Even though most of our Thai-Chinese interviewees are born and raised in Hong Kong, they tend not to deny the family relationship with their relatives and Thai ancestry. The acknowledgement of family ties could be separated from their language choices. In other words, even with the absence of language influence, one could develop his or her Thai-Chinese identity based on their blood ties and origin. In the third family, the brother has little knowledge about Thai language. He could only speak a few Thai words such as those meaning “eat” and “shower”. However, he still recognizes himself as a second generation of Thai-Chinese.
“I see myself as a Thai-Chinese second generation because I am born with this identity, although I speak Cantonese most of the time and hardly speak or understand Thai.”
Thus, language could influence one’s identity, but it is not the only determining factor in the cases we have investigated. Blood relation, as an attribute of an individual, provides the easiest way for people to categorize themselves into distinctive social groups and gain physical and mental resources from a social identity (Sears, Fu, Henry & Bui, 2003).