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Tonkanese 
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Fresh Face
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Post Tonkanese
Is there an island in the South Pacific musical called "Tankanese" where halfbreeds are not discriminated against?

Our cat breed Tonkinese was sometimes called Tonkanese in the early days. Some says its from the South Pacific musical and refers to an island called Tonkanese where halfbreeds are not discriminated against. I always though Tonkinese referred to the area of Vietnam called Tonkin. I know South Pacific has people in it who are Tonkinese and are referred to as an area of Vietnam but can find no reference to an island called Tonkanese and I don't have access to a script nor can I find any online script to look at.


Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:15 pm
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Broadway Legend
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Tonkin was a historic region in SE Asia, now forming the heartland of N Vietnam. The capital was Hanoi. Tonkin was bordered on the north by China, on the east by the Gulf of Tonkin, on the south by the historic region of Annam, and on the S and W by Laos. The region of Tonkin was conquered in 111 B.C. by the Chinese, who ruled until they were ousted in A.D. 939, at which time the area became independent. The inhabitants began a southward expansion, and by 1471 they had acquired the kingdom of Champa. After the division of the Vietnamese lands between two dynasties in 1558, the northern half was ruled from the city of Tonkin (modern Hanoi); thus the name of Tonkin came to be applied by Europeans to the whole area. The two regions were reunited in 1802 under the rule of the restored line of Hue as part of the empire of Vietnam. To open the Red River to French trade, French expeditions were sent into Tonkin in 1873 and 1882; that of 1882 resulted in a full-scale colonial war, complicated by Chinese intervention (China also claimed the region) against the French. In 1884, Annam accepted a French protectorate, conceding France a separate protectorate over Tonkin with control more direct than over Annam. In 1887, Tonkin became part of the Union of Indochina. In World War II, the region was occupied (1940–45) by the Japanese. After the war Tonkinese and Annamese nationalist leaders joined in demanding independence for the state of Vietnam, and Tonkin was torn by guerrilla warfare between the French and the Viet Minh nationalists led by Ho Chih Minh. The name also appears as Tongking and Tonking.
New Caledonia, in Polynesia, was also controlled by the French. 7000 Tonkinese were brought to New Caledonia as workers on five-year contracts prior to World War II. Their lives were extremely hard, and their contracts were unilaterally extended indefinitely by the French after the start of the war. The harsh living and working conditions were the concern of several civil rights organizations. The Tonkinese appealed to the American forces in 1944, through the American consul, for support in their search for protection of their human rights, but were denied official sanction. A court case arising out of this situation is often said to be the beginning of the Vietnamese revolution against the French. The islands surrounding New Caledonia form the setting for Michener’s “South Pacific.”
Tonkinese cats are a recent cross between the Siamese and Burmese cat breeds. The name is not related to the Tonkin region of Indochina. When the breed was first established in Canada, the breed name was actually spelled "Tonkanese," which was a reference to the island in the musical South Pacific. The mistaken idea that the name was a geographical reference paralleling the Siamese and Burmese breed names resulted in a gradual switch to the current spelling, under which the breed was recognized by the US registering associations.


Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:01 pm
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Fresh Face
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Post South Pacific Script
Is the island Tonkanese in the script? I ask because I can't find any reference to it in detailed summaries. And I can't find any reference to an island in that area in real life so I assume it would be in the script and not Mitchner's original book. I want to see the original reference and have no access to the script. Thanks.


Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:48 am
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Broadway Legend
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No. As I said, Tonkanese, actually Tonkinese in the script and the novel, refers to the people. The island in question is Bali Hai. Assigning the word Tonkanese as a supposed island name to the cat breed was an error.


Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:11 am
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Bali Hai is also a fictional island, but is based on one of the many of islands in the Soloman chain - the site of a famous series of battles in WW2.

From Wikipedia (cause I'm too lazy to type it all out):
Quote:
Bali Hai is based on the real island of Ambae. It sometimes appears on maps as Aoba, but that name is considered archaic. It is located in Vanuatu (known by its pre-Independence name of the New Hebrides at time the song was written). Ambae is visible on the horizon from Espiritu Santo island, where James A. Michener was stationed in World War Two. Michener is the author of Tales of the South Pacific which the musical South Pacific is based on. The author used the tranquil, hazy image of the smoothly sloping island on the horizon to represent a not-so-distant but always unattainable place of innocence and happiness. Hence the longing nature of the song.

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Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:20 am
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Fresh Face
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Post Island Tonkanese
Thanks for clarifying what did not make sense to me. It was the reference to the island called Tonkanese where half breed were not discriminated against that made no sense. I could only find people referred to as Tonkinese and no island other than Bali Hai


Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:09 am
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Tony Winner
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Check here for reference to the island of Tonka

http://www.hasbro.com/tonka/default.cfm?page=wtb

where you can buy a lot of toys. The island and company were started by an enterprising native woman called Bloody Mary (who didn't have the proper papers) who first sold grass skirts and shrunken heads to American GIs.


Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:58 pm
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