Prefer Teochew-speakers Cantonese or Hokkien

Cultures of labor and capital

"Most overseas Chinese are said to be from the provinces of Fukien [Fujian; 福建], Kwangtung [Guangdong Canton, 广东; 廣東] and Chekiang [Zhejiang; 浙江], which are on this coast. But to say you are from Fukien is like that vague like saying you are European. What really matters is the village you come from. Everyone else is seen as a stranger.

Surprisingly, these villages of almost all the alleged ancestors of the Chinese Abroad are located in a few regions at four estuaries. There are three in Fukien Province: The Min River [Mǐnjiāng;闽江] flows into Foochow [Fuzhou;福州] into the sea, the Chiu-lung [Jiulong] near Amoy [Xiamen [厦门;廈門]. The Han River has its source in Fukien [Fujian;福建] and then crosses the border to Kwangtung [Guangdong Canton, 广东;廣東] before going near Swatow [Shantou, 汕头;汕頭] reached the sea. So the city of Swatow is in Kwangtung Province, but the Han River connects it with Fukien. The fourth delta is the mouth of the Pearl River [Zhū Jiāng;珠江] south of Canton.

The people in these four river deltas speak different dialects that are as different as German, French and English. The people of Foochow [Fuzhou;福州] speak the Hokchiu dialect [福州 話]. The ones from Amoy [Xiamen [厦门;廈門] speak Hokkien [闽南 语)]. Henghua is spoken between Foochow and Amoy. The people of the Pearl River and Canton are often lumped together, although they speak a number of dialects, of which urban Cantonese (Yueh) [粵語 / 粤语] is only the most common. Most of the Chinese who emigrated to North America early on did not come from Canton itself, but from a group of villages southwest of the city, where they spoke another dialect called Taishan [Táishān;台山] spoke.

On the banks of the Han River as far as Swatow in the east of Kwangtung Province, 300 kilometers northeast of Canton, the people speak Hoklo, but call themselves Teochiu [潮州 话] after the name of a city on the river that was an important port there a thousand years ago was. Today this port is Swatow. The Teochiu people are culturally unique. It runs perhaps the richest, most powerful underworld organization in the world, one of the first multinational corporations in history. All Teochiu are tightly organized and unconditionally loyal. Today they are connected with each other worldwide through the common dialect and the common descent from seven village regions around Swatow. This area has been a major hub for piracy, smuggling and illegal trade.

All of these ethnic groups share the Chinese script, but when they speak their local dialects, they do not understand each other. So many spoke Mandarin [Putonghua; 普通话], the dialect of the capital Beijing and its imperial bureaucracy, because anyone who wanted to pass the public service exams and get a job with the government had to speak Mandarin fluently. The dialects spoken on the coast increase the tendency towards isolation in all groups, creating exclusive communities that persist in Bangkok, Singapore, Toronto, Seattle, Amsterdam and around the world. The dialects emerged as a mixture of ancient languages ​​spoken in Yueh [越, 粵, 鉞] with the dialects of various Chinese who were expelled here from the north. Each dialect has developed in isolation from all others in a remote valley surrounded by mountains, where local characteristics are carefully preserved.

The central government, which has always met the disobedient coastal provinces with suspicion, has always deliberately tried to ignore these dialects. The people on the south coast were happy when they weren't actively suppressed. They developed independently of the continental empire, based only on their family and dialectal relationships. When they left for other countries, they took these loyalties with them, and they were even more pronounced in isolation abroad. However, anyone who left the Middle Kingdom without permission was considered a traitor; therefore, the Chinese rulers never concerned themselves with the welfare of Chinese people living abroad. They formed their own organizations anyway. Place of birth, last name, dialect, craft guilds, sports clubs or religious groups, social clubs, tongs [堂] and triads were the building blocks of social life. To outsiders, this variety of public and secret Chinese organizations is a puzzling tangle of names and identities. But that is also the purpose and meaning. These organizations have always feared for their safety and preferred games of confusion to protect themselves and their members from persecution by the central government, local directorates or rival groups. In the west, the triads and tongs are easily confused with the guilds and kongsi. But there is a rule of thumb: After the magical family and clan circle, the second most powerful group is based on the “common” place of birth. All other organizations like the triads are subordinate and unimportant.

