Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Five persons of Chinese heritage who helped shape T&T

The multicultural society of Trinidad and Tobago is made up of numerous different ethnic groups.

The contributions of the Chinese community have made numerable impressions on the lives of all Trinbagonians, from the food to the recent celebration of Double Ten Day in 2017. 

Here are five well-known Chinese persons who have contributed to T&T’s culture and society:

1. Sir Solomon Hochoy

Sir Solomon Hochoy was born on 20 April 1905 in Jamaica, and arrived in Trinidad at the age of two. He grew up in the village of Blanchisseuse and attended St. Mary's College from 1917 to 1922.

In 1927, he began his distinguished career in the Civil Service. He served in various posts, and quickly worked his way up the organizational ladder. Upon attainment of Independence in 1962, he became the Governor-General until 1972.


2. Carlisle Chang

A renowned artist, Carlisle Chang’s work is memorialized in the Coat of Arms and national flag of Trinidad and Tobago.

Known as the ‘Father of Art’ in T&T, Chang’s work was prolific and boundary-breaking.  He also served as President of the Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago (1984-89). Chang received many awards, including the national honour of the Hummingbird Award in 1964.


3. Louis Jay Williams

Louis Jay Williams was born in Trinidad in 1897. He started business as a manufacturer's agent and eventually founded L.J. Williams Marketing Co. Ltd. He was the first Trinidadian businessman to use a local broadcasting station for advertising purposes. He also established the Australia to W.I. Shipping Service. He was a supporter of education and the local film industry.


4. Dr Joseph Lennox Pawan

Dr Joseph Lennox Pawan was a Trinidadian bacteriologist who was the first person to show that rabies could be spread by vampire bats to other animals and humans.

Dr Pawan attended St. Mary’s College, Port of Spain, and later studied medicine at Edinburgh University.

In 1929, after an outbreak of rabies among cattle, humans began contracting the disease. Dr Pawan found the first infected vampire bat in March 1932 and proved that various species of bat are capable of transmitting rabies for an extended period of time.

In the King's Birthday Honours (1934), Pawan was appointed as a member of the Order of the British Empire for his ground-breaking discovery. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) also posthumously named him a "Hero in Health" in 2002.


5. Dai Ailian, the 'Mother of Chinese Modern Dance'

Dai Ailian, born in T&T, was a Chinese dancer and an important figure in the modern history of dance in China. Her years as a dance teacher and educator helped China build a generation of dancers, choreographers, and educators. She is known in China as the "Mother of Chinese Modern Dance".

She was co-founder of the National Ballet of China and the Beijing Dance Academy. She’s also said to have been the first person to bring western ballet to China in the 1940s.


Happy Double 10!

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