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Origins: Chink a Boo Man

DigiTrad:
JOHN CHINAMAN, MY JO


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durham 04 Dec 00 - 06:11 AM
GUEST,Cindy 09 Mar 06 - 07:33 PM
Goose Gander 09 Mar 06 - 11:42 PM
GUEST 10 Mar 06 - 03:02 AM
SINSULL 10 Mar 06 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,J C 11 Mar 06 - 04:15 AM
Azizi 11 Mar 06 - 11:59 AM
Azizi 12 Mar 06 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,J C 13 Mar 06 - 03:10 PM
Azizi 13 Mar 06 - 06:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Mar 06 - 11:00 PM
Azizi 13 Mar 06 - 11:56 PM
Azizi 14 Mar 06 - 12:01 AM
Purple Foxx 14 Mar 06 - 03:26 AM
GUEST,J C 14 Mar 06 - 04:08 AM
Azizi 14 Mar 06 - 07:06 AM
Azizi 14 Mar 06 - 07:36 AM
GUEST,J C 14 Mar 06 - 02:58 PM
Karol 15 Mar 10 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,Stephen 16 Mar 10 - 04:15 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 19 Sep 12 - 10:45 PM
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Subject: ADD 'Chink-a-boo Man'
From: durham
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 06:11 AM

Hope someone can help with this song. Mother sang it her 5 children and it was sung to her by her mother. Any help appreciated.
Cindy


CHINK-A-BOO MAN

When I was just a little bitty fella
just about so high
My momma use to tell me story
bout a big bold bad man in the sky
She said at night when all the shadows were a creeping
and the howling wind around so loudly blew
I'd sit down by her knee
and then she said to me
here's the story bout the Chink-a-boo

Chorus:
He's got great big shiny eye's
He's got a great big mouth this size
He walks like this and like that
He eats up little children both lean and fat
So run, run, run just as fast as you can
and hide yourself away from the Chink-a-boo man

One night when I was walkin cross the meadow
just about a mile from home
it was then I heard a rustling in the bushes
then I heard a low, low moan
I ran into my mammy's house a flyin
I ran that mile in nothing honest true
and when I reached the door, to mammy I did roar
MAW! I saw the Chink-a-boo

Repeat Chorus


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Subject: ADD Version: Chink a Boo Man
From: GUEST,Cindy
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 07:33 PM

When I was a little girl...mother sang this song to us and her mother sang it to her and her grandmother sang it to her mother. I would very much like to know where the song came from and possibly how old it really is.
Lyrics:

CHINK A BOO MAN

When I was just a little bitty fella
Just about so high
My momma use to tell me a story
bout a big bold bad man in the sky

One night when all the shadows were a creeping
and the howling wind went around so loudly blew
I sat down by her knee
and then she said to me
here's the story bout the Chink a Boo

Chorus: He's got great big shiny eyes
         He's got a great big mouth this size
         He walks like this and like that
         He eats up little children both lean and fat
         So run, run, run just as fast as you can
         And hide yourself away from the Chink a Boo Man

One night when I was walking cross the meadow
Just about a mile from home
It was then I heard a rustling in the bushes
Then I heard a low, low moan
I ran into my Mammy's house a flyin
I ran that mile in nothin honest true
And when I reached that door
To Mammy I did roar
MAW! I saw the Chink a Boo

Repeat Chorus

I have sung this to my children and my grandchildren and they as I did as a child, love it. I just finished singing it to my granddaughter on the phone who is a thousand miles away from me and she asks every time I talk to her to sing it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: Goose Gander
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 11:42 PM

Well, there is this, not much but it is a start.

Chink-A-Boo

Apparently, Leslie M. Hurd wrote children's books.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 03:02 AM

Chink a Boo, refering to Chinese people, is one of those awful racist phrases that I grew up surrounded by - along with nigger, coon, wog and yid.
It's a bit of a shock hearing it raise its ugly head again - I hope your grand-daughter now regards it with the contempt it deserves.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: SINSULL
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 01:04 PM

Tough one, GUEST. My grandmother used to sing "Mamie's Little Coal Black Rose" to me as a lullaby. She sang it as a beautiful sentiment - her baby is a beautiful rose. And I cherish the song, even have the original music sheets. Is it racist? Some would say "Yes" and I am careful where I sing it so as not to offend.

"The Yama Man" is another "scary" children's song and refers to the Asian symbol found mainly in Tibetan art. Is it racist? Not if you don't know what a Yama is. In the song it's just a big, scary monster. As the Chink-a-Boo is in Guest, Cindy's song.

