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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

公視( WGBH)第2台今晚放映"排華法案"

           (Boston Orange) 公視WGBH第二台將於今晚(5月29日)八點,播映"排華法案(The Chinese Exclusion Act)。公視華裔顧問委員陳秀英(Helen Chin) 發函,促請各界觀賞這部極有意義的影片。
           給華人移民家庭帶來許多痛苦的排華法案是1943年廢除的。
很多華人買了文件,以美國公民紙兒子的身分來到美國。在排華法案的限制下,那是華人能夠移民來美的極少數方法之一。
這些人必須一輩子揹著一個假姓氏。也因為這殘酷的法令,一整代中國移民不鼓勵子女學中文,甚至不和子女們分享家族歷史。一整代華裔年輕人不知道他們的根在那兒。
            這些苦澀經驗和記憶,四月廿一日時在華美博物館(MOCA)第四年的家族寶藏(Family Treasures)”年度活動中,都浮現出來。
年輕一代的華裔,都被邀請去分享他們家族保存或藏在他們身後,與排華法案相關的故事與文件。
            梁金(譯音)帶來他已辭世父親王寶福(譯音)的幾張照片。他說,父親的早年生活對他來說是個謎。父親極少談及自己的兒時。不會說中文的梁金,想要找尋自己的根,卻不知道從哪兒開始。
            梁金說他父親可能來自中國台山,在193411歲時來到美國。因為排華法案,他父親必須以另一名華裔美人兒子的身分進入美國。那個人的姓是LemLoy,於是他父親改了名字叫Leung Lem Loy,並在水牛城(Buffalo)LemLoys 住的地方定居下來。。
            梁金說,他出生時,他在水牛城的紙祖父已經過世。他父親從來沒告訴他任何有關LemLoy家的事。只說了自己是紙兒子,但沒說任何細節。甚至在排華法案廢除了以後,他父親仍然閉口不談,至死都用著假名。梁金猜想,那時候很多紙兒子都那樣。因為他們怕被遣返中國,把那當成秘密保守著。          
            Wong死時76歲,留下許多信件,照片。但是因為語言障礙,梁金一個字也看不懂,直到最近他把幾封信翻譯成英文,才知道他父親離開中國時,有兩個姊姊,一個哥哥,以及一名表兄弟留在那兒。
            其中一封信是1935年寫的,哥哥告訴梁金的父親,家裏經濟困難,梁金的父親就透過大通銀行(Chase Bank),寄了一張200元支票回去。
            梁金從來沒在華埠住過。中國的事對他來說感覺非常遙遠,也很異國他鄉。現在他很想找在那兒的家族成員,追查自己的根。
            我從來沒去過中國。現在我想去這封信的地址所在地去看一看。我想這些照片裏的人是我的家族成員,可能是我的阿姨,叔叔。我想要找他們,然後經由他們知道更多關於我父親,以及我家的事。
            陳桂蘭(譯音,Cuilan Chen)一直都在收集和華裔移民有關的舊照片和文件,那是他父親陳家福(譯音,Qiafu Chen)開始的一項計畫。在活動中,她也分享了自己的故事。她父親是隨著祖父陳孟書(譯音,Mengshu Chen)經由澳洲到香港,然後來到美國的。排華法案禁止中國勞工進入美國,但是商人及學者豁免於禁令。他們家是商人,所以獲准進入美國。
陳桂蘭說,當她父親在澳洲時,她祖父開了一家店叫做新月盛(譯音,Shin Yuen Shing)。來到美國後,1028年他在Mott55號開了家同一名稱的店,後來傳給她父親,讓她父親上大學念工程學時,還同時經營店務。她父親畢業後,進了Otis電梯公司工作,成為當時在美國電梯設計領域中工作的唯二華裔工程師之一,後來還參加設計了世界貿易中心的電梯設計工作。
            陳桂蘭說,那時候的社會非常歧視華人,儘管她父親受過高等教育,卻不能列名員工名冊。因為這種歧視,華裔家長不鼓勵子女學中文。
所以陳桂蘭和她的兩名兄弟都不會說中文。現在會說雙語卻成為一項資產。華人父母都很想要子女學中文。但以前,期望子女有成功生活的副府,只教子女英文。
陳桂蘭說,因為這些痛苦記憶,她的父親晚年開始收集諸如照片,帳本,捐款收據,支票,移民卡等歷史文件。一部分的收藏,已捐給華美博物館。現在陳桂蘭持續父親未完成的計畫。她希望藉著她這些收藏,能提醒年輕一代華人不要忘記歷史,也幫他們找自己的根。


