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Six Jamaicans of Chinese heritage are among eight persons who will receive the inaugural Hakka Achievement Award during a two-day Conference on the Hakka Chinese culture and heritage to take place in Toronto, Canada on December 30 and 31.
The Award, which celebrates the Hakka value “of giving equal importance to manual labour and scholarly endeavours”, will be handed out in the categories of Business and Science.
Chairman of National Commercial Bank (NCB) and AIC Funds, Michael Lee-Chin and President of CI Funds Management, G. Raymond Chang will receive awards for achievement in Business. Anthony Chen, Professor of Physics at the University of the West Indies; Ronald Chung, Professor Emeritus at the University of Iowa; Dr. Albert Chung, Professor Emeritus at the University of Pittsburg; and Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong, Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto will receive awards for achievement in Science.
Conference co-chair, Jamaican-born Dr. Keith Lowe explained that the Hakka Chinese originally came from the area around the modern city of Shenzen in China.”Almost all of the Jamaican Chinese are Hakka, while 40 per cent of those in Trinidad and 60 to 70 per cent of those in Guyana are Hakka. We migrated to different parts of the world – the Caribbean, India, South Africa, Mauritius and Malaysia – and then all landed in Canada,” he noted.
Dr. Lowe, who was once Supervisor of Curriculum and Head of the Research Department of Jamaica’s Ministry of Education, said there are approximately 40,000 Hakka Chinese living in the Toronto area.
The conference is expected to bring them together, not only to showcase their heritage but also to discuss preservation of their culture for the younger generation.
An exhibition chronicling the lives of the Chinese in Jamaica will kick off the conference on December 29 at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto.Celebrated Jamaican-born author, Olive Senior, will officially open the exhibition, entitled ‘The Hakka Chinese in Jamaica 1854-2004’.