After reading the article “Mother Tongue”, I started interesting in Asian Immigration problem especially Chinese immigrants. The first generations of Chinese and Japanese immigrants were coming to the United States for mining gold, farming and railroad in the early of 19th century. They were followed by Korean and Filipino immigrants who came to work in the sugar cane plantations in Hawaii.
Then, the growing numbers of Asian immigrants raise up much faster due to the economic issues and political conflicts in their homelands. At the end of the Vietnam War, in 1975, many people from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos escaped the countries to come to the United States for political, social, and economic opportunities. The state of California get into the period of economics downturn. The ethnic cleansing started smoothly and gradually. The cleansing had continued till 1930s China became the main warzone of fighting against with Japan. Nowadays, the difficult time of Asian has passed already, but the increasing number of immigrants have leads out a several new problems like employment, culture, educational difference and language.
However, language is the most popular usual weakness of every immigrants. There’s almost two types of immigrant in US , one is integrative, another one is disintegrative. The first sort of immigrants is a “successful” immigrants, they could integrated in to the society easily and also keep their culture. The another one, unfortunately they just cannot integrating into the society, and they don’t willing to go to the “outside” world and meet friends. I’ve read a article about a young 19 years old Chinese American woman who request the service of a mental health therapist. She said she’s the daughter whose mother age 42 yeas old, is ill and need treatment. She can speak good English but her mother Mrs Chan, needs a mental therapist who can speak Cantonese. But, the family has been searching for therapist who can speak Cantonese for two weeks without any results. The family came to United States from China about ten years ago. The father worked as a mechanic in a large industry and the mother is a laborer.
There are two children, the young woman who makes the telephone call is a college freshman and her older brother, a college junior. According to the young women, the mother actually has a similar “shock” 10years ago after she come to U.S shortly. Although the daughter was very young at that time but she still remember that her mum had went back to China to attend her grandmother’s funeral. Her mother Mrs Chan was treated by her brother( a physican) with medication and she’s well while she came back to U.S. After fiver years the Chan’s family have immigrant to U.S,Mr Chan has complete his training and finds a stable job in a large industry as a mechanic. He works hard and advanced rapidly. Mrs Chan who don’t have a marketable and language skills, so she has to be continues with sewing at home alone. The whole family including children, they volunteered to help with sewing after school or working. While the rest of the family seemed to doing well, Mrs Chan becomes more isolated and withdrawn. She slept and eating disorders for several months and her symptoms became more serve that she sleep disorderly.
For the next few years the family become more stable on the land of U.S. However, the structure and dynamics of the family changed again when her children entered college and moved away. The children are doing well academically and socially in school and Mr. Chan continues to enjoy his career success and socializing with co-workers. Once more, Mrs. Chan seems to become more isolated. Her children have left the nest, husband busy at work, leaving her home sewing all day long without much meaningful outside contact. So, her lack of English language skill and cultural influences of parental obligation to support her family including paying her children’s expensive out of state private college tuitions, deprive her of other options like getting employ. In the meantime, her husband and children are more integrated in the society due to their English skills and socialization opportunities.
Those factors conduced that her symptoms getting more serious. So, Mrs Chan fall emotional ill at last. Compared to the Mother Tongue, obviously, Mrs Chan is belong to the second label which is the disintegrative group. Although the Amy Tan’s mother( Mother Tongue) cannot speak English glibly, but she kept communicate with others and also she archived the ability of “well” English. Conversely, Mrs Chan isolated herself in home and refuse to have enough social contact with others so she get the emotional ill at last. These two examples taught me that lack of language proficiency is not a problem, the key is you should keep trying integrated into the society and don’t be shy. Because every immigrants or international students must pass this “wall”. After that, your real life is just begin.
Clinical Challenges in Working with Asian Immigrant Women and Their Families by Muriel Yu1 & Tuyen D. Nguyen
Publish: June 1, 2012