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Negotiating Identities Within Chinese Merchant Families: To Be "Filipino" Or To Be "Chinese"

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Chapter Summary

In the early twentieth century, members of Chinese merchant families of the nineteenth century adopted flexible strategies in order to negotiate the attempts of the American colonial government in the Philippines, the declining imperial and fledgling Nationalist governments in China, and Chinese and Filipino nationalists in the Philippines to localize them into disciplinable subjects. This chapter describes the commercial and familial practices of Cu Unjieng and his family, as well as those of Mariano Limjap, to provide examples of such practices. A discussion and examination of his life and socio-economic practices can enrich and deepen our understanding of how Chinese merchant elite families adapted to and negotiated the changes occurring within the Philippines and in China. The goal is to identify the general contours and circumstances under which these occurred, and hopefully point the direction for future research.

Keywords: Chinese merchant families; Cu Unjieng; Filipino nationalists; Mariano Limjap; Philippines



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