Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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Singh, Hazara : Accountant Turned Farmer by Harjit K. and Hardeep K. Gosal
Year of Arrival 1913

Editor’s Note:  Twenty-one year old Hazara Singh “Janda” arrived at the Angel Island Immigration Station in 1913. He told immigration inspectors that he had worked as an accountant in India and was now coming to the United States to study mechanical engineering at a university in Berkeley. He brought $90 in gold and assured inspectors that his father would be able to support him in his studies. The inspectors were impressed by Singh’s appearance, and he was admitted into the country as a student after nine days in detention on Angel Island.  Some of that time was spent at the hospital “under observation” for trachoma.  Nearly ninety years after Hazara Singh arrived on Angel Island, his great-grandnieces, sisters Harjit K. and Hardeep K. Gosal, researched and wrote the following family history.  They found that while Singh was ultimately successful in getting admitted into the country, his time on Angel Island, and specifically the harsh treatment that immigrants received at the hospital, left a strong impression on him.

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Singh Sarabha, Kartar : Student and Revolutionist by Judy Yung
Year of Arrival 1912

Kartar Singh, a Punjabi Sikh, was born in Sarabha village, Ludhiana district, in 1896. His father died when he was six and his mother when he was thirteen.  He was raised by his grandfather, a farmer.  Kartar attended the village school for five years and graduated from a missionary high school in 1911.  He was attending Revenshaw College in Orissa when he got caught up in the nationalist movement to free India from British rule.  He decided to go to America to aid the cause.  He was then seventeen years old.

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Soga, Yasutaro  : Journalist Yasutaro Soga’s Detention on Angel Island During World War II by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1896

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Sue Tin, Susie : Unbound from Tradition - Susie Sue Tin's Adventure from Australia to California via China by Cathy Huang and Sue Pon
Year of Arrival 1923

From the Orient to Oceania

Oh, to be a young woman in the 1920’s, unbound from tradition. This is the story of Susie Sue Tin, unbound, who journeyed from Australia to California to marry, in her own words, “for the adventure.”

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Tom, William : From a young boy from Hoi Ping, Guangdong, China to a successful optometrist in Los Angeles, CA by Steve Kwok
Year of Arrival 1937

The following was written by Steve Kwok based on an interview by Roy Chan with William Tom in Monterey Park California on March 15, 2012.

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Tom, Melanie : My Chinese New Year  by Melanie Tom
Year of Arrival Born in U.S.

Growing up, I felt like an outsider. When holidays like Chinese New Year came around, I would panic. My Taiwanese friends would talk excitedly about how they would spend their New Year money and compare their plans for the holiday. As for me, I had nothing to say. Instead I would go home, wishing that my parents were hiding their special knowledge of how to be Chinese and that this was the year they were finally going to teach me. That never happened.

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Tran, Thanh : Thanh Tran by Ngoc Tu
Year of Arrival 1981

On the 30th anniversary of my first experience with freedom, the bittersweet memory of leaving Vietnam’s prison camp, it seems, took place just yesterday. The date is November 25th, 2010. My family surrounds me and I give thanks for the beautiful display of successful sons and daughters, healthy grandchildren, and an array of oriental as well as traditional Thanksgiving food. All this at the cost of four gold nuggets, I say to myself. I sigh, am relieved, and remember all the individuals who could not afford this opportunity…

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Uratsu, Marvin : Marvin Uratsu by Olivia Pollak, Interviewer: Dew Ruiz
Year of Arrival Born in U.S.

Childhood in Japan

Marvin’s father immigrated to the United States before Marvin was born, entering not through Angel Island, but though Seattle. Marvin estimates that his mother came to the United States in 1916, and his parents were married in 1917. That same year, Marvin’s older brother was born. Marvin was born eight years later, in 1925, in Sacramento.

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Vardy , Hiromi  : Far East to the East Bay: The Story of Hiromi Vardy by Sarah Goldfine
Year of Arrival 1987

I interviewed my friend Hiromi Vardy in the backyard garden of her Berkeley, California home. We chatted for the better part of an afternoon, and shared a perfectly prepared bowl of soba and two hand-brewed cups of Sencha. I was first introduced to Hiromi as an employee at her Berkeley restaurant. I knew her as a kind and generous boss, and today, as great friend.

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Weiss, Alexander : Former Park Ranger Alexander Weiss by Mary Hackenbracht
Year of Arrival 1940

“I didn’t discover the carvings; I just started the engine and others drove the project to  “ And so, Alexander Weiss humbly explains his role in the discovery and preservation of the poetry carved into the walls by detainees at Angel Island Immigration Station. But this is just one of the adventures that Alexander Weiss had a hand in. From his family’s escape from Austria in 1940 to his days as a Freedom Rider; from his growing up in the Fillmore during its early jazz days to his creation of special days at Hearst Castle and Natural Bridges State Parks, Weiss has been the nonconformist, most often to the public’s benefit.

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Wells, Kiyoko : Kiyoko’s Story of Migration: In Search of Opportunities and A Better Life by Kristy P
Year of Arrival 1953

Personal Notation: Kiyoko Wells and I met each other by chance, as a result of a series of rolling blackouts that affected Southern California, during a hot summer day, a few years ago. She lives several houses away from my parents’ home, and after a random encounter and conversation with one of my sisters, my family has cultivated a profound friendship with Kiyoko, so much so that we consider her part of our family.

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Wong, Hoy Fun : A Life Worth Living by Linda Wing
Year of Arrival 1876

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Wong, Chong Mun : Wong Chong Mun: Hero to His Son by Linda Wing
Year of Arrival 1899

Wong Chong Mun was born in 1871 in the village of Cheng Gong. He was an only child.

Chong Mun wanted to become a doctor but his father Wong Hoy Fun rejected this idea because he believed that bad luck would strike if a patient passed away. All the same, Chong Mun became well educated, obtaining the equivalent of a Ph.D., financing his schooling with money his father sent home to China from the US where he was a sojourner.  Hoy Fun encouraged Chong Mun to become a government official and live off graft, as was the custom of the time. Accordingly, Chong Mun went to Beijing to take the imperial examination to qualify for a government position, but he did not do well on the test.  Village school superintendent was the job he subsequently found instead.

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