Friday, August 28, 2009

Visiting My Ancestor's Homeland - Nan'an, Quanzhou

My paternal grand dad came over to Malaysia during the late 1920's and met my grand mother and settled down at Bachok, Kelantan. He was from China and I think he landed at one of the beach at Bachok at the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. That's the same route the Japanese attacked Peninsular Malaysia during the World War 2. But the Japanese came in through the Sabak beach. And the Japanese occupied Malaysia, my grand mother had all my granddad's documents burnt and destroyed because she doesn't want her children to have any association with the Chinese because the Japanese who is also at war with China hated the Chinese so much. My dad and his other siblings were very young at that time.
My grand mother is a 'peranakan', meaning a local Chinese. Her father is from China who married a local Siamese. As such, she practice mix culture, half Chinese and half Siamese.
After my dad passed away, me as the eldest son had his tomb engraved his origin of homeland which he had registered with the Kelantan Hokkien Association, as Nan'an. Before that or during my younger days, I never bother to find out my grand dad's origin. Thanks to the association for keeping the record till to date. I am also amaze and surprise that the old man who works with the Kelantan Hokkien Association knows my dad so well when I mentioned my dad's name. Without the association, I wouldn't be able to trace my grand dad's origin.
After knowing the town of my grand dad's origin, I make a pledge to visit Nan'an some day. After some search here and there from the Internet, I finally manage to visit Nan'an with the help from a friend from Xiamen. We had a day visit by bus from Xiamen to Nan'an in the morning and return the same day. The journey takes us almost 2 hours by bus (one way).
Nan'an itself is a small town in Quanzhou. The journey is interesting as I get to see how the small villages would look like in China, along the way. Most of the land is agriculture based except where it is nearby to the town,and there would be lots of factories to be seen. And most of the farmers owned multi storey houses which looks like an apartment. I was told that they would allocate each floors to their children depending of the number of children they have. But the later generation are only allow to have 1 or 2 child per family depending on their social status. Farmers are allow to have 2 children, especially if their 1st child is a girl as they need more men in the farm, but not in the big city.
The first thing I did upon reaching Nan'an is to take a walk around the little town. I think Nan'an is a flood prone area as it is a valley with many hills around. The town itself has a lot of high rise buildings but within walking distance. I manage to take a bowl of noodle after taking a long walk around. It's not easy to find a food stall around, or maybe I was at the wrong street. And the street was very quiet and wide. Maybe it was Sunday or maybe everyone was at home to avoid the typhoon which hit Taiwan the same day. The wind was strong and it rained during that day. I hired a motor bike to the higher ground to see Nan'an as a whole. The motor bike carry 2 of us up to a nearby hill. This is my first experience taking a motor cycle in China. It's even eventful as it carry Tony and me on the same motor cycle at the same time. That remind me of Thailand and my Sapa trip in Vietnam too.From the photos, you can see that Nan'an town is surrounded by hills. I wonder which village my ancestors and it's Chinese roots are in by now. Probably they are still at the village and work as farmers. Or may be they are richer by now. Maybe they are all over China or maybe they are in some other parts of the world. Do they meet together during the Chinese New Year just like we do over in Malaysia ? But I am sure those of the same generation group with me would have better living by now just as we are in Malaysia. I hope so and pray that they are.I seldom have my photos over at my blog but this time I posted some for the record as proof that I have been to Nan'an, my ancestor's homeland. And I also took a few photos with Nan'an sign boards and road sign to confirm the place I have been. Well, the feeling is indescribable but I am sure glad I did make it so far on my own. And I am sure my ancestor would be happy to know it too, especially my dad.
To my grand dad, the photo above is the guy, your first grand child to make the first visit to your homeland. I doubt the others will follow, firstly is because many of them has loss touch on the old tradition, culture and heritage of their ancestors. Many of them are already modernised and are more interested to visit more advance places and city. And so are my kids. I hope this blog will be a record for my kids to know where their origin is too, even though they are now 1 Malaysia citizen. Come this 31st August, we will be celebrating 52ND Independent Day. Happy Merdeka (Independent) to all Malaysian ! Let us all stay in harmony as 1 Malaysian !

15 comments:

Jan's Place USA and Mt Forest Pictures said...

this is a fascinating post, and very interesting. Good for you to keep your family tree from getting lost.

My brother has done similar with our family, and found out much information.

foto CHIP said...

That was a lovely story. I am interested in geneology and know about my ancestors very long back in time. Glad you could visite this place :)

Kitty said...

That was a really interesting read! I know bits about my grandparents, but I'd love to know more about their parents, and their parents before them...

The town does look really quiet - what is the red building the 4th from last picture with the pointy roof?

Irene Toh said...

It's a very meaningful trip for you. I've no idea which village my ancestors are from. This is a great post for posterity.

Angel.Pearls said...

Interesting photos!//Eva

Guy D said...

Fantastic story, thanks so much for sharing!

Have a great day
Guy
Regina In Pictures

Juliana RW said...

lovely shots

My entry this week,
in HERE. Please stop by as well.

life's journey said...

Pretty post for today...Happy SS! Mine is up too.

Jenn said...

How interesting. I would love to one day be able to do the same. :-)

eileeninmd said...

Thanks for sharing your story, I enjoyed your photos.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post and pictures.

I am a third generation chinese indonesian, now an Australian.
My beloved late grandmother came from Nanan - Fujian.
I would love to visit the place in the future with my family.
My Mother, especially would be delighted to see these pics.

Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

Man, really want to know how can you be that smart, lol...great read, thanks.

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Anonymous said...

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