A“Paper Daughter”with Six Names
Louie Gum To was born in Zhongshan, China in 1920 and died in America
in 2001. Her name changed five times. The first was in 1937 when she left China. It was during the Chinese Exclusion era (1882-1943) when America banned Chinese from entering the country. One of the ways to circumvent the discriminatory laws was to assume the identity of a person in the exempt class.
Gum To’s mother found a family about to leave the war torn country and whose daughter had died. She persuaded them to take her daughter in their dead daughter’s place. Louie Gum To became Kam Sau Quon, their daughter on paper.
In America, a teacher gave her the name Lettie Kam. When she married Thomas Wing Jue in 1945, her name changed to Lettie Jue. But Jue was Thomas’ paper name and in 1952, he legally changed his name back to his real family surname, Lowe. Lettie was now Lettie Kam Lowe. After he passed away,Lettie married Abelardo Cooper and her name changed for the sixth time toLettie Lowe Cooper.
In 2015, her daughter Felicia Lowe made “Chinese Couplets,” an acclaimed documentary about her mother’s life; from “paper daughter” to successful entrepreneur, she personified the American Dream.
雷金桃於1920年出生於廣東中山，她第一次改名是在1937年。當時因為排華法案，中國人來美的變通之道就是頂用別人合法的身分，成千上萬的「紙上兒子」及「紙上女兒」就這樣誕生了。金桃的母親找到了有年齡相近的女兒過世的家庭，同意她以女兒「甘秀群」的名義來美。入境不久，她的老師給了她英文名字 Lettie。Lettie 後來冠夫姓，成為 Lettie Jue 「趙永信」。1952年，她丈夫（也是紙上兒子）向法院申請改回他真正的姓氏，她成了「劉永信」。先生過世後她改嫁了，Lettie Cooper 於2001年過世。
2015年她的女兒劉詠嫦以記錄片「中國對聯」來紀念她。紙上女兒Lettie 一生艱苦奮鬥， 總算實現了她的美國夢。