I witnessed a very painful event when someone sang a similar song not realizing that a woman in the audience would be badly hurt. So do we sing the songs only in certain venues and only when we have explained the context? Or do we let the song die out from our memory? My own opinion is that these songs are part of our history and need to be preserved in their CONTEXT.

I haven't heard the term "Chink" in 40 years. And would not hear it without speaking up. In my childhood we recited:

Ching Ching Chinamen
Sittin' on a fence
Trying to make a dollar out fifteen cents.

Nasty little bit of racist ridicule of a foreigner trying to make sense of our money and appearing to be a cheat in the process. So does Azizi add this one to her collection of street rhymes or toss it out for content? And whose call is it?

Sorry for the thread drift. I hope Cindy doesn't take offense at this discussion. It is important. And I hope she has some other of her family's songs to share.
Mary


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 04:15 AM

Didn't mean to give offence - as I'm sure Cindy didn't, but I was propelled back in time half a century when I read her posting.
I think there is a basic difference in intent between the phrases you quote and those deliberately designed to malign and demean a whole group of people in a generalised way. I believe the term 'chink' refered to people with slanting eyes.
Sorry, forgot to sign last posting.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 11:59 AM

Sinsull and others,

I am interested in collecting examples of contemporary children's rhymes. I am also interested in documenting -whenever possible-the sources for those rhymes, and what those rhymes mean to the children reciting them.

I would paraphrase GUEST,J C 's comment that "there [may be] a basic difference in intent between the phrases you quote and those deliberately designed to malign and demean a whole group of people".

It appears to me that alot of times children reciting a rhyme don't know or care what the words mean. They are more "in to" the rhythm of the words and the performance activity {handclapping, jumping rope, foot stomping, etc} that goes with the rhyme.

But as to Sinsull's question would I be interested in collecting a rhyme with the words
"Ching Ching Chinamen
Sittin' on a fence
Trying to make a dollar out fifteen cents."

My answer is yes. My goal is to collect & document rhymes for the historical record, and as a means of gathering insight into the world of children. Therefore, some rhymes that I collect don't conform with my moral standards, but that isn't the point.

That said, I try to include commentary along with the rhyme example so that information is preserved about what the rhyme means/meant to the performers of that rhyme. That's why I believe that demographical information {including age, gender, race and.or ethnicity is important.

I also try to add information about the possible source of the rhyme, and the rhyme's possible cultural meaning [i.e. for "Chink Chink Chinaman" that the rhyme teases Chinese people and other people with slanted eyes].

I'm very interested in how children's rhymes change over time and among different groups of people. For example, in 1997 I collected this handclap rhyme from elementary school aged African American girls & boys in Pittsburgh, PA area that is similar to "Chink Chink Chinaman":

"Shimmy Shimmy China
Sittin on a fence
tryin to make a dollar
outta 65 cents.
He missed. He missed.
He missed like this; like this. like this.

-snip-

In this example "Shimmy Shimmy China" is used as a nickname of a boy or man who is sitting on a fence. Even with the use of the name "China", there is no allusion to Chinese people. And certainly no racial teasing is intended or perceived.

All this to say, that we adults have to be careful not to read our issues into kid's creative works.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: Azizi
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 06:41 PM

See another version of "Ching Ching Chinaman" that has no reference at all to Chinese people:

"Choo Choo Charlie Sitting on a bench ...
Tryin to make a dollar outta 15 cents
he missed he missed he missed like this...

Its one of those clap games....did it when i was in 2nd or 3rd grade"

posted by brittanie at December 4, 2005 on http://blog.oftheoctopuses.com/000518.php
[re-posted by Azizi with the permission of that blog's members]


