Monday, August 6, 2012

Bangkok- Tan Kim Ching Run

Counting the beads...
there should be 108 sandal wood beads: 
I counted 100....

Mooted over kopi at Ya Kun Central, this dream run became reality as Yeo Say Ann and I managed to get gracious Grand Aunt Siri to anchor this run.

This chart should put key players in their place...

1 Tan Tock Seng

2 Mdm Chua- Tan Kim Ching- Mdm Ying

3 Soon Toh  s/o Chua         Hay Leng s/o Ying   Choon Neo (Grandma Chun) d/o Ying

4 Boo Liat s/o SoonToh            Alice d/o HL                 Molee d/o Chun

5 Kenny & Polly c/o BL  Jackson s/o A - Rene w/o J     Woody s/o Molee - Siri w/o W

6 Sopha d/o K- Pong h/o Sopha   Rosie d/o Polly  Isabella  (4 months) d/o Jackson      
   7                                      Su Min s/o Rosie- Sing Yu w/o SM                                   .                         

Eight hard core Brownies were let into this secret and converged onto LubD Siam
P Siri presented Power Point with aplomb and grace.
(Aunty Sopha and Aruphong joined us for the Powerpoint.
In the evening they hosted dinner at Asiatic)

Siri  spent the whole day showing us around. We were safely driven in a 15 seater.

We visited Siam House, 591 Prasamen Road, originally of Tan Kim Ching: now still in the family: run as a wedding venue.

 We went to Ayutthaya, 100 miles north of Bangkok. Grandma Chun's house was donated to the Bhuddist college there and transported  whole....

Grandma Chun's transported house
We visited one ancient temple Watchai Watanaram  at Ayutthaya
I thought that the spires were reminiscent of some science fiction alien spaceship story....

Desperately hungry, we could not find a riverside restaurant: 
But this lady besides the Wat Chai Watanaram provided a meal for us.

Metal Temple

The Metal Temple (Lohat Prasad) was a quick photo op/ sketching opportunity.

The two mango trees
These two mango trees, now more than 100 years old, were there, shoulder high, when Grandma was a young girl. The location is 123 Petchburi Road. Grandma Chun's house was here, now translocated X100 miles North to Ayatthaya. A new set of houses were erected here: We examined the special beads:

Chaozhu were worn with court dress by nobles and higher officials, or by lesser officials for certain ceremonial occasions only. These court beads were status symbols but not actual indications of rank in the same manner as mandarin squares and hat finials. The choice of beads was left up to the individual except for the emperor, empress and dowager empress, who wore fresh water Manchurian pearls mandated by law for them alone.

The prototype of court beads is thought to be the rosaries used by Lama Buddhist monks of Tibet and Mongolia for counting repetitions of a prayer or mantra. (Cammann, 4:1979) In 1643, a year before the invasion of China, an envoy of the Dalai Lama presented the Manchu leader with a rosary.

The traditional rosary and the court beads which resemble them consist of 108 small counting beads, divided into four groups of twenty-seven by three large spacer beads called fotou (fo-t'ou), or "Buddha heads." The ends of the cord then pass through a vase or pagoda-shaped bead from which extends a silken ribbon, a flat, rectangular stone, sometimes in a metal frame, beiyun (pei-yun) and several more inches of ribbon culminating in a drop pendant, dazhui (ta-chui). This extension hangs down the wearer's back and acts as a counter-weight so the beads will be more evenly balanced between front and back and more comfortable to wear. Suspended from the back of the necklace are an additional three strands of ten beads each, jinian (chi-nien), ending with a drop pendant

And we were brought to the family bones room, to greet the ancestors. It was a special moment for me.

Dinner was at a fancy place: Asiatique, the "in" place: Half of Bangkok was there! Fusion food, live band etc. And crazy traffic jam.

Next day we had long farewell at Jim Thomson Cafe.

Overwhelmed with graciousness of my Thai relatives
Touched by keen interest of Brownies on my family
Facinated to be part of the living heritage that is the legacy of Bukit Brown

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mr Seow Chye Watt and descendants

My Great Grand Father!
Mr Seow Chye Watt
Rice Trader
Based in Singapore
Frequently travelled to Thailand

 I recently had kopi with my newly discovered cousin Hedy
Her grandma is my Koh Tengah aka Seow Guat Eng

We plan to meet again: She hoped to meet Gordon and John:
and I thought I would do a family tree search
 to see how many relatives I have who are descended from Seow Chye Watt:  
Turns out to be many more than I thought!!!

Obviously I have not kept the data up to date... WORK IN PROGRESS!