This is the story of Li Leung-Chung, a Chinese adolescent. It will be your story during this activity.

My name is Li Leung-Chung. I'm 17 years old. and I have spent all my life in my ancestral community near Guangzhou (Canton) in China. Our family works hard, following the ways of our ancestors. We worship at the temple of Buddha in our community. And we try to keep hunger away.

In my family there are 7 children, including 4 boys. I am my father's third and strongest son. Our family is struggling just to exist. Our lives are in such an unhappy state.

Let me explain.

My father is a tenant farmer. I work with him in the fields. Like all our neighbours, we work a farm that grows rice and vegetables on about 1 /3 hectare. Every year my father must pay huge taxes to the landlord. After tax day, we have only 1 /4 of our harvest left. We cannot earn enough to support our family on such a small income. There are too many people and not enough land.

Other problems threaten us, too. We often have to borrow seed to plant. Then we are in debt. It seems impossible to get out of debt. Many neighbours are bankrupt. My father is searching for a way out of this desperate situation.

Many years ago, my uncle crossed the ocean to Canada to work on the railway there. When that job was finished, he settled in a place called Alberta and opened. a laundry. He is so busy he can never close the laundry. Each month he sends money to his family here in Guangzhou. My father wants me to go and work for my uncle so that I can have a better life and help support my family here in China. We have talked about this. We must save our money to pay the head tax ($500). This is the tax each Chinese immigrant must pay the Canadian government. Even with this great expense, my father thinks I should move to Canada. He thinks my uncle's laundry business is the solution to our problems. Work in Canada.

I wonder?

















Historica Heritage Minute