Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Chinese Children Mighty Terror

Mighty Terror Trinidad Calypso singer of the 1950's. By no means the most un-PC song he does but yow, is this pungent. But that was life. There is/was a huge Chinese communiuty in the Caribbean and Central America, descended from indentured labourers in the 19th century - the notorious "coolie trade". As they were all single young men, they intermarried with the locals, settled and started creole communities which still exist today. Many moved back to China in the 1920's and 30's after anti-Chinese pogroms. Some were able to integrate into Chinese society, some had almost no connections to fall back on, so when the Japanese invaded, thousands died.  A long and complex story that needs to be told.

Anyway, here is Mighty Terror's take. He's with a woman called Imelda, who has been "Romancing with Chung Lee".  It's been 10 months since Mighty Terror kissed her but "that bald-faced women, she says, any child that gets born in my house I'm the Daddy".  Chorus :  "I'm so ashamed, I don't tell nobody, and my mother she wants to beat me, when Chinese children calling me daddy. I'm Black like jet, they  should be looking  like tar babies, (but) blue eyes and looking like Chinese....left, right, in front and behind me, Chinese children, calling me Daddy". 

"I can't  make no baby so chinky, it's very plain to see, some Chinese putting milk in the coffee......I have done with Imelda, I'm going with Tanya. I say when a negro pass with a negro, can't make no child other than a Congo.".  (Apparently "Congo" was a derogatory term used by Indian Caribbeans to describe Africans.) To our modern ears this might sound racist, but this song is a historical document that reflects what people thought 60 years ago.  In any case the song is really about a man being cheated by his partner. As he says "the results don't bring it back to me".  Now we appreciate mixed race hybrid vigour is a good thing. Hallelujah for all us creoles over the world. It's the world that's got to stop thinking in stereotypes, and recognize that there are millions who don't fit no mould.

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