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 03:10 PM

Azizi
I agree with you about children not knowing or caring about the meaning of words - however, I believe the terms under discussion do not originate with children but are adult inventions which are calculated to mock and debase people of different colour, religion, origin, appearence, accent etc. Left unchecked, I believe they become ingrained in the child's attitude and so should not be ignored.
From what I know of collections of childrens rhymes and games, I have always thought that there is little of a racist nature apparent in the repertoire, but this may well be because of the influence of the collector, either as an imposing senior figure or as a conscious censor. Typical of this influence is to be found in the Opie's 'Lore And Language of Schoolchildren' where they state "Genuine erotic verse, however, is unusual. That there are villains among children, as among adult...... and from somewhere the ogre child aquires his strange salacious prescriptions, taking criminal pleasure in pressing them on juniors, and inscribing them on the walls of the school lavatory". Personally I'd be more worried about the Opies consorting with my children than an 'ogre child'.
I would be interested to hear how your research's progress.
A salutory lesson in recording children was related to me by a friend who was teaching drama around schools in London back in the seventies. He had spent some time recording children and had got a number of polite, somewhat genteel pieces. He threw a blanket over the open door of a walk-in cupboard and told the children he was going for a half hour break, but if they remembered anything in the meantime, would they go to the cupboard and recite or sing it into the tape recorder which he had left running. He reaturned 20 minutes later to a magnificent tape full of bawdry, erotica and general impropriety.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: Azizi
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 06:17 PM

GUEST,J C-I love your story. I need to copy your friend's strategy sometimes-really.

I believe that you're right that children censor their rhymes for collectors. I've experienced instances of that myself. Both examples that immediately come to mind have to do with the risque' handclap rhyme "Tweeleelee" {or some such name} that is based on The Jackson Five's 1980s recording of the song "Rockin Robin".

See Cocojams: handclap rhymes-Tweeleelee for my comments about my experiences with children self-censorship during recitations of this rhyme in front of adults.

One example of this self-censorship was the children's substitution of the word "butt" for the word "ass".

As to collectors censoring out rhymes that don't meet their moral standards, I agree with that too. I've had a couple of people {kids?} send in some rhymes to my website that I considered profane, and I decided not to add them to the examples that I've put on my website. I'm not actively seeking those types of rhymes. If I hear them, I'll document them, but I chose not to showcase them.

And J C, I also agree that even if children don't mean any harm by saying rhymes that may tease other groups of people, adults should take the responsibility of explaining the hurt that these rhymes such as "Ching Ching Chinaman" [and "Catch a N----g by the toe"] can direcly cause to those children of Asian descent [and Black children]. Furthermore, this could be used as a teaching opportunity to impress upon children that if we belittle another person, in the process we lessen ourself.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 11:00 PM

"Ching" songs have been around at least since the Gold Rush days.
Some previous threads:
In Chinaland...- 48703 Chinaland
Ching Chong Chinaman song- 71726 Ching Chong

Oh! I'se So Wicked! - 82184. A Topsy song from "Uncle Tom's Cabin, using lines with Ching a ring. So Wicked
Based on the early minstrel song; the Chinese songs came with the gold rush and, later, the railroad.

These probably also in Mudcat, but haven't checked.
Ching Chow Chung- In American Memory
Ching a ling a loo- In American Memory. As children we had a variant on this one, about a Chinese laundryman. Too long ago to remember the words.

Many western towns had a Chinese who broke away from the Chinatowns and set up a business, often a restaurant, a bath house or a laundry. In many cases it was a lonely life for him, or, if he had one, his family.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: Azizi
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 11:56 PM

"Many western towns had a Chinese who broke away from the Chinatowns and set up a business, often a restaurant, a bath house or a laundry. In many cases it was a lonely life for him, or, if he had one, his family."

Q, this is a sad and terrible indictment of the USA. In a better nation, a Chinese man or a Chinese family and who moved away from other Chinese out in the American West would not have been ostraziced because of his and their race.

[Not to mention that-in the grand American tradition-some Chinese and non-Chinese probably voluntarily mated if not married, which is not really another point as-in my opinion-in a better nation there would not have been any societal & legal barriers against interracial mating and marriage as I'm sure there was [and is, at least when it comes to societal barriers] in the United States during the years that Q referenced in his comment.

I propose that adults study children's rhymes for the glimpses they provide about the world of children now and in the past. I also propose that adults consider children's rhymes as a way of ascertaining what children think are acceptable attitudes & behavior in society then and now. Furthermore, I propose that schools and after-school groups use children's rhymes as a way of discussing such difficult subjects as violence and prejudice.

We got to get serious about making earth a less violent place or soon there may not be an earth. And we've got to get serious about reducing and eradicating prejudice and fear of people who are different from ourselves. Only then will difference not make any difference.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 12:01 AM

Sorry for the convoluted phrasing in my last post. I know that I should have previewed what I wrote, but I went on emotion, wrote it, and then pressed submit without any preview. Besides, if I had previewed what I wrote, I may have second guessed it and not sent it at all.

I hope that those reading it can get the gist of what I'm saying in spite of my grammatical and other writing errors.

