When Hung-Min Chiang moved to P.E.I. in 1967, his family was one of a handful of Chinese immigrants on the Island.
That’s changed dramatically in recent years on the Island and across the country.
“It’s beyond words, I never dreamed of seeing so many Chinese here,” Chiang said.
He was born in Taiwan, went to the U.S. to study, and after obtaining his PhD went to Prince Edward Island on the recommendation of his teacher.
Now, stories like Chiang’s are being told through a new oral history project called Here We Stay.
It was launched at the Guild in Charlottetown on Monday night to celebrate the contribution of Chinese immigrants across the country to Canadian culture. The project has a goal to tell 155 stories of Chinese immigrants by the year 2022, when Canada marks 155 years since Confederation.
Chiang said it is terrific to be part of the project.
Translating oral records
The project was created by Fred Wang and HK.
“Here We Stay means all the Chinese immigrants who live here. We regard Canada as our new home,” HK said.
Chinese immigrants are interviewed to get the story of how they came to Canada, their experiences and their dreams.
“We will be responsible to translate their oral records into text like books, like image, photos and film, videos,” HK said.
The stories will include topics such as what living conditions were like in China that made some want to leave, why they chose Canada, and why they chose the city they live in now,
“Chinese people have their dreams. They just want to find a place that they can live quiet, with peace and be very happy,” Wang said.
HK said he thinks the project is a way to encourage diversity culture.
“Other countries are learning from Canada and I think we have the responsibility to distribute this culture to the world, to China, to other regions,” he said.
Most Chinese immigrants who live on the Island that have been interviewed say P.E.I. is “very friendly” and Islanders are “very helpful,” Wang said.
“We just use oral history to record honestly the stories of the Chinese immigrants in Canada,” HK said.