Paper Son: One Man's Story

Paper Son: One Man's Story

Tung Pok Chin Winifred C. Chin K. Scott Wong / Apr 09, 2020

Paper Son One Man s Story In this remarkable memoir Tung Pok Chin casts light on the largely hidden experience of those Chinese who immigrated to this country with false documents during the Exclusion era Although scholars ha

  • Title: Paper Son: One Man's Story
  • Author: Tung Pok Chin Winifred C. Chin K. Scott Wong
  • ISBN: 9781566398015
  • Page: 134
  • Format: Paperback
  • In this remarkable memoir, Tung Pok Chin casts light on the largely hidden experience of those Chinese who immigrated to this country with false documents during the Exclusion era Although scholars have pieced together their history, first person accounts are rare and fragmented many of the so called Paper Sons lived out their lives in silent fear of discovery Chin sIn this remarkable memoir, Tung Pok Chin casts light on the largely hidden experience of those Chinese who immigrated to this country with false documents during the Exclusion era Although scholars have pieced together their history, first person accounts are rare and fragmented many of the so called Paper Sons lived out their lives in silent fear of discovery Chin s story speaks for the many Chinese who worked in urban laundries and restaurants, but it also introduces an unusually articulate man s perspective on becoming a Chinese American.Chin s story begins in the early 1930s, when he followed the example of his father and countless other Chinese who bought documents that falsely identified them as children of Chinese Americans Arriving in Boston and later moving to New York City, he worked and lived in laundries Chin was determined to fit into American life and dedicated himself to learning English But he also became an active member of key organizations a church, the Chinese Hand Laundrymen s Alliance, and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association that anchored him in the community A self reflective and expressive man, Chin wrote poetry commenting on life in China and the hardships of being an immigrant in the United States His work was regularly published in the China Daily News and brought him to the attention of the FBI, then intent on ferreting out communists and illegal immigrants His vigorous narrative speaks to the day to day anxieties of living as a Paper Son as well as the universal immigrant experiences of raising a family in modest circumstances and bridging cultures.Historian K Scott Wong introduces Chin s memoir, discussing thelimitations on immigration from China and what is known about Exclusion era Chinese American communities Set in historical context, Tung Pok Chin s unique story offers an engaging account of a twentieth century Paper Son.

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      134 Tung Pok Chin Winifred C. Chin K. Scott Wong
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      Published :2019-04-03T01:26:07+00:00

    About "Tung Pok Chin Winifred C. Chin K. Scott Wong"

      • Tung Pok Chin Winifred C. Chin K. Scott Wong

        Tung Pok Chin 1915 1988 was born in Tai shan County in Guangdong, China and emigrated to the U.S in 1934 as a paper son to circumvent the Chinese Exclusion Acts He worked in laundries during his brief residence in Boston, and later established his own laundry business in Harlem and Brooklyn, New York, with the assistance of the Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance CHLA In his spare time, he studied English, read Chinese literature, and wrote prose and poetry In 1937, he contacted Dr Ralph E Pickett, then Associate Dean of NYU s School of Education, about admission into NYU Although he was not eligible for admission, Dr Pickett sent him grammar books and literature to encourage Mr Chin s education The two men shared a friendship and correspondence that would last a lifetime.After the Pearl Harbor attack, Tung Pok Chin enlisted in the U.S Navy He was the first Chinese person in New York City to enlist, and photos of his swearing in were published in major newspapers in the northeast U.S.A to encourage minority enlistment After his honorary discharge from the navy, he began to write columns and poems for the China Daily News under the pen name Lai Bing Chan In 1949, he returned briefly to China where he married Mak Ting Fong, and in 1950 re entered the United States with his new bride Amidst McCarthyism and FBI accusations that he was writing and subscribing to a pro Communist newspaper, Tung Pok Chin burned than 200 of his own poems Upon retirement in 1978, he co wrote his memoir with his daughter, Winifred C Chin The result was Paper Son, One Man s Story, published by Temple University Press in 2000.Mak Ting Fong also known as Wing Fong Chin, 1928 first arrived in the United States in 1950 with her husband, Tung Pok Chin In 1955, when their first child was old enough to attend school, Mrs Chin began working as a seamstress in Chinatown Her work with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union ILGWU began when she interpreted messages for union organizers from English to Chinese at the shops where she worked As the daughter of a prominent Hong Kong family, Wing Fong Chin understood English and used her language ability to aid the ILGWU in organizing Chinatown garment workers Wing Fong Chin became increasingly involved in the ILGWU, eventually becoming Chairperson of the Executive Board in 1983 She was influential in the 1982 Chinatown garment workers strike and in 1985 testified before Congress against foreign imports that ate away at American jobs Wing Fong Chin s work was exceptionally important as an advocate for the Asian American women and workers rights.This collection contains photos and the original speeches of Wing Fong Chin, and articles about her in ILGWU newsletters The collection also contains navy photos and selected writings of Tung Pok Chin, documents from the paper son era, and the collection of the letters from Dr Ralph E Pickett written to Mr Chin.To learn about the contents of the Tung Pok Chin and Wing Fong Chin Papers and Photographs, located at the NYU Tamiment Library Robert F Wagner Labor Archives, view the collection s finding aid.


    496 Comments

    1. If you are a Chinese-American, with a father who was a paper son, and family stories of China and of coming to America, you should read this book. You will see your parents, your Grandparents as having stories that perhaps weren't so different from this man's experience. I hope that my children read this book, having been to see family in New York City Chinatown, knowing the streets, and hearing these stories. However, if you have no connection to Chinese immigration and New York City perhaps yo [...]



    2. The story of one man's immigration from China to New York, during the "exclusion era" 1882-1943 and subsequent permanent residence in Boston and New York, under his "paper son" identity. He wrote the book and gave it to his son, providing a rare first-person view into a life that many in this era lived.


    3. Paper sons are a hidden past in the history of early Chinese immigration to America. An era least studied in American history classes, it is a topic that Americans of all ethnic backgrounds should know about. It is after all a part of the American past Winifred C. Chin, author


    4. This novel talks about his life being a paper son, the hardships during this period, family and more. It's very interesting to hear a Chinese immigrant story.



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