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Memories of origins / origins of memories : the collective memory of the Chinese community in Tapachula,… Lau, Rebeca 2003

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Memories of Origins / Origins of Memories The Collective Memory of the Chinese Community in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico by Rebeca Lau B.Sc, The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 1990 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF Master of Arts in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Educational Studies We accept this thesis as conforming te4he required) standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July 2003 © Rebeca Lau, 2003 UBC Rare Books and Special Collections - Thesis Authorisation Form Page 1 of 1 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make i t freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada http://www.library.ubc.ca/spcoll/thesauth.html 8/29/03 11 Abstract The purposes of this study are to: 1) assert the presence and existence of two generations of Chinese living in the southern border city of Tapachula, 2) explore the intergenerational changes of collective memories of a minority group, 3) contradict the racial ideology of Mexican nationalism. The study uses a qualitative approach and consists of interviews often members of the Chinese community belonging to two generations: parent and child. The interviews were individual and semi-structured. The participants were asked questions about their lives and the Chinese community. In spite of their long-standing presence from the late 1800's, the Chinese have remained an invisible group in Mexico. They are not present in Mexico's history and quite often are considered as outsiders in their own homeland. Since their arrival in Tapachula, they gained strength and support through the creation and association as a community. However, their presence has remained undocumented, unstudied, and unknown. iii Table of Contents ABSTRACT II TABLE OF CONTENTS Ill ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS V DEDICATION VI CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1 I AM CHINESE MEXICAN 1 STUDY OBJECTIVES 2 THE CHINESE IN MEXICO 5 METHODOLOGY 11 SETTING THE STAGE 17 CHAPTER TWO: PROFILES OF TWO GENERATIONS 21 GENERATION A : BORN IN THE 60's 21 GENERATION B : BORN IN THE L A T E 30'S / EARLY 40'S 28 CHAPTER THREE: MEMORIES OF THE PAST 38 GENERATION A : BORN IN THE 60'S 38 GENERATION B : BORN IN THE L A T E 30'S / EARLY 40'S 40 CHAPTER FOUR: MEMORIES ABOUT THE COMMUNITY 45 GENERATION A : BORN IN THE 60's 45 GENERATION B : BORN IN THE L A T E 30's / EARLY 40's : 49 CHAPTER FIVE: OBSERVATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS 54 NOTES 64 iv BIBLIOGRAPHY 70 APPENDIX ....... 75 APPENDIX A : WHERE IS TAPACHULA? 75 APPENDIX B : CONSENT FORM (SPANISH VERSION) 76 APPRENDIX C : INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 78 V Acknowledgements Many people contributed in this journey of learning and discovery. Thank you to all those members of the Chinese community of Tapachula who encouraged me and participated in this study. Also, thank you to my family and friends in Tapachula who supported and assisted me with my research, especially my grandmother Mami and my tio Carlos Lau Camacho. I would like to thank Dr. Peter Seixas, Dr. William French, and Dr. Jean Barman, members of my research committee, for their teachings and their guidance. Peter - for your contagious enthusiasm and openness to creative ideas. Bill - for your inquisitive mind and for opening my eyes to other perspectives about my own country. Jean - for being my supervisor and mentor, and for being the one behind the inspiration of this project; I would have not been able to go down this path without you. Thank you also to Dr. Mona Gleason, my Outside Examiner. Mona - for your gracious insights and thoughtful views. I feel indebted to Dr. Evelyn Ffu-Dehart and Professor Roberto Ham Chande. Thank you, Evelyn, for sharing your ideas and expertise and being a source of captivating inspiration. Roberto - Thank you for supplying me with endless materials, support, and energy during this study. I also would like to thank Dr. Neil Guppy, Silvia Martinez, Rosalyn Cua, and all my friends for being there for me when I needed you most. I am especially grateful to my parents, Carlos Luis and Michele Rebecca, for being a never-ending source of wisdom, strength and love, to my sisters, Guadalupe and Veronica, and to my parents-in-law, Dagmar and Kjell. And to PaTle, my husband and best friend, words simply can not say how grateful and lucky I feel to have you always by my side. vi Dedication In loving memory of my grandfather, Sr. Carlos Lau Leon, for his courage, vision, tenacity, kindness, and wicked sense of humour. Teti - Siempre te recordare. 1 Chapter One: Introduction I am Chinese Mexican From Chinese parents, I was born and lived in Tapachula until the age of seventeen. I spent all those formative years as an active member of the Chinese community. Although I have lived outside of the geographical boundaries of this community since then, I feel that my ties and my place as a member of this community have remained strong and therefore continue to identify myself under the label of a Chinese Mexican from Tapachula. Every time I am asked where I come from, I realize how complicated labels and stereotypes are. But to follow this neat system of cataloging, I proudly answer that I am a Chinese Mexican. Eyes wide open, comments come up like, "I did not know there were Chinese in Mexico!" Then questions follow such as, "how many Chinese are there where you were born? How long have they been living there? How did they get there? What was it like to live in Mexico as a Chinese?" Interestingly enough, I get many of such questions from Mexicans -who are not from Tapachula. And in all honesty, I do not know the answers. I grew up in a place where the Chinese had been part of the population for so long that I never questioned or stopped to analyze any particularities. Realizing how little I know about my community and my ancestry, I became interested in finding out more about the Chinese in Tapachula and trying to piece together the "why" and the "because" of my own ignorance. As I recount our past as a community in Tapachula, I have problems finding written accounts. Soon I realize that first-hand narratives from members of the community are the only way to go. At the same time, I sadly realize that much of the remembered past will disappear from our community if not passed on. Just like traditions and customs, members 2 of a group must pass along and be engaged in the community's stories if we want integration and acceptance, and not a total assimilation, to occur. In this study I use the memories of, including myself, ten members of the community belonging to two generations: one parent and one of the children. Through the analysis and comparison of the memories of two generations, this study proposes that collective memory is key to the constitution of a community. Remembering and transmission between generations are important to the continuity of community. Study Objectives When Tapachula (located in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas (appendix A)) was barely a town with a few dusty streets and a small population, many Chinese immigrants came and settled. Past generations brought with them a history, customs, traditions, and values when they first arrived in the late 1800's. As the Chinese population increased, these immigrants sought each other's help and support, creating a community where they also found a place to socialize and celebrate as well as preserve their cultural traditions. Although eventually there was a gathering place, this physical space did not symbolize the Chinese community. More importantly, the Chinese community represented a group of people with similar roots, struggles, goals, cultural identity and heritage. In spite of time, social environment, and changes in the profile of its membership, the Chinese community has not ceased to exist and, though with lesser strength and cohesion, it continues to play an active role in the economic, social, and cultural development of Tapachula. So what is the Chinese community? Who are its members? In spite of its long-3 standing presence, the Chinese community in Tapachula has remained unstudied and basically undocumented. j Although well-known as a minority group in Tapachula, the Chinese have been erased as an identifiable social group in Mexico. Their presence in Mexico does not appear in history books or any school curricula. They are outsiders not only because of their ignored presence but more importantly because they do not fit into the typical ideology of the Mexican Mestizo, a person of mixed European and Mexican Indian elements. During and after the Mexican Revolution of 1910, "race" was used to achieve a nationalistic agenda in forging one united nation: For the intellectual elite, politicians, and nationalists, "mestizaje" (the attainment of a national "race" that combined Mexico's unique European and Mexican Indian mix) and "indigenismo" (the exaltation of Indian qualities over those of the white) were processes to create a racially homogenous, advanced, and modern Mexico. 1 Nationalism had no room for other groups outside of the Mexican Indian or the Mestizo. As Knight contends, the Chinese were a particularly significant example against whom xenophobic attitudes were expressed, clearly based on an economic agenda. They arrived as cheap labour and eventually turned into successful businessmen and entrepreneurs, becoming strong competitors to the Mexican petite bourgeoisie. Thus during this revolutionary period from approximately 1910 through 1935, a nationalistic group of government officials and intellectuals led an almost country-wide movement against the Chinese, who suffered physical and violent abuse, persecution, and for many eventual deportation. Knight explains that this nationalistic ideology, although incorrectly referred to as racial, was social as it comprised characteristics that have nothing to do with biology, such as language, culture, status, and religion. 4 In present times, "indigenismo" has been very much entrenched in ways in which Mexico showcases its Indian values and culture to the country and to the world. Indigenismo has played a key role in nation-building and has centered on bringing out Mexico's indianness in its own representation. However, Knight adds that this is an "imposed ideology" with a purely political agenda that only serves to romanticize the "exotic." Furthermore, this official and imposed policy hides a different reality. While officially Mexico is a country that exalts its indianness, in reality to be Indian means to be discriminated against and looked negatively upon; to be white is still preferred. Knight, therefore, concludes that racism exists because racial theories are still being applied to view and categorize individuals and groups in Mexico. 3 This narrow ideology undermines the existence of minority groups, such as the Chinese, who mostly go unnoticed as part of the population of Mexico. And when encountered, the Chinese remain as an outside group who diverge from the narrow ideal of the Mexican Mestizo, as they are neither of European nor of Mexican Indian descent. There are obvious differences in physical attributes between the Chinese and the Mestizo and there are other characteristics that differentiate the two such as language and culture. Thus exclusion of the Chinese is not only based on being a somatically different group from the Mestizo but more so due to marked differences between the two which are social and not biological in nature as they are not innate. The purposes of this study are: -To shed light on the existence and presence of the Chinese in Tapachula. -To examine the changes in collective memories between two generations. -To refute the racial ideology of Mexican nationalism. 5 The meaning of collective memory is extensive and debatable. For the purposes of this study, my work will focus on collective memory as the ways and tools a community creates and re-creates to share, remember, and transmit past events and things. These ways and tools assist in holding together, preserving, and identifying a social group. 4 Such ways and tools can be written, oral, spatial, sensory materials in the forms of texts, rituals, oral stories, narratives, traditions, objects, photographs, monuments, celebrations, etc. 5 The focus of this study will be on oral stories or oral narratives, and traditions and celebrations. 6 Debates without agreements abound about collective memory and its veracity and validity, tools and ways of collective memory, and whether memory or history should be considered as a representation of the past. Although I am aware of these debates, my primary interest throughout this work lies in collective memory as a means of group preservation and identification. Therefore, I have chosen to acknowledge the existence of such debates and not to be a part of them. 7 The Chinese in Mexico Academic work on the Chinese in Mexico is limited. Most work has been done on the Chinese in the north focusing mainly on their arrival, development, economic contributions, and their persecution. Not much attention has been devoted to their presence in other parts of Mexico. In addition, none of the work found so far has had a qualitative approach or focused on their social contributions, social changes, or their current participation and development. Based on the literature found, the following section attempts to create a picture of the Chinese presence in Mexico while giving a sense of the research done in this area. 6 Although the first Chinese in the entire American continent can be dated to the mid 1600's in Mexico City, their documented history begins with their arrival in the west coast of Mexico in the 1870's in response to economic incentives issued by the then-government of Porfirio Diaz. Progress, economic growth, and unity were high in the agenda of this dictatorship. Translated into practice, foreign immigration was seen as the means to attain these goals. Although originally foreign immigration was intended to be for European Catholics, Asians were later welcomed for their well-known attitudes of hard-work. With the U.S. Exclusion Act of 1882 prohibiting any Chinese immigration into the U.S., a second wave of Chinese from China and the U.S. arrived into northwestern Mexico. By the time the Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed between Mexico and China in 1893, Chinese communities in the north were well-established and growing.9 Most Chinese arriving in Mexico were young males in search of a better life. Chinese women represented a very small percentage; only 2.1% of Chinese immigrants were female in a period of 50 years starting at the end of the 1800's. A little over half of the male immigrants were between 15 and 29 years of age upon their arrival in Mexico. And