Chinese Share Memories of Exclusion Act

The Chinese Exclusion Act, which was repealed in 1943, inflicted a lot of pain on Chinese immigrant families. Many Chinese bought papers and came to the U.S. as the “paper sons” of U.S. citizens, one of the very few avenues for Chinese to come to the U.S. under the restrictions of the Act. These people had to bear a fake last name for their entire life. Also thanks to the cruel law, a whole generation of Chinese immigrants didn’t encourage their children to learn the Chinese language, nor did they share the family history with their children. A whole generation of younger Chinese didn’t know about their roots.
All these bitter experiences and memories emerged on April 21 at “Family Treasures,” an annual event, now in its fourth year, held by the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA). Younger generations of Chinese are invited to share the Exclusion Act-related documents their families kept and the stories behind them. [Editor’s note: Preservationists at the museum advise on storage of documents and heirlooms.]
Leung Jin brought with him some letters and photos left by his late father Bofu Wong. He said his father’s early life was a mystery to him. He rarely mentioned his childhood. Jin, who doesn’t speak Chinese, would like to search for his own roots but doesn’t know where to begin. Jin said his father might be from Taishan, China, and came to the U.S. in 1934 when he was 11 years old. Because of the Chinese Exclusion Act, his father had to enter as the son of a Chinese American whose last name was Lem Loy. And, therefore, he changed his name to Leung Lem Loy and settled down in Buffalo (where the Lem Loys lived).
Jin said when he was born, his “paper grandpa” in Buffalo had died. His father had never told him anything about the Lem Loy family. He only told Jin that he was a “paper son” without offering any details. Jin said even after the abolishment of the Chinese Exclusion Act, his father still did not like to talk about it. He carried the fake name through death. “I think many ‘paper sons’ were like this then,” said Jin. “They kept it as a secret because they were worried about being deported back to China.”
Wong left a lot of letters and photos when he died at 76. But because of the language barrier, Jin didn’t understand a word until recently when he had some of the letters translated into English. Then he learned that his father had two older sisters, an older brother and a cousin in China when he left. One of the letters shows that in 1935, the older brother told Jin’s father that his family was financially struggling, and Jin’s father then sent a $200 check back to his home in Taishan via Chase Bank.
Jin, who has never lived in Chinatown, said things in China feel very far and exotic to him. Now he is eager to search for his family members and his own roots there. “I have never been to China. Now I want to go to the address on the envelopes of the letters to take a look,” said Jin. “I think these people in the photos are my family members. They may be my aunts and uncle. I would like to find them and through them, to learn more about my father and my family.”
Cuilan Chen, who has been collecting old photos and documents related to Chinese immigrants, a project started by her late father Qiafu Chen, also shared her story at the event. She said her father came to the U.S. from Hong Kong via Australia with her grandfather Mengshu Chen. The Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited Chinese laborers from coming into the U.S. But merchants, students and scholars were exempted. The Chens were merchants. So they were allowed to enter the country.
Chen said when he was in Australia, his grandfather opened a shop called Shin Yuen Shing. After he came to the U.S., he opened a shop at 55 Mott St. with the same name in 1928. The shop was passed to his father who then went to college to study engineering while he was running the shop. After graduation, her father joined Otis Elevator Company, becoming one of the two Chinese engineers who worked in elevator design in the U.S. at the time. He later participated in designing the elevators in the World Trade Center.
Chen said the discrimination against Chinese was so strong then that his father, although highly educated, couldn’t get his name listed on the employee roster. Because of this discrimination, Chinese parents wouldn’t encourage their children to learn Chinese. So neither Chen nor her two brothers speak Chinese. “Now being bilingual has become an asset. Chinese parents would love their children to learn Chinese. But back then, parents who expected their children to have a successful life would only teach them English,” Chen said.
Because of these painful memories, Chen’s father started to collect historical documents like photos, accounting books, donation receipts, checks and immigration cards in the later years of his life. Part of his collection was donated to MOCA. Now Chen is continuing her father’s unfinished project. She said, with her collection, she hopes to remind younger generations of Chinese to not forget the history, as well as to help them find their roots.

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