Seniors’ Videos

Head Tax Families Society of Canada – Seniors’ Stories

Produced by Cynthia Lee and Daniel Lee
Sub-titles by Eric Chan, Fanny Chan, Foon Yung Chang, Cynthia Lee, and Daniel Lee
Editing by Cynthia Lee, Daniel Lee, and Sid Chow Tan
Camera by Eric Chan
Transcripts by Fanny Chan, Mary Chan, Kevin Lee, and Jennifer Lau

Video 1: Sui Chun Suen, Daughter of Head Tax Payer

http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca/stories/suen.html
Length: 6:03

我爸爸是陳旺。他是1911年來加拿大。他來的時候是20歲。我爸爸一共回大陸兩次。第一次是當他40歲的時候,回來結婚。也就是說,來了加拿大20年了,才回去結婚。那為什麼要那麼久才回去結婚呢?就是因為家裡很窮。他要還那五百塊人頭稅,好甘苦。一方面要還頭稅,欠別人的債。第二方面呢,要照顧家人,一大家族的生活。所以呢,他到了40歲才回鄉下結婚。結婚後,大概是到了兩年他又回來了。當時我只有一歲多大。我妹還在肚子裡面,還沒出生。我爸就回去了 - 回加拿大去了。

那我爸爸在加拿大一直都是東奔西跑。整個卑詩省的北部他都去過了。最後他去了白馬。 在白馬來找工作。好艱難。他說雖然在這裡做餐館工作,但是很艱難。好冷,那個地方很冷。那最後到他退休的時候,才回維多利亞。

我們基本上沒有機會跟爸爸團聚。因為我來了之後,他已經去世了。在我們兩姐妹當中,跟爸爸相處的時間一輩子以我來說都不夠三年。他1947年回去的時候我在外面讀書。很少機會看到他:一個禮拜見一次。那1949年他又回來。加起來我跟爸爸的相處都不到三年。我妹也是一樣,或許更少。因為她出生,爸爸在這裡,沒有看到她出生。

他在這裡雖然是做餐館,但他很關心那些老華僑。我記得有一個在這裡沒兒女 - 所有在這裡的老華僑都一樣:一個人沒兒沒女。年老有病的,他都照顧。他47年回去的時候,他還出錢帶了一個回去。那所以我們還在的要表立人頭稅的人也只是一部分。不少人已經回大陸了; 在大陸死了。

那今天剩下來的不多。所以我們希望政府如果真的是平反人頭稅的話,應該徹底平反。你說計現在回大陸的,計起來很多。我們今天在這的的話,很少。那哈珀政府應該要公平。他曾經來接待我們的時候,要我們講故事給他聽。Kenney跟哈珀都聽過那些故事。當時他們說要賠償,可是現在結果讓我很失望。因為爸爸在這裡,我們失去了父愛。我們在大陸的生活是非常艱苦。說起來,真的是一窩眼淚。是不是我們應該受那些苦呢?一輩子都得不到父愛。政府是不是應該體恤我們?應該將爸爸平反不公平對待的人頭稅退回給我們呢?我覺得是應該的。希望政府能夠遵守
它的承諾。最重要的是一個政府應該有誠信:講過就要做得到。

為什麼呢?因為今天你賠償的是很少人。而我們家屬在這裡的人數也很少;幾千人。政府應該是看到我們過去所受的苦,應該體恤我們,應該退還人頭稅給我們才能夠得到平反。這才算是徹底的平反。所以我希望政府將到做到,將人頭稅早點解決,那我們就可以得償心願。

My dad is Chin Wong. He arrived in 1911 at the age of 20. He went back to China twice. The first time was after being in Canada for 20 years when he was 40 to get married. Why so long? Because we were poor: he had to return the $500 Head Tax and he also had to take care of the livelihood of our whole family. After getting married, within two years, he went back again. I was just a little over one. My younger sister was still in my mother’s belly. Then he returned to Canada again.

In Canada, he has always been running around – all over the northern part of BC. He finally settled in Whitehorse, claiming life to be very difficult. Even though he was running a restaurant, it was hard and it was very cold. In the end when he retired, he came back to Victoria.

