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Hakka Women: Strong Personalities
HGN members and Forum participants:
Hello! I am an ethnically Chinese, Hakka female who was born and raised
in Toronto, Canada. The remaining members of my nuclear family (my
parents, my two brothers and my sister) were born and had previously
lived in Jamaica. When I was growing up, I did not learn to speak Hakka
(no fault of my own, I might add), but I have always had a keen interest
in my Chinese heritage and culture.
Now to the issue at hand. As I have recently come to understand it,
traditionally, Hakka females did not fit the stereotypical description
of the "inferior" Chinese woman. Instead, they have been characterized
by their "independence" and their "strong personalities." Because of
their role within the family, they had access to certain freedoms and
shared a certain degree of power and authority with their men. This is
in contrast to women that belonged to many of the other Chinese ethnic
I would like to raise the question: "What contributed to the
development of these 'strong personalities'?" On some level, I believe
that this must be related to the issue of self-esteem and how Hakka
girls were treated by their parents.
In my own experience, my mother always says (and I quote): "l love all
of my children the same." This, of course, is easier said than done,
but for the most part, she tries her best not to show any favouritism.
My example is only relevant if one considers the fact that the parents
of many of my other (non-Hakka) Chinese friends have usually favoured
their male children.
It is only recently that I have started to attribute my mother's
attitude to our Hakka heritage. I used to think: "That's just the way
my mother is," but I never stopped to ask myself "why?" The other day,
my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to ask her whether or
not she had been treated as an inferior to her two older brothers by her
parents. "Not that I remember," she replied. Now, I realize that this
issue of self-esteem is not the only factor, but I must say, you
couldn't meet a Chinese woman with a "stronger" personality than my
mother. It may have something to do with her "hot" Jamaican temper...
In any case, are there any other Hakka females out there who can comment
on how they were treated by their parents when they were younger? Did
your parents value you as much as your brothers? Do you think that this
has contributed to the formation of a "strong personality" within you?
If not, is there anyone else who can comment (generally) on the subject
of personality in relationship to Hakka women?
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