Guangzhou Travel Guide

Discover Guangzhou Self Guided Book is written by Janvi Tours, formerly Guangzhou Private Tour Guide Janvi or Guangzhou Tour Guide Janvi

Written by J. C.
Published August 2018

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Home Travel Guide Introduction Of Guangzhou "Sai Kwan Lady" and "Tung San Childe"

"Sai Kwan Lady" and "Tung San Childe"


There is an old Canton saying: “The wealthy’s live in Sai Kwan, the powerful’s live in Tung San.” Sai Kwan was the earliest area for foreign trading in China located in the west part of Guangzhou. For example, the well-known “Thirteen Factories” was in the Sai Kwan area. At that time, Thirteen Factories had almost cornered the tea and ceramic markets, which were the foreigners’ favorite goods for trading. At the same time, the Thirteen Factories was an intermediary agent for importing goods from foreign countries. Thus from the 17th century, “The world’s wealthiest man” appeared in Sai Kwan, who was Zhencheng Pan and Bingjian Wu.


The scale of foreign trade grew larger and larger in Sai Kwan, and there were four leading families, which were the Pan’s, Wu’s, Lu’s and Ye’s. Many luxury villas were built at that time, and the wealthy businessmen and families were centralized in the neighborhood. They were dealing with foreigners most of the time, which allowed them to learn and speak English, got in touch with the foreign culture and became more open-minded. The families’ daughters were involuntarily affected by the environment, they dressed in Western style, and looked very fashionable. They were the first and the most obvious group of Chinese that were affected by Western culture. Especially the ones who were Western-educated or studied aboard. So that these groups of ladies were given the name of “Sai Kwan Lady”.




Tung San is a small area located in the east part of Guangzhou. Because of the US and UK churches, institutions, hospitals, etc were set up in the early period in this area, the foreign priests, nuns, teachers, and doctors built up Western-style buildings with two stories or more for them to live. And the Western environment in Tung San had attracted the oversea Chinese that came back from North America and Australia built up their Western-style buildings in this area too. At the same time, it also attracted wealthy families or businessmen to set up their careers and business in this area. In the 1920s, Guangzhou was the center of the revolution, many senior officers from the Kuo Min Tang government started living in Tung San. At the same time, the well-known Western doctor Panshi Kuang established a private hospital in Tung San, which most of the wealthy and powerful families from the government and business people in Guangzhou chose this hospital. Thus, Tung San became the center of the powerful people and families, and the sons from these families were given the name of "Tung San Childe”.


The base of the old Canton stories that was widely-circulated, most of the Tung San Childes wanted to get married to Sai Kwan Ladies. And of course, the Childes from Sai Kwan wasn't happy about it and there were quite a lot of jealousy storms between the Childes from both areas. Under this situation, Sai Kwan Childes bribed Sai Kwan Ladies' servant girls for information, the information was mainly about the meeting time and location of Sai Kwan Ladies and Tung San Childes. And this is why Tung San Childes always got discouraged from meeting Sai Kwan Ladies by Sai Kwan Childes.