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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/865

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845
CORRESPONDENCE.

one despise any religion which contains any good. The central doctrine of their religion is ancestor-worship. It is believed that the spirit of the father, or ancestor, wanders about in an unhappy, restless condition, unless it is worshiped. While every Chinaman worships, therefore, the spirits of his forefathers, he is always on the lookout for a son who will, in turn, worship his spirit. This is no idle business with these people. It is no Sunday affair. It will not do to meet in the temples and say we ought to worship our forefathers. They do it. It is a practical belief, which controls every man's life. The father, while living, is the head of the family, and the profoundest respect is paid to him till he dies. If a Chinaman has money, he would starve himself just as quickly as he would allow his father to go without support. Of the thousands of poor "coolies," or laborers, who have gone from China to the Hawaiian Islands to work on sugar-plantations at eight dollars per month, the majority remit money to their parents; so a missionary in Hong-Kong told me; much of it went through his hands. But the worship of ancestors requires presence at the tomb. So the Chinaman, the moment he has obtained a little money, returns home and worships at the tomb. But every Chinaman must have a son, as I have said. (Of course, under this system of religion early marriages are the rule.) Probably every one of the seventy-five thousand Chinamen in California is a married man, but has left his wife at home. It is clear to me that they would not hesitate to bring them—firstly, if they could afford it; secondly, if they felt secure of property and liberty. The Chinaman has found that, so far as he is concerned, the treatment given him by the proud and Christian civilization of America is more unjust than that of the most despotic of any taotai (magistrate) of his native land.

It is said in America: "Oh, these Chinese don't intend to stay; they will not mix with our people. They make money, and go home!" True! But here are some twenty "treaty ports" in China and Japan opened to Europeans and Americans. These people come here, engage in business, make money, and go home. There is not an Englishman, or a Frenchman, or an American, or a German, who does not frankly admit that he came here to make money, and that he shall return home at the earliest possible moment to spend it. Make one of these foreigners believe that his life must be spent here, in the East, and he would look about for his razors.

Here, in Singapore, the Chinese are at the head. Look at the map, and you will see the commanding position of this place, at the southern extremity of Asia. Here the trade of the East centers. The English took it over sixty years ago, when its population numbered about four thousand, all Malays. Now there are one hundred and thirty-seven thousand people, and of these sixty thousand are Chinese, who have come from China, a thousand miles away. All that is valuable, in the way of trade, or business of any kind whatsoever, is in their hands. The Malay can not stand against them for a moment. They outdo him at every turn. Trade from Japan, northern China, the Malaysian peninsula, the vast archipelago of immense islands which include Sumatra and Borneo, stretching away for three thousand miles to the skirts of the Australian Continent, centers here. Thirty languages are spoken, but the Malay is the language of trade, because it is easy to learn. Though, as I say, the Malaysians are of little account here, they were, at the start, the dominant race, and their language became the medium of conversation between the score of races which meet here. Though they have got into the background, in the great struggle, they have left their language to the common use, till some other takes its place.

The similarity of the Malays to the Hawaiians is striking. Though these two nations are five thousand miles apart, and there is no tradition of any intercourse in the ancient days, even the languages have words in common. For death, the Malay says "mate," the Hawaiian says "make"; for eye, the Malay says "mata," the Hawaiian says "muka." For want of thrift, laziness, and supreme indifference to the future, the Malay and Hawaiians are one and the same. The Chinamen will soon be masters of the situation here, and the Malay will submit to it.

W. N. A.

 

 

HARVEST-MITES OR JIGGERS.

Messrs. Editors.

The minute creature about which Dean y. R. Manly asks for more definite information, in your September number, is undoubtedly the Leptus Americanus, described and figured by me six or seven years ago in the "American Naturalist." It is a minute, six-legged mite of the genus Leptus, now generally recognized as but the larval form of some eight-legged Trombidium. Being away from home, I can not now give you the exact references, but may send you more particulars at some future time. Respectfully,

C. V. Riley.
Albany, New York, August 31, 1881.