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Orient and Ocean: The Chinese Community in Seychelles - The Creole population in Seychelles comprises a rich mix of ethnicities, emanating from Europe, Africa and Asia. Like so many tropical islands, the early history of Seychelles is marked by a regime of slavery. When that practice was abolished in the first half of the nineteenth century, the plantation owners filled any gaps in their labour needs through the recruitment of indentured workers from India. Gradually, and in much smaller numbers, the existing ethnic groups – European, African and Indian – were joined by migrants who came originally from China. The Chinese community in Seychelles has never amounted to more than one percent of the country’s population but its influence has been greater than mere numbers suggest. It is this ethnic group that is the subject of this fascinating book jointly authored by Wang Dongxia and Dennis Hardy.
No matter that the Chinese community is the smallest of the minorities in the country, there were important questions that deserved attention. What was it, in the first place, that attracted migrants from their distant homeland and why have they stayed? Do the incomers regard themselves now as Seychellois, or are they defined by their Chinese ancestry? How have they fared in the ensuing period? Their story tells of hard work and achievement, of integration in the small island state but also pride in their original culture and traditions. Numbers in the community are not large but their presence adds to the multi-ethnic tapestry of Seychelles society. Far from fading with time, the opening in 2022 of a new pagoda in the heart of Victoria demonstrates an undying commitment to the past as well as the future. In the pagoda, as they have always done, people will come to meet each other, to learn of Chinese culture, to drink tea and to celebrate much-loved festivals.
Also published by Blue Gecko Books . . .
- Legacy: New Millennium, New Seychelles - A new book by James Alix Michel who has written various books about his experience of working in government and then leading the small island state of Seychelles. Legacy could hardly be a more timely publication. With unprecedented interest in the affairs of Seychelles, former president, James Alix Michel, has written a measured account of what really happened. He points to attempts by outsiders to meddle in the business of government and he questions the trust of certain people around him. This is an honest reflection that sheds light on a challenging period in the nation's short history.
- Fried Fish and Phylacteries: A glimpse of being Jewish in England - A new book by Dennis Hardy who has written on subjects ranging from utopian communities to plotland development, from garden city history to the story of British holiday camps. This time he has looked to his own ancestors for inspiration. In the course of the diaspora, they moved from country to country, escaping anti-Semitism in its various forms. He asks why so many then found their way to England? Was this to be their own version of the promised land? The story is of the timeless journey made by Jews in search of peace and freedom. England has proved to be a tolerant society and the Jewish community has generally fared well; its people have been able to get on with their lives. But recent examples of anti-Semitism offer a chilling reminder that the old enemy has not disappeared. The book is an attempt to put this into context; to show that it is nothing new, and one must be forever alert. The narrative is about the future as well as the past.
- The Journey's End - An intriguing first novel by Jane Woolfenden, set in London and Malaysia. Issues of modern tourism in a fragile environment and a sinister backcloth of terrorism are two of its underlying themes. So, too, is the timeless tale of two people in love, transcending cultures but also threatened by forces beyond their control. The tension builds as the relationship between the couple becomes ever closer; suspense is held as the reader awaits the outcome: will it end happily or in tragedy? Because the narrative crosses boundaries – cultural as well as geographical – the book will appeal to an international readership. It also reflects on contemporary issues such as the tensions of a failing marriage and the hardships encountered by international students away from home. But it is the ‘slow burn’ of real love that is at the heart of the novel.
- The Urban Sea: Cities of the Mediterranean - This outstanding book by Dennis Hardy, is a modern odyssey, tracing the fortunes of fifteen cities bordering the Mediterranean. Not one of the cities visited on this journey has escaped a turbulent history - that, it seems, is the lot of being in the Mediterranean, caught in the crosswinds between three continents. Geologically as well as geopolitically, the region lies along one of the world's most unstable fault lines. Earthquakes and volcanoes, ethnic and religious conflicts, civil wars and global conflagrations are in its very DNA. Its cities have suffered in bad times and prospered in good, but little has been constant. Change is endemic, uncertainty a by-word.
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