Foot-blower and opium pipe
The early generations of Chinese ‘digging the gold’ sojourners bore a dual identity. At home, they were admired and fancied by their peer villagers as pioneers who succeeded in their career overseas and provided an affluent living for their families. However, far away at work overseas, they were chagrined and lived a weary, alienated life. Their ‘virtual’ identity at home was probably the primary incentive for them to face the hardship in real life and to move on. A minority of them lost their will and indulged themselves in a low life, addicted to opium taking and gambling etc. For the majority, notwithstanding that life was hard and stressful, were capable to prosper and excel themselves.
Amongst the Chinese objects of the early settlers, collected by the museums that I visited, opium pipes and accessories, and gambling ticket are common. Admittedly, they were meant to impose a biased profile to the ‘digging the gold’ Chinese settlers in those days. However, I came across a treasure in Lawrence Info Centre & Museum. It is a foot-blower made by a local for a Chinese laundry. This blower not only eased the daily fatigue at work but cherished the intelligence and innovative mind of the Chinese who worked under adverse conditions.
King Tong HO
最早年代旅居纽西兰的华裔“寻金者”, 有着双重身分认同。在家乡, 由于他们提供家人丰裕的生活, 村人们误认为他们在海外是成功的创业者，而受到尊敬和羡慕；然而在海外, 他们却过着困顿、失意和孤寂的日子。正是因为他们在家乡那“幻象”似的身分, 成为他们能够坚忍艰苦生活的原动力。少数人因失落而放纵自己, 沉沦于吸毒和赌博；然而, 大部分人纵使生活困难和压力大, 却能超越自己、达至成功。
在博物馆所收藏的早期华人的物品中, 有很多鸦片烟枪与附件和博彩票。固然, 那是刻意制造“寻金者”华人的一种偏见形象。但我在 Lawrence Info Centre & Museum 看到一部用于洗衣店的脚力吹风机, 这不单减低了每天工作上的疲劳, 也体现华裔在不利的生存状态下的创造和智慧。
在博物館所收藏的早期華人的物品中，有很多鴉片煙槍與附件和博彩票。固然，那是刻意製造「尋金者」華人的一種偏見形象。但我在 Lawrence Info Centre & Museum 看到一部用於洗衣店的腳力吹風機，這不單減低了每天工作上的疲勞，也體現華裔在不利的生存狀態下的創造和智慧。