicalXpress by clicking HERE.

Age Discrimination and More: Beyond The Valley

Having launched my first startup when I signed my first lease at the ripe old age of 14, I’ve never had any regrets over a lifetime of entrepreneurship and startups. Even with all the exhilarating highs and the depressing lows. Heading into 65, I’ve looked back on all the things that have made me one of the ultimate Outliers: Age, education, race. I can finally say I truly embrace being… Different.

A friend sent me this recent article from Medium this morning about that unspoken prejudice down in the Valley and it set me off to thinking about this more:

How Can We Achieve Age Diversity in Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley has always been prone to buzzwords, often annoying and almost always overused. The latest is an exception: diversity. Suddenly, there’s an explosion of discussion, press, conference panels and even executive attention devoted to expanding the workforces of tech companies into something other than enclaves of white and sometimes Asian males. One result has been a trend towards releasing diversity reports that show how incredibly far we have to go.

Read the rest of the post from Medium by clicking HERE

Not only does this happen in the Valley but just about everywhere else I’ve been. I still remember launching my first tech startup back in ’83 when I invented and developed the first color digital scanners for PCs. There were few venture capitalists back then but I do recall one of them actually telling me, “But you’re so young!” And I was 32! Today, that would make me old by Valley standards! So now at 64, I’m way too old? I remind a lot of the young kids I mentor at startups here in the Pacific Northwest that Colonel Sanders didn’t even make his first million until he was 68! And then there are those kids launching successful ideas and startups at 12!

How about education? I’d like to think that investors and VCs know better by now that having a college degree does not necessarily make you any better prepared for the startup world. In fact, much of the time, a college education might actually hold you back from that Think-Outside-the-Box mentality that it often takes to be able to come up with the coolest ideas that make a great product or concept, while formal education can often make you think Inside-the-Box. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs never finished college. As a joke, I used to kid around with my children that when I make my next fortune, I’ll probably donate $10 million to a university of my choice and they’ll probably grant me an honorary degree for it! (And I promise I haven’t abused any women along the way so you won’t have to take it back later!)

And the toughest hurdle I’ve run into over the years that’s REALLY never spoken about? Race. Here in the Pacific Northwest where racial diversity has become a rallying cry, I would often feel that sense of being different as I walked into one more white-frat-boys-club VC firm with little diversity in their membership or Board. So I’ve certainly empathized with women trying hard to make their way into tech over the years. Fortunately, with the gender issue now taking front and center everywhere, more women are finally getting representation on boards and funding.

But as an “old,” “uneducated” and Asian Outlier, I’m still not sure if I truly feel welcome in many places even though no one talks about it. I’m not sure if a dialog can be helpful but by putting it out there, I’m hoping it might be a good time to start.

One of the things I truly hate are all those 20-over-20 and 30-over-30 awards and stories while no focus is given to most of us with a lifetime of accomplishments, big and small. How about 60-over-60? To which I say to all the Millennial startup kids: You’re not going to stay 30 forever! Even with all the talk these days about mentors and mentoring, who do you think is going to give you the best advice based on experience?

Are there any older entrepreneurs out there willing to chime in and discuss some of these issues? How about Asians and other minorities?

Memories of Citadel Hill

One of the pages that I follow on Facebook is Vintage Halifax where they post a wide range of old pictures and postcards depicting Halifax from as far back as when photography was first invented. Their collection continues to grow and I’ve commented on a few when they bring back personal memories from over the years. Yesterday, they posted this old postcard from the 1920’s that was taken up on Citadel Hill where the original Halifax fortress was built for the British troops to watch and protect the expansive harbor that was – and still is – not only an important part of Halifax but the entire East Coast shipping routes.

Halifax_Harbor_postcard

 

This view definitely brought back an interesting memory of our Dad and I’m sharing it here as well.

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The Media Version of Communism in China

A friend had posted a link to this old article from 1955 in Foreign Affairs magazine with the standard good-guys-against-the-bad-guys spin of fighting Communism. Sadly, that old piece of “history” desperately need to be corrected.

While I’m not saying that the Revolution was perfect by any means, it was clearly needed at that point in China’s history.

