Thursday, December 30, 2010

the woman warriors of Nanyang

Back in the day, my grandmother was a rubber tapper for the British rubber plantations during the time of the anti-colonial movement in the 1950s and 60s. This was the period of the Malayan Emergency and alot of the tactics that the British used against the guerilla warfare, such as starving out the insurgents, was applied to the Vietnam War a few decades later. If the head of the anti-colonial Malayan Communist Party had not been a British agent, I wonder how history would have turned out. I grew up watching drama series reminiscing this era and sometimes romanticize that period. If I had been in that time, that place, I would have been a revolutionary fighting for my nation's liberation from the Japanese and the British.

Nanyang, 南洋 was the common term used to reference the region that rested South of China. My grandmother was the 3rd wife to my grandfather whom I never met, who died when my dad was barely born. He was a migrant worker.

My country was constructed by immigrant women, warriors whose names were never remembered.

I don't have much to say, just a nostalgia for my homeland and the women warriors who built it with their blood and sweat.

See more here

红头巾 Hong Tou Jin - I guess you can translate this directly into Red-Capped workers. They were female construction workers who did a lot of hard labor. They were women who migrated to Southeast Asia from a certain part, the Sanshui region in China.

妈姐 Ma Jie - These are women who swore into sisterhood and celibacy. They did factory labor, but also did household domestic labor. It is a stereotype that many of them escape forced marriages by joining the sisterhood. I dont know how true that is. I like to think many of them were queer, in the multi-varied ways of thinking about queerness.
*Charlie Yeung and Carina Lau have a queer movie, The Intimates, about this -- cute but not too deep

And then, this!
TP Factory, a documentary that W. shared with me, about Filipina migrant workers. They are gay, immigrants, and the international female proletariat!
[Removed from Youtube cos of copyright infringement :( ]

Last but not least, a reminder of why the British fought to rescue us from the Japanese! Yes it's true!

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