Galang, Jely A. 2023. “Emergence of ‘Undesirable’ and ‘Proletariat’ Chinese in the Nineteenth-Century Philippines.” In Dada Docot, Stephen Acabado, and Clement Camposano (eds.), Philippine Studies: Plural Entanglements, pp. 84-113. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.
This paper explores the lives and circumstances of “undesirable” and “proletariat” Chinese in the nineteenth century Philippines set against the broader political, economic and social transitions and transformations in the colony at the time. It highlights the restrictive policies imposed by the Spanish administration upon the Chinese and the developments within the Chinese community that made such measures necessary. Using previously unutilized source materials from the National Archives of the Philippines (NAP) in Manila, it examines the factors that contributed to the “emergence” of these downtrodden individuals. It demonstrates that although the state treated them as undesirable and dangerous, these social outcasts viewed their daily activities as necessary strategies for survival. A collective biography of these “people without history,” provides another facet of the Chinese community in Spanish colonial Philippines.