I’m an American and Chinese, we’ve been here for over 127 years in San Francisco.
Fourth of July
It’s Fourth of July here in the United States, where we celebrate our independence. What does being American mean to me? A lot of things, now that I’ve traveled a lot of the world. There’s a lot of thing that I’m proud of and grateful for, such as the freedom to say and write whatever I want. I’ve traveled to other countries, and I felt myself guarding just a little bit about what I was going to write while in those countries. There’s a lot of things that I’m NOT proud of as an American, but that’s for a different time, and probably a different blog.
One thing that I’m proud of is that it’s a place that different cultures can mix and grow into something new. Silicon Valley is an example of this, the different cultures, background prime the pot for new ideas, one which has really helped the web industry take off. Innovation is healthy when new ideas are encouraged.
I’m actually a fifth generation American Chinese, we came over here during the 1890s.
Great Great Grandfather
The first picture below is my grandfather’s grandfather who came to the United States. You can see him pictured on the top, he was wearing appropriate garb for that time, during the last dynasty of China. You see, my Grandfather’s Grandfather Gum Tong Owyang was a consulate from the Royal Emporor of China to San Francisco and the Northern Regions. As I understand it, he went as far North as Seattle to deal with some very anti-Chinese activities. This is an oil painting, which I’ve seen in the ancestral home in China.
His son, Com Him Owyang lived in Chinatown SF, and had a variety of business. As I understand it, he was more in favor for the new regime in China, which became the Communist party we know now.
Captain Edwin Owyang was one of Chinatown’s most prominent family doctors, he raised 6 sons (no daughters) one which is my father. He was a Captain in the United States Army, and served in Burma during WW2. He participated in a lot of community building events, and settled his family in San Mateo on 3rd street, the only neighborhood allowed to sell to Chinese during the 50s. Yes, it was segregation. In the picture below, is his Graduation at UC Berkeley. His brother is one of the founders of Pi Alpha Phi, an Asian Fraternity. He has passed on a few years ago.
My father, Douglas Owyang is also a Doctor who is still alive, joined me on the trip to China, he reads this blog, and shared his experience on the trip. He’s also very involved in Martial Arts, and helps a whole community around that in Fresno where I was raised.
Me, well, you know me already. I never wanted to be a Doctor, technology and creativity was my heart was. If you can’t tell the theme here, the virtue of COMMUNITY is part of my bloodline.
I don’t have any children yet. it’s interesting to know that out of all 13 of my cousins, only 2 of the cousins (to date) will have full Chinese kids, me and my older Male cousin. Well, his wife is Taiwanese (who sometimes think they’re not Chinese) so it’s debatable. I have Norwegian, Irish, Mexican, African, Jewish, and American mutt mix in my family, we are diverse and are cool with that.
A return to our roots
I know my roots, I lead a group of Owyang’s (some assembled on the Internet due to my Community building) and we took a trip back to our home village Dai Lian, near Zhongshan in Canton China this last winter. There were 30 of us, I was the leader. In fact, there’s a bunch of posts on it (there are three posts), as well as a group blog.
While I don’t speak Chinese (my wife is fluent) we’re going to make sure out kids do. America and China are two of the greatest nations on Earth, and I’m proud to have roots in both. Growing up, I got a lot of crap about not being white (Fresno has few Asians) when I moved to the bay area, I got a lot of crap for not being Chinese enough. Interesting huh?
This is my story, as an American Chinese. Happy Fourth of July America, and Peace on earth to all countries and cultures, I believe the Internet is a tool that can help connect us all, and build one community.