The Teochiu speakers [潮州 话], for example, have seven birthplace associations, one for each of the seven hsien or village districts in the Swatow region [Shantou, 汕头;汕頭]. The most powerful are Mei Hsien, Chin Hai, Yao Ping, and Chao Yang. When members rise in the hierarchy of a hsien organization, they become its managers and control or influence the activities of all other members. In every country there is a Teochiu secret organization, a secret council made up of leaders from all Hsien associations. The latter are paternalistic civil organizations that take care of the business, financial needs, and social welfare of their many members, but each Teochiu-Hsien has its own "law enforcement officers," police officers, or militias who form a veritable secret army. Since these Hsien associations exist across Asia and the West and are involved in a tremendous amount of covert activity, the Teochiu organization alone could have more than a million such militia soldiers.

In the West, these secret armies are often referred to as "syndicates" because each only carries out the secret dangerous operations of an Hsien association. All seven Teochiu syndicates taken together came to be known as the Chiu Chao Brotherhood. The Hong Kong police use this Cantonese form in their correspondence: Chiu-Chao [潮州], which the Hong Kong newspapers have copied. But in the rest of the world they are mostly called Teochiu and their reputation is a little better there than in Hong Kong. For the sake of simplicity, these dialect groups are referred to as Teochiu and their secret armies as Teochiu Syndicates in this book.

The Teochiu themselves number many millions, but the exact number outside of China can only be roughly estimated because there are no censuses in many places. They are the richest overseas Chinese, making up the majority of the Chinese population in Thailand, while they are only the second largest dialect group in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada and the United States. The day-to-day business of the Teochiu Syndicates in Southeast Asia and elsewhere in the Pacific is smuggling rice, drugs, and all kinds of endeavors, provided they are profitable. Many of these activities have been practiced for centuries and are common practice in the region. Smuggling or drug trafficking is not necessarily criminal in the eyes of Asians. To get an idea of ​​the magnitude of these deals, it is enough to look at the international heroin trade, which starts from the "Golden Triangle" and is dominated by four or five of the seven Teochiu syndicates. In 1990 the illegal profit was estimated at $ 200 billion. But not all heroin from Asia is smuggled or distributed by the Teochiu. The Hokkien and other syndicates also distribute large quantities of drugs from the "Golden Triangle" via Taiwan all over the world. But the Teochiu hold the lion's share of this business. People who do not profit from the activities of the Teochiu refer to this secret society as the largest criminal organization in the world. However, those who benefit from it see it very differently.

Each group based on the dialect has an indefinable number of large and small triads. [...]

The Confucian hierarchy is very strict. Every Chinese family and every clan organization had its elders, every guild and every triad had its head, and every umbrella organization in every country, for example the Hokkien [闽南 语], Teochiu [潮州 话] and Hakka [客家 话], was subordinate the supervision of a single man. He was usually the richest Chinese entrepreneur in the country and was in turn subordinate to an international "godfather" who may have lived in the village of his ancestors or (since the Communists came to power) in Taipei, Hong Kong, Bangkok or Singapore. Most of the Chinese people living in Paris today originally came from a small town in Chekiang Province [Zhejiang;浙江] and settled in the Belleville district of Paris after the Nazis had deported and killed the French Jews living there. Most of the French did not want to move to the Jewish quarter because memories of the Nazis' atrocities were still alive. The Chinese had no such concern. Many years later, the Belleville Chinese blood feuds irritated the French. In 1993 the godfather was flown in from Chekiang to settle the disputes and to reconcile the gamecocks. Tradition and economy give the international godfather tremendous power. If the head of a dialect group dies or abdicates, his designated successor becomes the overlord of all parts of the group around the world. "

[Source: Seagrave, Sterling: The Lords of the Pacific: the invisible economic empire of the overseas Chinese. - Munich: Limes, 1996. - 430 pp.; Ill.; 22 cm. - Original title: Lords of the rim (1995). - ISBN 3-8090-3000-7. - pp. 151-157.]

"Quite a number of Chinese billionaires already have their own communications satellite in orbit or on the way there. But behind the reflective glass fronts of their banks on both sides of the Pacific they are still working with their mysterious Chinese connections, tribal loyalties, network of relationships, syndicates, their numerology and geomancy and its shamanism. They live in a world that a Westerner can only get a vague idea of. The Chinese grafted the best that the West could give them on their own ancient rootstock. Today the ancient Chinese magic of guanxi haunts [關係; 关系] and feng shui [风水; 風水] digitally through computer chips and fiber optic cables.This gives the Chinese overseas a huge advantage and they will know how to capitalize on the boom in Asia and the Pacific in the largest growth zone of the 21st century.

