The Museum of Chinese in America

Founded in 1980, the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history, heritage, culture and diverse experiences of people of Chinese descent in the United States.

The Travelers Giveaway: Exclusive MOCA Traveling Tote!

We’re kicking off a contest series for The Travelers, an ongoing project and upcoming exhibition by artist Lee Mingwei, who custom-made 100 notebooks that are being circulated internationally. The books are meant to travel for one calendar year, passed on like chain letters, documenting stories. Participants are asked to write stories about the concept of “leaving home,” which will be available for visitors to read once the project has reached completion and is installed at MOCA.

Get involved on the web! This month’s question:

Where do you currently call home? How did you or your family first arrive there/here?

Leave your story in the comments below and be eligible to win this exclusive MOCA traveling tote! Please include your e-mail address in the appropriate field when you respond and submit your answer before next Monday, June 13, 2011. MOCA Staff will choose a lucky winner who responds with the most compelling story! Open to international readers.

Happy traveling!

This post is part of the blog series by artist Lee Mingwei, whose art project The Travelers, a MOCA commission, is ongoing through September 12, 2011.  In the project, Mingwei invites participants to write down their stories of “leaving home;” in this blog series, we turn to Mingwei and ask him to share his.

Filed under: Exhibitions, Lee Mingwei’s Blog for The Travelers, , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. DULCIE DEE says:

    My name is DULCIE DEE.
    My father Theodore Dee and my grandmother Mamie C. Dee arrived in America in 1947 just after the World War II was over.

    My grandmother Mamie Chang Dee was born in Soochow, China. She married a very well known and highly respected wealthy Chinese lumber King and banker named Dee C. Chuan. My grandfather founded the ChinaBank in Manila, Philippines.
    Mao was fiercely rising in Power in China and my grandfather told my grandmother and father to migrate to Manila, Philippines to live in his house.

    When she arrived in Manila she was surprised that she had to share this house with my grandfather’s first wife and 9 children. The 2 wives lived in the same house and seemingly got along until the World War II struck Manila.

    During World War II, the Japanese occupied the Philippines and my grandmother and father had to leave their big house in Pasay along the Manila Bay and run up and hide in the mountains with big rice sacks, 2 small suitcases holding their clothes and a few sacred possessions, carrying wads of Japanese paper money that was worthless at the time, and had to depend on each other to survive until the war was over.

    In 1937-1939, My grandfather Dee C. Chuan had gone to US for business but became seriously ill with tuberculosis and was quarantined in the Sta Monica Hospital and could not come back to the Philippines.
    My grandmother waited patiently for his recovery for more than a year but he eventually died just before the war broke out since there wasn’t any cure for TB yet.

    His body was shipped back to the Philippines and many guests paid their respects at his lavish big funeral. His body rests in his big 3 storey tall mausoleum at the North Chinese Cemetery in Manila with the first wife Gan Tiak. My father was only 19 yrs old. My grandmother was in her late 30′s – 38yrs old.

    A new will was made by the first wife while my grandfather’s body was shipped back to the Philippines to replace the original one wherein if my grandfather died his legacy would be split 50/50 between the 2 wives but the new will was drawn up and it made her the sole executrix and my grandmother and father were cut out entirely and not recognized as legal wife or son.

    My grandmother had to hire lawyers to prove her marriage to my grandfather and finally when it was proven that she was his legal wife with his marriage to her in China, showing all his letters he wrote to her from the hospital saying “I miss you and want to get well to go back home to see you, your loving husband D.C” then a small amount of monies was awarded to my her and father.

    My grandmother and father were very discontent that they were not awarded the full inheritance amount and from living in war torn Philippines. They wanted a better life for themselves, so they decided to leave the Philippines for good and go to America so my father could finish his college education, work, get a job, and start life in the New World.

    With this inheritance money they finally received from the lawyers, they booked a long cruise on a ship sailing from Manila to Hawaii. Then they sailed from Hawaii to NY. They told me that the ship took 3 whole weeks before they finally docked in NYC.

    When they reached NYC, they found an apartment on 72nd Street between Central Park West and Bdway and my father enrolled at Columbia University to finish his college studies. His diploma was signed by President Dwight D Eisenhower. He then attended NYU to get his MBA degree. My grandmother opened a small Chinese gift shop (on 52nd St and 53rd Street) at 1674 Broadway called Mamie,s diagonally across from the old Ed Sullivan theatre where I used to visit and help her sell chinese kimonos, incense, Chinese and Japanese porcelain dolls, real ivory and jade jewelry etc.

    This was the story that my father relayed to me on how and why they came to America. My father met my mother at a Chinese Dance Soiree at Columbia University, and then they got married and soon after I was born. I am the 1st generation to be born in America.

    Best regards,

    Fine Artist
    cell: 917-621-7105

  2. Hi,

    As there’s only one reply, may I still enter with my own rich, family history? Please advise. Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: