By Vicky Lee
This e-book is an outline and research of the lives of 3 recognized Hong Kong Eurasian memoirists, Joyce Symons, Irene Cheng and Jean Gittins, and explores their very alternative ways of creating and looking out at their very own ethnic identity.
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Extra resources for Being Eurasian: Memories Across Racial Divides
Symons's ethnic pride seems to derive more from a sense of adversity, exclusion and ambiguity. In speaking of the fate of the Eurasian community she grew up in, Symons, towards the end of her memoir, says 'Eurasians, in a sense did not exist — certainly they were not ignored, for often they held their own in work or play; but they were not accepted except grudgingly' (1996a, 95). Symons insists on a carefully prescribed hybrid site — the insistence of a third and hminal space — a 'thirdness' between those two opposing cultural/ethnic powers (British and Chinese).
Hall's process of tracing the first Hall who came to Hong Kong from England in the mid-1850s had inadvertently brought to light the many illicit relationships as well as the illegitimacy of many well-known Hong Kong Eurasians. His research project had at one point caused much bitterness within some sectors of the Eurasian community. Undaunted by the taboo of illegitimacy, Symons says at the beginning of her first chapter: 'Almost all early ancestors of Eurasians were illegitimate, Joyce Symons 51 until the young generations got married to Chinese or other Eurasians and followed a Chinese way of life' (1996a, 1).
Ho Tung was born in 1862, two years after Kowloon was ceded to Britain under the first Convention of Peking. His mother was a Chinese female whose family name was Sze. 2 Florence Yeo, his youngest daughter, describes him 'as almost as old as the Colony of Hong Kong ... and was known as the "Grand Old Man of Hong Kong'" (Yeo, 11). Ho Tung graduated from The Central School (later to be known as Queen's College), the first Government-sponsored English school. In nineteenth century Hong Kong, there was no equivalent to the Anglicist educational policy, which prevailed in India after Macaulay's famous Minutes on Indian Education.