Thursday, February 10, 2011

Will There Be Chinese Clans in Canada 10 Years From Now? By Angela

Last night I attended Cheng Wing Yeong Tong Benevolent Association (basically a gathering of people with the same surname as me) banquet, the same one I have attended every year since I was born. But in the next ten years, what is the likelihood that there will even be one of these banquets for me to attend?

My grandfather is a dedicated member of the Cheng Chinese clan. (By the way, there are a whole bunch of different English surnames: Cheng, Chang, Zheng, Jang and Jung; but we all share the same last name in Chinese.) He goes to the Cheng "clubhouse" everyday on Pender Street in Chinatown to play mahjong. And it seems to me, the role of Chinese benevolent associations are only limited to being a spot where grandparents gather to play mahjong.

I understand the need for the formation and existence of associations back when my great-grandparents and grandparents immigrated to Canada, and the desire to create solidarity with other Chinese clan members. Yet I don't exactly see foresee a future for the benevolent associations today...

This year marks the 82nd Anniversary of Cheng Wing Yeong Tong Benevolent Association. Who will ensure that there will be a 92nd Anniversary? Or a 102nd Anniversary? I learned today that the Chengs were one of the first Chinese clans to arrive in Vancouver in the 1900s, and the Chengs is the largest Chinese clan in Canada. But history and numbers aren't enough to continue the legacy. Maybe it will be just that -- a legacy.

Or will our heritage be able to survive in other forms?


  1. I'm also a Chengster! lol. I also attended each and every Cheng dinner event ever since I was a little kid. But I've only gone sporadically in the past decade since I've grown up. I kind of miss those dinners me a sentimental feeling when I think about it.

    who knows...maybe ur dad knows my dad! LOL!!!

  2. Thanks for a good post. Congratulations to the Chengs. You should be proud of your heritage. Just a comment on your photo. The flag draping n the right side appears to be one of several flags that was being considered to be the national flag of the new Chinese Republic which would put the time frame slightly before or on circa 1911, the revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty. This particular flag was ultimately rejected for the one that is now used by Taiwan. The Nationalist League was quite strong in Canada around this time. I believe the Nationalist League in BC was dissolved in 2011.

    Our clan organization called the Fong Leun Tong Society consists of two clans, the Sits (薛) and the Setos (司徒). The Fong Leun Tong Society was established in British Columbia in 1916 and later incorporated in 1959 which authorized the Society to buy/sell real estate just like a person. Unfortunately, the provincial Registrar of Companies dissolved our Society for not filing the annual report and annual fee of $25. It is reasonable that a person fail to file and pay for a year or two. But this failure to file and pay the $25 occurred over six years until an ordinary member of the Society brought it to the directors' attention last year.