Wednesday, June 08, 2011

老照片 – to china 1927

When the folks are no longer around to tell the tale, the only means to unravel the story behind the old photographs is to postulate & from what one know and heard  from the elders.

Where were these two photographs taken, who were they & when?

The ancestral home in China Songkou, Meixan- 松口, 梅县。The courtyard of the house was much the same from what we saw years later on a visit in 1997.

There could not be any doubt that the litte boy was dad. These two photographs were kept with dad’s other old photographs all these years. The boy was possibly 3 or 4 years old then. With that setting, the photograph would then had been taken in 1927 or 1928 – and in the deep of winter.

As to the woman holding the hand of the little boy – it should be 2nd grand aunt ( 二伯婆). . The facial feature of this middle age woman, with strong cheek bones look similar to that of her in another photograph taken 20 or so odd years earlier in 1906. From the elders, she was tall of stature, and this was very much borne out in the photograph.

As to the grand old lady in a pair of round spectacles, she must be great grand mother. She ought to be in her seventies by then. In the genealogical record she was addressed as a 黎氏 – from the Li Family – though there was no mentioned of her year of birth.


1. For whatever reasons – dad had never told us of the family history or for that matter the folks in China. Possibility cos it was a memory of of grief and anger, that to him was better left there and be forgotten.

For when his dad returned to China in autumn of 1946 & died two years or so later –it was a sad closing chapter of a 40 odd year sojourn in Nanyang.

2. In the genealogical record it was stated that dad was half-adopted as a 2nd son to 2nd Grand Uncle -

過繼半嗣永亮為次子 guojibansi yongliangweicizi
The Gu-family (Koo) record- 古氏族譜革公派 - was completed in the 18th year of the Republic – 1929.

3. This trip was possibly dad’s first trip to his ancestral home to see his grandmother - travelling with 2nd Grand Aunt.

- 08Sep11/5:15pm/depot road

4. Visited Songkou a 2nd time on 23-34Dec2011.  In transit in HKG - heard from aunt Nyukmoi - that dad had a scare on his forehead close to his eyebrow.   She had previously tried look out for this scar - but it was not visible. 
- recall a tale that while on a visit to the ancestral village when he was a kid, dad had a deep cut while going up the steps visiting a temple.  Possibly this tale had lived on in the village, and the trip could be this one when he was a boy of 3-4years of age.

updated 13Feb2012