'He had thought that the Lascars were a tribe or nation, like the Cherokee or Sioux:
He discovered now that they came from places that were far apart, and had nothing in common, except the Indian Ocean; among them were Chinese and East Africans, Arabs and Malays, Bengalis and Goans, Tamils and Arakanese.'
-Excerpt from 'Sea of Poppies' (2008) by Amitav Ghosh
For generations, the sea has provided the livelihood of my family: since time immemorial my ancestors had intermarried with the Tanka people, the ‘boat people’ or ‘sea gypsies’ who have traditionally lived on junks and fished along the southern China. In my grandfather’s time, they had been for three generations marine surveyors and witnessed first-hand how Hong Kong turned into one of the busiest trading ports of the world. My uncle who later joined the navy would become the first of my family to settle in Britain.
And it was the connection to the sea that brought the first Chinese to Britain - who were seamen serving onboard European ships. Since I have always have an interest in knowing more about my predecessors - the first Chinese migrants in Britain, I took a walk around the site of London’s first Chinatown.
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I like to travel, and I like to find out about things so I have created this blog to share what I saw on my journeys.
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