American Born Chinese – 美國土生華人

June 4, 2007

A Conversation Between American-born and Chinese Immigrants

Filed under: Asia America, Eastern/Western Ties, Media — americanbornchinese @ 8:05 pm

Wow, I just realized I haven’t blogged here for a long time. Things have been quite busy lately. For those who have been waiting for me to post, I apologize for the idle state of my blog.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to blog about this, but I haven’t had the chance to do so for the past week. I happened to stop by a website belonging to the Chinese Cultural Center in San Francisco that, according to the website, is “a major community-based, non-profit organization established in 1965 to foster the understanding and appreciation of Chinese and Chinese American art, history, and culture in the United States.”

On the website, there’s a particular article called “Mirror On the Wall: A Conversation Between American-born and Chinese Immigrants” that caught my attention, and within the audio podcast provided, I listened a facilitated community discussion between Chinese Americans and newcomers from China to share personal experiences and their own opinions on effective ways of establishing common ground via communication across different generations and backgrounds within the Chinese community.

To find out more information and to listen to the podcast dialogue, visit this link:
http://www.c-c-c.org/archives/2007/04/13/mirror-on-the-wall-a-conversation-between-american-born-and-chinese-immigrants/

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May 14, 2007

Chinese government places ban on “Chinglish” in preparation for Beijing Olympics 2008

Filed under: China/Hong Kong, Eastern/Western Ties — americanbornchinese @ 10:08 pm

Reading some articles online as I was browsing the net gave me quite a laugh of amusement.

China, in light of the upcoming 2008 Olympics situated in Beijing, has decided to ban “Chinglish,” which consists of odd yet funny English translations derived originally from Chinese signs, for the sake of the huge horde of English-speaking Western tourists that will be visiting the capital at that time.

From danger signs to Chinese menus, Chinglish is prevalent throughout the city, and there are translations such as “young chicken without sex” on a menu or on a signboard of a noodle restaurant which bears the English name “face powder restaurant” (the Chinese term “noodle” can be translated separately into “face” and “powder”). Further examples would be an Ethnic Minorities Park which is coined with the English phrase “Racist Park” and a plate of fish mistakenly worded as “Crap in the Grass” (meant to be “carp”).

By the time the Olympics arrive in 2008, the Chinese government wishes to address the situation by displaying approved and grammatically correct English phrases for public signs and to have at least one-third of its residents speaking proficient English. In order to do that, the government is undertaking serious measures to achieve its objective in a timely manner by the end of 2007.

Sample Chinese placard bearing poor English:
So what does this mean?
Reading the translation in English is equivalent to not having read it at all. So what do they mean by “It is ancient to pack photo”? According to the owner of this image, he explains on his website that “At this place you could dress up in ancient Chinese clothes and have your picture taken – similar to how we do it in the USA with old cowboy western gear.” Image Source (Original Website)

Here’s a Google video that addresses the current situation of “Chinglish” regarding heightened awareness and the proposed actions of the Chinese government to remedy the problem. Click here to watch it in a new window.

If you want to find out further information about this topic, you may read the following articles below:

Chinglish on Beijing’s Signs Shocks Foreigners (China.org.cn)
Beijing losing ‘Chinglish’ battle (NEWS.com.au)
Beijing stamps out poor English (BBC News)
Ahead Of The Olympics, Beijing Cleans Up Its ‘Chinglish’ (Washington Bureau)

May 13, 2007

125th Anniversary of Chinese Exclusion Act in the U.S.

Filed under: Asia America, Eastern/Western Ties — americanbornchinese @ 10:10 am

My friend happened to talk to me the other day, and during our casual conversation, she brought up the question of whether I was interested in attending a historical exhibition in San Francisco that marked the 125th anniversary of the implementation of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. She had heard about this event from her professor in her Asian American Studies class (particularly “Chinese American Personality” – the same class I had taken last semester along with the same professor). Having heard of this Act but not having acquired much knowledge about the specific details, I researched some information online out of curiosity when I had gotten home, wanting to find out more about what it was. The following is my own paraphrasing of what I’ve gathered from a few sites:

Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

The purpose of the CEA was to altogether cease the immigration of Chinese laborers to the United States, which lasted for a total of ten years. Because of the high demand of low-wage workers seeking the availability of jobs (mostly in railroad construction), the news of the Gold Rush that swept through California like an epidemic in 1849, and current conditions/circumstances in China at the time, there was a huge population of Chinese immigrants that swarmed into the U.S. which eventually prompted the immigration law targeting their particular ethnic group.

However, even despite the fact that the act had been executed, immigration did not cease to continue as many Chinese persisted in entering the U.S. by the sly, yet common tactic of claiming familial ties to Chinese American (ABC) parents who were already U.S. citizens. These immigrants were known as “paper sons,” and this was in the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 and the subsequent fires that burned down City Hall and the Hall of Records which contained birth and immigration records.

Such an event like this indicates a mark in the history of racism and anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. This act was finally repealed in 1943 by Congress at around the same time when China and the U.S. became allies in the event of World War II, but it wasn’t until the Immigration Act of 1965 that large-scale immigration of different ethnic groups into the U.S was finally permitted.

Image Source (Original Website)

Sources:
Wikipedia – Chinese Exclusion Act (United States)
SF Gate – Anti-Chinese law had effect for generations (Sunday, May 6, 2007)

As long as my schedule permits, I’m strongly considering to attend this exhibition with my friend in order to learn more about U.S. history in this aspect of “Chinese in America” because I think it would be quite interesting to learn more.

The detailed information of the time and whereabouts of this event is at the end of the SF Gate article.

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