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Old 04-06-2014, 03:16 PM
 
318 posts, read 487,517 times
Reputation: 184

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
I had an ex GF in college who was Chinese American and grew up in SF's Chinatown. She credited all of her personal successes to her Chinese heritage, and believed that she'd made it as far as he had in spite of society's crushingly pervasive desire to see Asian women fail (which I guess was why she was dating a white guy). Basically, she was more of a nationalist than nearly any of the people I've met in China... well, she'd never been here, and she went to visit her family for the first time, in Hebei province, West of Beijing. When she came back, she was literally a changed woman - she viewed herself as being American, and had a particularly bileful opinion of modern China, probably because she'd idealized it so much prior to coming there. Family members criticized her pronunciation, would mock her for acting or sounding "too American," and she was snubbed by people in public when they discovered that she was an overseas Chinese. When I told her I was moving here - we're still FB friends - she was like, "WHY??"

In Guangzhou, there's an "overseas Chinese village" in Taojin, where the schools, houses, etc were built by the families of overseas Chinese who sent their money back. The public schools are considered "elite," most of the houses are built to upscale Western standards and are quite large, and when I went there, people were exceptionally friendly to me, encouraging their kids to go say hi to me or using whatever English skills they had to try to converse with me. I've had coworkers talk of distant family members who emigrated to the US or Australia fondly... one of the women who used to work there married an American and went back to the US with him, and they speak of her with friendly jealousy... I've had everyone from coworkers to store clerks to airport security guards tell me that I'm "lucky" I'm an American and that they wish they could move to the US and start businesses, because so many people from Guangdong have done just that and send their money back home. It's a lot like people in the US saying that they wish they could go to Harvard or Yale - they view entrance there as basically being a ticket straight into success.

Most Chinese people know that Chinese Americans are generally quite well-educated, are proportionately overrepresented in business, science, and medicine, and this is a source of pride to many. Chinese people are very curious to hear from a white American how Overseas Chinese/Chinese Americans in the US integrate into society, what Americans think of them and think of Chinese culture...

But you certainly have an inverse element. I'll freely admit that being a foreigner, and one of limited Chinese speaking abilities at that, I end up with a fairly skewed perception of peoples' opinions since most Chinese who speak English have at least some interest and sympathetic views towards the US/UK/AU/CAN, if not an out-and-out infatuation and goals towards living there someday... however, I've encountered people who have a great deal of pride in China and don't take entirely kindly to us foreigners coming here, or have rosy views of Overseas Chinese. But I'd be lying if there aren't similar sentiments in the US towards immigrants and expats as well.
Do you live in an affluent area of Guangzhou ? Also how does it feel to live in one of the largest cities in the world ? Guangzhou has a similar size population as Sao Paulo, Brasil. Can it be overwhelming ?

 
Old 04-06-2014, 03:52 PM
 
Location: East coast
613 posts, read 892,280 times
Reputation: 306
Why are diasporic communities of Chinese descent called "Overseas Chinese"?

Is this the name they give to themselves or others give to them?

I rarely hear other ethnic groups called this way, never hearing "Overseas Irish", "Overseas Italians", "Overseas Greeks", "Overseas Indians", "Overseas Somalians" or whatever, even though they all have communities residing across the ocean from their "homeland".
 
Old 04-06-2014, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,235,411 times
Reputation: 2833
Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
I had an ex GF in college who was Chinese American and grew up in SF's Chinatown. She credited all of her personal successes to her Chinese heritage, and believed that she'd made it as far as he had in spite of society's crushingly pervasive desire to see Asian women fail (which I guess was why she was dating a white guy). Basically, she was more of a nationalist than nearly any of the people I've met in China... well, she'd never been here, and she went to visit her family for the first time, in Hebei province, West of Beijing. When she came back, she was literally a changed woman - she viewed herself as being American, and had a particularly bileful opinion of modern China, probably because she'd idealized it so much prior to coming there. Family members criticized her pronunciation, would mock her for acting or sounding "too American," and she was snubbed by people in public when they discovered that she was an overseas Chinese. When I told her I was moving here - we're still FB friends - she was like, "WHY??"

In Guangzhou, there's an "overseas Chinese village" in Taojin, where the schools, houses, etc were built by the families of overseas Chinese who sent their money back. The public schools are considered "elite," most of the houses are built to upscale Western standards and are quite large, and when I went there, people were exceptionally friendly to me, encouraging their kids to go say hi to me or using whatever English skills they had to try to converse with me. I've had coworkers talk of distant family members who emigrated to the US or Australia fondly... one of the women who used to work there married an American and went back to the US with him, and they speak of her with friendly jealousy... I've had everyone from coworkers to store clerks to airport security guards tell me that I'm "lucky" I'm an American and that they wish they could move to the US and start businesses, because so many people from Guangdong have done just that and send their money back home. It's a lot like people in the US saying that they wish they could go to Harvard or Yale - they view entrance there as basically being a ticket straight into success.

Most Chinese people know that Chinese Americans are generally quite well-educated, are proportionately overrepresented in business, science, and medicine, and this is a source of pride to many. Chinese people are very curious to hear from a white American how Overseas Chinese/Chinese Americans in the US integrate into society, what Americans think of them and think of Chinese culture...

But you certainly have an inverse element. I'll freely admit that being a foreigner, and one of limited Chinese speaking abilities at that, I end up with a fairly skewed perception of peoples' opinions since most Chinese who speak English have at least some interest and sympathetic views towards the US/UK/AU/CAN, if not an out-and-out infatuation and goals towards living there someday... however, I've encountered people who have a great deal of pride in China and don't take entirely kindly to us foreigners coming here, or have rosy views of Overseas Chinese. But I'd be lying if there aren't similar sentiments in the US towards immigrants and expats as well.
I suspect her experience isn't too uncommon. My experience visiting China was definitely as a foreigner, with no real links to the country other than having ancestors who left there over 100 years ago, and I think I was treated as such. Even if I blended in physically the camera and map screamed 'tourist' (perhaps I made it too obvious). In Taiwan when people found out I couldn't speak Mandarin some would assume I was Japanese.

It's funny though a lot of overseas Chinese from say Malaysia will see me as Chinese as well as Australian yet those from China itself tend to just see me as Australian. I think the Overseas Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia hold on to the identity partly because of the history of segregation and because China as a historical entity gives them pride.
 
Old 04-06-2014, 05:34 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,235,411 times
Reputation: 2833
Quote:
Originally Posted by markovian process View Post
Why are diasporic communities of Chinese descent called "Overseas Chinese"?

Is this the name they give to themselves or others give to them?

I rarely hear other ethnic groups called this way, never hearing "Overseas Irish", "Overseas Italians", "Overseas Greeks", "Overseas Indians", "Overseas Somalians" or whatever, even though they all have communities residing across the ocean from their "homeland".
I forgot who coined the term, I'd say it's a bit of both. The term seems most prevalent in what was known to the Chinese as the 'Nanyang', South-East Asia (for a long time) where the Chinese have in some cases kept a lot of their identity (e.g. in Malaysia). I think it's sort of emphasising the fact they're still Chinese and Chinese first, although I think nowadays most see themselves more as Malaysian, Indonesian.etc rather than Chinese abroad. Those in Indonesia, the Philippines are just Indonesians or Filipinos with Chinese ancestry...
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