Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Discrimination Faced by the Tankas

In the interview, we found that Uncle Wing quite minded people calling their community Tanka people. He thought that this was only the name given by the people living onshore in order to discriminate them. Thus, he would prefer others to call them fishermen or the boat people.

According to Uncle Wing, about seventy years ago, there were only two communities in Tai O, which were Hoklo people and the boat people. Because of convenience, the boat people always worked on the junks with bare feet. Even when they went home, they did not wear shoes either. This made the people living onshore look down on them and exclude them. At that time, the problem of discrimination was very serious. The boat people could not even go on shore. This situation did not improve until the Cultural Revolution was launched and the status of the boat people became higher.

Therefore, although “Tanka people” is only a neutral term used to describe people living on boats, it gives Uncle Wing a negative feeling because it makes him think of the discrimination from the people living onshore, and thus he resists people calling him Tanka people.

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