We never had the chance to reunite with him. When I came [to Canada] he had already passed away. Between me and my sister the time we spent with him was perhaps not even three years in length. He came back [to China] in 1947 and I was already in school and only saw him once a week. In 1949 he came back to China again. So adding all this time together, it wasn’t even three years – even less for my sister since when she was born he was here and he didn’t witness her birth.

My dad even though he was in the restaurant business, he really cared for those old Chinese Canadians. There was one, I remember, without kids. Most of them were like this, without daughters and sons in Canada. Those with illness, he took care of them too. He brought one back with him to China in 1947. He even paid for him. Those of us still here now (those of us fighting for the head tax), we are only a portion [of those who paid the head tax still in Canada]. Many already went back to China and died there.

There are not many of us left here, so we hope that if the government is to redress the Head Tax, they should do a full redress. There may be a lot of those who have gone back to China. But of those left here, there is not a lot. The government should be fair. They wanted us to tell stories to them, Harper and Kenney heard from us. They said they were going to repay us. But I was disappointed because dad was here we didn’t have his love. Our life in China was extremely difficult. If we were to talk about that life, there would be bucket of tears. Should we have suffered from this type of life – life without a father’s love? Should the government not be sympathetic to us? Should they redress the head tax my father paid? I think this should be. I hope the government can keep its promise. Because a government must be faithful: if you say it, you should do it.

Why? There’s very few that you are paying back now. The descendants – there are very few left – maybe a few thousand. So the government should see and understand the hardships we have gone through and should refund the head tax to us. That is what is full redress. That is why I hope the government can do as they have said. Resolve this issue of head tax, so that we can have our wishes granted.

Video 2: Ho Sheung Ho, Son of Head Tax Payer

http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca/stories/ho%20dun%20kin.html
Length: 8:35

我是人頭稅的後人。我爸爸的中文名字是何搌建。 他入境的日期是1918年八月十九號。他當時17歲。那我呢,是他的兒子。我叫何豪常。我今年65歲了。在這個時候內,我只看過我爸爸一次。在1963年,他回香港。在那麼多年來是我第一次見到我父親。那他回來的時候講了很多他在加拿大的事情。

有一次我記得我們叫他去飲茶。他說:“不去啦。去買麵包,買(lit. “but-ta”) 牛油回來擦,找個TOASTER仔弄熱它吃好了。你不要花太多錢;賺錢好難”。那我覺得在以前的香港,去渴一餐茶只不過是很少意思。(就算是現在,也很少意思。) 但在他老人家的心中,他覺得是很奢侈。他說以前他來過這裡 [加拿大] 的時間,只不過是兩毛五一個小時,有時候有班有時候沒工作。他說起:“我當初來加拿大沒錢入境,後來有人通知我們的鄉下叔伯。這裡借一些,那裡又借一些,才湊到五百塊用來離開這個碼頭上岸去溫哥華。在那個時候五百塊來說,真的是天文數字(我覺得)。在這個情況:兩毛五一個小時,又要吃,還要寄錢回家,你說還要多小年才能還清這五百塊呢?我相信至少需要三四年。好省錢,都要幾年的時間。那我覺得為什麼我們要付錢才可以上岸入境?真是莫名其妙。全世界來到這裡都不用人頭稅,為什麼我們中國人要付人頭稅?”

後來,我跟著他的吩咐去買麵包,買jam,買一點牛油回來,跟開杯奶茶,他很歡喜。他說,我今天在這裡一家團聚在香港,也不知道將來有沒有機會這樣一起吃麵包或喝杯茶。我年老了,(60/70歲了)。不多久,幾個月後回加拿大。過了幾年後,他過世了。

