Lisa Biagiotti, who is currently reporting on HIV/AIDS, sexuality and young gay men in Jamaica, has just written a short piece (please see link below) about a visit to her grandfather’s grave in the Chinese cemetery in Kingston. The report on the visit—“a personal story of death and renewal of the Chinese community in Jamaica”—includes a short history of Chinese immigration to the island. The history of the Chinese in Jamaica was also the subject of a lengthy and very informative article by Rebecca Tortello, “The Arrival of the Chinese,” published in the Jamaica Gleaner in 2003.
For a fascinating perspective on the Chinese community in Jamaica you can read Patricia Powell’s extraordinary novel The Pagoda, published in 1998, which a reviewer described as “a passport to a rich and haunting tale of life, love, community and self.” Powell is also the author of a beautiful novel about a small group of homosexual friends living in Kingston, Jamaica in 1978, in the early years of the ADIS epidemic, A Small Gathering of Bones. Like The Pagoda, it is a haunting, beautifully written text.
For Lisa Biagiotti’s piece see http://worldfocus.org/blog/2009/05/12/generations-meet-in-jamaicas-chinese-cemetery/5353/
For the Gleaner article (from which the photo above is taken) go to http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/pages/history/story0055.htm
For a review of The Pagoda go to http://voices.cla.umn.edu/vg/Critique/review_fiction/pagoda_the_by_patricia_powell.html