新年快樂！Happy Chinese New Year to everyone! Ethnic Chinese around Southeast Asia and the world celebrate the lunar calendar “Year of the Pig,” beginning 5 February.
There will be many days of festivities in places like Hat Yai, Thailand…a town largely founded by ethnic Chinese immigrants in the early 20thcentury. The culture is well-kept in the city over many days of activities…school children reciting & performing Chinese language & arts, parades of gods from the Chinese temples, family gatherings honoring ancestors & sharing meals, communities exchanging blessings.
I spent an extended time observing & analyzing these activities in 2012 and 2013, learning lessons about the continuity & interaction of diverse cultures in a community. It’s often easier to see the characteristics of a culture by looking at it in contrast to other cultures. By looking at how Chinese families & organizations adapted to their Thai home, I found the that the Chinese-influenced culture maintained some distinguishing characteristics, including supporting volunteer community organizations that serve the public & remind people of their roots.
Please enjoy some images of the events, & if you’d like to learn more, you can read my article written for Chulalongkorn University’s Center for Thai Studies publication, Rian Thai.
Lt. Col. Robert Cummings, completed his PhD dissertation on the Thai-Chinese community in Hat Yai at Chulalongkorn University. He has an MA-International Studies and MBA. A retired US Air Force command pilot and Asian Affairs specialist, he served as assistant professor of history at the Air Force Academy and assistant air attaché in the US Embassy, Bangkok, Thailand. Conversationally fluent in Chinese and Thai, he currently resides in Thailand.
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