在這個經歷裡面,他跟我分享以前入境加拿大的辛苦狀況。所以呢,你們要爭氣。他說:“我沒錢給你們,我只不過有這張入境人頭稅給你”。那我覺得,我不介意我爸爸有沒有錢給我,只要他老人家平平安安,我就心滿意足。他在這邊,我以前在香港,我沒有辦法服侍他。 他一個人會來這邊,你思想一下,一個老人家60幾歲, 孤孤單單在這邊。在這種情況,我相信近來的中國人是不知道這個情況。是要親身聽到自己的家屬或講給你聽當時的情形。他說:“來到這邊唐人都住在唐人街不會出去Hastings。 我們出去就會被白人欺負。一個中國人找錢不是犯法,為什麼會這樣呢?” 今天政府這樣對我們,以前不同意這件事情是對我們很不公平。我們希望政府會給我們一個公平的答案。為什麼全世界不用,而我們中國人要付人頭稅呢?我希望政府真的可以聽到我們的聲音,我們的前輩來到這邊,還有老人家真的很慘的。

I am a descendant of a head taxpayer. My dad’s Chinese name is Ho Chan Kin. The date he entered Canada was August 19, 1918. He was 17 at the time. As for me, I am his son. My name is Ho Ho Sheung. I’m 65 this year. Within the time of my life, I only saw my dad once in 1963 in Hong Kong. That was the first time I saw him and at that time he told me many stories about Canada.

I remember that time we asked him to go have tea. He said “No, go get some bread, some butter to put on it, and find a toaster to heat it up instead. Don’t use so much money, money is hard to make.” In the Hong Kong of the past, I felt that going out to have a meal was nothing big. (Even now, it’s not a big deal.) But, for him he felt it was luxurious. He said that when he was here, he only made 25 cents per hour, and work was sometimes available and sometimes not. He said: “I didn’t have money when I first arrived in Canada and so others had to notify the uncles in our village and borrow money here and there in order to raise that $500 to come ashore in Vancouver. At that time, $500 was a large sum of money, in my opinion. With 25 cent per hour, I still had to eat and send money home, how long do you think it’d take to return that $500? I think at least three or four years, if one were thrifty. I thought why did we have to pay head tax since everyone else was not obliged to? Why were the Chinese only asked to pay the head tax?”

After that, I followed his instructions and went to buy bread, jam, and some butter and made some milk tea. He was really content. He said, “Today I’m reunited with my family here in Hong Kong but I don’t know if I’ll have this chance to eat bread with you or drink tea with you in the future. I’m old now.” He was 60 or 70 at that time. Not long thereafter or a few months later, he went back to Canada and a few years after that he passed away there.

Through this experience, he shared the many difficulties of entering Canada. So, we have to strive hard, he said: “I don’t have money to pass down to you, I only have this head tax certificate.” I felt that I didn’t care for money, I only hoped that he could peacefully live and I’d be content. He was there and I was here in Hong Kong before, so I never had the chance to take care of him. He was alone here. You can imagine that a sixty-year-old senior would be lonely here. These circumstances, I believe, not many of the recent Chinese immigrants here know. You need to personally hear these stories from family to understand the situation. He said: “The Chinese live in Chinatown; we’d never go to Hastings. Once we went out, we’d be bullied and kicked. A Chinese person looking for employment wasn’t against the law, why was this happening?” Today the way the government is treating us is unfair, and not acknowledging the discrimination of this history is not fair as well. I hope the government can give us a fair answer. Why did the rest of the world not need to pay the head tax that Chinese were forced to pay? I hope the government can hear our voices, that our elders while here sincerely suffered mistreatment.

Video 3 Yuet Ying Lee, Daughter of Head Tax Payer

http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca/stories/yuet%20ying%20lee.html
Length: 1:41

我 是人頭稅納稅人的後裔,我的名字是李艷蓉。父親是於一八九三年出生,在十八歲那年,即一九一一年去加拿大謀生。他邀了五百元人頭稅,這債務需要十多年才還 清,他砍柴的工資祗是二毫五分。他曾經做過公路建築工人,不獨工作辛苦,而食用亦差。因為這債務需要十多年才還清,所以我要求政府將這款項歸還給人頭稅納 稅人的後裔。這是人頭稅納稅人以血汗賺得的辛苦錢,政府是不能騙取的。應該將這款項歸還給人頭稅納稅人的後裔,那時五百元是很多錢的,需要工作十多年才能 還清,不是二萬元能夠相比的。

I am a Head Tax descendant. My father came to 1911 when he was 18 years old. He was born in 1893 in China. After paying the $500 Head Tax, it took over ten years to pay off the debt. Because of the extreme harsh tax imposed on just the Chinese people, I feel I must speak up and implore the government to recompense for the injustice.

