Cultural Presence Today
Chinese culture within the contemporary society of Cuba focuses on a diversity of cultural elements. These diverse elements remain significant to Cubans for a number of reasons today. The first and most important is the culinary world because practically everyone likes Chinese food, especially tourists!
Among Cuban artists of Chinese descent Alfredo Lam stands out as the most prolific at the international level, representing the Cuban art world more than the world of Cuban artists who continue in the traditional technique of carving miniature figurines. This artist remains in his small second floor art studio in the Barrio Chino carving figurines in the tradition of artists years ago.
Students still undertake the study of the Mandarin language with great diligence. A few people still speak Mandarin as their maternal language, however, those who study Mandarin wish to know the language for academic and professional reasons. Mandarin writing also decorates some of Chinatowns establishments indicating the nature of the business: a restaurant, a Martial arts studio or the old Chinese pharmacy.
Interest in good exercise and physical health inspires some Cubans to study the Chinese Martial arts. While some study for personal reasons, others study to compete or to demonstrate their technique in cultural events. The Chinese casinos also promote various forms of exercise and physical wellness among their members.
The role of women in the workplace resulted as a unique element of the Chinese presence in Havana. While the Japanese Cubans seek to maintain their cultural identity, the women of Chinese descent have integrated themselves in Cuban society at every level. This webpage presents images of women for the purpose of understanding this integration from a bicultural perspective.
This section on the Chinese cultural presence today concludes with the Chinese cemetery which leads into the historical section of this website.
Anyone wishing to see the Chinese cemetery in Havana must obtain permission from the Cuban authorities since the entry gates remain locked most of the time. The Chinese cemetery today offers some historical insight into the spiritual practices of families who celebrated both Buddhist and Christian faiths.