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United States Foreign Policy and Formosa

Chiang Kai-shek in full uniform, 1940.

FORMOSA–symbol of the struggle between freedom and Communism in the Orient — poses a test of how far United States foreign policy can combine the ideals of freedom with the flexible realism required by the harsh facts of world politics. Continue reading »

A New Dialog about Race?

Panda

Living in Seattle has been a much more positive experience for my family over the years since we first arrived here in 1997 from Naples, Florida – a place I half-jokingly described to some of my friends as the ‘Richest White Town in America.’ Our journey sometimes had subtle but profound effects for my son and daughter. Not the least of which was a much more diverse population and culture.

Even so, as we’ve assimilated into the Pacific Northwest culture, there were also other more subtle things that I’ve noticed over recent years. My daughter and I have talked about some of her experiences from having lived in Vancouver BC for the past 7 years. We’re Chinese but we were born over here. My brothers and I were first-generation born in the 50’s after Mom finally arrived with our much-older sister who was born in China 17 years earlier. But GrandDad arrived in 1906 and he brought Dad over to Canada at the age of 9 in 1916. As I’ve written about earlier, Dad was the only Chinese boy in all of Halifax at that time and lived through years of harsh racism growing up in Canada. Continue reading »

Who was General Tso?

My brother sent me a link to a documentary, The Search for General Tso, that premiered last April at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. I’d never thought much about the origins of this dish but the more I searched, the more I realized that the origins of this dish are really hazy. And apparently, this very popular dish has not been around very long relatively speaking (just a century or two). (From Wikipedia – click HERE.)

It’s also one of the dishes I order from time to time and the recipe seems to change from one restaurant to another. After learning more about this dish, I’m beginning to wonder if it wasn’t one more recipe that may well have been created as much for Western tastes when Chinese food first started to be acceptable to Western palates. I’m always surprised to run into people who still don’t realize that dishes like Chop Suey were actually created in America for American tastes.

This documentary explores the mainstreaming of Chinese cuisine into Western culture and expands into how the Chinese assimilated into Western society.

The Search for General Tso – Trailer from Wicked Delicate Films on Vimeo.

Premiering at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival
www.thesearchforgeneraltso.com
Directed by Ian Cheney
Produced by Jennifer 8 Lee & Amanda Murray

Growing Up with Archie Bunker Everywhere

Love this kid! Alex Dang on “What kind of Asian are You?”

For those who have never grown up with racism, it’s hard to comprehend if you’ve never experienced it.

Still remember my Dad running into our asinine principal in the hallway when I first started Junior High at Tower Road School. First thing out of Withrow’s mouth was, “And which restaurant do YOU own, Mr. Lee?”

Wrong question to ask the old man, who arrived in Canada at the age of 9 in 1916 and managed to learn English fluently and eventually graduate with a degree in Civil Engineering among other accomplishments.

Without even skipping a beat, Dad answered back – in perfect English, of course: “What restaurant?!! I burn water when I boil it!”

After an awkward moment, Withrow turned around and walked away… Don’t think he ever had a “conversation” with Dad again!

A Close Encounter from 50 Years Ago

Last Friday, August 8th was the fiftieth anniversary of one of the first mass shootings that I can recall from Canada or the States. Long before Columbine or any of the other shootings that followed, Edward Thomas Boutilier was a mentally-disturbed 18-year old who rode his bike around the South end of Halifax on that summer afternoon in 1964 and shot three young boys, killing two of them. After giving himself up days later, Boutilier was later diagnosed as mentally ill and institutionalized instead of being tried in a court of law. He subsequently killed himself 10 years later. There’s a link in the first paragraph to the article that spurred me to write this post for New Canadian Media.

This story is still as fresh in my mind today as it was when it happened. Or I should say two days after it happened, as you’ll soon understand after you read my post.

