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Navigating Cultures, Forming Identities

Teresita Ang See, Carmela Ang See


This paper recounts the personal history of the Ang Family, focusing especially on three generations of women, starting with the family’s matriarch Carmen Davenport Barraca Ang, to her daughter Teresita Ang See, and lastly to Carmalea Yinching Ang See. Each life account brings out stories of bravery, creativity, and perseverance amidst hardships and challenges in a difficult environment. Carmen, for instance, was a Filipina married to a Chinese, who lived in China and then in Binondo. She endeared herself to her husband’s Chinese family by learning how to speak Hokkien fluently. Teresita Ang See attended conservative Chinese schools in Binondo but used her experience as a student of political science at the University of the Philippines in helping her late husband Chinben See found in the early 1970s Pagkakaisa Sa Pag-unlad; this was a non-government organization which fought anti-Chinese racism in the country. The story ends with Teresita’s children, Carmelea Yinching and Sean Benson, and how they were raised to be comfortable as Filipinos foremost, with the primary identity as Filipino and yet take pride in and promote the duality of their heritage. Through the narratives, the authors aim to give a glimpse of the complexity of identities and identity-formation, shaped as they were by the objective environment and the necessities of the times.


Identity; ethnicity; ethnic Chinese; Chinese Filipino; Hokkien; family

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2013.02108