around the same number was single. Based on the small number of female immigrants, it is assumed that most if not all of them were married to Chinese men. It is also assumed that due to the mostly male population, Chinese married men, who counted for 50% of all males, were married to Mexican women, though it is unclear how many had left wives in China. However, those numbers are skewed, as Mexican women would suffer negative consequences after marrying Chinese men. Therefore, many hid their real marital status.10 Most Chinese arrived through ports located on the Pacific coast, such as Manzanillo with the highest number of arrivals, followed by Salina Cruz, Mazatlan, and Guaymas. But 7 they also arrived in large numbers through cities that bordered with the U.S., starting with Ciudad Juarez as the highest, followed by Mexicali, Nogales, and others. In smaller numbers, they arrived in ports on the Gulf of Mexico such as Tampico and Veracruz. These were not their final destinations; they dispersed all over Mexico and the largest concentration was in the northern states such as Baja California, Chihuahua, Sonora, Coahuila, and Sinaloa, as well as the metropolitan capital city of the country, Mexico City. In lesser numbers, they also arrived in the states of Chiapas, Veracruz, and Yucatan. Their presence increased in these states in later years after persecution against them ended.11 Contrary to Diaz' original plans for the Chinese to be employed in the railroad construction or in the mines in the less inhabited areas of the north, some of them opted to do menial jobs such as cooking, driving, shoemaking, tailoring, labouring, and some mining. However, the majority preferred to work for themselves or for other Chinese as merchants.12 The population of Chinese in Sonora surpassed all other states until the 1910 Mexican Revolution, when it comprised the highest number of any group of foreigners. They filled the much-needed commercial gap of local trade by operating small stores that supplied workers and European and American owners in isolated mining towns. The Chinese opened for business where no one else did, following not only the establishment of mines but also railroad construction. They became the petite bourgeoisie, owning grocery stores, restaurants, and laundries. A small number of them worked as day laborers, cooks, and artisans tailoring, shoemaking, woodworking, etc. The Chinese associated and employed other Chinese and succeeded by creating a network, therefore controlling the local market and distribution of clothing and food. According to Hu-Dehart, the Chinese developed "the state's first commercial infrastructure" with their hard work, their 8 willingness to venture and expand into remote towns, and their close-knit association with other Chinese immigrants, mostly males in the working age of 21 and 50. The members of this community contributed immensely to the economic development of the area by adapting to the environment, seizing an undeveloped market, and staying away from the more respected and already-established Mexicans, Americans, and Europeans.13 The Chinese also played an important role in the development and growth of Baja California, which was an important port of entry into Mexico, occupying fourth place in total number of arrivals in a span of 50 years beginning in the late 1800's. Most arrivals came to Baja California from the U.S., running away from the consequences of the U.S. Exclusion Act of 1882. Like Sonora, Baja California also experienced the fruits of the Chinese labour and hard work. Most of the Chinese in Baja California were in agriculture, leasing land from American landowners to produce cotton in the Valley of Mexicali. Many of them hired other Chinese to work these arid lands and their numbers became significant. In spite of the large number of Chinese working the lands in this area, they were not displacing any local labour as Mexicans crossed the border voluntarily due to the higher wages and better working conditions offered in the U.S. 1 4 While the majority was dedicated to agriculture in the Valley of Mexicali, a smaller group of Chinese headed for urban settlements. Most of them arrived in Mexicali, and on a smaller scale Tijuana and Ensenada, and became successful merchants with the establishment of businesses like "tiendas de abarrotes" and some restaurants and laundries. They were very successful due to their close association with other Chinese merchants in California and with the Chinese farmers in the Valley, with whom they were able to open stores in rural areas. The Chinese in Baja California are another example in which the 9 Chinese were contributing to the economic growth and infrastructure of the region, as well developing opportunities for themselves in sectors in which neither the Mexicans nor other foreigners could or wanted to get involved.15 However, not everyone welcomed the arrival of the Chinese or perceived their hard work as contributions. From its inception, Diaz' immigration policies towards the Chinese faced opposition. Much of the debate surrounded 3 key issues: First was the fear the Chinese would take over jobs and therefore displace Mexican workers. Secondly, the Chinese had different customs and were stereotyped as dirty, promiscuous, gamblers, and opium-addicts, all of which would supposedly damage public health and threaten Mexicans' religious and family values. Third, in the opinion of the nationalists and revolutionaries, the Chinese was a weaker, inassimilable "race" that would hinder Mexico's goal of becoming a cohesive, homogenous, industrialized nation. As this debate grew stronger, so did the search for Mexico's national identity backed by an elitist voice comprised of politicians, government officials, and intellectuals.16 The search for a national identity that would unite Mexico and lead the country into becoming a unified, industrial nation re-appeared and was heightened by the 1910 Mexican Revolution, which ended the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. However of all foreign groups in Mexico, the Chinese suffered the most open racism during the revolution due to their economic success. They were originally brought in as cheap labour but ended up competing and gaining economic ground against the Mexican petite bourgeoisie. 1 7 By 1910, Chinese immigration had been recorded in all but one Mexican state. The Chinese population, especially in the northern states, had increased and their economic situation was quite 10 prosperous. And it was also in the northern states, especially Sonora, where the Chinese 18 faced the most violent and direct racist persecution. The transformation from racist sentiment towards the Chinese into open racist action began in 1911 with the killing of 303 Chinese and the destruction of their material property in the northern city of Torreon. Violent action against the Chinese continued in various parts of the country with random killings, robberies, and physical assaults being reported; propaganda was circulated all over Mexico accusing the Chinese of being dirty, infected with diseases, and addicted to opium.19 And the Chinese were also persecuted at the government level. In Sonora, where the largest Chinese population in all Mexico was found, the government passed a law in 1916 prohibiting Chinese immigration into this state. Some municipalities in this state claimed businesses owned by Chinese were unsanitary and ordered them to close down. These municipalities also levied higher taxes on businesses owned by Chinese. In spite of complaints from Chinese groups and the Chinese government, the anti-Chinese movement was just getting started.20 Aggression against the Chinese and their property continued. By the 1920's there were local anti-Chinese organizations and committees in every Mexican city where the Chinese were present. During this decade, the anti-Chinese movement gained so much momentum in the northern states that their governments and an elite group of revolutionaries extended this campaign to a national level. They demanded national legislation in favour of ghettoization, the expulsion of "disease-stricken" Chinese, Chinese gamblers, and illegal Chinese, and the prohibition of interracial marriages with any Chinese man. Some states, like Sonora, passed and gladly enforced these laws. Although the central government did not pass any such laws, it suggested loopholes in the already existing system and therefore did 9 1 its share to support the movement. By the mid-1930's, the anti-Chinese movement came to a climax. Chinese were expelled from every Mexican state so that by 1940, the Chinese population had decreased considerably all over Mexico. Xenophobia was used to facilitate nation-building, nationalism, and social cohesion. As the Chinese represented a more visible and easy to distinguish minority and had achieved an enviable economic position, sinophobia was an 99 element of a nationalistic ideology and of class struggle. The literature on the Chinese in Mexico found so far has focused on their presence, their contributions, and their expulsion since their arrival in the late 1800's until about 1940. Most works have been based on the analysis and interpretation of primary and secondary printed materials, focusing on the Chinese in the northern states where the population was highest, their economic importance was most noticeable, and where their persecution was most direct and violent. Mexico experienced Chinese immigration in other parts of the country including the south. In the case of Tapachula, their presence has remained unstudied and undocumented. Methodology As I began thinking of this study, I realized that my most important concern was to know about the past of the Chinese and of our community in Tapachula. What would be better than first-hand accounts of members of an older generation who had witnessed and participated in the building of this community? Who else would know better about a group or a community if not the members themselves? And since I had not found any written 12 academic research or academic materials on the Chinese community of Tapachula, I concluded that this project would add a different perspective and voice to the history and 23 contemporary presence of Chinese in Mexico. Participants had to be a male or a female born in China, Macau, or Hong Kong, or born in Tapachula (or surrounding towns) but be of Chinese descent, and to have lived in Tapachula for at least ten years prior to 1980. As a member of this community, I felt it important to include myself as a subject. I completed a self-interview while waiting for approval from the University Ethics Review Board. Once the study was approved, I contacted my uncle who resides permanently in Tapachula and is a well-respected person in the community. He approached a few members about my research and they graciously accepted my request for an interview. Before leaving for Tapachula, I had my father's interview and mine completed. When I first began thinking of this study, I was concerned that, with the passing of time, I would not be able to meet with the oldest members of the Chinese community. Also, I had no idea how many members of the Chinese community, if any, would be willing to be part of this project; I had grown up knowing my grandparents and my parents' generation as a very introspective, close-knit, and low-key group of people. They were people who would not openly discuss personal, family, or community matters. After all the approvals, I made a trip home to Tapachula and stayed for two weeks. Some of those fears materialized upon my arrival when I realized that only three members remained from the oldest generation (born in the 1920's and currently in their 80's). Of these three members, I was able to interview two. However, of these two interviewees, one asked me to keep the interview completely out of the study. This member explained to me 13 that he/she was just happy that someone had taken an interest to know about his/her difficult life and about the lives of the old Chinese and thanked me for my visit. He/she allowed me to make note that by the time he/she had arrived in the 1930's as a young person, the Chinese community was very large and my grandfather was already a well-established merchant and one of the most respected Chinese within the community and within the region. I felt fortunate for the unique opportunity to meet with this member, but with mixed emotions I made the decision to focus my study on two generations instead of three. For the remaining time, I was grateful I managed to get an interview with everyone I had asked. As soon as I arrived in Tapachula, I began interviewing the subjects my uncle had contacted. During the first interviews, these subjects gave me the names of other members they considered were knowledgeable about the Chinese community's past, and met the selection criteria. I visited most of them and was welcomed to come back for an interview. In all cases, I had grown up with at least one of their children. As we got reunited and I explained the reason I was back in town, I asked each one of them for an interview. Each individual interview was held in Spanish and at the subject's choice of location. Some of them were held at their homes, their business, or at a local restaurant. Depending on the location, the surroundings, and my own sense of how the subject would feel comfortable, I asked for permission to record the interview either by an audio tape-recorder or by taking notes. After each interview that was not tape-recorded, I immediately returned home to expand and re-write in more detail my notes. Four interviews were tape-recorded; from the remaining twelve which I had taken notes, I destroyed one as requested by the interviewee and whose case I previously explained. By the time I had finished this process, I counted fifteen interviews. 14 With the idea of future projects in mind, I had originally prepared myself to interview up to twenty people from three different generations. In total, I was able to meet with fifteen participants. Of them, one participant's interview notes were destroyed at his/her request. Five interviews were set aside as the participants did not meet the generational criteria discussed further. Thus, nine interviews in addition to mine were finally selected. The recollections of these ten paired subjects belonging to two generations will be used for the purposes of this study. Five interviewees, including myself, are part of generation A. We were born in the late 1960's and are currently in our mid 30's. The remaining five are part of generation B. These are our parents who were born in the late 1930's, early 1940's and are currently in their 60's. For every parent in generation B, his/her child is a subject in generation A. One of the drawbacks of this generational approach is that it limited the number of participants. Sometimes I was able to find a parent but his/her child lived somewhere else and this posed difficulties in reaching him/her. Nonetheless, it was important to have a parent and one of his/her children take part of this study. Also using generational interviews, Hare bases her Aboriginal literacy study on the importance of family relationships and their connection to cultural traditions and literacy. Her study focuses on the narratives of "three successive biological generations of Anishinaabe." As Hare points out, Aboriginal people have different notions and forms of literacy that are embedded in their cultural traditions. And since cultural traditions are connected to family relationships, it was essential to undertake a study based on biologically related generations such as Hare's in order to understand changes in notions of literacy.24 Given the importance of family as a social context also in Mexico I have chosen to focus on the changes of collective memories between a parent and his/her child. 