Sunday, June 19, 2011

China - Family Matters

As explained in my previous post, our recent trip to China was to witness the opening ceremony of the refurbished ancestral home in Mei Zhou. Relatives from Indonesia, Malaysia and of course, China, gathered on the 12th and 13th of June 2011 to officiate the ceremony.

Planned by the Chinese relatives and funded mainly by the Indonesian relatives, the whole affair was officiated in a very grand manner. Firstly,  a large bus, a mini bus and  two cars ferrying relatives were led by an outrider from Mei Zhou town into the village, which was about a 30-45 minutes drive.

As we approached the village, you can imagine the convoy attracted a lot of attention but that was nothing compared to what we were going to experience next. Upon arrival, the roads were immediately blocked on both sides to allow us to alight and cross the road in safety. Even an ambulance had to stop until we were safely ushered into the smaller road.

And when I say ushered, I mean with two lion dances, a band lined up along both sides of the road, a gun firing vehicle and exploding firecrackers.
The band, the lion dances and the gun firing vehicle on the far right.
Closer look at the "guns"
Here's a video captured while we tried to gather everyone to walk along the lane towards the home. My jaw just dropped from the sheer magnitude of this. Felt like we were superstars!

There were large helium balloons, an air pumped gateway, flags erected, lanterns, huge supply of firecrackers, 1-hour fireworks for three nights (you know, the kind that shoots high up into the sky and explodes into different patterns. It lasted for an hour on the first night. We didn't stay long enough to time the second night.), abundance of food...

Firecracker content from one box
There were at least 6 spots where the firecrackers were set off. This was the supply for one spot.
How one spot looked like after the firecrackers
Food being prepared on the spot. Health officials actually came by to check !
Food preparation for 150 tables for lunch on Day 2
The hour-long fireworks display

Besides the ceremony of placing the ancestral tablets into the prayer hall, the days were spent visiting relatives like an extended Chinese New Year celebration, eating, giving speeches and entertainment.

Speech by the Indonesian counterpart
Speech by the Malaysian counterpart
A portion of the Malaysian group
Some Chinese and Malaysian relatives
The whole Malaysian contingent
Since I could only speak English, I spoke to some grand nephews and nieces (yup) from Indonesia. KS belongs to the 23rd generation while these guys are from the 25th generation. They are about the same age as us and some of them already have kids. They had to call the 2 year old baby in our Malaysian group as Uncle. Looks like we have a lot of catching up to do.

The four guys standing are KS grand nephews

It was great being able to connect with them and hopefully we'll keep in touch.

On the second night, a stage was erected and there was an entertainment show organized with singing, dancing, some traditional, some modern. The entire village showed up.
Our Malaysian clan was well represented by nephew Yueh Ren who performed two traditional songs and gained fans that night. He's performed in South Korea too and some other parts of the region, by the way, so he's no novice! 
The Indonesians gamely went up and performed a Mandarin song. 
This is roughly the layout of the house:

The semi-circle rooms at the back is built upon a hill to prevent invasions so the height of the structure hugs the hill. Sorry for the comparison but it kind of reminds me of the Chinese graveyard, which is the best way I know how to describe it. The semi-circle pond in front is a feng shui thing for every Hakka home.

There were many long hours in between so we amused ourselves with jumping shots as usual.

New recruit! Yueh Ren joined in the fun. After jumping, an amused man came up to us and asked if this was our first time here. Another lady then came up and offered us some food.
And another new recruit, KS cousin :)

We certainly had a lot of fun this trip!

1 comment:

Mlle Monster said...

Very Very Cool!