My father survived by chopping wood for 25cents an hour. Scarcely enough to eat. Years of hard work, sweat and discrimination. Why did the government impose this type of unjust tax. And only applied it to the Chinese people. This is extremely unjust. Even though the government compensated $20,000, it still took over ten years to earn enough to pay it off, and even then, it wasn’t enough time. The government should make amends and redeem itself by compensating funds back to the Head Tax descendants of the Head Tax families.

That’s all I want to say.

Video 4: Bing Jung, Son of Head Tax Payer

http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca/stories/bing%20jung.html
Length: 2:47

我是人頭稅的後人。我現在簡單講幾句。我爸爸是張剛益。他1921年12月3日來到加拿大。當時他只是15歲。我祖父在鄉下湊了五百塊為了人頭稅才進入加拿大。當時五百塊等於今日至少十萬多塊。我鄉下祖父跟嬤嬤好辛苦才湊到那五百塊。甚至呼將田地賣給人,連間祖屋都租給別人才湊到那五百塊。1951年我爸爸申請我媽媽跟我過來加拿大。那個時候是我的一次見到我爸爸。

人頭稅對我們華人實在是不公平,其他的族裔都不需要交:只是針對我們華人。我覺得不公平。直到去年,人頭稅得到平反。加拿大政府正式向我們華人道歉,還有賠償。對於賠償方面,只有人頭稅的夫妻和配偶得到賠償。我個人仍為這樣不合理,應該一視同仁。我認為,擁有人頭稅紙有權利鄉政府申請。我仍為這樣才對。我爸爸的英文名字是:Chung Gok Yet。 他已經去世了。

I am a descendant of a head taxpayer. I wish to say a few words. My dad is Cheung Gok Yet. He came to Canada on December 3rd, 1921. He was only fifteen at that time. My grandfather back home raised $500 for the head tax in order for him to enter Canada. At that time $500 was worth more than $100,000 today. My grandparents back home endured a lot in order to raise that $500. They even sold their land and had to rent out their family estate to save $500. In 1951, my dad applied for my mom and me to come to Canada. That was the first time I saw my dad.

Head Tax was very unfair to us Chinese. Other ethnicities did not have to pay it, and it was discrimination towards us as Chinese. I feel it is very unfair. Last year, the Head Tax issue was redressed and the Canadian government officially apologized to us Chinese and promised compensation. Regarding the refund, only spouses and partners of the Head Tax payer could obtain it. I don’t think that makes sense. It should be fair for all. I feel, those who have the Head Tax papers have the right to request the government to do so. I feel that is what is right. My dad’s name in English is Chung Gok Yet. He has already died.

Video 5: Foon Yung Chang, Daughter-in-law of Head Tax payer

http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca/stories/foon.html
Length: 2:30

我的名字是鄭歡蓉。 我來加拿大1970年。一來到就跟我家翁和奶奶一起住一起生活。我經常聽見他說來到加拿大很艱難,很受苦,被人欺負。還有加拿大要收他五百塊人頭稅是非常之不公平。他吩咐我,如果他是有命的話(也就是說生命)他就希望自己可以收到政府賠他應得的錢。但是很不幸,他們現在都去世了。

他就吩咐我,叫我幫他向政府爭取回來。它是非常不合理。為什麼當時我們人來加拿大打工生活,政府又欺負他們,又收五百塊人頭稅。非常之不公平。我老爺對我說,他每一天進食都是哭著吃。同時,吃的是白飯加鹽混在一起,沒有配菜。有時候就放豉油下去。他在加拿大過了這樣的生活幾十年。我當時聽見我都流眼淚。

我希望哈珀政府聽到我的聲音,因為你哈珀政府是做的非常之好。一上場就賠錢給苦主,然後給配偶,但是你還有人要賠償。我希望你聽到我心聲,繼續做完這一段:退給兒女。因為那些兒女大部分都是加拿大公民。同時,他們年齡有70多歲了。年紀很大。

My name is Chang Foon Yung. I came to Canada in 1970. Once I arrived I lived with my father- and mother-in-law. I often heard him talk about the difficulties, suffering, and harassment that he experienced since coming to Canada, including the unfair treatment of the $500 Head Tax. He instructed me that if he lived long enough, he’d hope to receive his money from the government. Unfortunately, they both passed away already.

