Friday, January 30, 2009

How could they have done that?

January 30, 2009
Posted by Michael Fong
Journal #8
Sui Sin Far, "In the Land of the Free"

" 'Slept!' she echoed, weepingly. 'Ah, how could I close my eyes with my arms empty of the little body that has filled them every night for more than twenty moons! You do not know-man-what it is to miss the feel of the little fingers and the little toes and the soft round limbs of your little one. Even in the darkness his darling eyes used to shine up to mine, and often have I fallen into slumber with his pretty babble at my ear. And now, I see him not; I touch him not; I hear him not. My baby, my little fat one!' 'Now! Now! Now!' consoled Hom Hing, patting his wife's shoulder reassuringly; 'there is no need to grieve so; he will soon gladden you again. There cannot be any law that would keep a child from its mother!' " (Sui Sin Far, In the Land of the Free)

Here, Lae Choo mourns over her "Little One", who had been taken from her and detained by the United States government due to "immigrational issues". She experiences the first night without his company, and finds the night already unbearable. Hom Hing, her husband, attempts to comfort her by saying that there is no law that would keep a family from being united. Little did they know that it would cost them ten months of separation and a generous amount of family jewels before they could be united with their son. By then, however, due to such long period of separation, Lae Choo's "Little One" does not recognize her, and tells her to go away. The "Little One" is no longer the "Little One"; he is now Kim, a well-liked boy in a mission nursery school.

"There cannot be any law that would keep a child from its mother!" Turns out there is. After I finished Sui Sin Far's In the Land of the Free, I initially thought that the story was an exaggeration of what was actually happening at that time. Things couldn't be that bad, I thought. Nobody in their right minds would establish such a law and wreck potentially thousands of Chinese families. I then searched wikipedia for Sui Sin Far, when the "Chinese Exclusion Act" caught my eye. I clicked on the link and lo and behold, the title "Chinese Exclusiong Act" stared at me in bold letters. Honestly, I felt ashamed of myself for not knowing this piece of history that concerns me, or at least the Chinese, so much. There is absolutely no justifications for the United States to do such thing. People of other races were flooding into the states. Only the Chinese were locked out at the door.

Say that the Americans really despise us Chinese for every racial reason in the world. Fine, after all, the United States government has control over who comes in and out of the country. But why, why tear up the families so that they can't see each other for decades? What good does that do? The government already made their point; they don't like Chinese coming into the country. At least have the decency to allow those families who are separated by this atrocious "exclusion act" to reunite, and then deport them. Yet another example of just how cruel and inhuman the United States government can be at that time. It's just sad to know that it is possible that what Sui Sin Far wrote in her story may have actually happened.

1 comment:

  1. 20 points. Michael, you should buy the book I assigned to my English 1A class this quarter. It's called "Driven Out" by an American Studies prof named Pfaelzer. Her research expands on the same themes -- and brings it right home here to San Jose. Warning: Don't expect to become any less outraged. As the bumper sticker says: "If you're not outraged, you're just not paying attention."