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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Miss Queen of Cathay (1954) : Chinese women, families and associations in Vancouver Poon, Joanne Mei-Chu


This study is an exploratory attempt to examine the process of female emigration in relation to marriages, the integrity of overseas Chinese communities and the relationships between Chinese women, families and associations. Personal reminiscences of women have revealed that female emigration was part of the process of family emigration rather than merely the result of male emigration. The late appearance of women in the stream of overseas migration and the arrival of wives completed the family emigration cycle, and thus overseas Chinese families were formed. In overseas Chinese communities, Chinese education was and is a means to cultivate and maintain Cliinese culture. Chinese schools were therefore established. However facing limited subsidies from the local government, Chinese people had to raise funds within their ethnic community for estabUshing Chinese schools. Organizing fund-raising campaigns, such as the fund-raising campaign for the Wengehua Huaqiao Gongli Xuexiao or the Vancouver Chinese Public School in 1954, became the survival tactic that Chinese people adopted to provide community services for themselves. The participation of individuals and associations in the campaign reflects the integrity of Vancouver's Chinese community in the 1950s. Individuals generously contributed and the associations cooperated when there was a need to collect money for the provision of social services. Using primarily the Chinese vernacular newspapers and personal narratives, the Miss Queen of Cathay contest has shown the participation of families in associations, the identification of Canadian-born daughters with the associations to which their fathers belonged, as well as the Chinese patriarchy in overseas Cliinese families and associations.

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