~Toishan ~ Taishan ~ Hoisan ~ Xinning ~ Sunning
Taishan is a city in southwestern
Guangdong, China. Taishan calls itself the "First Home of the Overseas
Chinese." An estimated half a million Chinese Americans are of Taishanese
descent. 80% of the workers on North America's Trans-continental Railway
construction projects were Chinese - most from this area. Much of this
area was overrun by the Japanese during WWII.
Area: 3,285.91 km2
Population (2010 census)
• Total 941,095
~ 394,855 urban
• Density 290/km2
Time zone China Standard
Postal code 529200 - 529267
Area code 750
The main language of Taishan is
Taishanese. While most Taishanese today use Mandarin in school or formal
occasions, Taishanese is the de facto language. Schools require
their students to speak Mandarin in the classroom, and teachers are required
to lecture in Mandarin. Before the 1980s, Taishanese was the predominant
Chinese language spoken throughout North America's Chinatowns.
In fact, Sue-On served as a Taishanese/English
translator for many years for a company out of Tucson, AZ. It was a 3-way
phone translation service for which she provided translations for Chinese
all over North America -- mainly hospitals, immigration offices, casinos
and any firm that employed Chinese from the Taishan area. Locally, she
sponsored immigrants brought in as chefs for our Soo's Restaurants and
also provided translation help to other immigrants within the city.
Taishan and Guangzhou are the birthplaces
of Guangdong music.
One quarter of the "Flying Tigers"
came from Taishan. This "legendary" group of American airmen fought the
Japanese prior to the United States entering the Second World War.
Taishan hosts Jiangmen Star Park which
has produced more international Chinese celebrities than any other region
or city in China.
Taishan is the birthplace of Chinese
volleyball which was introduced by Overseas Chinese. Its teams have won
many provincial and national championships.
Education enjoys significant support
from Overseas Chinese professionals and businessmen. Many secondary schools
were built and financed by Chinese living foreign countries, such as the
United States, Canada, and Brazil. To honour their benefactors, these schools
often bear their names or the names of their parents.
has identified a long list of famous Toisan People:
This area has produced a tremendous
number of famous people known internationally: politicians, artists, actors,
musicians, restaurateurs, chefs, businessmen, fighter pilots, martial artists,
writers, publishers, film people, educators, researchers, etc.
Of special interest to Canadians
Adrienne Clarkson: Broadcast
journalist and Governor General of Canada (1999–2005)
Inky Mark: Canadian politician,
mayor of Dauphin (1994-1997) and Member of Parliament (1997-2004)
Norman Kwong: championship-winning
Canadian football player (1948, 1954, 1955, 1956) and Lieutenant-Governor
of Alberta (2005-2010).
THE CHOY FAMILY:
Interestingly, a great number of
the achievements and occupations mentioned in the Wikipedia list are represented
in the occupations and successful pursuits achieved by the Soo and Jade
Choy, their four children and their direct descendants who came out
of the Choy
home that we visited and photographed in Toishan:
Doctors ~ Surgeons ~ Scientists
~ Provincial Court Judges ~ Entertainers ~ Singers ~ Musicians ~ Martial
Arts Black Belts ~ Architects ~ Accountants ~ Therapeutic Massage Therapists
~ Computer IT Specialists ~ Restaurateurs ~ Chefs ~ Real Estate Entrepreneurs
~ Chief Lab Technicians ~ Dentists ~ Military ~ Athletes ~ Radiologists
~ Presidential Speech Writers ~ University Professors ~ Teachers ~ Businessmen
~ Loving Parents . . .
Mr. Choy Soo (1909–1983) Immigrated from Taishan,
China in 1923 at the age of fourteen and worked in the CPR restaurant and
hotel in Newdale, Manitoba. Seven years later Mr. Choy returned home and
married Miss Chan Yook Hai (b 1910). But immigration laws prevented
Mrs. Choy’s entry into Canada. She remained in southern China and her husband
visited every one and one-half years and together they had four children—two
sons and two daughters. When Mr. Choy’s father (Mr. Choy Him) retired
to his village in 1939, Mr. Choy Soo took over as the owner of the Paris
Cafe. Like many men, Mr. Choy lived a double life. In Newdale, he worked
long hours, lived alone and socialized with other bachelors and relatives
in Brandon, Winnipeg, Gladstone and other prairie towns and villages. But
in China, he was regarded as part of the gentry class of men who were thriving
in Canada or Gold Mountain, as it was called. Four years after the Chinese
Immigration Act was repealed in 1947, the family joined many others and
escaped to Hong Kong, living there until 1958 when Mr. Choy was able to
sponsor his wife and youngest daughter Sue-On to come to Canada.
Kenny, their youngest son, came a year later in 1959 and both children
completed their education in Newdale and Strathclair. Today, Sue-On
and Kenny are leaders within the Chinese community of Western Manitoba.