They all started out as pawnbrokers and only ran their business within their own tribe. Trading gold and making small loans were traditional ways for a wealthy family to increase their liquid capital. In the age of the Southern Sung, pawnbrokers and money changers swarmed across China who financed the businesses of small farmers, traders and artisans. As trade expanded, they issued bills of exchange that could be exchanged for gold or silver in any other place. But the bills of exchange could only be relied upon if you knew the clan that issued them. The pawnbrokers of other dialect groups were automatically mistrusted. The most successful moneylenders belonged to chains run by respected clans and operated on an "unlimited liability" basis. In this system, any banker who accepted deposits and then gave a loan that the debtor could not repay was personally liable for the damage suffered by the depositors.

It played a decisive role whether one came from the same place or not. A Hokkien family [闽南 语] in one city did not export goods to a Teochiu family [潮州 话] in another. When the traders traveled around in search of goods and markets, members of the same clan had credit everywhere. It was very rare for someone to fail to meet his obligations because he would have his Shinyung [Xin yong;信用], his personal trustworthiness, and thus lost the only social security that existed in the life of the Chinese.

[Source: Seagrave, Sterling: The Lords of the Pacific: the invisible economic empire of the overseas Chinese. - Munich: Limes, 1996. - 430 pp.; Ill.; 22 cm. - Original title: Lords of the rim (1995). - ISBN 3-8090-3000-7. - p. 289f ..]

"Careful not to fall victim to political change again, other Shanghai businessmen also set up branches in Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Canada, the United States and Europe. They saw the Japanese properties in Diamond Head and Waikiki (Hawaii) bought, flew themselves and bought land on Puget Sound (US Pacific coast). Vancouver became "Hongouver", the loophole for Asians. Old Shanghai banking families with corporate offices in Hong Kong and branches in Malaysia bought banks in Beverly Hills, shopping malls in Fort Worth and acres in Florida, in England they bought townhouses in London's West End and country houses in the Lake District, their daughters studied in Stanford, Chicago, Columbia, Oxford, at the Sorbonne, their sons in Cambridge, at Caltech, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Business School You never knew n, what that was good for.

Rudyard Kipling once asked himself, “How come everyone smells like money here in Hong Kong?” Today Milton Friedman knows the answer: “Hong Kong,” he says, “is a man with one leg who has won a two-legged race . "

Overwhelmed by the man with one leg, many noble old people have lost their nerve. For the sake of self-defense, the British concentrated their energies on a small group and left the field to the Shanghai Mafia. The money of the overseas Chinese flowed from all over the Pacific into the tax haven. Business, started in Sumatra, could go via Singapore to Hong Kong, London and New York in a matter of hours without ever leaving Chinese hands. Some governments built their own national banks, such as Malaysia the Bumiputra bank, to escape Chinese access, but to no avail.

The transfer of huge sums to tax havens did not become a global phenomenon until the late 1960s, when multinational corporations in Hong Kong, Liberia, Panama and Bermuda hid their profits. The Chinese were 20 years ahead of them.

The whole point of investing abroad is to earn as much money as possible and to pay as little taxes as possible, i.e. to remain largely invisible. The overseas investors have made a fine art out of mimicry. With one hand they controlled the fastest growing economy in the world.With the other, they took their private fortune out of the country through private Chinese bankers. Their capital moved easily across political boundaries, creating a limitless economy long before the concept became fashionable in the West. In the 1990s there were thirty tax havens, for example the Cayman Islands, which are littered with bank branches. The banks were followed by the fund managers, and the overseas funds became one of the largest growth industries in the world. Once again, the Chinese overseas were decades ahead of their competitors.

The rapid development of information technology during this period made it easier for individuals and small societies to evade taxes and laws by turning the hunt for paper contracts into a computer game. Information, capital, gold and foreign exchange flowed unhindered. It was easy to keep private company owners secret. Hong Kong became a world financial center in part because of its telecommunications networks

were superior to those of the international financial center in London. The Crown Colony's tax authorities paid no attention to the interest and income or profits generated by doing business outside of their territory, and they capped the government's share of the profits to 16.5 percent.

A large part of Hong Kong's business people were busy making money for invisible customers without ever being registered with the tax authorities. This is one of the rules of precious metals trading that characterizes Hong Kong's gold-and-silver exchange. The exchange has a sophisticated system of self-regulation to ensure that its members meet commitments, just as the guilds of Ningpo oversaw the operation of their banks. But beyond that, the exchange shows no interest in where money and goods come from, and no records of the transactions are kept.

