Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Great Grandpa's Will

My great grandpa prepared a WILL at the age of 59 (1929), 
but he lived beyond the age of 80.
The will (分關執照)was written in his presence by another person. Not sure why the words in vertical appear in half. In total, there are 8 pages including the cover above.

My younger brother translated a few important portions into English for family members who don't read Chinese. (No regret for sending my kids to Chinese primary school)

My brother intentionally kept the "original Chinese feel" , without rephrasing it to sound too "English".  And I intentionally not showing the original Will in Chinese clearly as I feel that those details are considered private.

However, I would surely love to share here some wise words from my great grandpa - the man I never met, but respect a lot.

"In the future, you brothers, having own family and career, shall manage accordingly, shall not compete (against each other),  more so shall be hardworking day and night, fulfil the responsibility to manage inheritance/success, bring honour to the ancestors and bring abundance to the descendants, so as not to fail the wishes of our ancestor. 

A few pages detailed how the the ancestral home, land & company dividends/shares should be split and managed.   

He also gave instruction on future expansion.
"...Once the extended building is completed, one shall declare the actual cost of construction, shall not declare more than actual expenses (建築費用簿數,不得以少報多), shall follow your conscience, shall not go against my words (憑良心勿違背余言)..."
"...If during construction outsiders come to interrupt or interfere, you four brothers shall unite, supporting each other in defence, protecting the property right and complete the construction ..."

The last page below was personally written by my Great Grandpa.
"My children consist of you four brothers and your seven sisters. Going through forty over years of industrious nurturing, it is fairly satisfying to have brought you all up. You brothers shall be thrifty, (embrace) simplicity and build career (汝兄弟更宜檢樸立業) by following my will /advice."
To me, what my Great Grandpa left for his descendants was not only that ancestral home or other physical assets, but more importantly, it was his legacy of Hardwork, Honesty & Integrity.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

尋根之旅 Ancestral Home & Food

A few more photos of my ancestral home...

Big compound

There is a staircase leading to the balcony that offers a scenic view.

A view from the balcony...my ancestral house is facing 
a mountain 太平山 & a river. 
Good Feng Shui indeed :-)

These's a couplet on both sides of the main door saying:

Intricate wood carving. 

The meaningful words on the mirror in the main hall:

书田菽栗多真味, 心地芝兰有异香

The first part is about the benefit of reading, and the second part is about noble character.

My brother told me 芝兰 is iris / orchid that symbolizes noble character / true friendship.

I'm sure it was my great grandpa's wish that all his descendants possess such good habit and character!

A corner of the interior. That house was badly flooded many years ago.

Curious to have a look at the pigsty.

My dad standing in front of the Chinese New Year couplet written by my cousin's son whom has won many calligraphy awards. Did I mention my great grandpa wrote good calligraphy...and my dad has beautiful handwriting too?

The dining area.

Getting ready for a feast. Red is the favorite color for Chinese family. Feeling like CNY reunion :-)

Yummy Hakka delicacies that included Soon Ban 笋粄, Ngiong Tew Fu 釀豆腐, Meatball Soup, Foo Chook, Lou Su Ban 老鼠粄 etc. There're also chicken, very fresh mushroom & vegetable.

Besides Chinese tea, we're served with the very tasty homemade wine - Niang Jiu 娘酒. 
I turned lobster red after a few cups...but i just couldn't resist it! What to do... I'm a Hakka Mui 客家妹!

The delicious Lou Su Ban 老鼠粄

Very clean underground water.

Bidding farewell. 

One thing for sure, this is a fruitful & meaningful trip that we shall always remember...

- 印度诗人泰戈尔 

I can't seem to find the above in English (by Rabindranath Tagore). 
So I loosely translate it. 
"At sunset, no matter how long the shadow of tree stretches, 
it'll always link to the root / begin at the root"

Saturday, June 16, 2012

尋根 Finding Root (A trip to China) Part 1

During the recent school holidays, my family had a private tour to China. It was such a meaningful trip, with family members of 3 generations ( my dad & his 2 brothers plus spouses, my cousin sister & son, my brothers' families, me and my youngest daughter).

We reached 廈門 Xiamen on 26 May.

My cousin & sister-in-law share the same birth date. We wanted to get 2 sets of candles but was told by the shopkeeper that it was common to use 12 candles in China regardless of age.

Celebrating birthdays far away from home, but with close family members.

Day 2 we visited 鼓浪嶼 Gu Lang Yu 。I like the Piano Musuem the most. It has an impressive collection of antique pianos. Back in the hotel that evening, my dad and uncles told us stories of our grandpa. It was such an unforgettable night!

Day 3 was the main highlight of the trip. We were accompanied by relatives in China to visit our ancestral home in 大埔 (Da Pu). That house was built about 80 years ago for my great grandfather by my grandfather and his brothers who worked in Malaya at that time.

A road which was built much later (1992). It was named after one of my grand uncles.

Another road which was built in 2002. It was named after another of my grand uncle and his son. That grand uncle lived for more than a century and contributed heavily to the development of his homeland.

I could see how happy the 3 brothers were! (It was the first trip for my dad and his eldest brother)

Entering our ancestral's home...It was claimed to be the most beautiful house in that area many yeas ago. The words on the right hand side shows the middle name of 4 generations (初,開,育,秀). My great grandpa's name is 陳初軔。

A photo with our China relatives (my cousin and his mother).

Stepping into the main hall.

I was so excited to see my great grandparents' photos in the main hall. Those were similar to photos in my childhood home. My great grandparents left China and were reunited with his children in Malaya. He passed away in the foreign land.

Savouring some authentic fruits.

The kids had a great time chasing after the chicks. What do you expect? There's no ipad to entertain them.

It was fun for the kids...but not so fun for the poor little chick.


I wonder what the kids' great great grandpa is going to say if he were still there... 

開枝散葉I'm sure it would be the greatest day of his life :-)

p/s: more photos in my next post!