Sunday, January 20, 2008

Samsui Women

Today my post will be dedicated to a group of strong and independent woman. When I was very young, I used to count the number of samsui woman in Chinatown that I saw when my mom's car passed by them. The red hear gear is outstanding that caught my eyes.

The statue in front of Chinatown heritage is dedicated to a group of Samsui women in Singapore.

They are a group of mostly cantonese women from Samsui (means three water) province in China to travel to Singapore during their teens or mid twenties to work on construction sites in the early 20th century.

Some came here to work to escape poverty in China while some came here to gain independence.
Samsui women worked on construction sites alongside with the men. Their trademark being the red headgears that they wore. There was another group with blue headgears from Sun Yap another province of china but they were few compared to the Samsui women.

Most of them lived in cramped shophouses in Chinatown and most of them vow not to marry and usually tied their hair in a bun. They choose to work in hard labour rather than to be prostitutes.
The following is a newspaper cutting(from the Straits Times) few weeks back about a late Samsui Woman. You may pity her for picking up cardboards to sell but she is one independent and proud woman to accept any help from the government. There are many who are like her and share her attitude. Today there are about less than 100 of them still alive and they are in their 80s and 90s. They are being cared for by the Samsui Association in Singapore.

This is a restaurant advertisment with the Samsui Woman as its icon. The owner's grandmother is a former Samsui Woman. The signature dish for this restaurant is the Samsui Chicken.

The Samsui Women saved and ate very thrifty in order to remit monies back to their home in Samsui, China. During Chinese New Year, they would steam a chicken and dip in shredded ginger marinated in some stock and seasame oil. Today that chicken is known as Samsui Chicken.

15 comments:

Denton said...

A wonderful post about strong and independent women ... Personally I feel surrounded by strong women and see many instances of successful women not only in my family and my country but around the world. However in the total I know society is patriarchal. That is why post such as your's are so important. Strong and independent women should be honored ... The next time I eat Samsui Chicken I will remember your post.

Old Wom Tigley said...

A beautiful post and one I feel honoured to have read.. I will read a bit more about these ladys and what they did..

J.C. said...

I have seen a SBC-produced (now Media Corp) drama series on Samsui Women. It's interesting to learn about this community. I am glad to learn that they are still present in Chinatown. Hope to try out the Samsui Chicken one day!

Kitem said...

Beautiful story, thank you for sharing your culture and the life of the Samsui women I had never heard about before.
They had an incredible life, respectful and strong.

zakscloset said...

wow, samui women made a great history!!!! what a touching story. thanks for sharing it.

Squirrel said...

wonderful post. thank you !

Jules said...

This is such an interesting and worthy post - this women should be honoured and I'm glad you have told us about them!!!

Jules said...

BTW Many thanks for the award. i got confused and thought is was for Rabaul but realise now it is Vietnam.

Your support is most appreciated. Your are also a bright light in my day!!!

Clarice said...

I often find sites with really great photos but they don't say anything about the place they were taken. Your site is always really interesting with great photos, thanks.

quin[tarantino] said...

As ususal, great shots with a lot of useful information. Always learning something new from you each day I visit.

Alex said...

Nice post. Have you tried the Samsui Chicken before?

I tried it once in the soup restaurant. It's quite good.

Alex
Alex's World! - http://www.kakinan.com/alex

alicesg said...

Thanks for all the nice comments. Glad that you all like the post.

Alex, I had tried the Samsui Chicken several times. The next time I will tried to remember to take photo and put in my food blog.

Joy said...

My hat's off to women like her! It's one of the topics I used to cover when I taught Women In Literature at the University, and also why I have a website for, about and by women - The Goddess In You.

Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo. Have a good Monday!


joy
Your Love Coach

Dave said...

I found this very interesting and informative. Thanks for this information. Women and independance.... Good for them! :-)

Andrea said...

Wow, this is a wonderful post. We need more women like her in this world.