A few months ago, I shared with you some touching letters from China to my mother. These letters built the bridge between my mother and her remaining brother in China, both were separated by war, politics and poverty for 40 years.
During their separation, my mother never ceased to support her brother’s family in the Fujian province of China even though we had very little ourselves. We lived in Malaysia and Singapore then and my mother would squeeze any money that she could find and then sent money and medicine (such as ginseng) to China, for example, to help fix a leaking roof, and to help pay for the bride price so that her three nephews could get a wife in their poor village. My mother also enabled her elderly sister in law (now 96 years old) to visit Singapore in 1992 to fulfill her once-in-a-lifetime dream.
Last week, my 80-year-old mother returned to China to visit her old house in China, where she left as a skinny four years old. My mother never saw her father and her other brother again – both died within a few years since she left. Last week my mother returned with two of her five daughters and one handsome grandson. It was an emotional reunion.
In this post, I’m going to show you some images of my mother’s ancestral home. The small village still has no street light and the route to her old house seems labyrinthine.
The roof no longer leaks, windows have been added and the walls strengthened. An extension has also been built and the house now has a television.
I am very moved to see that on the wall in my mother’s ancestral home in China hung a collage of faded photos of us. These were rare snapshots that my mother had sent to China in the 70s and 80s. My mother’s eldest brother lived a life in poverty as he was the only one left behind in the poor village in China as my mother and my grandmother braved the sea voyage to Singapore. Brother and sister finally reunited in 1979, and they recognised each other through a photograph clutched in their hands.
My uncle did not get to meet any of us, but you could see our status in his heart as he put the photos in a huge picture frame, and displayed them in the room. He always treated us as his family.
To our relatives in China, my mother is their queen. They show her the utmost respect and the younger generation has heard of the stories of my mother’s sacrifices and contribution to the family. My mother regarded this trip as her final visit to China, but I promised her that I would visit China with her next time.
Tomorrow I’ll show you images of the younger generation of our family in China.
The Letters from China series was inspired by Blog Exercises: Before the Blog by Lorelle VanFossen. You can find more Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress. This is a year-long challenge to help you flex your blogging muscles.
My Related Posts:
- The unbreakable family ties
- Letters from China: Part 10
- Letters from China: Part 9
- Letters from China: Part 8
- Letters from China: Part 7
- Letters from China: Part 6
- Letters from China: Part 5
- Letters from China: Part 4
- Letters from China: Part 3
- Letters from China: Part 2
- Letters from China: Part 1
- When did you last go home?
- An age with relative freedom
- Visiting a Columbarium in Singapore
- A poignant visit to a Singapore columbarium
- Why are we all called Jade?
- Weekly Photo Challenge – Urban life in Singapore
- Postcard from Singapore: East vs West
- Postcard from Singapore: Satay
- Weekly Writing Challenge: My Mum’s Net