Migration – part 1 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 15 August 2011 15:03

(This article is written by Zamboangueño journalist Darwin Wee who is on an exchange journalist program in Beijing, China. He writes his impression about the new China today and his family migration experience.)

BEIJING– As a descendant of one of the Chinese immigrants living in the Philippines, going back to the ancestral land is both an exciting trip and a bit of tricky --- especially when  you’ll be assigned in a country that I have considered to be a foreign land rather than my ancestral land for quite a long time.

I grew up with my father’s tales on how Chinese, particularly those coming from the southeastern coastal province of Fujian, have gone a long way to escape China’s poverty centuries ago and find new hope to other Asian countries to include the Philippines.

Majority of them, including my great grandparents of the Wee clan, have not bothered or for some reasons have decided not to go back to China.

I would consider my great grandparents and some of their relatives were the tough ones among other Chinese immigrants. They did not contend themselves in finding a living somewhere in Luzon, which is much closer to Taiwan (still considered to be a province of China), but rather continued their journey by sailing across the archipelago southward and landed in the island province of Basilan and eventually migrated to Zamboanga City.

That time China -- before the great revolution in mid 20th century-- was in contrast as what it is today. It was a scene of political turmoil, warlords flourish --controlling vast lives of the Chinese, corruption incidents in the government were in astronomical phase, living majority of Chinese in despair.

Deep poverty, lack of opportunities, and to some extent the diminishing of hope to see a progressive China one day have pushed some of its people to migrate to other countries. The exact situation is the same as what the Philippines is experiencing now. Hundreds thousands of Filipinos every year are heading to foreign lands to look for jobs and opportunities to feed their hungry families back home, and alleviate their living condition.

I have been in China for a little over a month now, and I can say that the old and ugly society that my father describes had vanished. With gross domestic product hitting a record level every year, the communist-ruled China is poise to become the world’s largest economy and superpower possibly edging out United States in the near term.

There are still flaws along the way for reform. China has been seen as notorious in its human rights record, and air pollution with 60% of its power generation comes from coal—considered to be the dirtiest source of energy.

(To be continued tomorrow.)

(About the author: Darwin Wally T. Wee is a freelance journalist that hails from Zamboanga City. He writes for BusinessWorld, Mindanews, PeaceWorks, and other publications. He is now is on an exchange program for journalists in Beijing, China under a Norwegian project.  He is currently assigned at Economic Observer which is considered to be China’s leading business paper. You may contact him at his e-mail address: darwinwee@gmail.com)