Nowadays, there are millions of Chinese living overseas. For me, I am the third generation of overseas Chinese in Malaysia. My grandparents came from a small village in Chaozhou Prefecture of Guangdong Province, China. They immigrated to Malaysia after World War II for several political, economic and societal reasons.
In 1930’s, China was in a state of disorder due to the incessant fighting between warlords. People lived in deep distress. Unfortunately, the war of resistance against Japan broke out in 1937. The Japanese Imperial Army suddenly occupied a large area of China. My grandparents’ hometown was not invaded by the Japanese Army since it was only a small village. However, it faced scarcity of food. Many residents died of starvation, including my great-grandmother. My grandparents followed other villagers and fled to Fujian province. After that, they had been working in a rich family to earn a living for the following 8 years.
Finally, in 1945, Japan surrendered. For U.S.A, Britain, Russia and for Japan itself, it symbolized the arrival of peace. Yet, for China, it just marked the resumption of the civil war between Nationalist Party and Chinese Communist Party. Both of the two parties wanted to control China. Nobody knew when another war would break out. The potential war would undoubtedly plunge Chinese people into misery and suffering again.
Besides, people only saw a scene of devastation everywhere in China. The economic environment was worse than before. My grandparents found it harder to live in China after the war than before it. Millions of Chinese from Fujian and Guangdong province fled to South-east Asia, the so-called “Nanyang”, to seek a better life. Many of them chose Malaya (the predecessor of Malaysia) to start their new life.
In Malaya, the political environment was much stable then. Before the war, the peninsula was occupied by Britain. The British colonist spared no...