Will There Be Chinese Clans in Canada 10 Years From Now?

Last night I attended Cheng Wing Yeong Tong Benevolent Association (basically a gathering of people with the same surname as me) banquet, the same one I have attended every year since I was born. But in the next ten years, what is the likelihood that there will even be one of these banquets for me to attend?

My grandfather is a dedicated member of the Cheng Chinese clan. (By the way, there are a whole bunch of different English surnames: Cheng, Chang, Zheng, Jang and Jung; but we all share the same last name in Chinese.) He goes to the Cheng "clubhouse" everyday on Pender Street in Chinatown to play mahjong. And it seems to me, the role of Chinese benevolent associations are only limited to being a spot where grandparents gather to play mahjong.

I understand the need for the formation and existence of associations back when my great-grandparents and grandparents immigrated to Canada, and the desire to create solidarity with other Chinese clan members. Yet I don't exactly see foresee a future for the benevolent associations today...

This year marks the 82nd Anniversary of Cheng Wing Yeong Tong Benevolent Association. Who will ensure that there will be a 92nd Anniversary? Or a 102nd Anniversary? I learned today that the Chengs were one of the first Chinese clans to arrive in Vancouver in the 1900s, and the Chengs is the largest Chinese clan in Canada. But history and numbers aren't enough to continue the legacy. Maybe it will be just that -- a legacy.

Or will our heritage be able to survive in other forms?

Posted by Angela Jung | April 4, 2010 | Comments (0)