Trading Places: Defining Diaspora through Overlapping Chinese and Filipino Migrations BY Phillip B. Guingona
This paper examines the mirrored diasporas of Chinese in the Philippines and Filipinos in China in the early twentieth century. Weaving together diasporic research pioneered by Wang Gungwu, Shelly Chan, Filomeno Aguilar Jr., E. San Juan Jr., and others, this paper shows how the same forces that lured Chinese to the Philippines and aided in their transplant—the prospect of improved livelihood, kinship networks, and imperial circuits—fostered a reverse flow of Filipinos to China. This paper reconfigures the scope of diasporic inquiry by replacing the nation or nation’s diaspora, with the lattice of intra-asian migration and urban-imperial connections. In other words, it explores how Chinese and Filipinos traded places and how examining the bilateral diasporas can help us reformulate and recast diaspora. It is time we took a page from an early-twentieth-century Shanghai journalist who—building on the earlier reallocation of the term Huaqiao (華僑), which was inspired by elite families who fled south during the Jin Dynasty (265-420CE)—referred to Filipinos in Shanghai as Feiqiao (菲僑). In creating this term, this unnamed author recognized what most of us have not: these migrations represent a shared impulse and deserve to be examined together.
Chinese Vagrants and Social Outcasts in the Nineteenth-century Philippines BY Jely A. Galang
This paper examines the lives and circumstance of working class Chinese in the Philippines, by focusing on vagrants and outcasts, whom the Spanish colonial state considered “dangerous” to the colony’s financial and political stability. It investigates how these unemployed and marginally-employed individuals responded to various political and socio-economic developments that occurred during the nineteenth century. Their collective biography, reconstructed from more than 5,000 criminal cases reveals how certain state policies contributed to their precarious condition. Their everyday life, however, also conveys how they adapted to their changing material milieu, and resisted various restrictive impositions. Equally important in their struggle for survival were the leaders, institutions, and socio-economic networks within their community. This paper comprises two parts. The first part explores the various transformations in the nineteenth century, which directly affected the Philippines Chinese. It then interrogates how these changes created a vibrant economy for the Chinese in both urban and rural areas. The second part deals with the actors, institutions, and processes involved in the “emergence” of “undesirable Chinese” – vagrants, undocumented, debtors, drunkards, beggars, idlers, and the “suspicious” – by examining particular colonial measures imposed upon the Chinese. It examines how the government utilized the judicial apparatus to define, control, and punish these offenders. At the same time, it stresses the overt and covert strategies of these “criminals,” to use the judicial system to their advantage. Using previously unexplored and underutilized archival materials about this particular segment of the Chinese community, and by utilizing a “history from below” methodological approach to these documents, this thesis offers a new perspective on these individuals whose lives are not often revealed in the historical narrative. It also engages in debates on how vast populations of social outcasts in the past were “created,” defined, ostracized, criminalized, and punished by those in authority because of their social condition of unemployment, material deprivation, and sinking status.
Zheng Leaders and Spanish Colonial Philippines BY Patrick Stein
In 1662, after conquering Taiwan, Zheng Chenggong wrote to the Spanish governor of Manila threatening to invade the Philippines. Chenggong died before carrying out his plan, and his successor Zheng Jing sent a new letter listing conditions for peace. These exchanges provide some of the only surviving direct expressions of the Zheng leaders’ beliefs regarding the rights, responsibilities, and boundaries of “Chinese” identity, in particular the relationship between huaqiao and Chinese rulers. Both Zhengs claimed rulership over Manila’s Chinese, and Zheng Jing went so far as to demand a series of changes to Spanish laws governing his “subjects” in the Philippines. These demands recall modern notions of citizenship and extraterritoriality, and provide a rare contemporary Chinese perspective on colonial Manila’s policies of ethnic segregation. The Zheng state’s active pressure, by contrast to Ming and Qing emperors’ customary disinterest in overseas Chinese, forced the Spanish to reduce their oppression of and reliance on the Chinese, including by expelling thousands of migrants and thereafter committing to enforce long-ignored legal limits on immigration. This episode thus shows how the Chinese experience in the Philippines was shaped not just by European attitudes, but also by the nature of the Sangleys’ political links to China.