With the implementation of economic reforms in the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the relaxation of restrictions on foreign travel, a new wave of overseas migration from mainland China has taken place. Compared to the earlier waves of Chinese emigrants who were semi-literate peasants and craftsmen, many new Chinese migrants are highly educated professionals and are extremely mobile. While the earlier Chinese migrants were mostly from southern provinces in China and organized their voluntary associations based on native-place or blood ties, new Chinese migrants hail from different regions in China, and would build social organizations of different configurations. Besides setting up voluntary organizations offline, these new Chinese migrants are also forming cybercommunities on the Internet. This article investigates whether virtual communities formed by new Chinese migrants also offer identity options to migrants in terms of ethnicity and national belonging, as offline immigrant associations do. It does so by examining the varieties of Chinese national identities articulated in cyberspace and in the offline activities of two virtual communities formed by new Chinese migrants who are working and studying in Singapore. I argue that virtual communities formed by migrants may or may not offer distinct identity options to their members in terms of ethnic or national belonging. Virtual communities with very diverse user profiles may offer more distinct identity options for their members as a strategy in attracting and retaining members, compared to virtual communities with a more homogeneous membership.
St. André, James.
You Can Never Go Home Again": Cultural Memory and Identity Formation in the Writing of Southeast Asian Chinese [Access article in PDF] Subject Headings:
Southeast Asian literature -- Chinese authors -- History and criticism.
Culture in literature
Ethnicity in literature.
The persistence of memory as a trope in works by Chinese writers in
Southeast Asia demonstrates that the sense of identity among Chinese in this
area is constantly being interrogated and re-negotiated. This article argues
that literary texts are one important constituent factor of collective cultural
memory, a purposeful activity undertaken to influence social reality. Even as
they foreground the issue of an individual's memory of Chinese culture, they
are themselves a type of memorializing practice which seeks to preserve certain
types of cultural memory and thus shape the individual's identity. In
comparing the works of Singaporean and Malaysian writers, I find a rather
stark contrast between the figures used to conceptualize China, Chinese
culture, and memory. I argue that Singaporean writers use certain figures to
reify Chinese culture and determine its unchanging essence, whereas Malaysian
Chinese often have a more fluid view of culture. I then consider some of the
ramifications for the use of natural metaphors by the Malaysian writers,
which I see as participating in a type of wishful colonial mentality, quite
distinct from the historical reality of indentured labor and political disempowerment of the ethnic Chinese in the modern nation state of Malaysia. I conclude by proposing the use of "trunk" as a metaphor for cultural memory and identity formation.
This study addresses the scholarly debate between assimilation and transnationalism through analyses of public opinion data collected mainly in California and from residents of Chinese descent whose families originated from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere in Asia. It explores the empirical relationship between Chinese Americans' concern about the political condition of the ethnic homelands in Asia and their patterns of political participation in the United States. Not all transnational concerns are equal. This study distinguishes between the democratic-oriented and nationalist-oriented transnational political behavior. It also separates voting registration from other types of political participation. A main argument of this study is that the relationship between political assimilation and transnational linkages depends both on the nature of the transnational political concern and on the type of political participation. Transnational political concerns are found to influence the degree of participation in regime-influence (e.g. making campaign contributions) but not system-support (e.g. voting registration) acts. Also, only those homeland concerns that are consistent with US foreign policy interests such as regarding the democratic future of Hong Kong after the 1997 transition are found to have a positive impact on participation.
Entanglement of Business and Politics in the Chinese Diaspora: Interrogating the Wartime Patriotism of Aw Boon Haw [Access article in PDF] Subject Headings:
Hu, Wenhu, 1882-1954 -- Political and social views.
Business and politics -- China -- History -- 20th century.
Businessmen -- China -- Hong Kong -- Biography.
Journalists -- China -- Hong Kong -- Biography.
This article focuses on the wartime experiences of Aw Boon Haw who was
the renowned billionaire peddler of the Tiger Balm ointment and owner of
an influential chain of regional newspapers. After the Sino-Japanese War
broke out in July 1937, he traveled from Singapore to the wartime Chinese
capital of Chongqing to meet up with Chiang Kai-shek and his Guomindang
leaders. But soon after, he opted to stay in Hong Kong throughout the
occupation period and became closely associated with the Japanese-sponsored
government of Wang Jingwei, even making a trip to Tokyo to meet the
Japanese Prime Minister. When the war ended, amidst accusations of him
having been a traitor who collaborated with the occupation authorities, he
switched his loyalty back to China and the British colonial settlements and
resumed his business operations and philanthropic activities.
This wartime experience of Aw brings into sharp relief the sort of political
entanglement which prominent Chinese overseas business people can be
entrapped in. Suspicions about his wartime patriotism initially hounded him
and he had to issue denials. However, in the midst of confusion over the
outbreak of the Chinese Civil War and the American reversal of occupation
policy in Japan, there was an absence of formal governmental or public
actions, allowing the issue to fade away and Aw's business and charity to
return to normalcy. It was more than 30 years later, at the height of the
economic reopening of Communist mainland China and the renewed
importance of Chinese overseas capital in the 1980s and 1990s, that Aw's
wartime patriotism was re-examined, this time calculated to pass a new and
presumably last verdict that Aw had been most unfairly judged and that he was actually an iconic true overseas Chinese patriot. This posthumous honor
was conferred on him despite the fact that the supposedly new empirical
evidence was far from conclusive. It was an act of political restoration in semiacademic garb and enacted with an eye to facilitating further business ties
between a resurgent China and the Chinese diaspora.
Chinese -- Papua New Guinea -- Economic conditions.
Chinese -- Papua New Guinea -- Ethnic identity.
National characteristics, Chinese.
This is a study of the Chinese migrants in Papua New Guinea, especially
those who have arrived since 1975. While the earlier Chinese migrants were
from Guangdong, the recent Chinese new comers have hailed not only from
Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, but also Hong Kong, Taiwan and various
parts of mainland China. The article analyses the strategic practices of these
recent migrants in deciding whether to settle down or to re-migrate, especially
to Australia. It discusses why some decide to settle, including acquiring PNG
nationality to help them avoid the restrictions on foreigners doing business,
while others decide to re-migrate. In both cases, the choice is based on strategic decisions and influenced by domestic conditions and transnational considerations.