Book to be written on Chinese migrants: scholar

The struggles that overseas Chinese faced when they moved to Samoa over the past 40 years will be documented by a scholar and published in a book.

The author of the proposed book, Yingli Shi, told the Samoa Observer that the publication will focus on overseas Chinese migrants who moved to Samoa during the 1980s and the struggles they faced in the islands.

“During my work in Samoa, I had a lot of contact with these overseas Chinese and conducted formal interviews with dozens of them so I wanted to write down their struggle history in the form of oral history,” said Ms Shi. “Therefore, the title is tentatively ‘oral history of contemporary Samoan Chinese and overseas Chinese’."

She added that parts of the book will be dedicated to the role that the Samoan Chinese and overseas Chinese played to build friendships, outside of the normal government-to-government diplomatic relations.

Asked how the book can define the friendship between China and Samoa as deeply rooted and lasting, the author said: “In my book, I will focus on the work and life of overseas Chinese in Samoa, their friendship with the people of Samoa, their love and donation to Samoa etc which may inspire them to make efforts for the development of Samoa to some extent.”

The book, upon its completion and publishing, will be the second publication written by Ms Shi. 

In September last year she published a book titled History and Reality in Samoa, which focused on history and culture, political system, education and teaching, folk customs and  international aid.

“From January 2016 to December 2018, I worked as a volunteer for three years as an educational aid provider in Samoa,” Ms Shi added. “I like Samoa very much and have built a deep friendship with teachers and students of Samoa. 

"I hope to introduce Samoa to China and let more Chinese know about Samoa. This book was published in September 2019. Some Chinese friends in Samoa have read this book and it has caused widespread influence among the overseas Chinese in Samoa. 

“Next if we like to continue to expand our influence, I think that we need to release the English version or the Samoan version, this is my dream.

“Now I am writing a contemporary oral history of Samoan Chinese and overseas Chinese and I have not considered when to translate this book into English or Samoan. After all the original intention of writing this book is to introduce Samoa to more Chinese people.”

Ms Shi arrived in Samoa in 2016 to carry out education assistance and took close to four years to write her first book. The preface of the book was written by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi and it has eight chapters.

Chinese scholars currently studying Oceania and Pacific island countries received a copy of the book which Ms Shi said will become a point of reference for them. 

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