Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
There is a new (Chinese made?) feature length TV documentary named The Six that has already been released in China. It is about the Chinese passengers on board the Titanic. Ratings on IMDB appear to be good.

Anyone know if this is likely to be available on Western TV channels?
 
Seumas

Seumas

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There was an interesting press article a few weeks ago about it.

They dug up a lot of previously unknown information (and photographs) about the Chinese aboard the Titanic. Which just goes to show that there is still previously unknown stuff out there to be discovered about the passengers and crew even if big new discoveries about the ship itself are unlikely.

Fang Lang lived a very long life but never told his family much about the disaster. What a story he could have told if anyone had tried to track him down whilst he was alive.

I just hope there isn't any rubbish about locked bostwick gates, evil stewards or Harold Lowe being a racist.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
Ijust hope there isn't any rubbish about locked bostwick gates, evil stewards or Harold Lowe being a racist.
There probably won't be any direct quotes, but I would not be surprised if there are subtle hints of racism. After all, that did exist to some extent in those days, not just toward non-Caucasians, but other White people of Southern Europe. Not all the quoted disdainful remarks about "crazed Italians" etc were likely to have been exaggerated.

I would be interested to know how other people in Third Class treated the Chinese fellow passengers. Elizabeth Dowdell, nanny to Virginia Martin Emanuel, is supposed to have complained about sitting close to Chinamen on board the Carpathia.
 
Seumas

Seumas

Member
There probably won't be any direct quotes, but I would not be surprised if there are subtle hints of racism. After all, that did exist to some extent in those days, not just toward non-Caucasians, but other White people of Southern Europe. Not all the quoted disdainful remarks about "crazed Italians" etc were likely to have been exaggerated.

I would be interested to know how other people in Third Class treated the Chinese fellow passengers. Elizabeth Dowdell, nanny to Virginia Martin Emanuel, is supposed to have complained about sitting close to Chinamen on board the Carpathia.
The reason I brought up the racism angle was that several years ago there was a newspaper article published about the Chinese aboard the Titanic.

In this article Harold Lowe was branded a cruel, callous racist by the ignorant author of the piece who used as her only source Charlotte Collyer's ridiculously melodramatic, partly invented account. Basically the author charged Lowe with not wanting to save Fang Lang's life because of his skin colour.

Inger Shiel wrote a detailed rebuttal in which she pointed out Lowe in his correspondence actually had a great regard for the Chinese and admired them as seamen.

She sent it to the journalist in question but I don't think she ever got a reply nor was the article ever corrected.

It was a disgraceful slur on a good man.
 
Steven Christian

Steven Christian

Member
There is a new (Chinese made?) feature length TV documentary named The Six that has already been released in China. It is about the Chinese passengers on board the Titanic. Ratings on IMDB appear to be good.

Anyone know if this is likely to be available on Western TV channels?
Their website says it will be coming out soon internationally but they haven't given a date yet.
 
Steven Christian

Steven Christian

Member
There is a new (Chinese made?) feature length TV documentary named The Six that has already been released in China. It is about the Chinese passengers on board the Titanic. Ratings on IMDB appear to be good.

Anyone know if this is likely to be available on Western TV channels?
I went and read the reviews too and I watched the trailer. It looks like it will be an interesting documentary and I will watch. But from the trailer it looks like the racist angle will be covered a lot so if that bothers someone be prepared. But I don't see how they could not cover that. That's the way it was in those days. Especially a little earlier. The chinese workers that built the railroads in the west were treated pretty badly in many cases. Probably by 1912 not much different. Anyway I'm looking forward to seeing it. Thanks for the heads up.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
That's the way it was in those days. Especially a little earlier. The Chinese workers that built the railroads in the west were treated pretty badly in many cases
That kind of general attitude towards the Orientals in general and the Chinese in particular was quite common in those days. Now that the boot is steadily moving to the other foot, I wonder if some of us can justify the criticism that we come out with these days.

When you read about or look at older films depicting the way the Westerners treated the Chinese and more importantly, the stoic manner in which the latter appeared to be able to absorb such discrimination makes me think that there was an unsaid feeling "Patience, our day will come".
 
Steven Christian

Steven Christian

Member
That kind of general attitude towards the Orientals in general and the Chinese in particular was quite common in those days. Now that the boot is steadily moving to the other foot, I wonder if some of us can justify the criticism that we come out with these days.

