The Teochew Store Blog / Vietnam
The Forest of Miss Tang (陳小姐的森林) is a 40-minute Teochew language animation film produced in France. It tells the story of a Teochew family over six generations in Swatow, China, asking the question, to leave or to stay? The Forest of Miss Tang is the first Teochew language film to be produced in the West. It was broadcast on ARTE channel in Europe on 10 June 2023 and it has since been screened in a number of film festivals around the world.
The Teochew Store managed to speak with the film's director Denis Do, a Paris-born Teochew, to find out more about his feelings towards the Teochew identity and the creation of his film.
A gold rush in the 1850s and 1860s brought thousands of Chinese from Guangdong to Australia, including a small number of Teochews. The Land Down Under has today a mix of Teochew immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and China and this documentary produced in 2000 documents their stories. Interestingly, the television crew from Swatow also discovered a place where the Teochew language was widely spoken in Sydney's Cabramatta suburb.
Today's Teochew presence in the United States was largely established after a wave of migration in the 1970s and 1980s. However, do you know that historical shipping records show that about 40,000 coolies were shipped from Swatow to the country between 1852 to 1858, and some of them might have formed their own fishing settlements on the West Coast? Learn about this and various stories of success achieved by the Teochews in America in this documentary produced by Shantou Television 22 years ago.
Escaping Cambodia with five children in the 1970s, a Teochew couple were cruelly separated on the Thailand border. Yet they were miraculously reunited in Canada five years later and after much hard work, eventually came to own a supermarket. Notwithstanding its great distance from Asia, Canada is a gathering point for Teochews who resettled from Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong and China. Let’s watch this video where several of them share their stories and aspirations.
For over 200 years till the mid-20th century, Southeast Asia was the primary migration destination for the Teochew people. However, as the result of various wars and upheavals in the 1970s, tens of thousands of Teochew families in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were forced to resettle again in France. Watch this documentary produced by Shantou Television in 1997 to hear the stories of how these Teochews who arrived in a foreign land as refugees courageously re-established their lives in Europe.
Origins of the Teochew People - Archaeological Evidences (Part 2): Our Ancient Ties with the Hokkiens
“All these turned on its head, the theory that the Teochew region was an isolated and sparsely populated backwater before supposed mass migrations from the Central Plain towards the end of the Song dynasty (960–1279).
At the same time, it should not be lost that the geographical limits of the Fubin Culture from some 3,000 years ago conforms neatly with the territory of native speakers of Teochew and Hokkien – two closely-related vernaculars, if not two branches of a same.”
Since The Teochew Store was formed, we have received numerous requests for help from fellow Gaginangs to locate their ancestral village. Depending on the leads provided, we were able to assist many, but for others it is more difficult because some places have been renamed or now fall behind a different boundary line, other communities are unlisted on maps or the internet, or even when a place is found, there remains uncertainty if its residents have the same surname.
Fortunately the Shantou University (STU) Library has built a khieu-phue database (僑批數據庫) allowing keyword search for meta-data of some 70,000 pieces of khieu-phue (or "migrants letters", which were correspondences sent together with money remittances by Teochews living in Southeast Asia to their homes in Teochew), receipts and return letters. The site URL is http://app.lib.stu.edu.cn/qiaopi/index.aspx.
Teochew Documentary: Letters of A Family On Two Shores - Two-Part Documentary on the Teochew Letters
"... the true value of the Teochew Letters can only be unlocked by the people they are addressed to. Individually, every set of letters tell the stories and struggles of a family in a moment of history. But put together, all of them express the purpose and meaning of life to every common man - to seek the betterment of life for the ones who love us, and to pass this dream to the children after us."