15 I began each interview explaining briefly that the study was about the memories of the Chinese community in Tapachula. I also emphasized that there were no right or wrong answers and the study was based on what each interviewee could and/or wanted to tell, recall, and remember about their personal and family lives, as well as the Chinese community. I then went through the approved Spanish-version of the Consent Form (appendix B). It was important that each subject understood the legitimacy of the study and felt comfortable with the procedures and the interview process. I explained the Consent Form emphasizing his/her right to stop the interview at any time with no repercussions, and the issue of confidentiality. Each subject was given a choice to remain anonymous or be identified by name, as well as to have their interview destroyed or be given as a gift to the community. All of them requested to sign and make a choice on these issues after each interview. Permission was also asked to return for a second meeting if necessary. In addition to the Consent Form, I had with me a list of interview questions (appendix C), which had also been approved by the Ethics Review Board. This list of questions was a checklist and a self-reminder to keep the interview on track. I explained the existence arid the reason I had brought the interview questions along. During the first interviews, I noticed that questions 21, 22, and 23 were not very effective and made the subjects uneasy. Therefore, these questions were never asked in most interviews. Each interview lasted 80 and a few of them up to 120 minutes and ended with the signing of a Consent Form and an open invitation to come back from each subject, and a thank you and an appreciative smile from me. Although a copy of the Consent Form was available for each subject, everyone refused to obtain one stating that they knew I would be respectful with their own individual wishes. 16 After my trip to Tapachula, I carefully transcribed and translated into English all Spanish notes and tapes. Translations were made paraphrasing the statements made in Spanish and finding equivalent expressions and slang in English, giving importance to the subjects' main ideas. Word for word translation was avoided. I made special notations for myself on the silences and peculiar expressions made during the interview so that these would be accounted for during the translations and the transcriptions. Al l translated and completed interviews were saved onto computer diskettes which along with the tapes and notes were kept in a locked drawer when not in use. Access to this drawer was only available to myself. All subjects and their interviews will remain anonymous. Although several subjects agreed to be identified by name on their signed Consent Forms, his/her parent or offspring had requested the opposite. Referring to one subject by name would automatically reveal the identity of the subject wanting to remain anonymous. Therefore, all subjects are referred by an Arabic number symbol. One-digit numbers refer to generation A, comprised of offspring. Two-digit numbers belong to generation B, comprised of parents. In addition, all interviews are presented as a cross-generational analysis and are not presented in pairs of parent/offspring for confidentiality purposes. After the publication of this study, those subjects who had wished to keep their interviews for the community will be contacted. Each participant will be given the opportunity to look over or listen to his/her interview before such is placed in the city of Tapachula archives located in "La Casa de la Cultura." For the analysis of the data, I will be using Wertsch's approach. According to Werscht, collective memory is in essence a representation of a remembered past that is 17 "mediated" as it involves human action such as thinking and speaking, creating a tension between agents and cultural tools. His writing is mostly on the collective, as agents, and on texts or narratives, as cultural tools. I will base the analysis of interviews on Wertsch's work, specifically his chapter titled "Generational Differences in Collective Remembering." Here, Wertsch examines the World War II narratives belonging to two generations of Russians. My focus will be on the process of mastery. According to Wertsch, mastery is the most basic way to study differences in the collective memory of two generations. "Mastery" refers to the length or amount of information (quantitative) and the detail and content (qualitative) each subject provides. Within "mastery," Wertsch differentiates two categories as: -"Schematic narrative templates": These are narratives that involve generalized, abstract, undetermined, and unspecified individuals, places, and forms. -"Specific" narratives: These refer to narratives that relate to specific, narrow, concrete, and identifiable settings, events, and characters. Setting the Stage Tapachula is located in the southern state of Chiapas in Mexico (Appendix A). It is the last major city before reaching the border with Guatemala in Central America. Since the early 1900's, history and sociology books describe Tapachula as cosmopolitan due to the diverse groups of people inhabiting this area: Native Indians, Indians from neighbouring states especially Oaxaca, Guatemalan Indians, Germans, Chinese, Japanese, Central Americans, Arabs, French, British, Spanish, and Americans. Immigrants and descendants belonging to many of these groups have helped maintain Tapachula as ethnically diverse.26 18 According to the 2000 Federal Census of Mexico, Tapachula has a total population of 271,141 inhabitants. Census data in Mexico accounts for the number of foreigners according to place of birth.27 However, these statistics seem meaningless when applied to the Chinese community since, though some of its members are Chinese by birth, most of them define themselves as Chinese because of ancestry. Thus, the number of Chinese living in Tapachula is basically unknown. As De Leon Orozco, local historian in Tapachula well-known as "El Cronista de la Ciudad" (or the Chronicler of the City), pointed out, in Mexico there are no defined or agreed-on characteristics that would classify a person as Chinese other than if he/she was born in China. Cultural heritage and ancestry are not concepts usually used to define a person in Mexico. 2 8 According to the Collins Dictionary of Sociology, "community" is "any set of social relationships operating within certain boundaries, locations or territories... It may refer to social relationships which take place within geographically defined areas or.. .to relationships which are not locally operative but exist at a more abstract, ideological level." Both geographical and ideological elements can be applied to refer to the Chinese community in Tapachula. It is essentially a grouping comprised of people who define themselves as Chinese by birth, descent, or affiliation (marriage), and reside or have lived for an extended period of time in Tapachula and surrounding areas. An elected body comprised of members guides and oversees the welfare of the community. This is the general definition used to describe the Chinese community of Tapachula, which is the one I will use throughout this study. In Tapachula, physical characteristics such as a set of slanted eyes and a flat nose may be the first clues a person is assumed to be Chinese, mistakenly including those of 19 Japanese descent. Beyond physical traits, the unwritten and widely-known self-definition of being Chinese comes from ancestry. In Mexico, a single person acquires both the father and the mother's last names. A person with two Chinese last names may define herself or himself as being Chinese or of Chinese descent. If one or none of her or his two last names is Chinese but s/he had a Chinese immigrant ancestor, s/he may acknowledge her or himself to be of Chinese descent or to be a Mestizo. Unlike the known concept of Mestizo in Mexico applied to a person of mixed European and Mexican Indian origins, in Tapachula within and outside the Chinese community, the term Mestizo is used to define a person born in Mexico and of mixed Chinese and Mexican ancestry. Throughout this study and unless noted, I will continue using this concept when referring to a member of the Chinese community who has a combination of Chinese and Mexican origins. The straight translation of "paisano" is "countryman" and it is usually used in Mexico to call someone who comes from the same country as oneself. However, in Tapachula, "paisano" is used outside and within the Chinese community when referring to someone of Chinese descent, as "Chino" or Chinese in Spanish contains negative connotations. In Tapachula, "chino" is mostly used as a derogatory remark or even as an insult when said with scorn. Therefore, I will use "paisano" to indicate a person of Chinese descent in this study. Lastly, the word "local" needs further clarification. Here, "la gente local" or "local(s)" refers to a person or group of people born in Tapachula or surrounding areas who does not define himself to be either Chinese or Mestizo. A "local" is someone who is not a member of the Chinese community of Tapachula. In using this term, it is not my intention to 20 infer a negative meaning of "otherness." Instead, I use the term "local" to differentiate a person born in Tapachula with no Chinese ancestry from one who does. 21 Chapter Two: Profiles of Two Generations Generation A: Born in the 60's One of the main characteristics of our generation is that we were all born and raised in Tapachula. Our Chinese lineage comes from either one or both parents, and from at least one grandparent. In some cases we represent first or second generation Chinese born in Tapachula either from one or both sides; and in other cases we may be first from one side, but second and in few cases third from the other. Regardless, members of our generation were all born and raised in this area. I was born in Tapachula in 1967. Both my parents were also born here. My grandparents came from China. From my father's side, my grandparents came to Tapachula directly. And from my mother's side, my grandparents went to Sonora first and then came to Tapachula. Subject 9 I was born in Tapachula in 1968. My father is Chinese -from China- and my mother is mixed, as her father was Chinese and her mother Mestiza. Subject 7 I was born in Tapachula. My grandfather came from China when he was a teenager in search of a better life for him and his family ...Many years later, perhaps when he was in his 40's, he returned to his birthplace to get married with my grandmother. My father was then born in China and later came to Tapachula with my grandparents ...My father met my 22 mother while he was studying in Hong Kong and returned to Tapachula with her...My mother was born in Macau. Subject 6 Our parents owned and ran their own businesses and most of us lived behind, on top or near this family business. Some of the businesses had begun with our grandparents but a lot of them began with our parents. When we were growing up, there were mostly "tiendas de abarrotes," clothing and shoe stores, fabrics stores, a few ranches, and a few restaurants. A lot of us worked there after school, on weekends, and during school holidays. And we witnessed our parents' hard work and commitment to their only means of economic survival, as they worked seven days a week and only closed on Mexican holidays. And though this translated into limited family time, it was the way they showed how much they cared about us and our future lives. I remember my Mom a lot. I do not remember my Dad that much. As you know, my Dad, like a lot of other paisanos, dedicated himself to making money so that we could have a good future... Subject 8 I helped out at my parents' grocery store whenever I had no school...I remember being open everyday from 7am until 7pm with a 2-hour break in the afternoon for lunch and siesta ...It was not until I was a bit older that we began to close the store on Sundays at 2pm and spent more time with my parents...In a way, it was good to live on top of the store as we kids just went downstairs if we needed our parents. Subject 6 23 A few of us grew up with grandparents, but certainly most of us were surrounded by real and acquired uncles, aunts, cousins, godparents, neighbours, and an active and fairly close Chinese community. Our parents developed close relationships with other Chinese we call aunts and uncles and their children cousins regardless-of blood relationships. In addition, our social circles became larger as our parents adopted the Mexican "compadre" and "comadre" relationships by asking many of their Chinese friends to become our godparents for our Baptism and/or our First Communion. During the weekends starting on Fridays, I would stay with my grandmother - my Mom's mother. She had come from China. I remember my grandmother's Chinese cooking. I also remember that my grandmother was very hard-working and active... Subject 8 We all lived together with my grandparents and uncles and aunts...and spent a lot of time at our neighbours playing with my cousins who had the same last name as we did but I do not really know the exact relationship. I do not know how we are related because for sure they have other grandparents from us but have the same last name and are our cousins. We also spent quite a bit of time playing with our godparents' kids as well. Subject 6 At home and within the community, we all grew up experiencing a bi-cultural environment. We celebrated a mixture of traditions and followed both Chinese and Mexican 24 customs. Our circles of friends and acquaintances were comprised of Chinese and Mexican children. Our parents have taught us Chinese customs, traditions, and values ...and we have acquired many Mexican traditions at school and with friends. Subject 10 We had both Chinese and Mexican customs and traditions. But the food was always Chinese and we ate with chopsticks and a bowl. Even now, my Mom cooks for us and it is Chinese food...I cook Mexican food for my family. Subject 9 At home, we celebrated a mixture of things... We always celebrated everyone's birthdays...New Year's, Chinese New Year's, Christmas...If you remember, we used to hit a "pinata " at