The Chinese population only make up 6% of the people here
in our state. But, they have the
lowest numbers of crime rate and many are prominent, wealthy business people in
the community. They are known for
their hard work, the shrewdness to size up good opportunities, and above all,
they are very close knit and strongly believe in education for their children.
46,000 Chinese immigrants over a period of 50 years-formed the backbone of the sugar plantation work force up until the turn of the century. Arriving from different clans, villages and districts in China, the early immigrants spoke different dialects and practiced different customs. Most were migrant workers seeking to return to China with great wealth and status. Almost half did, but many left the sugar plantation by choice. They became traders, farmers, artisans, merchants, jewelers and craftsmen. Many became successful in their determination even if they were being discriminated against because of their success. Second, third, and fourth generation Chinese were well educated and have become prominent in all aspects of island life.
It was not until 1865 that wives of the Chinese laborers were able to come to Hawaii.
Before this time, most of the male immigrants were single men and many intermarried with Hawaiian women. They were the most interracially married ethnic group that came here as immigrants from Asia. Many merged their last names together with their Hawaiian names, making combinations of Chinese and Hawaiian family names. For example; Apana and Auwae. To this day, there are no first generation immigrants from Japan or English with merging last names.
The father was the most important role, responsible for the care of his parents and the continuity of the family name through marriage and the bearing of sons. He was responsible for the continual worship of ancestral spirits as patriarch of the family.
The religion that the Chinese brought with them are Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Now, many are Christians.The first assumed his father role; regarded as a valued asset to the family. Daughters were a liability because a dowry would have to be collected. Once married a daughter became a member of her husbandís family. This is somewhat true of the Japanese and Okinawans.
The Chinese did not forget the China of their parents. They sent money back to help build churches, schools, hospitals, YMCA'S and to help buy food when they were starving. Pastor Lo Yuet Fu of Wailuku Chinese Church on Maui went to China in 1926 to ask the government to end the sale of female slaves. The next year, the Chinese government stopped female slave trade.