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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Roots - 寻根

What a strange coincidence!

Just the other day I was blogging and wondering what made my ancestors move out of their comfort (or uncomfortable and unbearable) zone to leave their homeland to seek a new life in the Southern Seas?

And today, I got a pleasant surprise in the Chinese daily that the tomb of my great great grandfather was discovered after one year's search. He the one that came from China that I was talking about - the 18 year old clerk that got his start in the Chandlery trade.

It's also telling that the news is on the front page of the Chinese daily, but not a word was found in the Sunday Times.

I've been buying and reading the Chinese daily ever since my return. Only on Sundays do I buy the Sunday Times in addition. I've discovered during my time in Shanghai that how the Chinese speaking world view the world is quite different from the English speaking world.

It started from a speculation angle for my investment and trading, but it has since evolved into my cultural and philosophical renaissance of sort.

Don't worry. I am not a Chinese chauvinist.

My mind thinks in English; my heart sings in Mandarin.

I am not as emotional as Nehru, but I think I can understand how he must have felt when he discovered he is more English than Indian.

Similarly, there's a gentle weeping in my heart that I can express better in Mandarin and English over my Teochew mother tongue. 

With gratitude to my maternal grandma who was from China (whom I consider a foreign talent; although she has never worked a day in her life), I was able to pick-up some of her Mainland China's Teochew - conversationally at least.

I discovered my heritage when I was in secondary school. When mom showed me a Chinese article on my great great grandfather - the King of Gambier.

Ever since, I have on and off embarked on a journey of tracing my roots. But I've never document it down.

Perhaps its a sign that I should add another interest tab called "Roots" to my already very "rojak" blog. You never know! One day some precocious child may ask in my twilight years:

"Granduncle Jared, where did we come from?"

"Child, we are descended from dragons. One day, one intrepid young dragon braved the vast ocean and landed on a little red dot..." 

Before your imagination ran wild, I would like to share these truths:

1)   My lineage traces from secondary wife (not concubine). So my pedigree is not powderful or pure enough.

2)   And from a financial comparison perspective, my family's standing is the equivalent of weaving straw sandals. Our branch pretty much lost all of the inherited wealth during our grandparents' days. I was born into a Queenstown HDB 3 room flat; but we could afford Bata shoes. So it wasn't so bad.

It's definitely not an "official" tracing of my roots; more a personal journey in retracing the steps of my heritage. A recording of my reflections and emotions along the way.

And I would like to do both side of the story - tracing the roots on my paternal and maternal side. 



  1. i haven't visited this blog in a while. looks like you are doing fine.

    1. Welcome back Drizzt!

      Time really flies! It's been almost 2 years since your help in getting my blog started by posting "My Story" in your website (Investment Moat) ;)

      I am still having lots of fun playing with this hobby of mine :)

    2. ah thats good to hear. i see you are trying to do more travelling. do keep the pictures coming!

  2. Very interesting story. and Nice share.
    There is one DNA trace test to find out where our ancestor are. Maybe you are interested to do it ? :)

    1. A friend from Indonesia!

      I know the ancestral hometowns of both my paternal and maternal branches in China ;)

      Will visit them in the coming years.

      You asked a very interesting question!

      1) If I agnostic, I would say my human ancestors are from Africa - which is the accepted scientific DNA evidence we have today.

      2) If I am a follower of the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism), my ancestors would be Adam and Eve. And like Cain and Abel, brother is killing brother even till today...

      3) If am a dragon descendent, duh!!!

      4) If I am man of science, my ancestors have to be the first carbon-based living "thingy" that appeared on this earth around 3.5 billion years ago?

      Just had an interesting thought! If US only reduce their national debt by USD1.00 per year, it will take them more than a trillion years to get out of debt!?

      Don't laugh!

      Since 2008, has the US debt even reduced by USD$1.00?


  3. don't really understand but whatever the case, don't pull the roots out from the ground.


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