the gatherings at the beach but with a Chinese twist. The "pinatas " would be stuffed with money instead of candy. Subject 10 ...Iremember Chinese New Year's celebrations at home... and at the Lamshing's with all the kids running around, the men playing majong, the women cooking and chatting, and of course the red envelopes...I also remember other celebrations with our neighbours and friends like "Sentadas de Nino, " "Dia de los Muertos, " and "Posadas. " Subject 6 25 However, many of the values we acquired at home are what we consider as Chinese. And much of the education we received from our parents, we perceive as the Chinese way. [For instance] Even if you had money, the image a Chinese has always projected was that of a person who was not rich. You have never seen a Chinese that was known as "nino o nina fresa " [or "juniors "J in Tapachula. We were always taught to be low-key. When our parents had money, they never spent it on frivolous things like a car. They used to use whatever little money they had in trips abroad to be reunited with relatives and take us to meet them. Family and relatives are very important. These are things our parents have taught us. Subject 10 The education we received from our parents was not typically strict like other Chinese families, like we could talk all we want at the table. But they were strict with us in regards to our grades and our schooling. We always had to do well at school... Subject 9 There is one thing that I do not like about Chinese education and that is to be always the best...It creates so much competition among siblings ...One always had to get a perfect "10" in all subjects ...but what if you were not good at some things or you liked Biology and hated Math? This would be unthinkable... Subject 8 26 Although a lot of us grew up listening to two languages, Spanish dominated our environment and the large majority speaks only Spanish making us a monolingual generation. As a result of our parents' efforts and limited resources to teach us their language, few of us can understand Cantonese and even fewer can speak it. We did not have the opportunity to study Chinese abroad nor have there been any Chinese schools available in Tapachula. Those of us who can speak it learned it at home with our parents, and have had a limited opportunity to practice it through the daily interaction with members of the community. However, none of us acquired Chinese writing and reading skills. My father speaks Chinese and my mother does a bit too. However, we only spoke Spanish at home. Subject 9 Both my parents speak Chinese between them. Because I am closer to my parents and Hive with them, I understand more Chinese than my brothers. Subject 7 My parents speak Chinese and they taught us the language. It is what we mainly speak at home. I can tell you that I can make myself understood but I cannot read or write. Subject 10 Our generation was privileged in that we had the opportunity to obtain a university education and therefore make our own work and career choices. As a result of this educational opportunity, most of the "tiendas de abarrotes" as well as clothing and fabrics stores known to be Chinese businesses have been closed down, as very few of us have 2 7 chosen to follow in our grandparents and/or parents' footsteps. The exception to this has been the restaurant business. There are more Chinese restaurants in Tapachula than ever before. Some of these restaurants are owned by recently-immigrated Chinese. A few are owned and run by the Chinese and Mestizos of our generation. Only a handful of our generation have chosen to be entrepreneurs and continue the family business or start their own, in spite of the fact that most of us grew up working in the business that our grandparents and/or parents had arduously established. Instead, our generation has been characterized by degree-holding professionals such as doctors, accountants, educators, lawyers, chemists, architects, and engineers. Most of us see this as the result of the opportunity our parents gave us to receive an education and therefore have career choices. I went to university in Monterrey and graduated as an engineer. Subject 10 I began my university studies in Guadalajara...came back to Tapachula and graduated here... Unfortunately there are not as many businesses as there were when we were growing up... The majority of stores of "La Octava " [or "Eighth Avenue "j have disappeared...But suddenly there are a lot of Chinese restaurants instead. Subject 7 Ifirst went to Monterrey to study... but I did not like the faculty so I then transferred and graduated in Guadalajara... Due to the availability for us to study, there was not such a demanding necessity to continue this business cycle. We even had the opportunity to go abroad, to attend 28 university, to grow professionally, with the goal of improving our quality of life... We got to be university graduates, doctors, etc... There are many professionals and doctors here in Tapachula with Chinese last names. So we are now living a different phase of even acceptance and professional development of the Chinese in Tapachula. Subject 8 We are in our 30's and some of us are single, some others are married, others are divorced, and a few of us have children. Unlike our parents' generation, most of whom were married and had children by the time they had reached their 30's, ours follows no such pattern. However, the greatest majority of marriages of our generation have been with Mexicans. In few cases, intermarriages between members of the Chinese community have taken place. (No quotes are given here due to confidentiality) Generation B: Born in the Late 30's / Early 40's The Chinese of this generation can be roughly grouped into two according to their place of birth. A large group was born in China (mostly the south) and Macao and came to Tapachula through the sponsorship of a merchant Chinese uncle or a merchant paisano. They were mostly young men who had left their birth place and families due to surrounding political instability and their search for better opportunities. I was born in Macao in 1939. When I was 18,1 left Macao for various reasons. First, my mother felt that there was political insecurity and uncertainty ...(Also) I really wanted to get out of school and work. I wanted to be either an actor, a policeman, or to go to military school, 29 but my mother would not accept any of these. By then, one of my sisters had gotten married and had moved to Mexico. My brother-in-law asked me if I wanted to come...I was sponsored by Mr. Jose Long Chang who had a business together with another Chinese man and the company was called "Lamshing y sobrinos. " Subject 14 I came to Tapachula when I was 18 years old from Canton...My uncle owned a large business so I worked with him for about ten years. Subject 12 ... When the government of the time could not please the population and was ineffective because the Chinese did not have the means to survive and live properly. So it was during this time that Chinese began to leave China. Subject 15 They worked at their uncle or the sponsoring paisano's company or business for at least five and up to ten years, until their immigration documents were ready or until they were able to open their own business. They rarely had the economic ability and the opportunity to visit their place of birth and be reunited with family until later in life. I arrived in 1958 and the first time I returned to Macao was in 1966 when I got married. We went there for our honeymoon and that was the first time my wife met my mother. Subject 14 1 My uncle owned a large business so I worked with him for about 10 years before I could go back to Canton... Subject 12 They continued following many of their Chinese customs and traditions. They worked, lived, and socialized with their Chinese co-workers. Throughout the contact and friendship with the local population, many continued with their Chinese customs but also received much influence and began adapting Mexican traditions as well. The Chinese of our time used to live with uncles, etc. Everyone coming from China and not having immediate family, we would get together and all lived in the same house with cousins and other relatives, all Chinese...In our house, we were 8-10people and lived with mostly cousins and people who worked with us... It is a Chinese custom that everyone helps out in as much as one person can. Subject 15 ...with time, I met people and started to establish relationships with a lot of the locals. At that time, Tapachula was so small that we all knew everyone; it was like a big family. So I started to like Tapachula. I was fairly young when I arrived in Tapachula. The number of young people was not very large. So my friends were comprised of locals that were Mestizos and young Chinese although this number was small. Amongst the locals, everyone thought we were all Mestizos because we were very outgoing. They thought we had just returned from China. We would participate in all activities, went swimming, played ball. And the general 31 image that Chinese would show was that they were quiet, serious, and did not participate within the community, did not mix with the locals, and were only there to do business. Subject 14 The other group of Chinese from this generation was born in Tapachula and nearby towns such as Cacahoatan, Huixtla, Union Juarez, etc. They were born from Chinese parents or from Chinese father and Mestiza or Mexican mother. A large number of this group was sent by their parents to China to learn the language and customs. Another group remained in Tapachula and acquired from their parents and the community Chinese traditions and culture and in few instances limited language skills. Therefore, traditions and customs were a mixture of Chinese and Mexican early in life. I was born in 1939 in Cacahoatan...My father was Chinese and my mother was Mestiza...She never had the chance to learn Chinese because when she was growing up life was very tough and my grandparents did not have enough to send her to China to study... I was 7 years old when my father took my [younger] siblings and I to Kau Kong. My father returned and we stayed to live with our aunt and our cousins... My father passed away in January of1956 so we returned to Tapachula to our mother's side. We had been in China since our arrival when I was 7 until my father's death [10 years later]. Subject 13 I was born in 1941 in Tapachula...My father first came to Mexico to the state ofZacatecas. He was there doing some agriculture...He then went 32 back to China and an uncle asked my father to come back to Mexico to help him out in his business. This time he came to Tapachula with my mother in 1940...At home we would speak half Chinese and half Spanish. The food and customs were Chinese since both my parents had come from China. Subject 11 By the time this generation reached their 30's, the greatest majority was married and had children. And there was no visible correlation between birthplace and marriage partners. Some of the Chinese men returned to their homelands and came back to Tapachula with their Chinese born wives. Others married Chinese women born in Tapachula. Others married Mestizas and others married Mexican women. The same applies to the Chinese men born in Tapachula; some went to China and returned with their Chinese wives. Others married Chinese women also born in Tapachula. And others married Mestizas. However, the characteristic of this generation is that in the large majority of cases, Chinese married Chinese or Mestizo. In fewer cases, Chinese married Mexican. I came to Tapachula...and worked for about 10 years before I could go back to Canton to get married... We stayed back for about one and a half years, which is the time that took us to fix my wife's papers to come to live in Tapachula. Subject 12 I was born in Tapachula...My wife is mixed and born in Tapachula as well. Subject 11 33 My father was Chinese and my mother was Mestiza. ..I met my husband in one of the events of the Kuo Ming Tang...he came from China. Subject 13 A large number of this generation regardless of place of birth is bilingual. The group that was born in China and Macao maintained their Chinese dialect -in most cases Cantonese- through their daily contact with other members of the community as well as by continuing reading printed materials, listening to tapes, and watching video cassettes sent to them from abroad. Most members worked and lived in an environment where Chinese language dominated. Their long working hours and their social lives revolved around Chinese co-workers and friends. Most members of this group learned Spanish through the daily contact and the growing relationships and friendships with the locals. A few of them had some formal lessons for up to a year in the evenings, after which time, they continued studying on their own and learning through the daily usage of the language. First Mr. Long sent me with a lady who taught Spanish at her home. She was the first one who taught me about pronunciation. I was there for 6 months and then I studied at the Colegio Morelos. But I would not go to regular classes. When the students finished, I would go at night from 7 to 8pm. I had the chance to get off one hour earlier from work to go to study. I studied therefor about 6 months. Subject 14 I learned Spanish on my own and by asking and speaking with customers and friends. Subject 12 34 Many of the Chinese who were born in Tapachula and surrounding areas were also bilingual, regardless of whether both parents were Chinese or the mother was Mestiza or Mexican. Many of them were sent by their parents to live and study in China or Hong Kong with a relative. They stayed for long periods of time until their permanent return to Tapachula. On their return, most of them had to re-adjust and were successful at re-acquiring their Spanish language skills. At the same time, many other Chinese were not able to make the trip and managed to learn the language with both of their Chinese parents at home; they managed to build on this base through the daily contact with other Chinese members of the community. There are also other members of Chinese born in Tapachula who are monolingual and do not speak Chinese, whose parents were Chinese or whose mother was Mestiza or Mexican. They had no opportunity to study abroad and the language spoken at home was Spanish. In Kau Kong we, my siblings and I, lived with our aunt and cousins. Our aunt was married to my father's brother and was like a mother to us. We went to school just like our cousins and we adapted very quickly... [10 years later] Upon returning to Tapachula because of my father's death, we did not speak Spanish any more and could not communicate with our mother. To get re-acquainted and to avoid a dramatic change in our lives, we lived temporarily with your grandparents. There was a Chinese cook so we ate Chinese food, followed Chinese customs, and spoke Chinese. But this was a temporary move to get us comfortable. With time, we learned Spanish once again at school and with friends. Subject 13 35 As members of this generation began their own families, the usage of language changed. Chinese continued to be the language of choice between bilingual spouses and amongst members of this generation. However, in cases where one of the spouses was monolingual, Spanish would be the spoken language. And, Spanish also became the dominating language at home regardless of the parents' (members of generation B) birthplace and language fluency. Only in few cases in which both parents were born in China was Chinese spoken in the home. My wife is Mestizo...