Role of Coolies in the New Country

Su-chen Christine Lim

You look down on us, the China-born! Because we poor sods came over packed like pigs in coolie ships! But I tell you, Brother, that from these pigs, you get traders, merchants, shopkeepers. ..Coolies have become towkays and have founded newspapers, schools and reading rooms, temples and hospitals all over this Malay land! Coolies have parted with their hard-earned dollars to help their homeland. Coolies have fought against Manchu rule for generations! The uprising in Kwangtung last year claimed seventy-two martyrs. Do you know that thirteen of them are coolies from this country? They shed their blood to free us and you want me to call them gangsters and ignorant bastards before the foreign devils?

-- A Bit of Earth (401).

Postcolonial Web Singapore OV Singaporean Literature Su-chen Christine Lim

Last Modified: 8 August 2002