He instructed me to fight against the government for him, for they were very unreasonable. Why was it at that time that we came to Canada to work and live, the government discriminated against us and collected the $500 head tax? It is not fair. My father-in-law said to me, each day when he ate he would cry. At that time, he’d eat only rice and salt mixed together without any other side dishes. Sometimes he’d add soy sauce. He lived like this in Canada for a few decades. When I heard this, even I cried.

I hope that the Harper government can hear my voice, because you’ve been doing very well. Once elected, you paid back those living who paid the tax, then their spouses, but there is still a small group of people left to repay. I hope you can hear my inner thoughts, and continue to finish this part: repaying the children. [Because] These children mostly are Canadian citizens and they are over the age of 70 and are quite old.

Video 6: Cheuk Yin Cheng, Son of Head Tax payer

http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca/stories/cheuk%20yin%20cheng.html
Length: 2:00

我是鄭灼燕,是人頭稅付款人的兒子。他的名字是鄭榮啟。我是不知他曾付了人頭稅的,因為母親沒有提及所以我不知道。當時我尚未出生。

保守黨,一定要將人頭稅平反,我有兒女五人,他們都是五十、六十多歲,我今年是八十一歲。每個兒女都已成家立室,我有九個孫,總共是二十張選票。哈珀總理,你許下諾語將五佰銀償還,但是祗給倖全者,大家都邀了五百銀,我認為這不是平反,應該根據人頭稅紙來償還,才是正式的平反。

I am Cheuk Yin Chen, I am the son of a Head Tax Payer. When my father paid the head tax, my mother kept this piece of news from me. I didn’t know my father had paid. My mother made no mention of this and that is why I wasn’t aware. For when my father came to Canada, I wasn’t even born yet. I was still in mother’s womb.

The Conservative government must acknowledge our redress request so that the Chinese people will know that all are equal.

I have five children, each and every one of them are now in their 50s and 60s. I am 81 yeas old. My children along with my grandkids, who are in their 20s and 30s comprise of over 20 voting age adults. If Mr. Harper can promise or make a sincere attempt to redress the Head Tax…….. Offering a redress amount of $500 to Head Tax Payers is not an acceptable resolution. Offering a redress payment to surviving spouses is a start. The government should recognize the ‘one certificate, one claim’ statement. This is a more equitable and proper resolution.

Video 7: Cheung Shou Chin, Daughter-in-law of Head Tax payer

http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca/stories/cheung%20shou%20chin.html
Length: 2:20

今天我要繼續向政府投訴關於我老爺人頭稅的問題。我老爺叫張平和。他在1918年到加拿大。也曾表立過五百塊的人頭稅。他在加拿大當年的生活一直都要被接受「sic」不平等的歧視。曾經飽受過無窮的心酸。他在加拿大過度了61年。一直都是遠離妻兒,失去親情,完全沒有家庭的歡樂。

但是在他心目中,總是盼望有一天能夠跟妻兒團聚一起。這時令他心裡很失望。他一直等到90歲,就離開了這個世界。我在這裡請問政府既然已承認人頭稅平反,但其中,最令人費解的為什麼再生的人有賠償,而死去的人就完全抹殺賠償。同樣生與死的人都給了人頭稅。這種不公平地對待,是不實踐平反。我是人頭稅後代家庭的苦主。懇求政府還我合理的公道。我是我老爺的媳婦張秀真。

Today I want to continue protesting to the government with regards to my father-in-law’s head tax issue. My father-in-law is Ping-Won Cheung. He came to Canada in 1918 and paid the $500 head tax. He was discriminated against during his time in Canada. He had more than a taste of bitterness. He lived in Canada for 61 years, and this whole time he was separated from his wife and children, without family and the happiness that comes with being with one’s family.