[So] at home with my wife and kids, we have always spoken Spanish. Sometimes my wife and I speak half Chinese and half Spanish, but Spanish always with my daughters. Subject 11 I met my husband in one of the events of the Kuo Ming Tan. He came from China. We later got married and have three adult children. At home, we spoke both Spanish and Chinese...Spanish with my kids and Chinese with my husband. Subject 13 My family is very important. In the house, we have always spoken Chinese so that even now my three adult sons can speak it. Teaching them how to write it was more difficult. But at least they are among the few Chinese born here of his generation who can speak and understand Cantonese. Subject 12 . 36 This generation is also known to be business owners and entrepreneurs. Work was the key to survival and the means to a better quality of life. Whether they had arrived from China or they were born in Tapachula, they were owners of a "tienda de abarrotes," a Chinese restaurant, a clothing store, a fabrics store, or a ranch. A few of the ones who were born in Tapachula continued their parents' business. Most of them after working for an uncle or a paisano for some time were able to save money and became independent. Many of them borrowed money and/or merchandise from other paisanos to set up their businesses. And though most of them had similar businesses, they continuously helped and supported each other. / worked with my uncle for about 10 years before I could go back to Canton ...I came back to Tapachula and worked for my uncle for another 2 years and then became independent. I began my own agricultural business. I owned land and produced cotton, soy, and had cattle. Subject 12 I worked for 4 years for Mr. Long...I took a trip to Mexico City, and Mr. Antonio Juan and his wife Mrs. Angelina asked me if I wanted to take over their business in Huixtla... When I came back from Mexico City, my brother-in-law got to know that I had left "La Orquidea " and asked me to work for family in other words him instead of going to work for another stranger. He offered to pay me $1000 pesos a month and I accepted. I worked for him for 2 years...and with some of the money my father had left me and with my savings, I opened my first business. Subject 14 38 Chapter Three: Memories of the Past Generation A: Born in the 60's Much of what our generation recalls about the Chinese in Tapachula and in Mexico is limited. Five of five stated not knowing anything about the first group of Chinese arriving in Tapachula or in Mexico. Out of five, none of us could recall any details about the lives of the Chinese arriving and inhabiting other parts of Mexico. What we know is mostly about the Chinese and the community of our times and very limited details about the lives of our grandparents and even our parents' generations. Most of us mentioned that older groups of Chinese arrived by boat to San Benito, what now is called Puerto Madero, and then came to Tapachula by horse-drawn carts. They were merchants and worked hard and long. Many of these Chinese came from poor and oppressive conditions and were looking for better life conditions and economic opportunities. One in five commented in detail regarding how the Chinese were taken from the ships to land on a chair pulled by a rope. Three in five mentioned that some of the Chinese had come to Tapachula because of its proximity to Central America with the idea of going to the U.S. Of these three, two recalled hearing about a few Chinese arriving from the northern part of Mexico escaping persecution during the Mexican Revolution, which indicates their awareness of the Chinese presence somewhere else other than Tapachula. One in five mentioned not knowing much about the older generations of Chinese and acknowledged that even recollections about his/her Chinese grandparents arrival in Mexico were almost non-existent. Many Chinese came to this area running away and some with the idea of going to the U.S... Those who were in Mexico during the Revolution ran 39 in different directions as everything that was foreign was attacked... But the Revolution never made it to the south, so many Chinese came this way... The first Chinese in this region, as far as I know, had stores where they sold everything. They supplied the "fincas " [or large ranches] owned by well-off Germans. One could buy goods like a shotgun or porcelain dishes, and even Dutch butter and Spanish cold cuts, silk, fabrics, furniture; they sold every good needed. Subject 8 If you had a Chinese last name, you were persecuted. I learned about the Chinese persecution in the north in conversations I had... The first generations of Chinese really suffered the most. They had to show what they could do. These first generations came and learned a totally different language and made very productive lives for themselves and their families. Subject 5 Even memories of our grandparents and/or parents as the first immigrants of our families in Mexico are limited. Even though all interviewees had at least one grandparent and/or one parent who had emigrated from China, only one in five was able to answer descriptively about the life of one of his/her four immigrant members of the family. My grandfather came when he was a teenager ...He came from a poor family and the only way to really make it was to get out...From stories that I heard through the years, he arrived by boat after a long and difficult trip. I do not know the exact year he arrived... At first, he 40 worked for somebody else for a few years and because he was hardworking and honest, many of his friends lent him money and merchandise to open his own "tienda de abarrotes"... He was a very well-known and respected member of the Chinese community and of Tapachula... After many years, he went back to China and married my grandmother but I would not know what year... Subject 6 Four out of five interviewees gave general and short answers about their Chinese grandparents and/or parents. Four in five began their answers with hesitation, apologetic that they did not know much about the older Chinese generations and even less about their ancestry. Answers to questions such as where their ancestors were born or why they had left their place of birth were given instantly and automatically; answers that we had heard all our lives and had learned to say instinctively. However, we could not answer questions about the previous Chinese generations that required detailed explanations such as description of their trip, why they chose Mexico, a major event in their lives, details about their lives, eventful years. One interviewee whose four grandparents came as immigrants could not recall anything about their arrival and much less about their lives. Generation B: Born in the Late 30's / Early 40's In contrast, generation B recalls specific details about the first Chinese in Tapachula and even described their arrival to other parts of Mexico. Three out of five explained how and why the first Chinese groups came to Mexico. A lot of them arrived with full support from the government of Porfirio Diaz in the late 1800's to the northern part to work the arid 41 and deserted lands. A lot of other Chinese arrived in other parts as well to assist in the construction of the railroad. Some stayed as merchants after finishing their contracts and then sponsored and employed other Chinese. Everyone who came was male and young and had left their homelands in search of a better life. Migration to other parts of the world from China began during the Qin Dinasty. When the government of the time could not please the population and was ineffective because the Chinese did not have the means to survive and live properly. So it was during this time that Chinese began to leave China... They began to go towards nearby places like Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, etc... They began to come to the American continent with the construction of railroads, like in the case of the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and South America... Construction companies were British and...would hire Chinese for 3-5 years... All of them were men and young ... After they ended their terms, some stayed. The ones who stayed would try to help the ones who were left in China. The Chinese who stayed were by no means rich. But at least conditions were better than in China. With their earnings, they began sponsoring their family members and friends from China... At that time, the population in Mexico was very small. So some of the Chinese moved to less inhabited places in the north like Sonora and Sinaloa. These Chinese were known by their work ethics and honesty, especially in the field of agriculture. And Porfirio Diaz gave permission to more Chinese to come into the country... Subject 15 42 Only one in five interviewed mentioned not knowing anything about the first group's arrival in Tapachula or their lives. The remaining four also stated not knowing who the first group of Chinese was and when they had arrived. However, they explained how and why the first generations of Chinese previous to them had come. They agreed with generation A in that their ancestors and predecessors had arrived by boat to San Benito and then by horse-drawn carts to Tapachula, adding that this was the only link to the rest of the country and the world. They also further explained that though these groups were the first long-time settlers, they were not the very first Chinese to set foot in Tapachula. Some groups of Chinese arrived because of the railroad construction and others came in cargo ships not knowing their destinies; later on others arrived because of the persecution in northern Mexico against the Chinese during the Revolution. Some of the arrivals got into agriculture and others were merchants who set up stores and supplied the locals with everything they needed. Many of the ones who stayed also worked very hard to establish their own business and opened up "tiendas de abarrotes," restaurants, and later on very successful clothing and fabrics stores. They sponsored and employed other young Chinese men. These young men worked long hours and shared a living space that was part of the store where they worked. As part of their contract, they were given accommodation, food, and a small monthly allowance. Most Chinese who had decided to leave were looking for better living conditions and economic opportunities. In Tapachula, the parents and the uncles of generation B represented the biggest group of first generation Chinese immigrants to Tapachula and their presence was felt in large numbers. Three out of five interviewed had at least an immigrant parent. Of these three, two described in detail part of the lives of their immigrant parent in Tapachula. There were many Chinese when I was growing up... There were many communities of foreigners in Tapachula such as French, German, Lebanese, Arabs, Spanish...The Chinese population was about 300-400...Ithink the Chinese was the 2nd largest one after the Spanish...The older generation of Chinese left their own birth place forced because of the bad economic situation... My father was the eldest and had the responsibility to care for the entire family. So the only solution was to find a way out. ..My father left at about 16 and was in Hong Kong for about 2 years ...there was a request from Mexico for a worker... His goal was just to get out ...He worked for 4-5 years with the person who had requested for his labour and then started working on his own...The person he had worked for used to import from China goods like tea, soy sauce, Chinese herbal medicine. At that time, there were about three businesses owned by Chinese [in Tapachula]. Subject 15 The first Chinese arrived in northern Mexico because of the construction of the railroad. Then there was a persecution in the years of the Revolution so some of these Chinese came from the north... My father first came to Mexico to the state of Zacatecas. He was there doing some agriculture for between 5 and 10 years. He then went back to China and an uncle asked my father to come back to Mexico to help him out in his business. This time he came to Tapachula with my mother in 1940...Life was difficult then that my mother returned to China for the first time in 1965. But my father never had the opportunity to return once he arrived in Tapachula. Subject 11 ... The other group of Chinese had arrived in ships that had gone to China to deliver cargoes of sulfur and upon their return to Mexico were carrying these Chinese. They did not know if they were going to Mexico or the U.S. They had just seized the opportunity to go to some foreign country to earn money and would just get on such ships. Many did not know their destinies; a few knew just like Don Ricardo Juan... It is unknown what year exactly the first immigration arrived and who they were. But for sure, many years ago there were already lots of Chinese living in Tapachula... The way people arrived was via ship in San Benito what now is called Puerto Madero...Because long time ago there were no railroads, no roads, and obviously no planes that would link Tapachula, the only means was via ship. Subject 14 4 5 Chapter Four: Memories about the Community Generation A: Born in the 60's Much of what we recall about the Chinese community is what we had the opportunity to live and experience. Five out of five interviewees of our generation could not tell anything about the Chinese community of past Chinese generations. We can give no accounts on how the community was, its contributions, or if and how its members socialized. Our generation recalls very little about the community of our parents and it is mostly of what we have witnessed and lived. The Chinese community of our times was fairly close and social. Five out of five recalled the many activities and celebrations that were organized and where we socialized with other Chinese and Mestizo families. The paisanos would get all together in the ranch at the beach that belonged to Don Manuel Sing...at that time, there was no paved road, no electricity ...and to get water out of the well, we used a pail and a rope...I remember the ladies used to bring tons offood. You probably remember the famous fried chicken...I also remember the Carnival where we used to perform the Dragon Dance... Subject 8 When we were kids, we used to get together at Don Manuel Sing's ranch at the beach... later on, Don Manuel donated a lot where we used to play volleyball, ride horses, and join in kite competitions... We also had the famous