As a meeting point for East and West, Hong Kong is unrivaled. Even members of the families of the Politburo ruling Beijing use the discretion practiced in Hong Kong to camouflage their investments - in private arms or amateur heroin deals. Like the Shanghai elite before them, the communist elite is also patiently building a base to invest their personal wealth - not in Hong Kong, but somewhere safe abroad via Hong Kong - before Beijing takes over the crown colony again in 1997 and this opportunity is ruined.

After the annexation to China in 1997, government interference threatened those who believed they had found a safe haven for their wealth in Hong Kong. Because of these fears, Hong Kong holding companies and trusts are beginning to relocate to the British Virgin Islands or Cayman Islands. For the time being, their administration and management will remain in Hong Kong. Why is the Caribbean the destination? Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are unsafe paradises. Singapore has the most to offer, but also demands a lot. Clever survivors never put all of their children in a single lifeboat. Whatever happens in Hong Kong after the handover, one thing is already certain: The businessmen from Shanghai will survive and prosper. "

[Source: Seagrave, Sterling: The Lords of the Pacific: the invisible economic empire of the overseas Chinese. - Munich: Limes, 1996. - 430 pp.; Ill.; 22 cm. - Original title: Lords of the rim (1995). - ISBN 3-8090-3000-7. - pp. 300 - 303.]

"On the positive side, most of the legal immigrants of the new wave are of a completely different type than those who came from Asia in the past. Most of the new immigrants are middle-class, academics, business people, engineers, doctors, nurses, geeks and others well educated, talented people with their families. Any country will be happy to accept them. Most are wealthy. Many are rich. Some are even super rich. In a word, Chinese overseas are currently the richest and most desirable immigrants in the world. In a time of They have a lot of good things to offer in the ongoing recession in the West, including their entrepreneurial spirit. They have invested billions of dollars in their new homelands and are changing the skylines, politics and culture of their three favorite destinations: Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver most people haven't yet z is aware because it is a fairly new phenomenon: They are reshaping the United States and Canada with their money and their vitality - and the "brain gain" - and stimulating the economies of both countries. "


Fig .: Location of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver [© MS Encarta]

[Source: Seagrave, Sterling: The Lords of the Pacific: the invisible economic empire of the overseas Chinese. - Munich: Limes, 1996. - 430 pp.; Ill.; 22 cm. - Original title: Lords of the rim (1995). - ISBN 3-8090-3000-7. - p. 331.]

"They are leaving Asia with great expectations and disillusionment may soon follow. As suspicious Asians, they have difficulty getting a mortgage or even a decent rental apartment. Finding work is harder than expected because of the long-running recession In economically prosperous Asia they did not know the phenomenon of the recession. The dramatic decline in income and status discourages them. If they find a job, then maybe an unskilled job - after an academic career! Former factory directors sometimes end up as vegetable sellers, park rangers and Chinese people who set up a company with their capital as part of their immigration encounter strong unions, high wages, high social security contributions, environmental controls and Byzantine administrative regulations - all barriers that did not exist in Asia.

Many toil for their children. The Chinese think in terms of generations and would like to secure the future of their children and grandchildren. You don't realize how much the United States and Canada have changed since Eisenhower and Mackenzie King. For a traditional Confucian family, the very idea of ​​adapting to decadent Western habits, sex, alcohol, drugs, and modernity in general, can be traumatizing. The Chinese boys and girls quickly adopt Western customs and no longer show their parents the required respect. They become deaf to their parents' arguments and disregard traditional moral codes. Chinese parents who want to chastise their children find that no one in America is allowed to raise their hands against a child anymore. If this phase is reached, which sometimes only takes a year or two, then the traditional Chinese family breaks up and the primary motive for emigrating to the West loses its meaning: Instead of bringing the children to safety, they have been uprooted and the Parents alienated. Many migrants regret having emigrated to the West and think that they would be better off in Singapore, where Confucian values ​​are still upheld and the influence of Western youth culture is low.

Academics who had domestic servants to look after the children in Asia are now struggling with pathetic jobs in Sacramento or Toronto to survive while their children despise them for their social decline.

Frustrated, husbands often leave their wives and children behind in North America while they return to their old, high-paying jobs as managers or in academic professions in Taipei, Hong Kong or Bangkok. In order to maintain contact with their families and not lose their immigrant status, the husband has to return to Canada or the USA every few months. If a husband cannot avoid losing immigrant status, at least his family will stay in North America; the escape route remains open. Thousands of middle-class immigrants have left their destination country in North America in this way to work in Asia. They are called "astronauts" because they spend so much time on airplanes. They are the new Chinese abroad - they live abroad and in "Greater China".