But in his heart, he longed for the day he could reunite with his wife and children. He was very disappointed in his heart. He waited until he was 90, and then died. Here, I hope to ask then why while the government has declared redress for the head tax, why those who are still living are receiving payment while those who are not here have been deprived of their share. Both those living and dead today paid the head tax. This is unfair treatment, and it is not putting into practice the redress. I am a descendant of a head taxpayer, begging the government to grant me due justice. I am my father-in-law’s daughter, Cheung Shou Chin.

Video 8: Low Ping, Daughter-in-law of Head Tax payer

http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca/stories/low%20ping.html
Length: 1:48

總理先生,哈珀先生:我是人頭稅的後裔。我的家翁叫做歡將魯。 我叫做劉平。我在這想要講幾句話。希望哈珀先生早日償還這個人頭稅給我們。因為這件事情已經弄了很久。

我的家翁在2月1日1919年來加拿大。他來的時候也需要借錢才能夠來到加拿大。也涯得很辛苦。他到了61歲,就不在了。他兒子,也就是我老公,很久都沒有看他了。很小的時候已經沒看到他。他只是回去唐山一兩次。他的印象就那麼淺。那他太太,也就是我奶奶,都很晚才來加拿大。來了兩年,我家翁就去世了。那些痛苦我不想要重復,因為很多人已經講過。

去年「2006」6月22日,我聽到回償還在世的還有[配偶],我們以為我們後人都會有機會償還這五百塊。但結果呢,都落空。那我就以為一心如果有償還,那就我就把老翁的墓碑重新翻新它。現在已經破舊了。我希望這個願望可以實現。我想講的就那麼多。謝謝。

Mr Harper, Prime Minster: I am a descendant of a head taxpayer. My father-in-law is Foon Joh Low. I am Low Ping. I wish to say a few words here, hoping that Mr. Harper can refund the head tax to us earlier because this issue has been drawn out for much too long.

My father-in-law came to Canada on February 1st, 1919. He also borrowed money in order to come to Canada and he suffered a lot. He left us at the age of 61. His son, my husband, didn’t see his father for a long time. Even when he was very young, he did not see much of his father. His father only returned to Tangshan once or twice – my husband’s impression of him is that faint. His wife, which is my mother-in-law, came to Canada very late. After two years of her arrival, my father-in-law passed away. This kind of pain I don’t want to reiterate because many have already shared similar experiences.

On June 22nd of last year [2006], I heard that there would be repayment for those still living and their spouses. I thought that we descendants would also receive the $500. But in the end, we were left with nothing. I thought in my heart that if we could be repaid, then I could restore my father-in-law’s gravestone as it is rather old. I hope this wish can still be fulfilled. That is all I wish to share, thank you.

Video 9: Yut Han Chin, Son of Head Tax payer

http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca/stories/yut%20han%20chin.html
Length: 1:23

我是納稅人,我是趙燕侯,父親是趙聖芳。他是於一九二二年返唐山,在加拿大居住了六十多年,期間他在農場工作及做其他勞工。他與他的家人分離了數十年,我在一九七零年移民到加拿大團聚。他於一九七三年去世。

舊年(二零零六年)政府話人頭稅平反,但只償還倖全者。希望政府盡快實行平反第二階段,將人頭稅償還給人頭稅納稅人的後人。

Mr. Harper. I am a taxpayer. My father was Jew Sing Fong. He came to Canada in 1922 and stayed for over 60 years. He worked in farming and other odd jobs to survive. I never got to see my father until decades later. I was able to reunite with my father in 1970. My father later passed away in 1973. Last year [2006], the government presented a redress payment to Head Tax Payers. But it only applied to actual living Head Tax Payers and surviving spouses. Even though the living Head Tax Payers and Spouses have been compensated, the descendants of deceased Head Tax families have been left out. The 2nd generation of descendants have not been recognized. I hope the government can resolve this in a prompt and proper manner and offer the descendants of Head Tax Families a fair and reasonable amount.