Fai-Lok dances that used to be kind of a Chinese "posada " held in December ...And we can not forget the lion and the Dragon dances during the yearly city Carnival and on New Year's. Subject 7 46 As for contributions and successes of past generations, our generation can recall only those who have gone through a transmission process and have become part of our beliefs, customs, traditions, and celebrations. These mostly involve a mechanical ritual or a physical performance and are void of any story or narrative. Oral accounts of contributions made by past generations are simply non-existent. Three out of five of us mentioned that Chinese food is one of the contributions the past Chinese have left. There are more Chinese restaurants in Tapachula than in any Mexican city, and Chinese food is seen and accepted as a local cuisine. Even Chinese ingredients have been added into local dishes. In addition, four out of five mentioned that Chinese culture has also been a contribution with the Dragon dance becoming a regular part of the annual city Carnival. As a culture, I think (the Chinese) is very solid and very strong...many locals have learned to eat Chinese food...For instance, many locals here use ginger in cooking. However, ginger is not used in Mexican foods in other parts of the country ...Shrimp cocktails are very famous and all the places in the city add a few drops of Chinese Oyster sauce to the cocktails...Also, you may have noticed but before there was one or two Chinese restaurants. Now there are many... Subject 8 ...people here know about the Chinese culture like the Lion and the Dragon dances. Most importantly, people here have learned to like Chinese food like Chinese mushrooms. That's why there are so many Chinese restaurants in Tapachula. Subject 7 47 One of the legacies that the Chinese have left in Tapachula is that of culture. Everyone here is familiar with the Dragon Dance. And everyone sees it as an integral part of the Carnival. Subject 9 Five out of five mentioned that the Chinese had greatly contributed to the commercial growth of Tapachula. "La Octava," or "8th Avenue," was known to be full of Chinese "tiendas de abarrotes." For decades, the Chinese who owned and operated these businesses, supplied and gave credit to the locals as well as to the "finqueros" and "rancheros," those who owned and worked the surrounding ranches. For many years also, the Chinese owned and ran clothing and fabrics stores located around or very close to the "Parque Central," where the centre of town was located. Four out of five mentioned that the most important contribution and mark that the Chinese have left are images of strong morals and values. According to these respondents, the Chinese are perceived as a hard working, honest, low-key, diligent, achieved, and united community. They attribute this perception to their long presence as active contributors and members of the larger society of Tapachula. Normally the Chinese here have been known as people who keep their word, are honest, and are not dumb...if a paisano said that he would pay you back the next day, he would in fact pay you back the next day...Also, when a paisano says that he would meet you at a certain time, he is there at that time...These perhaps are the things that label us as Chinese here in Tapachula...Nowadays as an adult I can see that generally people look for the Chinese because they still have the idea that the Chinese do things well, are honest and intelligent. This means that we have an obligation to maintain this image before this society; as Chinese we must continue to maintain those accomplishments older generations have worked for. Subject 8 The first generations of Chinese really suffered the most. They had to show what they could do...they left moral examples of hard-work, honesty, and always keeping their promises ...The following generations such as ours have been very lucky. We are the ones who are enjoying the fruits of older generations and of our parents' hard work. Now everyone accepts us... It is taken for granted that if you are Chinese, you are hard working, honest, and accomplished. Also my reputation is my father's reputation. I am known within Tapachula because my father was the one who established himself throughout the years with his hard-work... The Chinese have always stuck together for help and support. Also, the Chinese are very protective of their money because it has cost them a lot of hard work to earn it. And even if you have money, the image a Chinese always projected was that of a person who was not rich. Subject 5 49 Generation B: Born in the Late 30's / Early 40's Generation B remembers its predecessors as an influential community that greatly contributed culturally and economically to the growth and development of Tapachula. Five out of five acknowledge their predecessors for creating and leaving an image of honesty, strong working ethics, camaraderie, and unity. In addition, all interviewees mentioned that the Chinese have culturally left a mark with the Dragon and the Lion dances, and the influence Chinese food has had in the gastronomy of Tapachula. Three in five were able to give detailed accounts of how Chinese food and the Dragon dance had come about in Tapachula. In either 1966 or 1967, a very enthusiastic group of paisanos built a dragon's head and took it out to perform in the Carnival.. .The head was designed by Don Carlos Juan, who was a good painter and had studied plastic arts... And of course, Don Juan Yip's brother-in-law, Don Ruben, Don Manuel Sing helped to build the dragon. And the ladies of the community sewed up the body and the tail with satin and attached thousands of little bells all over ...During rehearsals, the ladies also cooked and brought food and drinks for all the guys... Every one in Tapachula was so excited and could not believe such a great performance... And this was the first time we had ever performed the dragon in Tapachula...The Chinese community has always been the first ones to reply back and the ones to collect the most money for any function or event in the city. So there is always been open participation from our community in any city event which is something you do not see from other ethnic groups. Subject 14 Because the Chinese were very hard-working, there was not much time to have a social life. Instead, working hours were long; they would start at 4am and finish at about 7 or 8pm. There was no time to take a siesta... and all the Chinese followed the same pace... The old Chinese community was very close. Very often one person would cook and share his food with others. At that time, most men were excellent cooks who would make specialties and invite Mexicans... mostly high society... Most Chinese of that time did not have a family or a wife, so they would only invite Mexican men. And these men upon returning home would tell their wives and family about the delicious foods... So Chinese food began to be known and the wives wanted also to be invited. Afterwards, wives were also invited to these dinners and they became a social event. Chinese food became a topic of conversation. A lot of these foods were very exotic: shark's fin soup, bird's nest soup, dried mushrooms. Then it became commonplace to invite visitors to Tapachula to eat Chinese food... So one of the typical foods of Tapachula is Chinese food. Subject 15 The older Chinese also actively participated in Tapachula's affairs. Their unity as community was not only to help each other but also to make contributions and become 51 active participants and members within the society of Tapachula. Four out of five gave detailed and lengthy accounts on the contributions of past Chinese and the community. My father played a very important role in Tapachula. For a long time, my father was very respected within the Chinese community. He was one of the founders of the initiative to open a school for the community. So my father with other Chinese members began a fundraising campaign... Subject 15 There was also a school that was donated by the Chinese and I was even in the opening ceremony. It was called La Colonia China [The Chinese Community]... The Chinese community paid for the construction and maintenance of that school...Then somehow the name was changed to Ldzaro Cardenas and it still is... Nobody asked for permission to do this. Suddenly the school was renamed so the community stopped paying for the maintenance and upkeep. Subject 14 The Chinese contributed greatly with the donation of the famous Parque Chino [Chinese Park] which later mysteriously was changed to be named Parque Isasi [Isasi Park] and then to be a market. It was a beautiful park with statues of animals, small ponds and bridges. The community designed, built, and paid for it... I don't think you had the chance to see it. Subject 11 52 They also donated very expensive Chinese furniture to City Hall like wooden chairs, beautiful vases, a porcelain tea set: all imported from China and paid for by the community. The furniture slowly disappeared with every passing elected official and there may only be a few chairs left. It is because of these magnificent chairs that when a new mayor is elected, it is said that he will sit on "La Silla China" [the Chinese Chair]. Subject 13 The Chinese community has always been very close. Not only have they helped and supported each other when in need but they have also been known for their camaraderie, togetherness, and social relationships. Social associations were one of the ways to maintain the Chinese community together and to socialize. Five out of five gave accounts on the social aspect of the community. There were associations where we would get together like the Kuo Ming Tan...Although the Kuo Ming Tan was a political association in China, the paisanos of Tapachula were not interested in politics... [It] was a social association used and seen by the paisanos as a connection with their birth county. It was an association for men, women, and children, and in fact later on, the Kuo Ming Tan was open to everyone and many locals attended social functions there... The Kuo Ming Tan also held Chinese classes for children...These type of associations existed up until the 60's... Subject 15 When [arrived in Tapachula, there were already two organizations with their own specific functions. One of them was the Kuo Ming Tan...The other one was the Chi Kung Tong or La Logia China...All these groups were originally founded with some kind ofpolitical reasons. But being outside of China, one could not cause much political impact in their activities, so they became social groups. The Kuo Ming Tan for instance organized the best parties and dances for the paisanos. The dance of October the 10th was very famous and many locals joined in. Also when they held Chinese banquets, the food was the best... Subject 14 54 Chapter Five: Observations and Conclusions There are distinctive differences between the memories of generations A and B. One of these differences relates to articulation. Members of generation B were able to recall and express the collective memories of the community and the Chinese as narratives, as stories. In addition, they were able to consciously account for the memories embedded in Chinese traditions and beliefs. In contrast, most members of generation A were not able to articulate narratives of past Chinese and the community. Even less are we aware of the existence of narratives attached to the cultural traditions we normally and instinctively perform. Therefore, the most obvious difference is that generation B has a large repertoire of narratives while A has a limited number of stories to articulate. Using Wertsch's categories, the small number of narratives of generation A clearly displayed characteristics of "schematic narrative templates" and those of B could be matched under "specific narratives." Compared with generation A, generation B showed a high degree of mastery in the articulation of memories and remembering. The narratives belonging to generation B were fuller in content, length, and detail than those of A. Although neither group seemed to know or remember about the first Chinese in Mexico, generation B could recall the reasons that prompted the first groups of Chinese to immigrate and the circumstances they had faced upon their arrival in Mexico and in Tapachula. Generation B recalled stories of the Chinese arrival in the north, the railroad construction, the cargo ships, the persecution, all of which are narratives of events that had taken place prior to their birth and presence in Tapachula. They also remembered details about the generation of their immigrant parents and recalled that the Chinese of prior generations were young males and gave details on how they lived, worked, socialized, and integrated into 55 Mexican society. Although lacking details, members of generation A displayed a generalized pattern of remembering and recollecting but with a similar template as that of B. Generation A remembers that they come from an immigrant, minority group that arrived, worked hard, and faced struggles and at the same time left their values, traditions, and images, which are elements that continue to identify us as a community and differentiate us as an ethnic group in Tapachula. Generation B was able to recall in a more uniform and collective pattern than A. Only one member of A compared to four of B recalled details of the Chinese arrival in Tapachula. Only two members of A compared to four of B recalled stories about the Chinese persecution. None of A and four of B recalled specific stories about the material contributions made by the community and the role the community played in the lives of the members and in the society of Tapachula. Only one member of A could give concrete stories about the immigrant members of his/her family. Compared to B, a few members of generation A were able to recall limited memories on the past Chinese and the community, and more unfortunately, only one of them on his/her own family's immigrant history. This suggests that within the family and the community, transmission of narratives between generations did not take place or did so in a limited manner. Also, this suggests that the transmission and transfer of memories from parents to their children occurred mainly in form of celebrations and traditions. Members of generation A are not without memories of the past Chinese and the community. Five out of five recalled memories of the community and its social activities, celebrations, and traditions. However, outside of celebrations and the social aspect of the community, members of generation A could give short and general narratives of the past 56 Chinese and the community. This suggests that traditions and celebrations are the only way members of generation A express continuity with our past. The content, detail, and uniformity of the memories of generation B can be attributed partly to the fact that some members of this generation experienced first hand and played a character role in some of these memories, as a number of them lived the immigrant