Asian Geographic

Fung Family & British Guiana Trivia

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Q: How many descendant­s of Fung A Pan are there? A: It is estimated that there are currently over 600 family members of Fung A Pan.

Q: In which countries do they reside? A: They literally span the globe, from Guyana to other parts of the Caribbean, Europe, the USA, Canada, Australasi­a, Malaysia and Singapore.

Q: Fung A Pan came from Poon Ye, in Canton (also known as Kwantung, or Guangdong). What is Poon Ye famous for? A: Poon Ye is famous for the “Wing Chun” kung fu martial arts, as practiced by legendary exponent, Ip Man.

Q: How many ships brought Chinese labourers to British Guiana? A: 39 sailing ships or “clippers”. The first vessel arrived in 1853.

Q: Why did the British recruit many Cantonese labourers? A: From 1757 to the Opium Wars (1839–1860), Canton was the only port allowing foreign trade.

Q: Where were the plantation­s situated in British Guiana? A: In the counties of Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice.

Q: Were the Chinese involved in Guyana’s leadership? A: Its first President was Arthur Chung (1970–1980), a Hakka and barrister of the Middle Temple in London. He was then a Judge of Guyana’s Court of Appeal.

Q: Besides retail, did the Chinese contribute to Guyana’s economy? A: They helped develop Guyana’s mineral industry of gold, diamonds and bauxite.

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