Not To Be Forgotten

by Sam Wong

(c) 2005 Sam Wong
216 pages

2-0-0590484-8 (paperback)

Price: $19.95

To order contact, 
Sam Wong
8712 Piccadilly Place
Springfield, VA 22151



From the Preface --

I am the father of four middle-aged second-generation Chinese Americans. Often, when discussing family history with other members of this generation, the discussion would end in moments of dead silence, followed by remorse. These adult children feel regret for never knowing about the lives and experience of their now-deceased parents. Some tried, but were not successful at obtaining information about the lives of their parents, the first-generation Chinese Americans. Members of this older generation who came to work in the United States from the southern Chinese villages were reluctant to discuss their past with anyone, including their own children. The villagers from Taishan were reluctant to reveal aspects of their “disgraceful” past. The definition of “disgraceful” in this context is very vague; aspects of life such as labor class, socio-economic class, and level of or lack of education were considered “disgraceful”. The majority of these first generation Chinese Americans worked as laborers or farmers, lacked formal education and came from the lower socio-economic classes, similar to many of the ethnic minorities in the United States today.

Communication barriers existed between parents and children. Immigrant parents spoke in their native Taishan dialect while their offspring understood little or none of this native language. Open and frank discussions between the two generations were difficult or rarely happened.

I spent my childhood and the majority of my school years in Hong Kong and southern Mainland China during World War II. I witnessed and observed many local customs, traditions and practices. What follows is a compilation of my experiences and a description of my journey from Hong Kong, via our village in Taishan County, to the United States. I hope that by recording this knowledge, my grandchildren and other second-generation Chinese Americans will gain a better understanding of their heritage and the lives of their ancestors in Hong Kong, Taishan County and Canton during the 20th century. Perhaps, other second-generation Chinese Americans will identify with my family’s story, and it will lead them to learn more about their family’s past.

Many of the customs and traditions described here are no longer practiced and have become obsolete. When possible, I have included pictures to help clarify, provide detail and create a permanent record for the reader.


Blurbs and reviews --

“Sam’s life journey has certainly made my journey easier. Coming to this country at the age of six and growing up with non-English speaking parents have made the search for my roots a challenge. Your memoirs have managed to clarify what it means to be Taisanese and given me a greater respect for the traditions and beliefs of this community. My appreciation for your very personal touch to putting into words what no one has been able to do for me up to this point.”
—Ginny Gong (arrived in 1954), OCA National President, Host of “Ginny’s….where East meets West”

“Sam Wong has wonderfully woven Chinese history and Chinese American history as lived through by his family. Recording our own history, especially Chinese American history, is so critical since it is not in the American history books taught by our schools. The reader receives a duel history lesson in the most enjoyable publication.”
—Daphne Kwok, Executive Director, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, and Former Executive Director, Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA)


About the Author --

Sam Wong was born May 2, 1928 in Hong Kong, He was a student in Hong Kong, Taishan, and Canton during the years of the Sino-Japanese War and World War II. He immigrated to the United States seeking higher education and financial opportunity. He worked for the Navy Department until his retirement in 1993.


Sam Wong