Video 10: Fong Choi Che, Daughter of Head Tax payer

http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca/stories/fong%20choi%20che.html
Length: 1:26

我 是謝鄧鳳彩,父親是謝榕福。我的祖父是替鐵路招聘工人,一日他從車上跌下,受了傷。祖父在五十多歲時就回歸中南海,留下爸爸個人在加拿大。因為貧窮爸爸借 錢給人頭稅,所以他要工作賺錢償還他的人頭稅債務。他辛苦地挨,挨,挨。他很想離外加拿大,最後爸爸帶了人頭稅稅紙回到中國,他與我同住了十多年,我是獨 女。媽媽在抗日時已去世了,她是三十多歲。

我要求一個公平的平反。

My father’s name is Che Yung Sun. My grandfather bought labourers over from China to work on the railroads. Unfortunately, he had a mishap, he fell down and injured himself. So, at the age of 50 to 60, my grandfather returned to China. My Grandfather left my father behind in Canada. But in order to enter Canada, my father had to pay a sum of money. He needed $500 to pay the Head Tax. My father managed to scrap up enough funds to pay the tax. He was able to pay off the debt later on. My father told me that he actually wanted to leave Canada but didn’t know how to go about doing it.

Eventually, father did return to China, bringing with him his certificate. I lived with him for 10 years. I am his only surviving daughter. My mother died in her 30s. She died under Japanese occupation.

I am asking for a fair and just settlement.

Video 11: Tsai Ying Huang, Daughter of Head Tax payer

http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca/stories/tsai%20ying%20huang.html
Length: 1:24

人頭稅的人是我爸爸。18歲就來加拿大。他40歲的時候會中國一次,跟我母親結婚。1985 年就跟我母親一起搬來住。我母親85歲簽紙,90歲我母親就不在了。[…] 辛苦二十幾年,[…]

I am a tax payer. My father came to Canada at age 18. The only time my father had a chance to return to China took place after he turned 40. He returned to marry my mother and then had me. I am an only child. My mother and I came to Canada in 1980.
My mother left me at age 90 and she is no longer with us.

My father survived by performing physical labour work such as chopping wood, and lumber yard work. It was very hard work for him and I only heard of these hardships when he one day confided in me. If not for that conversation, I would not have known of the hardships and struggles that my father endured after coming to Canada. Decades of menial work, a difficult time to make a living. It was a hard life.

Video 12: Cheun Mow Jung, Daughter of Head Tax payer

http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca/stories/cheun%20mow%20jung.html
Length: 6:40

我爸叫做張福星,我是他的女兒張春貌。我以前年輕時沒有見過他。1949年才回台山,那時候我大概12 或13歲。我9歲開始上課,我十幾歲就寫信給我爸。那我以為我爸賺很多錢。

但是上次他回台山時,我問他:“爸爸,你是不是去金山賺很多錢啊?是不是像坐在鄉下做生意這樣,很容易賺錢呢?”
他說:“不是啊,女兒。那邊做工很辛苦。同時我也不會英語,我只是做個廚師而已。學會煮菜。”
那我說:“爸爸你就寄錢過來。我很開心。”
我爺爺很早走了,那個時候我爸爸還是很小。
他說:“女兒,我還是很小。嬤嬤很小也在扎腳,她也不會去打工。好辛苦養大我爸爸十幾歲。十幾歲就去找東西來吃。或者去工作來賺幾毛錢,把錢帶回來養我嬤嬤。有時候有人問起來,嬤嬤你吃了飯沒?她沒有吃,但是她回答說吃了。好艱苦,你公公不在。「。。。」煲粥,他沒得吃都說吃多幾口。”

我爸爸就想:我艱苦,我不如問人,借些錢去金山。最後想好,找人幫他,幫我爸爸借些錢來加拿大。薪水很低。同時他一個字都不會。漢文也一樣,認識的都是自己學回來的。賺到小小錢就寄回來讓我們吃。我爸爸什麼時候結婚我也不知道。但是他自己來加拿大時是23歲。都是一個人住,我沒有問,他又沒說。他以為,他這樣,我嬤嬤,我哥,跟我就會有糧吃。很開心,雖然他很辛苦他都很想寄錢回來養大我。因為鄉下我嬤嬤也很窮,都是吃粥,吃鈣餅。有飯吃就很開心。跟粥,跟飯。

