Video Interview with Fred Wong

There will be an upcoming video interview with my father Fred Wong about his experiences working at the Alitak salmon cannery where he spent most of his 54 summers as the foreman. He will be discussing how he got started working up there during his summers off from teaching along with the living conditions, the various cannery duties of the workers, and changes that he’s seen in his 54 summers up there. In the meantime, please check out his personal story that’s posted on the website along with my own experiences as one of his daughters working in the same … Continue reading Video Interview with Fred Wong

Contractor Lem Sen’s Story

It was exactly a year ago when we gave a talk at CHSA (Chinese Historical Society of America) in San Francisco. The talk was originally planned in early 2020 as an in-person event; however, it became a virtual event because of the pandemic. Because it was a virtual event, we were able to reach out to a wider audience. After the talk, I received an email from Deborah Lem, telling me that her grandfather was a labor contractor and she has some of Lem Sen’s documents in her possession. I was overjoyed to hear that because Lem Sen was one … Continue reading Contractor Lem Sen’s Story

Chinese Workers and the Iron Chink

5 months ago, I first got an email from Mark, a reporter, asking me to do an interview for an article on Chinese cannery workers. He had recently visited Alaska and picked up our names there. We talked 2 or 3 times over the phone, and he went away. A few days ago, a friend read his article on South China Morning Post and send me the link. Besides the history of Chinese cannery workers and our more recent ventures in Alaska, he talked a lot about Iron Chink, which is a fish cleaning machine that eventually replaced the Chinese … Continue reading Chinese Workers and the Iron Chink

Almost 50 years ago…

It was in early June 1970, that we had this photo taken at International Longshoremen and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU) Local 37 in Seattle, Washington. From left, we have Michael, Philip, Jim, Allen, and Willie. It was a day of dispatching, and we were there awaiting eagerly for an opportunity to find employment in Alaska canneries. We were all college students and foreign students from Taiwan, in our late teens. My twin brother, Philip, and I, were freshmen from University of Washington. Michael and Allen are also brothers and college students, whom we had known for several years from our days … Continue reading Almost 50 years ago…


For the last 35 years, I worked in the high tech industry in Silicon Valley, and spent a lot of time in front of computers. A few years ago, after I retired from my professional work, I started looking into the history of the Alaska canneries. It was quite a surprise to learn that the Chinese laborers were the backbone of the salmon canning industries for close to half a century from 1870s to 1920s, as they worked on the production lines and filled the lower tier of cannery employment. Towards the end of the 19th century, thousands of Chinese … Continue reading Introduction