Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Chinese Diaspora

Chinese are some of the most patriotic people in the world. They like to boast about their country’s 5000-year history. Chinese men like to tell us how beautiful their women are. Now, with the Middle Kingdom poised to become the next super power, Chinese have more reasons to be proud of their identity.

Just before the People’s Republic of China celebrated its 60th National Day with fireworks and military parade, a university conducted a survey to find out how Chinese felt about their nation. The results showed that a full 98% of the respondents were proud to be Chinese. 95% answered that even if given a free choice, they would still want to be Chinese.

They wanted to be overseas Chinese, that is. Deep down their heart, they yearned to go to the ‘Beautiful Country’ a.k.a. the United States of America. On Oct 19, 2009, a ship carrying about 70 Chinese who tried to enter America illegally capsized in the Caribbean Sea. Many of the passengers drowned.

When I traveled to Singapore last July, I noticed that majority of the ground officers in Changi’s Budget Terminals were Chinese mainlanders. So were many of the food stall operators. In fact, there were so many Chinese in the Lion City that it has been dubbed ‘Chinapore’ by its very own citizens. Recently, a Chinese girl with PR (permanent resident) status was blasted by Singaporeans after she declared that ‘Beijing is my real home’.

Funny as it may sound, Chinese still do all they can to emigrate, even though their much-loved country has the world’s most dynamic economy.

It is, of course, not wrong for the Chinese to migrate to a foreign country so long as they have proper documents. After all, skilled Chinese workers are in high demand in rich countries. Nonetheless, Chinese migrants should do their best to integrate into the host nations, rather than keep thinking of how great their motherland is.

All the workers of this food stall in Changi’s Budget Terminals are Chinese mainlanders…


The USA is rendered Mei Guo (美国) in Chinese. The first character means ‘beautiful’, and the second means ‘country’.


  1. The trend of Chinese going abroad may be reversed slowly, and other expatriates may be going to China instead, in the future...

  2. I am proud to be Chinese too. But my home is here :)

  3. While most Chinese emigrés in the West still retain some connection with the Mainland and often regards China as 祖国, those that came down south to Nanyang didn't display such affection in their latter generations. Most of the Chinese in this region have gone local despite having retained their cultural roots, and switch their patriotism to the country their forefathers adopted. In fact, many regional Chinese here often show contempt for mainlanders in regards to their attitude and snobbishness.

  4. oh dear...
    i din realised that USA in mandarin = beautiful country
    wonder who started that.... >.<"

  5. Yeah! Some Chinese can really be damn patriots. Still remember when they ban carefour? :)

  6. Grass
    That's what I thought a few years back. Apparently Chinese are still emigrating in large number.

    Mei Ting, kyh
    When I say 'Chinese', I mean the people of China.

    I also don't know how started it.

    Not just Carrefour!

  7. i think 50% of the people in singapore are the authentic singaporeans...

  8. The grass is always greener on the other side.

    We are seeing a lot of Chinese running foodstalls here too.

  9. I believe that a rolling stone gathers no moss and my home is the tanah tumpah darahku.

  10. Singapore passport sells alot more than Chinese passport on the black market, because Singapore doesn't need Visa to many many countries.

    Maybe that's why the likes of international actress Gong Li switched sides.

    China has a deep-rooted culture, and maybe that's why it is more likely for people from such countries to have an unique identity to adhere to, even if they are overseas, I guess.

  11. regard
    know bro
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    My blogger
    Maybe that's why the likes of international actress Gong Li switched sides.

    China has a deep-rooted culture, and maybe that's why it is more likely for people from such countries to have an unique identity to adhere to, even if they are overseas, I guess.

  12. well, that is why they say 有海水的地方就有華人.. chinese are everywhere in the globe, doing all sorts of things.. if you ask me, being a malaysian, frankly i am always proud of myself being a malaysian chinese lor..

  13. xin
    Less than 2/3 of the people in Singapore are citizens.

    Yeah, true. But I like their dumplings ;)

    Autumn Belle
    It's OK to migrate, but get ready to integrate into local society.

    I suspect many Chinese mainlanders in Singapore simply use the republic as a stepping stone to Western countries.

    When I say Chinese, I mean 中國人.

  14. If the Chinese are really patriotic, they should stay back in their homeland instead of migrating elsewhere.

    And after migrating to the USA, don't say "Beijing is my real home."

  15. well..they are after better prospect ma..

  16. foongpc
    Agree with what you say.

    I did mention that it's OK for them to migrate. But they must be ready to integrate.

  17. I don't mind skilled worker going oversea to work but what is the definition of Skilled worker? On theory, it is Skilled worker but the fact maybe cheaper worker.

    Skilled or not is just another matter all together...

  18. Leon
    Hmm... not sure if they are cheaper...

  19. I always found that funny that, as you pointed out, the USA are 美国 and Russia is 饿国 (it also spelled 俄国 too I guess).

    Chinese are proud to be Chinese, but they also adapt pretty well I find. At least in Canada, a lot of young Chinese immigrants speak both Mandarin and English pretty well etc. It's different for older people though.