– Author –
Articles Written and Contributed by:
Dr Anthony Pun, OAM
The continuum of the Chinese diaspora exists and it weaves around the globe with different intensities of culture, language, tradition, religion and social political thinking. Despite it being widespread and diffuse, this continuum has a common thread of cultural aspirations handed down by word of mouth. A good example of this observation is the issue of Chinese sovereignty.
With continuous migration of people from PRC for the last 200 years, the ebbing influence of cultural behavior of early immigrants after 3-5 generations and dilution by mixed marriages, is continuously replenished and supplemented with new cultural thoughts from the motherland. How effective is this infusion is yet to be determined.
At any point on the continuum is a blend of observable cultural behavior. The intersection of the continuum can also be observed when two blends are mixed together to form a new blend. This phenomena is generated by transposing one blend of culture characteristics from one geographic location to another and a good example is the secondary migration of overseas Chinese from SE Asia to a Western country, particularly to Australia..
For example, one may ask whether the practice, thinking or celebration of the following is universal or diverse in the Chinese Diaspora living in China, UK, Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia etc. (1) Chinese New Year Celebration or any Chinese Festivals, (2) Ancestral reverence, (3) Filial piety, (4) Political thoughts (democratic or otherwise), (4) education, (5) Joining armed forces or uniform branches, (6) marriages and any other cultural behaviours. The author’s perception of the Chinese Diaspora was a result of frequent global travel to places where Chinese lived in China and outside China.
The author traced his history in China with a beginning in the Province of Henan (河南), the Central Plains of China and the cradle of Chinese civilization during the Zhou Dynasty (110-221 BC),. According to the clan’s historical records, his family had lived in the Henan for 92 generations, 17 generations in Guangdong (廣東) and 7 generations overseas. He belongs to the Hakka (客家) clan and his family considered themselves as the Sung dynasty’s refugees who migrated from the Central Plains to the southern province of Guangdong. In the late 19th century, his ancestors migrated to Malaysia (馬來西亞) and he became a fifth generation overseas born Chinese considering that this great-grand mother was local born. In this context, what is the cultural outlook of the author, his children and his grand children?
The author hopes that this abstract will stimulate thoughts and discussion and even research on the similarities and differences on the contemporary blends of Chinese culture on the continuum with particular attention immigrants from Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and PR China, who made up the majority of the Chinese diaspora.in the Asia/Pacific region.
Dr Anthony Pun (A proud Alumni of Ipoh ACS)
B Sc (Hons), Ph D from The University of New South Wales
OAM, JP National President Chinese Community Council of Australia, President, Ipoh ACS Alumni, Australia Chapter & (Click for more detail about Tony).