Saturday, October 3, 2015

2011002 HaiCheng Trail

We fly... 
Thursday 1st October 2015,
 Singapore Xiamen via HK (Transit)
We lodged at Ibis Railway Station Hotel.
And soon went for dinner.

Dinner was 700 metre away by foot: At 临家 (Lin Jia). Professor Hong, head of museum, fount of knowledge, sits to my left: Next to him is Grand Uncle Roney.

As the three of us were sitting side by side, I created this sketch, modelled after three famous monkeys! I was amused that I produced a mirror image of our positions: 
Maybe it is a form of dyslexia?

Great meal, menu as depicted: I like the jellied worms

Friday 2nd October 2015 
The next morning we wandered to this place for breakfast: 包 & 粥。
Pottered around the streets and bought a few nick-knacks:

 My favourite: Beansprout hair clips! 
I kid you not!
We had a short rest, packed our stuff and headed out for lunch:
 This 黄鱼 yellow fish was yummy.

This was foil wrapped skewered prawns 
flamed and cooked in front of us.

The restaurant: I like the rustic farmer's straw raincoat.

Our party was now 6: Su Min, Sing Yu, Stella, Roney, Ing Pek, Alice Pek. We were brought to 龙海  LongHai by 3 cars, just over an hour's drive on very nice highway with fantastic long high bridges.
Jackson & Remey would join us at 11 pm.

Sketch of Diamond Hotel, Long Hai
Bible passage Isaiah 55: 10-12 CUV.

Group photo before dinner. 
There were three wedding dinners simultaneously, filling the banquet halls.
 We had a private dining room at level 2.

Very nice century egg.

Gingered steam prawns

Mushroom chicken soup.

Very nice fish

Group photo and the pomelo we got from nearby shop.

During dinner Roney recalled a ditty from itinerant hawker Singapore, Circa 1950's.

GPS location the ancestral village, 10 minutes by road from LongHai

The marker at ancestral temple

Saturday 3 October 2015
This is the day!
We were issued with badges that identified us as "family". 
Picture on the card is that of the refurbished temple.

This is a sketch of that heart stopping welcome.
30 or more drummers in the Aunty Brigade in red 
beating drums in a well practiced rhythm.
Children all with little posies

And the pair of village elders with black hat and long blue tunics, 
like something out of a Chinese movie!

There were fire crackers and a lion dance.
And lots and lots of people:
Many many relatives
And many many more neighbours.

Roney ceremonially opened the temple doors.
We got in and the tablet cabinet was  opened.
We did our respectful 三鞠躬。

We went to visit Grand Uncle Chen Jun Liang.
 He is our main family contact, descended from brother of grandfather of Tan Tock Seng.
This sketch was done from third floor of Grand Uncle Chen Jun Liang's home.
The bible text is Isaiah 55:12-13, Chinese Union Version.

We were brought to this temple
Inner court yard of the regional Tan temple
When I was doing this Chinese brush painting I had about 40 pairs of eyes on me. 
No pressure. No pressure.

We were brought to the tomb of the first Tan to migrate to this region.

Tan Kin Hui born 1254, ZhangZhou north area, migrated to this region at age of 20.
Tan Tock Seng is 17 generations below:
I am 7th generation down from TTS, ie 24 generations down from Tan Kin Hui.

Sketching the visit.

In front of the tomb.

An elevated view

Close up: The stones on top of the tombstone are placed to hold coloured paper (long gone) that indicate a descendant has visited.

Pair of elephant guardians

Panoramic view
Between the elephants and the warriors is a set of 12 Chinese zodiac animals

About 100 metre below the pair of elephants is another pair of similar elephants.

Stage set for dinner entertainment. 

Helium balloons dot the sky.

Guest of honour 王瑜玲 Ms Wang Yu Ling,
 chairperson of The Returned Overseas Chinese Federation of Longhai City, Fujian Province.


The sketch

The Butterfly Lovers is a Chinese legend of a tragic love story of a pair of lovers, Liang Shanbo (梁山伯) and Zhu Yingtai(祝英台), whose names form the title of the story. The title is often abbreviated to Liang Zhu (梁祝). Two youths from the community did this act for us.

There was Bollywood dancing, and a young gorl of about 8 who sang in English, Chinese and played the flute.

The refurbished temple

The ancestral tablets within

Donors acknowledged

Close up view of names written in stone.

Next day Sunday 4th October 2015 we paid a crustiest call to GrandUncle Jun Lian's confectionary shop, then we were returned to Xiamen. Mr Seow (library head) brought us up to the top of  the administration block where we had a panoramic view of the area.

Looking down we could see the Lim Boon Keng pavilion .

Me and my great grandfather.

Respects, respects.

Our exit had a little hiccup due to typhoon Mujigae but finally we got home safely.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tan Boo Liat

For Friday 23 January 2015

Ode to my Great Great  Great Grand Mother

My Great Great Great Grand Mother's Tomb!
I stand before her, silent, in respect and awe.
Her genes embedded in every cell of mine,
We are bonded though the course of time.

