Thursday, June 14, 2012

俊頭 1929

While listening to the live web broadcast of RTHK Radio 3 early this morning, I came to know that today, 14Jun is Family History Day. 

Well, to celebrate this day - here's another one to share with the folks-


1929 - January

The caption to the panoramic photograph reads :
A scenic view in the direction of Zhentou lower village - taken in January, the 18th year of the Republic. 

As such there  is no need to second guess the date of this photo as it was clearly written that it was taken in January 1929, the 18th year of the Republic. 

Zhentou village -  俊頭村 - is our ancestral village, in Songkou, Meixian, Guandong province - 廣東省梅懸松口填. 

This photo was recently re-developed from a negative which was found among the old photographs. The original print used to hang on the wall of the old house, and the negative was probably made from this print.

The photograph was taken from a higher elevation - the overlooking the lower  part of the village in the direction  towards the Mei River - 梅江.

The vegetation in the background were bamboo bushes along the river's edge.  Our ancestral home - I made was -  the 1st house from the right - with the main door and open court yard facing the camera.

When I was in my teens - in the 1970's I used to pour over the original photograph to find where the ancestral home was.  I had it viewed together with another photograph -of Grand father's funeral - where the assembly of the clan was kneeling in front of the ancestral home.  The form of the house was clearly visible in that photo, and I had matched it that the  ancestral home was located towards the right.  (However, this photograph was lost when we moved house in the early 1980's).

In an earlier post, it was postulated that dad visited the ancestral village when he was 4-5years old, and that the photographs of him taken with 2nd grand aunt and Great-grand mother were taken in winter.  The time and season matched with this scenic shot of the ancestral village. 

Most probably - a photographer was invited to take this scenic short during that trip - and this memory of the ancestral home was then taken to Nanyang.

Songkou - 松口填 - the busy river port where many a Hakka would begin their journey to new world - is located on the opposite side of the river.  There was no bridge linking the two areas then.  It would take about a 5-10 minute ferry to cross the river to Songkou from Zhentou -圳头.

2011 - December

The bamboo bushes along the river banks is still there

However, concrete alien looking boxes have been sprouting haphazardly all over the village, since the 1980's,  scarring  scenic scape.  Seasonal flooding has further dealt a deadly blow to the lower village,  and not much is left of the old world charm...

Reference :

1. 俊頭  vs 圳头  - Zhentou

Zhentou in traditional Chinese script was written as : 俊頭   (talented, smart head)
In simplified Chinese script -  it is : 圳头  (head of furrow in a field)

This change of the village name -  with a  proletariat nuance could be from 1950's with the establishment of New China.

2. Family History Day - BrookstonAlmanac -


Sunday, June 03, 2012

life in the little old things yet –

While digging thro the shelves during March balek kampong, I found this mini post card calendar tucked away among the many old stuff from the university days in Japan. 

May 1982
This mini-calendar used to hang on the wall on my room at the dormitory.  I had chosen this series on the images of Buddha perhaps because – one of  he earliest encounter with Japan was that of Buddhist images and images.
It was a tourism booklet of Japan that I saw when I was in primary school, in the 1960’s.  The cover page of the elongated booklet page, was  a photograph of the statues of the  Kanon bodhisttavata - 観音菩薩 - images from the Sanjyusan-gendo (三十三間堂), Kyoto.  I could not recall how the brochure came about as in the 1960’s tourism was a a luxury that not many of us could imagine.   
A rich aunt though, went on a tour of Japan, and it was a big event then.  I recall a big group of us, bigger than the entourage, were there at the Ipoh airport to see her & her travel companions off. 
She was a devout Buddhist with a richly decorated altar at her home.    As souvenirs, she gave us a pair of pointed Japanese chopsticks, and a few small black colored trays for holding tea cups. I did not recall we ever used them as they were too exotic, and we kept away in the meat-safe.  Well, that was close to 50years ago. Perhaps the brochure could have been from her travel.
While travelling to Japan as a student years later in 1981, on the first visit to Kyoto, the first temple I visited was the Sanjyusan-gendo.  And before that, in that Spring, our first outing was to the Nara Deer Park - 奈良公園, -  and we visited the Todaiji-daibutsu - 東大寺仏 .

Naturally, perhaps it was this aspect of cultural Japan that consciously or unconsciously guided the choice of this calendar. 

June 2012
A google of Seitaka-dooji - 制多迦童子- brought up interesting notes. 
The main Buddhist deity associated with this attendant is Fudo-myo-o - -不動明王. Together with the another attendant Kongara dooji -  矜羯羅童子, they form the trinity – Fudo-sanzon - 不動三尊
Fudo-myo-o -不動明王- is venerated in Esoteric Buddhism, and not usually found in local Chinese Buddhist temples.  Perhaps, we could find a statue of this deity at the temple in Chinatown, without the attendants.
Interestingly, Fudo-myo-o  is supposedly to be the guardian of people born in the zodiac year of the rooster.  Perhaps, it’s a re-connection after a lapse of thirty years-
Time, how you have flown .. Leaving behind the little old things where there is life yet –

Reference :
2.      Taking a leaf from the article in today’s  Sunday Times, Sundaylfe – Reflect page – Giving Life to old stuff -  it finally give me the inspiration to sit down to reflect on this - 30 year old calendar.
3.      A memory to Brother-in-law, who passed away peacefully this morning in hometown, after a 6-month struggle with colon cancer. May be rest in peace - omtf.
4. 仏像