Remembering a Halifax Shooting Spree and a Narrow Escape

Written for  New Canadian Media Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Halifax Harbour, 1917 Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

by Robert Lee

Last week I came across an article in the Halifax Chronicle Herald memorializing a tragic day fifty years ago when three young boys were randomly gunned down by a man who was found to be mentally disturbed. My own memories of that time came flooding back, along with the realization that I had narrowly missed being a victim myself.
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Chuck Lee: My Boyhood Days in China

Dad always had lots of stories and anecdotes from years gone by. Many were from his short childhood back in the village in China before his Father brought him over to join him in Canada at the ripe old age of 9 back in 1916. Many years ago when we were going through some of his old papers after he passed away in 1990, We came across an old typewritten recollection he’d composed probably some time back in the late 60’s. I managed to scan it and run it through an OCR program so I could save it in Word format. Finally sharing this today with friends and family.

My Boyhood Days in China

By Shew Chuck Lee

I was born in Long Tao (Dragon’s Head), a small village in the remote part of the District of Hoi Ping in Guangdong province. Our village and the other villages in the immediate area were inhabited by the Lee family. Like other rural areas in China, different families tended to cluster in different communities. Just beyond our Lee community, there were the Hums, Setos, Fongs and Kungs. You might say that China was a collection of communities.

Nine generations before me, the founder of our village, Chung Len, moved from the district of Sun Wei to our present location. Before settling in Sun Wei, our forebears lived in Nantung, up in the northern part of our province near the border of Hunan province. Here in Long Tao, members of the Lee family grew up and tilled the land. When the father died, the son would carry on his work. This was the pattern of life from one generation to another. Since the founding of our village, there has been little or no change in our community. The roosters would crow at dawn, the dogs barked, the boys would recite their lessons at school and the farmers would work in the fields. The land was good to us. We grew out rice and vegetables. We caught fish in the rivers. We gathered grass and firewood in the hills. It was a hard life bit somehow we managed to eke out a living. Continue reading »

The Chinese in Cuba

Documentary maker Pok Chi Lau talks about his life in Canada and what he learned about how the Chinese arrived in Cuba. (Clicking on Watch on Vimeo will open the movie in a Vimeo tab.)

Cuban CHINESE from AMCNN on Vimeo.

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A Century of Chinese Revolution

Just in time for your New Year’s viewing. Time to make some popcorn and sit down as the holidays wind down and watch some videos!

MaosRevolutiongifI recently came across this 3-part series China: A Century of Revolution 1911 – 2011 and decided this collection was worth posting and sharing with friends and family.

For our family, it has special meaning: Dad was born in 1906 and arrived in Canada at the age of 9 in 1916 to join his father in Halifax. So for most of his life from afar, Dad watched China evolve and undergo one revolution after another until Mao’s Communist revolution was complete at the end of World War II in late 40’s. In 1949, Mom and our sister, Nancy, made it out of China just as all of that was taking place after Chinese families were finally allowed to re-unite after nearly a century of extreme racial discrimination in North America. Watching Episode 1: 1911 – 1949 gave me a whole new perspective and historical context of what was going on during that period when Dad was living in Canada while Mom and Nancy were still back in China.

It staggers my mind when I try to imagine their lives in the last century: The village where Mom and Nancy lived hasn’t changed much in the years since they left; when I visited back in 2001, it was still a tiny village of around 200 people living off the land and farming in the rice fields. It was almost an hour’s drive down a dirt road from the nearest town (which would often flood during rainy season) where the children would go to school. Even in 2001, there was only minimal electricity and no running water or sewers so the water supply came from the same river where all the sewage runoff flowed and where they grew their rice. No telephones and certainly no mail service. Now go back to the turn of the last century and picture that AND no mail service to speak of, no telephones or telegraph. How Dad managed to stay in touch and send money home to support his family is unimaginable, let alone making all the arrangements to have them leave their village in 1949, take a train down to Hong Kong and then fly on an airplane to Canada – all for the first time in their lives. Mom had been anemic so they had an unexpected delay in Tokyo before getting on board a Canadian Pacific Airlines 4-prop Viscount plane to fly over to Vancouver BC where Dad planned to be waiting for them. Dad freaked out after arriving in Vancouver from his long train trip across Canada all the way from the East Coast only to realize that they weren’t on the plane he had booked for them! A frantic telegraph or two later, he was finally informed of Mom’s illness and the delay in their departure from Tokyo. When Mom and Nancy finally arrived in Vancouver, they joined Dad on another nearly 2-week train ride back East across Canada to arrive at their new home in Halifax NS after each spending almost a month of travel halfway around the world (and having come from a previous lifetime as nothing more than the experience of their simple village lives). When Nancy met her Father for the first time after stepping off that plane in Vancouver, she was already 15½ years old!