他一個人來陌生地方住。我跟我媽來了。 我媽媽50多歲來,60歲才沒命。“稅紙一定要留住。女兒,留住它,希望政府會還錢給我們。”希望政府對我們子女都應該一視同仁。還錢給我們是對的。我爸爸的紙用了很多錢。我希望政府會徹底平反我。

My father is Jung Fook Sing and I am his daughter Jung Cheun Mow. When I was small I never saw him. In 1949 he came to Taishan, I was 12 or 13 at that time. I started school at the age of 9 and when I was over 10, I began writing letters to him. Back then I thought that my dad made a lot of money.

But that time he came to Taishan, I asked: “Dad, do you make a lot of money at the Gold Mountain? Is it as easy as it is here to make money by sitting around and doing business?”

“No, my daughter. It’s tough work over there. And I don’t know English so I’m just a chef and know how to cook,” he replied.

Then I said, “Dad you send money back home, I’m very touched.”

My grandfather left early, my dad was very young then. He said: “My daughter, I was young. Your grandmother had bound feet and couldn’t work. But she raised me until I was a teen and then I began to find food to put on the table and work to make a few cents to take care of her. Some people ask, did grandmother eat yet and she would always respond positively even though she did not eat yet. It was hard when your grandfather wasn’t here. […] we made congee and I didn’t eat much.”

That was when he thought: “It’s difficult. Why not ask others to help him with the funds to go to Gold Mountain.” After thinking it through, he got others to help him raise money to come to Canada. The wages were low and he didn’t know a single word, even in Chinese (those that he knew he learned himself). After earning a little he would send money back for us. I don’t even know when he got married. But he came by himself at 23, living as a bachelor. I never asked and he never spoke about that. He thought that this way, my grandmother, brother, and me would have food to eat and was content. Even though it was hard, he really wanted to send money back to raise me. Because in our hometown my grandmother was also very poor, so we ate congee and calcium crackers. We’d be happy to eat rice and have small condiments to go with our congee or rice.

He lived by himself in a foreign place. Then me and my mom came when she was over 50 and left when she was 60. “My daughter, keep the Head Tax Certificate, keep it. I hope the government can return the money to us.” I hope that the government can be fair to us children and return to us the money. My dad’s papers cost a lot of money, I hope the government’s redress can be a complete one for me.

Video 13: Ron Chang, Son of Head Tax payer

http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca/stories/ron.html
Length: 1:41

My name’s Chang Wing Jun. My father’s name is Chang Nian Dong. He came to Canada when he was 23 years old, [in] 1918. I am his son. When I came to Canada, he picked me up at the airport with a picture. I can remember until the day I die that his face lit up like a Christmas tree.

And if I remember correctly, my father told me, his first family died during the Exclusion Act because he couldn’t go back to China and I’m the second family of his. He came back to Canada in 1947 and he had to support two families. One of his brothers, who was killed in a logging accident and his wife was sick and needed a lot of medical attention. So that’s really hard. Plus he had to pay back whatever he borrowed to come over.

I’d like the government to be fair and pay back my father’s money. That’s all I have to say, thank you.

我的名字是鄭永進,我爸爸叫做鄭蓮棟。他在1918年23歲時來到加拿大。我是他的兒子。我來加拿大的時候,他拿著照片在機場辨認我。直到我死的一天,也會記得他當天的面容就像聖誕樹一樣明亮。

假若我記得正確,我爸爸說他的第一個家庭因為排華法而死去。因為他不能回中國。我來自他第二個家庭。他在1947年返回加拿大。他需要支持兩個家庭的生計。包括他哥哥的家庭,因為他在一宗伐木意外中死去。他老婆經常生病,要醫療照顧,又要還債。

我的要求的市政府要公平,將我爸爸的錢退回。我只是想講這些。

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