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 03:26 AM

Azizi, The posting you are talking about makes perfect sense.
Indeed the last sentence makes a very important point extremely eloquently.
BTW I believe the phrase "Didn't have a Chinaman's chance." refers to
the prejudice Chinese people encountered at that time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 04:08 AM

Azizi,
Don't know how wide your interest is.
There are a few books on childrens games that are worth looking at if your interest extends to other countries.
'All in ! All In' by Eilís Brady (published by the Irish Folklore Society) is an excellent study of Dublin street games.
There is a beautiful film called 'Dusty Bluebells' possibly available from the Uster Folk Museum.
'Shocking, Shocking Shocking' (The improper play rhymes of Australian children is well worth having though I don't know how obtainable it is. It was privately published by Wendy Lowenstein in 1974 (Fish and Chip Press, 36 Westbourne Street, Prahran, Victoria, Australia.
I remember being impressed by a radio programme on the work done by Father Damien - for a priest he seemed to have won the confidence of the children he worked with. He died, but you can probably find out what happened to his collection from The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library in London.
The main work with children was done by Iona and Peter Opie, but for the reason previously stated I have always treated this with deep suspicion.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 07:06 AM

Thanks very much Purple Foxx and JC!

I appreciate your comments. I will search for the resources you mentioned, and I'm certain that this information will be helpful to others too.

The Opies are the only resource mentioned above that I am familiar with. I appreciate their work, but I believe we have to carry it further. I believe those interested in the preservation, analysis, and socio-educational {if that is a term} use of children's rhymes must use collection strategies such as JC mentioned that try to get around children's self-censorship. IMO, collectors must also recognize their own tendency to disregard those children's rhymes that they don't like or they aren't interested in.

My primary area of interest [now] is contemporary {1950-to date] English language children's rhymes [other than nursery rhymes] that mention violence or have performance activity that includes hitting, pinching, slapping [other than handclaps], etc. I am also interested in English language children's 'street' rhymes that mention race/ethnicity, and romance. In addition to these rhymes, I collect other taunts and comebacks, and rhymes I categorize "just for fun". Since I've been collecting children's rhymes since 1996, mostly through adult recollections on the Internet I've read a number of 'nasty' children's rhymes and children's rhymes with profanity. While those rhymes are usually not in my areas of interests, I don't act like they don't exist.

For those who are interested, Besides numerous Mudcat threads on children's rhymes and my website www.cocojams.com, here's a listing of some Internet resources on rhymes that I have found interesting:

http://blog.oftheoctopuses.com/000518.php

[a large collection of children's rhymes sometimes with commentary from what appears to be pre-teen, teen, and adult contributors]

http://www.milkmilklemonade.com/ [a small selection of bawldy children's rhymes from what seems to be adult recollections]

http://www.streetplay.com/discus/ [a collection of rhymes that appears to have mostly been made in 2000 or so from mostly adult recollection]

In addition, http://www.jonbanjo.com/forum/forumlist.php {The Annexe} had a thread on children's rhymes. My computer skills being what they are, I can't seem to find that thread on The Annexe, but I bet it's still there. I remember that the original thread was lost in some technical glitch, but I started another thread on that site that had a number of examples and commentary about adult recollections of English language childrens' rhymes from England, Wales, Australia, and the USA.

I hope that this list helps others.

BTW, JC-since you are a guest, I can't contact you directly about this subject. Please consider joining Mudcat! And/or, please contact me through my website mentioned above. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 07:36 AM

Guest, Cindy- if you're reading this, please join Mudcat too!

We'd love to hear more from you.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 02:58 PM

Azizi
Add to list 'One Potato, Two Potato - the Folklore of American Children Mary and Herbert Knapp 1976 Good comprehensive coverage of genre


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: Karol
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 05:01 PM

This song was sang to us as "The Jinga Boo Man." Our uncle used to love to scare us with it. He would animate himself & tickle us at the end.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: GUEST,Stephen
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 04:15 PM

Didn't decent people leave this song behind in the playground?

When I was at school I sang this type of nonsense and plenty more. When I grew up, I realised that people should be treated with respect. That was ignorant to pre-judge people by physical appearance or mannerisms.

Instead of here, maybe you should post these lyrics on one of the extreme right wing websites where no doubt they will be fascinated by the social history of this type of song?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Chink a Boo Man
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 10:45 PM

BTW, the worst thing I've been called is "Ching-Chong."


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