Each video is nearly 2 hours long so settle in for a Chinese History marathon. Happy New Year to everyone!

Reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover at 11

I still remember reading D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover when I was around the ripe old age of 11. And just how did a geeky little Chinese kid living in a very strict and controlled home end up reading such a lurid tome at such a tender age you ask?

Over his entire life for as long as we can remember, our Dad always had a strong lifelong commitment to helping most of the small Chinese community that lived in Halifax. Having the advantage of a college education and being able to speak, read and write perfect English, Dad would often be called upon to provide much-needed assistance to anyone who asked. If someone needed a translator in court, Dad was there. And every Fall, Dad would religiously canvas the entire Chinese community gathering donations for the United Way as his personal contribution for the help they provided our Mom with blood transfusions when she first arrived in Canada on the West Coast. Not that the Chinese population was very large back in the 50’s and 60’s as we were growing up. And so it was that one summer day when I was allowed to sit out on our front steps, I said ‘Hello’ to a young Chinese man who was walking past our house. It turned out that he was newly arrived with no relatives in the area. At the time, he was supporting himself as a waiter at a restaurant and saving his money to start a business. Dad took a liking to him and Jimmy would visit us from time to time.

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More Racism in the Modern Age

One more blatant example of racism towards Asians in General and Chinese in particular, coming out of politically-correct liberal San Francisco of all places. According to the latest census data, Asians make up a third of the population in San Francisco with 64% of Chinese descent. Vancouver BC has similar numbers.

And yet with numbers like this, the excuse from the San Francisco Police Dept. was “the computer ate my homework.” Unbelievable!

Guess we still all look alike… Seems to me that Asians generally tend to be much more passive than other races (or am I also stereotyping here?).

Police list arrested Asians as ‘Chinese’

SF department blames outdated computers for inaccurate records

By Shoshana Walter on September 26, 2012

The San Francisco Police Department, relying on antiquated computer technology, routinely recorded nearly all Asians who were arrested in the city as “Chinese” until this month, department officials said.

Arrest data that included the “Chinese” numbers was released to the public and sent to law enforcement agencies for at least 10 years, contributing to a skewed understanding of who was being arrested by San Francisco police.

Read the rest of the article from The Bay Citizen – click HERE.

The Legend Behind Chinese Laundries?

Robert Lee

Over the years, a lot of people have wondered how it was that the earliest Chinese workers ended up in the laundry business. Restaurants we can understand. Everyone’s got to eat. But laundries?

We found this old clip on John Jung’s Chinese Laundry Blog from California, (click to enlarge in a new window for easier reading):

Why Chinese Laundries?

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Albert’s Reflections on the Head Tax

by Albert Lee
Gorsebrook Research Institute for Atlantic Canada Studies, Saint Mary’s University
As originally published on CCNC Our Stories Project

Albert Lee – family montage

My parents were old enough to be my grandparents because of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

That point was made to me by May Lui, former president of the Chinese Society of Nova Scotia and former National Director of the Chinese Canadian National Council, back in 2006 when Jason Kenney, then Parliamentary Secretary for the Prime Minister, was visiting Halifax on a fact-finding mission on Head Tax redress. I was asked by May Lui to talk on CBC national television as a representative of the Loh Wah Kiu in Halifax. Up until that time, I hadn’t given much thought to the fact that my parents were older than the parents of other children I grew up with, but that remark brought the whole history home to me.

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Chinese Liberty Bonds

by Robert Lee

Our Dad was unwaveringly patriotic to Canada but he never lost his quiet but undying sense of loyalty to his homeland in China. And it was because of being Chinese that he bought some Republic of China Liberty Bonds in between World Wars as his small contribution to help with the re-building efforts. In fact, he kept these bonds in his files and never considered redeeming any of the coupons when the interest came due so his small contribution would remain in China. I was looking at this $10.00 certificate recently, printed in Chinese on the front with a decent English version on the back (click on the smaller images to enlarge in a new window for easier viewing).

