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How to Know Hong Kong and Macau

Roberto Ignacio Diaz, Dominic Cheung, Ana Paulina Lee, Authors
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My ancestors' stories

As southern China grew in prosperity due to the influx of remittances and the return of overseas Chinese, bandits began to attack villages. These overseas Chinese built diaolou (碉樓) to protect their villages and families.

This photograph is of the diaolou built in my maternal village in Toisan, in Guangdong Province, taken on a visit in summer 2008. The building has fallen into disrepair since, but still stands high over the village.

I've heard stories from my mother of different relatives in different parts of the world (the Philippines, Cuba, Texas) but I don't recall which one might have made the money or gave the order to build the diaolou. But we could say that it's an artifact of a presence somewhere outside of Toisan that returned to stay. He (they) was wealthy when he returned to the village, and had enough money to have servants. He and his son could both take second wives, whether the second wives wanted to be wives or not.
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