a1 University of Hong Kong
The Chinese migrant's strong sense of attachment to the guxiang (native place) is well recognized, and literature on overseas Chinese generally proceeds on this assumption. There is, however, little discussion on the mechanisms which have bonded the migrant to the native place, either by helping him express his longing and concern for it, or by reminding him of his obligations as a native son. Family ties, ownership of land and business connections as well as pure sentimental attachment, so poignant in centuries of Chinese poetry, naturally make migrants feel concerned for its well-being and eager for its news. Overseas Chinese in most cases continue to communicate with the native place on an individual basis, for there are levels of activities where the scale and complexity are such that only organizational efforts would suffice. At the same time, an easily identifiable institution enables those at home to contact and rally more effectively its migrant fellow-regionals, when the need for spiritual or material help arises.