NOTE: The 26th Year of the Republic of China referenced on the bond was 1937 and the 59th Year of the Republic when the final interest coupon came due was 1970! So these bonds were supposed to be paid out over 33 years until maturity! And which were apparently never actually re-paid from what I only recently discovered (see the article at the end of this post).

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Growing Up with Racism Over the Generations

Oct 22 1942 Halifax Herald Mail

by Robert Lee

After many distractions and several trips back to China, Dad eventually graduated from Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Technical College with a degree in Civil Engineering. He had hopes of eventually going back to China to rejoin his family and to contribute to the reconstruction efforts in China as the war drew to a close. Unfortunately, it was not to be as the free migration between Canada and China got even more restrictive when Mao’s Revolutionary Army overran the country and pushed out the old regime to Taiwan (it was called Formosa then). Eventually, Canada and the US arrived at a twisted conclusion it was better to let Chinese families reunite over here than to have them all turn into Commies. So in late 1949, after a lot of paperwork and planning, Dad finally made his way westward across Canada from Halifax to Vancouver on the Canadian National Railway (ironically built in good part with Chinese labor and money). Meanwhile, Mom and our sister Nancy were heading from our little village in China over to Hong Kong and then across the Pacific by way of Tokyo to Vancouver on a series of old 4-prop Viscount planes. Mom was incredibly sick at the time (probably malnourished and anemic) and arrived in Tokyo in need of a blood transfusion. So they lost a day or two while Mom was recovering in Japan of all places.

After well over a week of sitting on the train from Halifax to Vancouver, Dad finally arrived in Vancouver with no sign of Mom and Nancy so he ends up waiting while telegraphs go back-and-forth across the Pacific to see where they were. A few days later – to Dad’s relief – they finally landed in Vancouver with Mom in need of another transfusion, once again courtesy of the Red Cross. Just try to imagine the incredible logistics of coordinating all of this back in 1950 with no long distance phones, no Internet or e-mail and Western Union was your only means of “quickly” communicating over long distances (or sending money)!

Dad never forgot the generosity of the Red Cross and over the years – each and every Fall during their annual fundraising campaign – he would religiously canvas the local Chinese community for donations to the Red Cross right up until the year he passed away (1990).

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My Brother Writes About Chinese History in the Maritimes

by Robert Lee

My brother, Albert, still lives back in Halifax where we were born and grew up as kids. In recent years, his lifelong career as an award-winning photojournalist and photographer has led him to organizing several exhibits of photo collections comprised of his personal work as well as photographs that have made their way to him from many sources. Many of these pictures have been enlightening, often providing never-before-seen glimpses into the lives of our Chinese predecessors who lived in the Maritime provinces for over a century. As his collection and studies grew, Albert began researching and documenting more of our collective history and stories which brought him into a growing interest in the history of the Chinese across Canada over the years. As a result of his work, Albert has connected with other groups on the West Coast at UBC and in Winnipeg at the soon-to-be-opened Canadian Museum for Human Rights Museum. Here’s a recent piece he wrote for CCNC and has now also been posted to several other sites across Canada. (You can enlarge each picture by clicking on the thumbnails.)

Early Chinese History in the Maritimes

by Albert Lee
Gorsebrook Research Institute for Atlantic Canada Studies, Saint Mary’s University
As originally published on CCNC Our Stories Project

Dad sure didn’t look happy in this class picture.

The earliest recorded arrival and settlement of the Chinese in the Maritimes was in the late 1890s — 30 years after their arrival in British Columbia. In one Maritime city after another, small groups of Chinese male workers arrived in search of employment and opportunities, finding work as cooks, kitchen hands and domestic help. Many set up small hand laundries to serve the needs of local communities.

As early as the 1890s, Chinese hand laundries began to appear in Maritime cities, such as Halifax, Saint John, and St. John’s (then-Colony of Newfoundland). From the 1890s to the 1920s, the vast majority of Chinese immigrants who settled in Atlantic Canada moved from Central Canada and the west coast. However, some of the earliest arrivals came from much farther away. One adventurous young man was Fong Choy. He was said to have been the founder of several Chinese laundries in Halifax and St. John’s in the early and mid-1890s.

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