06 July 2009

Back To My Roots - Qiong Hai (琼海)

"Girl, we have finally reached your grandfather's hometown", said dad proudly once the bus reached Qiong Hai (琼海). I could sense the excitement in myself while gazing at the paddy field through the window.

"It isn't that bad. This place looks pretty good", I whispered to my mum who was sitting behind me.

It took about 10 minutes to travel from the town to the village. I remembered my grandma (who has passed away just one year ago) ever told me that it wasn't convenience at all to go back to my grandfather's hometown during 90's. Transportation and roads were the main problems before Sanya being recognized as one of the tourist sport in Hainan Province.

I believe I am lucky enough to be able to enter the village with no hassle because the tourist bus could stop us just in front of my ancestors' house. Thanks God! I can't imagine myself, walking 15km++ from the town to 'my roots'.

Well, yes. This is my roots, meaning that this is where my Tan family supposed to come from. If grandpa didn't take the daring move, walking weeks over weeks from the village to the town and swimming months over months to Malaysia, he would not have met my gorgeous grandma. Ok. I am just joking. He didn't swim across the South China Sea. He took the ship.. :)

Mum and I will never able to picture my late grandpa's life if we didn't step into this old house. We will never be able to understand the adjectives used by my grandmother without witnessing the objects and people around us although dad did snap some pictures few years back.

Frankly, I am glad he took the move to find a better fortune in Malaysia because I could not imagine my life staying here with no electricity, toilet attach, gas and water supply and proper bed. Let alone car, computer, mobile phone and television.

There is no refrigerator to store those foods. Those dry woods are used for cooking.

We called this as 'Satay house' because every house sticks so close together with front door and back door connecting each other.

Can you see the doors?

I smelled pigs.

Anyway, life in this village is far better than before. There are more facilities in this area including electricity and water supply. Besides, there are even education for children too. However, they fail to support the new generation in facing the fast changing world. Thus, most of the youngsters are moving out, trying to create a better life out there - and I agree.

I am surprise to know that she is my cousin.

This is her friend with their dinner on hands.

The blue rabbit soft toy which I gave it to her during our first meeting ended up on the roof. I guess she doesn't know how to play with it.. :(

My other Tan family members as well as the villagers here are still depending on the river to survive. They drink, cook, wash and bath using this river water which used to be so clean but not anymore. I was there, capturing every evident I could get on their daily activities.

She only used dust (if I am not mistaken) and water from the river. Oh my God. Isn't clean? I believe their immune system must be really strong.. >.<

Spending one whole day here wasn't easy at all. Why?

  1. Firstly, I couldn't speak nor understand Hainanese (the main dialect) which supposed to be my mother tongue. Thus, I was having difficulty in communicating with my other relatives especially the elderly. They spoke like a bullet train!
  2. The weather was too hot and I kept on sweating. Thanks God, my aunt's new house has 2 fans.
  3. I kept on being attacked by mosquitoes. Hate them!
  4. There wasn't anything I can do other than snapping pictures. I believe my cousin, Kiiro felt the same too.

I shall say, life in this area isn't easy. However, I realized that they are happy and enjoy living with whatever they have without much complaining. Maybe you may conclude that they have used to this kind of living and thus, not needing any changes. Well, maybe you are right but then, when I think twice, sometimes life doesn't have to be perfect to gain happiness.

One can be genuinely happy even though the old house is half broken, living only with candle light at night, sleeping without mattress, cooking with charcoal, not owning any single penny and being isolated from the so-called advance world, he or she is still eligible to find happiness. As long as they know how to be thankful and give their best in their lives, happiness can still be achieved, right? Like I always says, "Complainer with no action is a loser".

My uncle looks so much like my grandfather. Surprise!

I have found my roots, how about you?