When you read about or look at older films depicting the way the Westerners treated the Chinese and more importantly, the stoic manner in which the latter appeared to be able to absorb such discrimination makes me think that there was an unsaid feeling "Patience, our day will come".
Yes. No doubt they were exploited. That's a part of history. But what the Orientals did to each other makes the west look like amateurs. Everybody seems to forget that part of history nowadays. But back to the documentary. It's part of the story so they need to cover it. I just hope they do a good job on it and not just go for the ticket sales. It will be good to see something new on the Titanic story other than all the rehash. Cheers.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
What I do hope with this documentary is that the events are shown in the right perspective ie that of those 6 Chinese passengers but not as they were understood (or not) at the time but as we understand them now. In other words, we probably have a somewhat better understanding now of how an Oriental person might have felt in an atmosphere such as the one that prevailed on board the Titanic, both during the voyage and after the collision. For example, were they completely ignored by other passengers - not even a nodded greeting etc? How did the crew treat them? Did they sit separately by themselves during meals and if so was it a cause or an effect of their alienation?

Even without knowing the sequence of events, I sometimes feel that the Chinese passengers by and large were alienated to the extent that they might have felt that they needed to look after themselves when the crunch came, even it it meant sneaking into lifeboats. With hindsight, I really cannot see how they can be blamed.
 
Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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It’s hard to remember a time before the 1997 juggernaut that broke box office records The Titanic launched the careers of its two leads, and forever cemented the tragedy of the British passenger liner within public consciousness. Writer and director James Cameron’s fictional story about an ill-fated love affair captured the hearts of millions, yet perhaps the most historically accurate detail of the film is relegated to a deleted scene, in which a lifeboat trawls the wreckage to rescue a Chinese man clinging to a piece of debris. But who was he?
 
Encyclopedia Titanica

Encyclopedia Titanica

Philip Hind
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The Six 2


I was really glad that I managed to see this documentary at a cinema here in Oxford a few weeks ago.

It really is an impressive achievement and beautifully shot. I say that having tried to make a few documentaries myself in the past. I know how hard it is!

It is always good to see new information unearthed about some of the lesser-known passengers and crew; it was great to see Tom Fong talking about his father on screen, having first revealed his identity on this site in 2004 and I was glad to see Encyclopedia Titanica referenced.


The film has a few issues, however. I came out with the sense that having successfully pitched a great idea and obtained seemingly copious funds to tell a story, they didn't really have a particularly coherent story to tell. Scenes, reconstructions and interviews are of varying relevance, one interviewer even begins by claiming (accurately it appears) that he knows nothing! There is also that earnestness so typically found in 'man-on-a-mission' style historical documentaries, and where original material is in short supply we get cutaways of seagulls and cityscapes... and there are many.

However, the filmmakers managed to gather together an impressive international research team to investigate the enduring mystery of the Chinese seamen, but these passengers have always been a tough research nut to crack and it is perhaps not surprising that some of the findings remain inconclusive, in some cases basically confirming what we already know, i.e. not much!

Having meandered a while on its biographical quest, the film finds a sense of purpose when straying into political territory. It suggests that the treatment of these Chinese sailors was characteristic of general attitudes towards the Chinese and specifically American immigration policy at the time, most notably The Chinese Exclusion Act and the Geary Act; blatantly racist policies intended to curtail Chinese immigration into the United States.

It seems to be their assertion that the Chinese sailors—alone amongst the survivors—were prevented from leaving the Carpathia under the terms of this Act and were promptly transferred to another ship (the Annetta) bound for Cuba.

Perhaps others know better, but I was always under the impression that it had always been the Chinese sailors' intention to transfer to the Annetta and sail for Cuba, and it was the owners of the Annetta who had paid their passage on the Titanic. There has never been any suggestion that the Chinese sailors intended at the time to try and settle in America and that their experience on the Carpathia was a case of the Act being enforced.

These reservations aside I really welcome the efforts to which Arthur Jones, Steven Schwankert and their team have gone to try and shed more light on these fascinating passengers. They took on a major challenge and perhaps, having begun the journey not quite knowing where it might lead, it is unsurprising there were a few bumps in the road.

These are just a few of my thoughts on seeing The Six. I do urge everyone to try and see it, in the cinema if possible, and form your own view, I'd be very interested to know what you think.

The Six 1
 
M

Marty Oppenheim

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I just watched the film (Beloit Film Festival-online-$10.00). I agree with your assessment as it was a bit all over the place but I found the actual passenger research fascinating
 
Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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