experience. Therefore, part of the reason their memories were specific and detailed comes from experienced and lived participation. In contrast, only a few members of generation A were able to articulate memories in narrative format, and these were brief and general. This is partly due to the fact that, unlike generation B, members of A did not live through the immigrant experience. Whereas members of generation B were able to articulate narratives of both lived and non-lived memories, most of the narratives of generation A were limited to memories of events and things that they have witnessed and lived. Memories of members of generation B included stories of people, and of things and events that had occurred before their presence in Tapachula, as well as those that have happened during their lifetimes. This is due to changes in functions of the community and changes in the meaning of "community" perceived by the different generations. While members of generation B have viewed the community as a central part of their lives and it has functioned as such, members of generation A have and continue to perceive the community mainly for its celebratory function. Much of what generation B recalled is the result of the close contact that existed within the Chinese community. For our parents and previous generations, work, family, and friendships almost entirely revolved around other members and the community throughout 57 most of their lives; the community not only represented a social escape, but also support and connections on a daily basis. It was a close-knit community where the lives of the members mattered and concerned everyone else. There were many opportunities and they also created their own environment to socialize with other Chinese as they had many things in common such as heritage, background, interests, occupation, and especially language. Many used to visit each other frequently and meet at social events organized by associations like the Kuo Ming Tan. At the time, a lot of the stories of older generations and other families and individuals were exchanged in tea houses, in parties, in gatherings, and during home visits in their own language. One of the most important common denominators among the Chinese was language, an important tool of communication. Therefore, members of generation B were able to describe in detail stories of previous groups of Chinese, the community, and some of their immigrant family members. Also, they could make references to specific Chinese families and individuals when recalling a story and even remembered eventful years within the community and within their own families. They were able not only to perform traditions and celebrations but also to narrate the memories embedded in them. For generation A, what little we seemed to recall and articulate in stories about previous generations of Chinese in Tapachula and the community stems from changes that members and the community have undergone. One such change has been that of language, an important transmission tool. Spanish became our language, different from our parents' generation and the main community. This meant that the transmission and transfer of memories occurred in the form of traditions and celebrations, and not as oral narratives or stories which would have required a close to similar command of a shared language. In this study, this type of transmission occurred both in the home and in the community. 58 The close interaction among members of the community that we enjoyed when we were younger has also changed. With the community and among other members, we no longer share many common threads like our parents and previous generations had. We hold different interests, occupations, and social relations from each other. Interaction within the "community" is limited and has acquired a different meaning. With our ethnic background as one of the few remaining common denominators, the "community" has become a place to celebrate and remember our Chinese cultural heritage and a means to identify us as a group. The differences in articulation, detail, length, content, and uniformity of narratives lead to the conclusion that generation B shows greater mastery about the past Chinese and the community than generation A. Furthermore, differences in the way members of generation A (traditions and celebrations) and B (narratives, traditions, and celebrations) transfer and mediate their collective memories suggest that: -Members of generation A are becoming more "assimilated" into the dominant culture than our parents' generation. However, the fact that generation A not only continues to self-identify with their ancestry and with the "community,'' but also self-identifies with the larger community of Tapachula suggest that this process is neither a complete generational assimilation nor a total disassociation from the dominant culture. -"Assimilation" is partial and social. It is social because it encompasses characteristics that are acquired and have changed such as language, level of education, occupation, culture, and identity. Also, it is partial because these characteristics do not appear evenly and totally transformed in one individual or within the group. -Ethnicity was and is the basis of self-definition and self-identification. As a Chinese individual and as the Chinese "community" of Tapachula, the main basis of self-definition 59 and self-identification comes from shared cultural values, traditions, and beliefs (add linguistic as well to our parents' generation). -"Chinese-ness" in Tapachula is a constructed concept. "Chinese-ness" has become synonymous to the Chinese food in Tapachula (the way we cook it), the Dragon Dance (the way we dance it and the significance we have attached to it), the Fai-Lok Dances (which we normally explain as the equivalent of the Mexican "posadas," parties held nine days before Christmas), the constructed images of the studious and academically successful Chinese pupil, the self-created images of hard work and honesty, and the perpetual physical traits of slanted eyes and black-straight hair. -Self-identity is perceived differently between generations. For our parents, to be Chinese and to be part of the Chinese community meant the same thing, one identity. In contrast, many members of our generation may choose to identify as Chinese because of our Chinese ancestry. However, this may not necessarily mean self-identification with the Chinese community of Tapachula. As I was interviewing members of my parents' generation and my own, it was obvious to me how much the transmission and articulation of our collective memory has changed and continues through a negotiation process of re-creation and mediation within the community, between generations, and with the larger society of Tapachula. As the interviews took place, I discovered with mixed emotions how little my generation could recall in the form of stories about the past of our Chinese ancestors and our Chinese community. Most of us did not mention the Chinese arrival to other parts of Mexico, the persecution, the railroad construction, the cargo ships, details of their lives, or that most of the arrivals had been young males. In addition, we could not recall how large and influential 60 the community had been at one point in time and the many contributions such as the school, the park, and the furniture the Chinese made to the larger community of Tapachula. For our generation, the narratives about past Chinese and the community are non-existent. Instead, the collective memory of our community's past is embedded in our beliefs, customs, traditions, and celebrations. Although these contain narratives, we can not narrate or be engaged in them, as we are not even aware that they exist as such. Our ancestry, cultural heritage, and in some cases physical traits are the only remnants of what identify us as a "community" within Tapachula. As the members of the Chinese community and the community itself changed, so did our own self-identification. In past times, our parents identified themselves as being part and playing an important and vital role within the Chinese community of Tapachula. They created "community" by supporting and helping each other and sharing their culture. This community was a group of Chinese immigrants, people of Chinese descent, and people who shared a Chinese ancestry and lived in Tapachula and surrounding areas. They worked diligently for long hours creating a self-image of honesty and strong working ethics. They also created and perpetuated a self-image of "community " with the Chinese food, the Dragon and the Lion dances, the Chinese New Year's celebrations, and social gatherings. And if a person was Chinese or of Chinese descent, s/he most likely identified as being within the community. In present times, however, not everyone who is of Chinese descent living in Tapachula defines her or himself as a member of this community. S/he may choose to acknowledge her or his Chinese ancestry but not actively seek involvement, participation, and membership within the community. Therefore, identifying her or himself as Chinese 61 does not automatically mean self-identification as part of and with the present Chinese community. From the comparison and analysis of the profiles and the recollections of two generations, we have seen the importance that remembering and transmission of a shared past and shared experiences, that collective memory, have been for the constitution and the collectivity of the Chinese as a minority group in Tapachula. As the members changed, so did the dynamics, the role, and the preservation of "community." For our parents' generation, the community not only represented their values, their culture, and their strength but also their work, their connections, and a big part of their daily lives. In contrast, as our generation became more involved in establishing relationships and roles outside of the community and therefore became more assimilated into the larger and more dominant society, this "assimilation" transformed our community and what it represented to us. For our generation, the community has become a smaller player in our daily lives and has mainly become a social but important link to our heritage, interaction among the members of our parents' generation was frequent and vital. Interaction among members of our generation is occasional and celebratory. As the dynamics, the role of the Chinese community, and the interaction among its members changed, so did transmission and preservation of a remembered past that identify us as "community." The most basic tool of communication, interaction, and transmission is language. In spite of the language difference between our parents and our generation, preservation and recalling of our past still take place and are an important part of our lives. Traditions, celebrations, and beliefs have replaced stories as cultural tools to remember and 62 transmit our past. These cultural tools comprise our identity as an ethnic group in Tapachula, an identity that as Chinese individuals and as a "community" has been transformed. If much of what has been transmitted up until our parents' generation has been in narrative form, for how many more generations can practices without stories sustain our community? What effects in the community and in Tapachula will cause the total disappearance of our ancestors' stories? Much needs to be researched about members of our parents' generation who have become the last group of Chinese immigrants in Tapachula. As for our generation as children of an important immigrant community, this study is intended to further an interest for research in cultural, educational, economic, and social areas of minority ethnic groups like the Chinese that make up Mexico. It is no longer the case that the Chinese face open persecution and violent racism in Mexico. This does not mean, however, that there is a complete acceptance of such a somatically and culturally different ethnic community. In Tapachula, our generation still has to be submitted to the occasional denigrating name-calling and racist remark without any encouragement from our part and triggered simply by our passing by. Although this is far from the violent persecution that the Chinese encountered many decades ago, it is still an exclusionary and racist treatment against an ethnically diverse group. For many generations, the Chinese in Tapachula have remained a united community where members socialized, helped and supported each other, and as a group have shown strength and camaraderie. As a community, the Chinese have never been an exclusive but a welcoming group that has integrated and participated within the society of Tapachula and the Mexican culture. Our association and our identity as a community and as individuals are 63 based on common social attributes such as our customs, traditions, beliefs, celebrations, marriage, language, and ethnicity. The fact that Mexico, with a multi-ethnic population, promotes an ideology of racial and cultural homogeneity not only perpetuates racist tendencies but also undermines the existence of ethnic mini-communities and sub-groups. By manipulating the education of its population and erasing the existence of the Chinese from its history books, acceptance and inclusion will come when elimination and assimilation have taken over. And perhaps our non-existence in history will render such a reality. In the meanwhile, studies such as this attempt to reverse this course in history and in reality. 64 Notes 1. See the works of Andres Molina Enriquez (first published in 1909), Los grandes problemas nacionales (Mexico: Ediciones Era, 1978), and Manuel Gamio (first published in 1916), Forjando patria (Mexico: Editorial Porrua, 1992). In Foijando patria Gamio urges to forge a united nation through the creation of a national race that would combine Mexico's European past with its Indian values and history. For Mexico to become an industrialized nation, it needed to become more homogeneous and thus only races that were in tune to its own should be welcomed. This racial selection according to Molina Enriquez would solve many of Mexico's economic and social problems. 2. My thought here is guided by the work of Alan Knight, "Racism, Revolution, and Indigenismo: Mexico, 1910-1940," in Richard Graham, ed., The Idea of Race in Latin America, 1870-1940 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990), 73-113. 3. Ibid, 99-102. 4. See James Fentress and Chris Wickham, Social Memory (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1992), ix-xii, 2-86; and James V. Wertsch, Voices of Collective Remembering (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 17-46, 55-66, 149-178. 5. For other tools of remembering, see the works of Gaynor Kavanaugh, Dream Spaces: Memory and the Museum (London, New York: Leicester University Press, 2000), as well as Christopher Tilley, "Ethnography and Material Culture," in Paul Atkinson et al, eds., Handbook of Ethnography (London: Sage, 2001), 258-272; also Marius Kwint, Christopher Breward and Jeremy Aynsley, eds., Material Memories (New York: Oxford, 1999). 