Reviews - Cane
For my own part, and the major basis
of my recommendation of Dr. Sue-A-Quan's work to the reading public,
there is a fourfold interest, stimulated by his scholarly plan of
presentation. First is the fascinating ethno-biography of a diaspora.
. . . Its potential, small a work though it be when contrasted with
Alex Haley's emotive venture in Roots, might - just might - enable some of us in
the vast range of the Afro-Western diaspora to realize how much is
lost in ignoring or despising one's ethno-biography, seeing how much
respect is gained when others define theirs, as Dr. Sue-A-Quan has
done so well, detailing good and bad alike. . . . Second comes my
enlightenment by the unusual: the shock that the Chinese national
supremacist self-image suffered from the European "barbarians" . . .
Third, as a student of language myself, is the academic fascination
of the romanization of Chinese names. . . .My fourth definite (but
perhaps not really my last) interest in what Dr. Sue-A-Quan's work
reveals is an insight into why Britain's meek and ceremonial return
to Chinese rule of the island of Hong Kong, which was of no
commercial and only nominal geographic value when a British warship
seized it in 1842, was so "sweet" to China's pride in 1997.
small enough a book to encourage reading in today's busy world, but
its great value lies in easy reading in which a factual, scholarly
and historical narrative of a people whose peaceful and hardworking
character is sorely missed in the country they have largely left and
which could have benefited so much from just such citizens today.
Ph.D., Dip.Ed., Former Acting Principal, Queen's College, Georgetown,
Guyana. Director, Caribbean Lexicography Project - University of the
West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados.
Wally Look Lai:
The most obvious strengths of Trev
Sue-a-Quan's research has been his thorough examination of a primary
source relatively neglected to date, the records of the British
Guiana newspaper, the ROYAL GAZETTE, during the relevant years. The
text comes alive with the names of many hitherto forgotten immigrants
with their multitude of problems and experiences under the indenture
system. The detailed commentaries on the arrival of the individual
immigrant ships also make this source a mine of information. Equally
important has been the author's knowledge of mainland Chinese history
and culture, which has enriched the insights not only into the global
aspects of the Chinese nineteenth century migrations, but also into
micro-processes like the evolution of West Indian Chinese names.
Chapter Ten, NAME CALLING, was for me one of the most entertaining
and insightful sections of this research.
CANE REAPERS is a valuable addition to the new literature on
Caribbean Chinese communities, and should find its place on all
library bookshelves which are interested in this topic.
Walton Look Lai, History Department,
University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad &
Reapers is the result of many years of
careful research by Trev Sue-A-Quan. In the first third of the book
the author narrates the complex historical conditions leading to the
migration of the Chinese to Guyana from their homes in Southern
China. This was one of many migrations by Chinese but it is one that
has had little attention in the past, often being subsumed into the
larger and more infamous migration to Cuba. At the time however, the
issue of migration to the British West Indies was one that engaged
the attention of British and Chinese diplomats and politicians at the
highest levels. . . . Cane
Reapers will be of interest to scholars
interested in the Chinese Diaspora, the Caribbean and issues of
migration. Students of Guyanese social history will find it
illuminates a fascinating corner of their history that has had little
attention up to now. Finally, those Guyanese of Chinese descent will
find much to interest, horrify and amuse them in the story of how
their ancestors came to Guyana and how they fared once they got
Laura J. Hall, Ph.D., Adjunct Lecturer in
American Studies, University of California, Berkeley.
Congratulations on an excellent read. Your book, Cane Reapers, fills a void in the history of the Chinese immigrants to the West Indies, specifically Guyana . . . but appropriate to the other islands too. I will be sending you another cheque to buy a few more copies.
Helen Atteck is from Trinidad and lives in St. Catherines, Ontario.
Ambassador Odeen Ishmael:
Your book is a monumental gift to all the people of Guyana, and I must
congratulate you for what I am sure was a long period of diligent research to
enable you to produce this masterpiece.
I am really very proud of you as I am sure are all who have read your book.
Ambassador of Guyana to the United States of America, Washington. D.C.
I enjoyed your book enormously. The lucid descriptions of conditions in
China and the various practices of recruiting indentured labour were
particularly enlightening, as was the weaving in of connections of the
diaspora to California & the Pacific. The vignettes of licit and illicit
activities of the immigrants on the sugar plantations & the subsequent
moves into the wider economy are equally intriguing. . . . I'm exceedingly
glad you brought this social history through to fruition.
Jennifer Wong, descendant of immigrants on the Dartmouth (1879), now a translator, resident in France.
I really enjoyed reading your book. You write well and with good humour. This is far from the style of our professional or hobby historians. You have also excelled many of them if not most of them in their efforts for the detail you manage to cover with the strategy you adopted with selections from the Royal Gazette.
Richard Allicock is a political scientist from Guyana specializing in the history and politics of that country during the 19th century.
I find your book of great value and I will introduce it to my children and
other Chinese descendants.
Yu-Ching Pan is a biochemist living in New Jersey, USA.
Got your books in the mail and I must tell you, if I have more bags under my
eyes it is your fault. I started the book last night and could not put the book
down. Almost stayed up all night reading. I am enjoying it thoroughly and hope
to finish it today.
has ties to Guyana, Panama, Jamaica and China and lives in Florida, USA.
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This is the Reviews - Reapers page. Your reviews and comments are welcome.
This website page was updated on 26
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