Mrs. Chong’s Beauty and Charm: a Good Mix

Jorge Milanes

Time passes. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES – Chong is the surname of a woman who spends a lot of time at the bodega store, although she only goes to buy bread. She recently confessed that at her age she needs to socialize a lot in order to feel alive because her two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren live in Europe, and her husband, who was Spanish, passed away some years ago.

“Nobody believes that I was born in 1926,” she said pointing to her chest. “I am the result of a complicated union between an African mother and Chinese father. I have two children with a Spanish father, like I told you. One of them got married to a French woman and the other one married an Italian woman. Imagine that!” she ended smiling.

I didn’t believe it either, “although many people say that black skin resists the passing of time better than white skin, but you my dear woman… I think you’re an exception, the result of this mix,” I answered as a compliment.

Chong’s face, skin and perfectly-sharp mind all belie her 92 years and she looks like a well-conserved 70-year-old. Her mix is the result of a forced cultural union, because even though Black people were brought over from Africa and Chinese people were brought over from Asia, the intention of the Spanish was the same: to exploit their labor.

The language barrier between these two different cultures made it almost impossible for them to communicate, but the heat of the Caribbean and sharing living quarters at times worked wonders and members of different ethnicities ended up coming together, giving rise to a new mix which, like Mrs. Chong’s case, defy the effects of time.


Jorge Milanes

Jorge Milanes: My name is Jorge Milanes Despaigne, and I’m a tourism promoter and public relations specialist. Forty-five years ago I was born in Cojimar, a small coastal town to the east of Havana. I very much enjoy trips and adventure; and now that I know a good bit about my own country, I’d like to learn more about other nations. I enjoy reading, singing, dancing, haute cuisine and talking with interesting people who offer wisdom and happiness.

2 thoughts on “Mrs. Chong’s Beauty and Charm: a Good Mix

  • I enjoyed this story. She is stunning!

  • I much enjoyed the comments about skin colour. As a supposed ‘person of colour’ my wife commented that the Caucasians “turn red when they are hot, turn blue when they are cold, turn green when they are sick and turn brown following prolonged exposure to the sun, but we blacks are the people of colour?”
    Jorge Milanes hit the nail on the head when he wrote of the Spanish importing African and Chinese people to do the work. The Spanish avoided hard physical work and still take a siesta daily.

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