65 6. My thought to include traditions here is guided by the work of Eric Hobsbawn, "Introduction: Inventing Traditions," in Eric Hosbawn and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 1-14. 7. For other perspectives of history and memory see Carl Becker, "Everyman His Own Historian," American Historical Review 37:2, (1932), 221-236; David Lowenthal, The Past Is a Foreign Country (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 210-214; also Pierre Nora, "Between Memory and History," Realms of Memory: The Construction of the French Past (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 1-20. On some more current debates between history and memory, see Paula Hamilton, "The Knife Edge: Debates about Memory and History," in Kate Darian-Smith and Paula Hamilton, eds., Memory and History in Twentieth-Century Australia (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1994), 9-32; Kerwin Lee Klein, "On the Emergence of Memory in Historical Discourse," Representations 69 (Berkeley: University of California Press, Winter 2000), 127-150. 8. Evelyn Hu-Dehart, who has written extensively about issues of race and ethnicity, Asian Americans, the Yaqui Indians in Mexico, and the Chinese in Cuba, Peru, and Mexico, is the most notable and prolific academic on the subject. I feel very fortunate for having the opportunity to listen to and meet with Evelyn. I am especially grateful for her time and the many sources and insights she provided me. 9. Evelyn Hu-Dehart, "Coolies, Shopkeepers, Pioneers: The Chinese of Mexico and Peru (1849-1930)," Amerasia, 15:2 (1989), 91-97. Here, Hu-Dehart traces the Chinese arrival in Mexico, their significant economic contributions and their eventual persecution in Sonora. This article covers more than I can include in this review. See also Evelyn Hu-66 Dehart, ''Immigrants to a Developing Society. The Chinese in Northern Mexico, 1875-1932." Journal of Arizona History, 21:3 (Autumn 1980), 275-278. 10. Roberto Ham Chande, "La migracion china hacia Mexico a traves del Registro Nacional de Extranjeros," in Maria Elena Ota Mishima, ed., Destino Mexico. Un estudio de las migraciones asiaticas a Mexico, siglos XIX y X X (Mexico: El Colegio de Mexico, Centro de Estudios de Asia y Africa, 1997), 167-173. As Ham Chande explains in his introduction, in 1926 a national registry was created to account for all foreigners in Mexico. Therefore from 1926 to 1960, all foreigners who resided in Mexico by law had to register with the federal government (Registro Nacional de Extranjeros). In his article, Ham Chande describes the Chinese presence in Mexico through the analysis of 14,213 registration cards belonging to this group. I am much indebted and thankful for all the materials Roberto graciously supplied me and for his support while doing this study, even though we have never had the opportunity to meet in person. 11. Ibid, 173-182. 12. Evelyn Hu-Dehart, "Immigrants..277-279. And Evelyn Hu-Dehart, "La comunidad china en el desarollo de Sonora," in Cynthia Radding de Murrieta, ed., Historia general de Sonora. IV Sonora Modemo: 1880-1929 (Hermosillo: Gobierno del Estado de Sonora, 1985), 195-196. 13. Hu-Dehart, "Immigrants...," 279-286. And by the same author "La comunidad...," 196-202. 14. Rosario Cardiel Marin, "La migracion china en el norte de Baja California, 1877-1949," in Maria Elena Ota Mishima, ed., Destino Mexico. Un estudio de las migraciones asiaticas a Mexico, siglos XIX y X X (Mexico: El Colegio de Mexico, Centro de 67 Estudios de Asia y Africa, 1997), 198-228. As indicated in her introduction, this article is the result of an analysis of Mexican census reports, written materials kept in the national archives (Archivo General de la Nation) among which is the National Registry of Foreigners (Registro Nacional de Extranjeros), as well as sources kept in the Archivo Historico "Genaro Estrada" de la Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores. In this article, Cardiel Marin recounts in detail the Chinese presence in the northern state of Baja California until their expulsion. See also Evelyn Hu-Dehart, "The Chinese of Baja California Norte, 1910-1934," Baja California and the North Mexican Frontier. Proceedings of the Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies, vol. 12 (San Diego: San Diego State University Press, 1985-6), 9-30. For more details on the Chinese in both the north and the south of Baja California, see the works of Juan Preciado Llamas, Maricela Gonzalez Felix, and Catalina Velazquez Morales respectively in China en las Californias, Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (Tijuana: DDO Producciones, 2002). 15. Cardiel Marin, "La migration china...," 233-241. 16. Jose Jorge Gomez Izquierdo, El movimiento anti-chino en Mexico (1871-1934) (Mexico: Instituto de Antropologia e Historia, 1991), 65-80. 17. Ibid, 83-89. Knight, "Racism, Revolution...," 95-97. 18. Gomez Izquierdo, El movimiento..., 99-109. Evelyn Hu-Dehart, "Racism and Anti-Chinese Persecution in Sonora," Amerasia 9:2 (1982), 1-28. And Hu-Dehart, "Immigrants...," 288-311. 68 19. Gomez Izquierdo, El movimiento..., 90-97. For more detailed history on the anti-Chinese movement in Baja California, see the articles of Cardiel Marin, Preciado Llamas, and Gonzalez Felix previously referred to. 20. Gomez Izquierdo, El movimiento.99-108. 21. Ibid, 111-115, 119-139. 22. Ibid, 135, 140-162. 23. The following works gave me reference and raised awareness on very important issues on interviewing: Gaynor Kavanaugh, "Dynamics of Interviewing," Dream Spaces: Memory and the Museum (London, Leicester University Press, 2000), 87-97; Barbara Sherman Heyl, "Ethnographic Interviewing," in Paul Atkinson et al, eds., Handbook of Ethnography (London: Sage, 2001), 369-383; and Glenn Whitman, "Teaching Students How to Be Historians: An Oral History Project for the Secondary School Classroom," History Teacher, 33:4 (2000), 469-481. 24. Jan Hare, "Aboriginal Literacy: Making Meaning Across Three Generations in an Anishinaabe Community," PhD Dissertation Preview. UMI ProQuest Digital Dissertations - Full Citation & Abstract (Canada: The University of British Columbia, 2001). 25. James V. Wertsch, Voices of Collective Remembering (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 60-62, 65-66, 149-161. 26. Gustavo Montiel, Recordando el Soconusco y su Perla (Mexico: B. Costa-Amic Editor, 1979), 44, 63-77, 105-116, 131-139. Aura Marina Arriola, Tapachula, "la perla del Soconusco", ciudad estrategica para la redefinicion de las fronteras (Guatemala: Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, FLACSO, 1995), 93-106. 69 27. INEGI, Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, Geografia e mformatica, Mexico Home Page, XII Censo General de Poblacion y Vivienda, 2000. 17 June 2003 http://www.inegi.gob.mx/difusion/espanol/portada.html. 28. Javier De Leon Orozco, known as "El Cronista de la Ciudad" or "the Chronicler of the City," Interview, 19 November 2002. 29. David Jary and Julia Jary, Collins Dictionary of Sociology (Glasgow: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000), 92-93. 70 Bibliography Arriola, Aura Marina. Tapachula, "la perla del Soconusco", ciudad estrategica para la redefinition de las fronteras. Guatemala: Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, FLACSO, 1995. Becker, Carl. "Everyman His Own Historian." American Historical Review 37:2 (1932): 221-236. Cardiel Marin, Rosario. "La migration china en el norte de Baja California, 1877-1949." Destino Mexico. Un estudio de las migraciones asiaticas a Mexico, siglos XIX v XX. Ed. Maria Elena Ota Mishima. Mexico: El Colegio de Mexico, Centro de Estudios de Asia y Africa, 1997. 189-255. De Leon Orozco, Javier. Interview. 19 November 2002. Fentress, James and Chris Wickham. Social Memory. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1992. Gamio, Manuel. Forjando Patria. Mexico: Editorial Porrua, 1992. Gomez Izquierdo, Jose Jorge. El movimiento anti-chino en Mexico (1871-1934). Mexico: Instituto de Antropologia e Historia, 1991. 71 Gonzalez Felix, Maricela. "Los imrnigrantes chinos y la hacienda publica del Distrito Norte de la Baja California, 1910-1920." China en las Californias. Consejo Nacional para la Cultura.y las Artes. Tijuana: DDO Producciones, 2002. 71-103. Ham Chande, Roberto. "La migration china hacia Mexico a traves del Registro Nacional de Extranjeros." Destino Mexico. Un estudio de las migraciones asiaticas a Mexico, siglos XIX y XX. Ed. Maria Elena Ota Mishima. Mexico: El Colegio de Mexico, Centro de Estudios de Asia y Africa, 1997. 167-188. Hamilton, Paula. "The Knife Edge: Debates about Memory and History." Memory and History in Twentieth-Century Australia. Ed. Kate Darian-Smith and Paula Hamilton. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1994. 9-32. Hare, Jan. "Aboriginal Literacy: Making Meaning Across Three Generations in an Anishinaabe Community," PhD Dissertation Preview. UMI ProQuest Digital Dissertations -Full Citation & Abstract. Canada: The University of British Columbia, 2001. Hobsbawn, Eric. "Introduction: Inventing Traditions." The Invention of Tradition. Ed. Eric Hobsbawn and Terence Ranger. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. 1-14. Hu-Dehart, Evelyn. "Coolies, Shopkeepers, Pioneers: The Chinese of Mexico and Peru (1849-1930)." Amerasia 15:2 (1989): 91-97. 72 Hu-Dehart, Evelyn. "Immigrants to a Developing Society. The Chinese in Northern Mexico, 1875-1932." Journal of Arizona History 21:3 (Autumn 1980): 275-278. Hu-Dehart, Evelyn. "La comunidad china en el desarollo de Sonora." Historia general de Sonora. IV Sonora Moderno: 1880-1929. Ed. Cynthia Radding de Murrieta. Hermosillo: Gobierno del Estado de Sonora, 1985. 195-211. Hu-Dehart, Evelyn. "Racism and Anti-Chinese Persecution in Sonora." Amerasia 9:2 (1982): 1-28. Hu-Dehart, Evelyn. "The Chinese of Baja California Norte, 1910-1934." Baja California and the North Mexican Frontier. Proceedings of the Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies. Vol. 12. San Diego: San Diego State University Press. (1985-6): 9-30. INEGI, Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, Geografia e Informatica, Mexico Home Page, XII Censo General de Poblacion y Vivienda, 2000. 17 June 2003 http://vvvvvv.inegi.gob.iTix/difusion/espanol/portada.html. Jary, David and Julia Jary. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. Glasgow: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000. 73 Kavanaugh, Gaynor. Dream Spaces: Memory and the Museum. London, New York: Leicester University Press, 2000. Klein, Kerwin Lee. "On the Emergence of Memory in Historical Discourse," Representations 69 (Winter 2000): 127-150. Knight, Alan. "Racism, Revolution, and Indigenismo: Mexico, 1910-1940." The Idea of Race in Latin America, 1870-1940. Ed. Richard Graham. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990. 73-113. Kwint, Marius, Christopher Breward and Jeremy Aynsley, ed. Material Memories. New York: Oxford, 1999. Lowenthal, David. The Past Is a Foreign Country. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985. Molina Enriquez, Andres. Los grandes problemas nacionales. Mexico: Ediciones Era, 1978. Montiel, Gustavo. Recordando el Soconusco v su Perla. Mexico: B. Costa-Amic Editor, 1979. Nora, Pierre. "Between Memory and History." Realms of Memory: The Construction of the French Past. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996. 1-20. 74 Preciado Llamas, Juan. "Los chinos en el sur de la peninsula de Baja California, 1876-1933." China en las Californias. Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes. Tijuana: DDO Producciones, 2002. 45-70. Sherman Heyl, Barbara. "Ethnographic Interviewing." Handbook of Ethnography. Ed. Paul Atkinson et al. London: Sage, 2001. 369-383. Tilley, Christopher. "Ethnography and Material Culture." Handbook of Ethnography. Ed. Paul Atkinson et al. London: Sage, 2001. 258-272. Velazquez Morales, Catalina. "Organization y ascenso de los chinos en Baja California (1920-1937)." China en las Californias. Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes. Tijuana: DDO Producciones, 2002. 105-119. Wertsch, James V. Voices of Collective Remembering. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Whitman, Glenn. "Teaching Students How to Be Historians: An Oral History Project for the Secondary School Classroom." History Teacher 33:4 (2000): 469-481. Appendix Appendix A: Whereis Tapachula? U . S . A . Tapachula Illustrations by Rosalyn Cua 78 Apprendix C: Interview Questions 1) Name: 2) Address: 3) Telephone: 4) Interview date, time, and place: 5) Date and place of birth: 6) Year of arrival to Mexico and/or Tapachula (if born outside of Tapachula): 7) Describe your place of birth and the place where you grew up (if different): 8) Describe your journey to Tapachula (if born outside): -Duration and means -Companions -Possessions -Circumstances -Reasons 9) Describe your upbringing: -Surroundings -Family life -Social relationships and interactions with members of your family, friends, neighbours, classmates, teachers, other members of the Chinese community, other people in general 10) Tell me about the changes and adjustments you faced: -Foods -Language -Culture -Family -Health -Work -Social life -Friendships -Religion 11) Tell me about your thoughts and impressions of Tapachula when you first arrived (if born outside): -The people -The surroundings -The manner you were treated 12) Tell me about the manner you were treated and your relationship with others: -At school -At work -In the community 13) Describe what you did in your spare time as well as other members of the Chinese community: -Activities -Celebrations -Sports -Games -Places 80 14) Describe your trips back to your place of birth: -Frequency -Reasons 15) Tell me about your memories of your own successes, your family's successes, the community's successes: 16) Describe important events in your life: 17) Tell me about your memories of failures and disappointments: 18) Tell me what you know and your memories about the Chinese community in Mexico and in particularly in Tapachula: -History -First settlers -Language -Culture -Relationship with others -Treatment 19) Describe changes you have noticed in Tapachula and within the Chinese community: 20) Tell me about your hopes and plans as a member of the Chinese community in Tapachula: -Language -Education -Work -Culture 81 -Ceremonies • . -Future of the community 21) Would you be willing to lend me any materials that give perspective to your memories of living in Mexico and in Tapachula, as well as any materials that may be related to what we have been discussing? -Photos -Letters -Documents -Invitations to events -Ads and/or articles 22) Describe the role that you, your family, the Chinese community have played and play in Tapachula: -Changes -Progress -Successes -Failures 23) Based on your experiences and on what you have witnessed in your years living in Mexico and/or Tapachula, would you do anything differently? Would you choose to live in Tapachula? 

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