My Great Great Great Grand Mother's Tomb!
I sit beside her, sunlight streaming through the trees.
I sense an inner warmth and joy sublime:
Habitat Heritage and History entwine.

My Great Great Great Grand Mother's Tomb!
The white stakes declare a restless future:
Her eyeless sockets shedding copious tears-
That eight lane highway: unspoken fears!

My Great Great Great Grand Mother's Tomb!
"Could you not beg them to let us rest in peace?"
Her silenced tongue in eloquence loudly says :
Her bony hands grasp me in one last fond embrace.

Tan Boo Liat (1875-1934) is born in a well known and established family in Singapore. He is the son of Tan Soon Toh, the grandson of Tan Kim Ching, and great grandson of Tan Tock Seng.

Tan Boo Liat was one of the pioneer members of the Straits Chinese British Association when it was first formed in 1900. The President of the Association was Tan Jiak Kim and Vice President, Seah Liang Seah.
He built his home Pender Road Mount Faber and named it  Golden Bell Mansion 
(after his grandfather, Tan Kim Ching).

He was a strong supporter of Dr Sun Yat Sen and a member of the Singapore Tung Meng Hui.
 On December 15, 1911, Chinese revolutionary leader Dr Sun Yat Sen, stayed the night here, immediately after his arrival from Europe.

Singapore Chinese Girl School (Sing Po Chung Kwo Hsio Tang) was founded as an all-girls Peranakan school in July 1899 by a group of Straits Chinese men including Dr Lim Boon Keng , Sir Song Ong Siang and Tan Boo Liat, at premises in Hill Street, with an English headmistress and seven girls on the register. The President then was Lew Yuk Lin (Chinese consul) and vice presidents Khoo Seok Wan and Tan Hap Seng, Treasurer, Tan Boon Liat, Secretary; Ong Soo Tee.

Tan Boo Liat became an instant celebrity among the race horse community when his horse, "Vanitas" won the Viceroy Cup on December 26, 1898 at Calcutta, India making it the first horse from Malaya to do so. Along  with the trophy is the princely sum of $100,000.  Vanitas continued its racing career after its return to Singapore and won in 1899, the Singapore Derby for the third successful time. By 1900, age caught up with the champion and Vanitas was retired at Tan Boo Liat's house, "Mafeking" at Confederate Estate.

His gravestone depicts rays of light.  On its side are  two bells.The  light rays indicate his staunch support of the Kuomintang Movement, while the bells are symbols of his mansion. The gravestone also indicates his given title awarded by the King of Siam - Phra Anakul Sayamkitch. This is because he and his family (especially his grandfather, Tan Kim Ching) has close relationship to the King of Siam due to the business dealings they have.

Tan Boo Liat died in Shanghai in 1934, his body was embalmed and return to Singapore via a ship called "President Johnson". The cortege left 117, Emerald Hill Road for Bukit Brown. 

Tan Boo Liat is buried Block 3. Division D. His plot no is 520. The tomb is located just behind the iconic colourful sikh guard of Mr Chew Geok Leong.

Boo Liat’s sister Lilian Tan Luck Neo married Seow Poh Leng. They had three children then Lilian died. Boo Liat’s daughter Polly then married Seow Poh Leng, a young bride of 17 who was mother to these three children and had another two of her own, including Rosie Seow, my mother. Polly was the Peranakan matriarch who formed the theme of Emily of Emerald Hill (written by Stella Kon, my sister), although the various elements of the play are composite that include  many different people, some fictional and imaginary.

Boo Liat’s mother was Wuing Yi Ho, daughter of Wuing Boon Whatt, the first Chinese to practice law in Singapore. 
Wuing Boon Whatt’s mother’s tomb (Mdm Lim) has been located in Bukit Brown
As is the tomb of his grand father, Tan Kim Ching.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Madam Oei

This lady Mdm Oei has captivated many hearts. Many Brownies are included amongst those smitten.

A photo of Bukit Brown with an image inspired by Mdm Oei's reflection was drawn digitally and superimposed to highlight a presentation  "Ladies of the Straits Settlements" by Catherine Lim.

"To dramatize the effect of the image, I have added a lead actress to this new work. Titled it 'Madam Oei' as it reminded me of Mrs Wellington Koo.
Image taken at Bukit Brown Cemetery and the figure added using Procreate."
says the artistic director Ms Khoo Ee Hoon.

Hui-lan Oei was the daughter of Chinese businessman Oei Tiong Ham. Her marriage to Chinese diplomat and politician Vi Kyuin Wellington Khoo, was announced in November 1920 whilst Wellington Koo was Chinese Minister to the United States. In early 1921, Vi Kyuin Wellington Koo was appointed the Chinese Minister to Great Britain and they lived in London until June 1946, though they divorced shortly after the Second World War. In addition to posing for photographer Hoppé, Madame Wellington Koo was also painted by Slade graduate, Leon Underwood. She wrote two memoirs, Hui-Lan Koo (Mrs. Wellington Koo): An Autobiography (1945) and No Feast Lasts Forever (1975). 

This is haunting beauty!

How I captured that image at the talk on my graphic recording