January 27, 2022

Documentary to examine Asians’ migration to Caribbean

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Fitzroy Smith Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 9.11.37 PMBy Richard Johnson From Jamaica Observer

JAMAICA’S motto, ‘Out of Many One People’ is a central theme for a made-for-TV documentary examining 160 years of Chinese migration to the Caribbean.

Out of Many One People — The Chinese Community is scheduled to be released in November.

Documentarian Fritzroy Smith, who is at the helm of the project, said it is the first documentary to closely follow the four waves of Chinese migration to the Caribbean from 1854 to the present day.

“I was talking to a Chinese friend and mentioned that I was a documentarian. We got talking about possible topics that I could do. I mentioned that I wanted to do something on the Jamaican motto — Out of Many One People. He mentioned that the Chinese in Jamaica had a colourful history, similar to the ‘native’ Jamaicans. I thought about it for a while, looked at some literature and realised that the more I read, the more I got interested,” he told the Sunday Observer.

Smith is now in the editing suite, fine-tuning his work which is set to premiere in Kingston. He noted that throughout the process of making the documentary he has been intrigued by how similar the Chinese journey to Jamaica was to the slave trade, the expanse and influence of the British Empire, the strength of the community, and the importance they attach to keeping the culture.

The documentary will look at what Smith refers to as the four waves of Chinese migration, starting in 1854-1906, when Chinese came as indentured labourers from Guangdong Province and the Panama Canal.

The second tranche came between 1884 and 1888. These were farmers from Hong Kong.

The third period is between 1905 and the 1980s, when he says the Chinese came as business people not as contract workers and from different parts of China.

Present-day Jamaica is not being overlooked. Here, he will examine the Chinese (from various parts of China) coming to Jamaica for big business opportunities in infrastructure building and information technology.

Smith hopes audiences who view Out of Many One People — The Chinese Community, will walk away with the truth and an understanding about the Chinese community in Jamaica, dispelling all rumours.

“They will also see the impact of the Chinese community on the Jamaican landscape; the importance of keeping historical artefacts and an understanding of their historical value; that a strong community can overcome hardship and that there is always a light at the end of a dark tunnel.”

For more on this story go to: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Documentary-to-examine-Asians–migration-to-Caribbean_19229516

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