Why demonize our Chinese ancestors?
FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - October 25, 2020 - 12:00am

It is sad that some of those that should lead us in nation building are lawmakers who are ignorant and do not care for what is good for the country. Take senators Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan, who are said to be maligning the Chinese workers in the Philippines, all for the sake of their own interests.

They must be told some facts about what Chinese workers did here to develop our country. Moreover, we must be aware that our heroes, indeed our national hero, Jose Rizal’s ancestors, were in fact Chinese.

Here are some of the facts that would educate these senators instead of misleading the public.

Fifteen thousand Chinese workers built the US transcontinental railroad (1860s) that propelled the US economy to superpower status (more than 1,000 kms! Manila to Bicol is only 400 kms).

Countless Chinese helped built Kennon Road (1900s) and Angat Dam, and thanks to Chinese technology both were completed in record time.

Why are our senators echoing the US demonizing China projects when the US has NO INFRA PROJECTS TO OFFER. Too little know that colonizer US provoked wars illegally, even illegally using Philippine civilian plane codes for US military spy planes in China and Korea and betraying the Filipinos again on our Sabah claims.

Chinese are completing projects in record time using advanced technologies we don’t have yet. The Chinese can’t take these projects back when they leave.

Did they know that the Chinese are training thousands of Filipino engineers (but many of the Filipinos end up going abroad when they gain skills)?

More than 80 percent working on these projects are Filipino workers, but some Western media say less than half. No businessman in his right mind will hire more expensive foreign workers if there are available competent local workers.

Moreover, there are more than 300,000 Filipinos in China. Will we accept if the Chinese government sounded the alarm and called our OFWs who are just trying to make a living and to improve the lives of their families as part of some conspiracy ‘invasion’?

It doesn’t matter who builds the project, as long as it gets done and contributes to the improvement of the lives of the people and the country in the long term.

How many jobs have the critics created for the Filipinos? How are their bashings going to help the Philippines in the long run?

MISCELLANY: Instead, let us look at the historical background of the relations between Chinese and native Filipinos. They were shut out of Intramuros, which was then the center of power for colonialists.

Sangleys (or Sangleyes) is an archaic term used in the Philippines. It was the Spanish who used it to describe and classify a person of mixed Chinese and Filipino ancestry (the latter were referred to as Indio).

The Chinese came to the Philippines as traders prior to Spanish colonization. That development increased work and business opportunities. Many emigrated to the Philippines, establishing concentrated communities first in Manila, then in other cities.

Chinoy or Tsinoy (from the Spanish word Chino and the word Pinoy) is a term currently used by some to refer to a person of Chinese descent born in the Philippines or with Chinese ancestry and that refers to a bulk of Filipinos.

Sangley is the romanization of the term “??” from either Cantonese “sang lei” or Hokkien “sng-lí.” Sangley literally means “merchant traveler” or “frequent visitor.”

The majority of Chinese sojourners, traders and settlers in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period came from southern Fujian province and spoke Hokkien, leaving their mark on Filipino culture (especially cuisine). Although mestizo de sangley literally means “mixed-race (person) of business,” it implies a “mixed-race (person) of Chinese and indigenous/Indio (Filipino) descent” because many early Chinese immigrants were traders and mixed with the local population.

In 16th to 19th century Spanish Philippines, the term mestizo de sangley differentiated ethnic Chinese from other types of island mestizos (such as those of mixed Indio and Spanish ancestry, who were fewer in number). Their Indio ancestry (generally on the maternal side) allowed the Chinese mestizos to be granted the legal status of colonial subjects of Spain, with certain rights and privileges denied to the pure-blooded Chinese immigrants (sangleys).

Today, Tsinoy is widely used to describe a Sangley, a person with similar features to a Chinese native, a person born of Chinese descent or mixed Filipino and Chinese ancestry.

Mestizo de sangley is a term that arose during Spanish colonization of the Philippines, where circumstances were different from colonial settlement of the Americas. During the Spanish colonization of the Americas of the 16th and 17th centuries, numerous male Spaniards (conquistadors, explorers, missionaries and soldiers) settled there.

For decades most Spanish men made liaisons and intermarried with indigenous women; their children were considered mixed race and were called mestizo.

Male Chinese traders and workers came during the colonial period, most of whom intermarried with native women. The Spanish government classified anyone who had ancestry from China as Sangley regardless of their ethnic makeup. Their mixed-race descendants with native women were classified as mestizo de sangley; they were also known as chino mestizos.

As an example, in the late 19th century, the author and activist José Rizal was classified as mestizo de sangley due to his partial Chinese ancestry. Our national hero had indigenous, Japanese and Spanish ancestors, but he asked to be classified as Indio.

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