When the children become independent, more and more women academics follow their husbands. They leave their children in Toronto, Sydney or Los Angeles and return to Asia. Both parents then become astronauts. This explains one of the hidden advantages of Canada and Australia over the United States. The United States is the only country in the world that requires all of its citizens to pay income tax, no matter where they live. Citizens of Canada and Australia do not have to pay income tax if they live elsewhere. For astronauts with high-paying executive jobs, this is a godsend.

Parents who consider the disadvantages of emigrating to the West in advance, prepare carefully for their future: They do not emigrate themselves, but put their children in colleges or private schools in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States or Europe and buy them often close a house as a second home and continue working in Asia. In this case, instead of the parents flying back and forth, the children do it. The air corridors over the Pacific are full of jumbo jets that carry astronauts in one direction and adolescents in the other. It is estimated that there are 40,000 Taiwanese children in such families in the United States alone.

Some "astronauts" spend so much time in the air that they can no longer see any reason why they still need a specific passport. They belong to the group of "permanent tourists" or "PT" who never stay in a country until their tourist visa expires or that they become taxable. In the coming decades, this species could multiply so much that it will fundamentally change the attitude people take towards their national identity. Thanks to telecommunications, faxes, modems, electronic mail and convenient air travel, families can spread across the globe and still stay in contact with one another. (Some Chinese cautiously discreetly acquire a second citizenship such as that of Paraguay or Belize, states that they sell along with a driver's license to anyone who can pay, although such documents always seem suspicious. "

[Source: Seagrave, Sterling: The Lords of the Pacific: the invisible economic empire of the overseas Chinese. - Munich: Limes, 1996. - 430 pp.; Ill.; 22 cm. - Original title: Lords of the rim (1995). - ISBN 3-8090-3000-7. - pp. 337 - 339.]

"Unlike the large overseas firms that rushed to Beijing in the 1980s to do business that often turned out to be miserable, Chinese overseas returned to their ancestral villages to do business with their tribe. Bitter experience had taught them: “Stay hidden and stay away from the center.” Many overseas Chinese acted for emotional reasons, but also driven by tribal self-interest, which constantly seeks to renew and expand the power of the tribe at home They have a brilliant opportunity to make money in continental China, but that "point in time" will come when political unrest in continental China wipes out financial opportunities and their huge investments must be viewed as a gamble that will pay off if the province does , from the si e origin, becomes so independent that it can play an important role in a future China or that it even becomes an independent state. What has already happened in China can easily become the same again. The Chinese have learned to think over long periods of time.

Although she donated money to the Republican Movement Dr. Sun Yat-sens and donated to the defense against Japan, they have never invested in local businesses outside of their closer home. But they all know that once Beijing loses power, their investments will be at risk. So it is hardly surprising that they are not investing their own money in the People's Republic of China. Wherever possible, they act as China experts on behalf of other entrepreneurs and make a hefty profit themselves. Your own money stays abroad - safe.

As little as the Indonesian or Malay chauvinists will please, the overseas Chinese tycoons claim that they are raising most of their investment funds for China abroad and are not withdrawing them from their host countries. However, given the secrets of Chinese bookkeeping, that will never be proven or disproved. Although they feel attached to their ancestral villages, most overseas Chinese do not have strong ties to China as a nation. Around 90 percent are now citizens of their host countries. It is inadmissible to claim that their attachment to their place of origin in China constitutes unfaithfulness to the country in which they now reside. For example, many Chinese who live in Malaysia feel a deep commitment to their place of origin in China, but consider Malaysia, and not China, their real home. "

[Source: Seagrave, Sterling: The Lords of the Pacific: the invisible economic empire of the overseas Chinese. - Munich: Limes, 1996. - 430 pp.; Ill.; 22 cm. - Original title: Lords of the rim (1995). - ISBN 3-8090-3000-7. - p. 357f.]

"Despite efforts by overseas Chinese to portray themselves as modern and liberal (in the Chinese sense), no overseas billionaire has gotten rich by being democratic or enlightened. Confucianism [儒家] itself is a praise of inequality."

[Source: Seagrave, Sterling: The Lords of the Pacific: the invisible economic empire of the overseas Chinese. - Munich: Limes, 1996. - 430 pp.; Ill.; 22 cm. - Original title: Lords of the rim (1995). - ISBN 3-8090-3000-7. - p. 373.]