Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who Am I?

I think its only about time for me to talk a bit about this family of mine. But I ain't just gonna talk about my family, I'm gonna talk about where they came
from. You see my family tree is really really confusing so I probably would forget about sooner or later. So I thought, why not detail it in my blog while I still remember.
Choo family.
The very complex Choo family originated from Fujian a province on the southeast coast of China. According to the ever reliable wikipedia, Hakka people from the province were usually from the southwestern area. So my ancestors would probably have came from Longyan city. Anyways according to my uncles and Dad my great-great-grandparents and his son my great grandfather came over to Kuala Lumper, Malaysia leaving some their family. Up until my Dad's generation most of the members in the Choo family followed the family tradition of working as funeral planners or ritual leaders. Basically their job was to ensure the dead were sent or accepted into hell as their job also included chants and other rituals in funerals. The reason they came over to Malaysia was never clearly explained but according to some of the elder members of the Choo family, they were hired to plan and perform the rites for Yap Ah Loy who died in 1885. If this was true that would be the year of their arrival. My great grandfather had two children one of them, my grandfather Choo Ah Yit.He married Chin Moon after several failed marriages. The first of his was an arranged one when he was a child which never came to be as she passed away at a very young age. Never the less she was still honored as part of the family. My grandad later met another girl who left him with their only daughter to Singapore. He followed the family tradition and lived in Chinatown. The place they lived on top of a shop in a house with two rooms and they didn't have much. The place is located near a car park in Chinatown leading to a food court which I can't specifically describe its whereabouts.My Dad recalled growing up having a night time supper of left over rice and for some reason serving it with water. He also enjoyed rice dumplings which his grandmother would bring over and hang on the door of his room. My dad claimed that he would eat for the three meals of a day in his room. As a teenager he spent most of his time helping out his dad with the family tradition. His dad was a very strict which I believe was due to their living conditions and the need of supporting his family of ten children which included eight boys and two girls. My dad was the eldest son and the second oldest in his family. An interesting fact of my family is that my grandmother was of Javanese ethnicity as one of her ancestors claimed he was one. So for now it makes me a Hakka Chinese Malaysian with a dash of Javanese. My grand father passed away in 1969 at the age of 40. This left my dad with the responsibility;ity of taking care of the family. My dad once told me to strengthen my relationship with my siblings as he told me that his relationship with his siblings wasn't as strong. In the Choo family we gather during weddings, funerals or other significant events. But life resumes as usual on other days. Two of my Dad's brothers have not been seen. One of them as a result of his strained relationship with his family. The other one, well his just missing for some reason leaving his children in the care of their mother.Two of my uncles took on the family tradition with one of them. One of them is still active with his profession. My Dad worked hard with his studies and job after his dad's death and succeeded but life with it's ups and downs so you can never tell. Another one of my uncle is working as a tourist guide in Thailand. My two aunties are now semi retired after years of working as noodle suppliers. The remaining two of my uncles live together as they both took on jobs. My mum claims that I could very well have a 100 relatives as many of my uncles had children and most of their children had children of their own. It's a very complex family.My Dad told me about his dad keeping in contact with some of the descendants of his family in China. But after a few years of no contact he hasn't heard from then.

Tan Family.
The Tan family lived closely with each other and through the years they had been together as the family grew. It all started when my grandfather young orphaned child from Hainan Island was separated from his brother his only known family to be brought to Malaysia as a peasant. He held different jobs which included selling ice-cream and working in a rubber estate. During the war he married my grandmother Foo Ying. She was born in 1928 and recalled running and hiding as a teenager when the siren would ring as the Japanese troops attacked. It is claimed that her father was an engineer and she lived in a rather privileged environment before the war began. Not long after their marriage she gave birth to a daughter. After a miscarriage and the death of their young son they moved to Kuala Lumpur shortly after the birth of another daughter. My grandmother worked as a servant in a British family. She had six children which included 5 daughters and a son. They lived in a nine leveled apartment building next to Victoria Institution which they claimed was a great school for the smartest (personally I think Victoria is crap after half a year of tolerating the school as I was made to study in there). According to my grandmother my grandpa volunteered to join the Communist group of the time but decided to abandon the decision. Years passed as their children had children of their own. It was in 1986 that my Dad after the success of his job working as a supplier of TVB videos that he met my mum in a nightclub or a bar. They got along well enough that they were engaged in 1987. After spending a few weeks in Hong Kong with my mum and her family they got married in the 31st of August. Four years later they had a child. Three years later they had a better one! And seven years later they had a pretty average one. So who am I ? I'm a Chinese Hakka Malaysian with a tiny tiny bit of Javanese as they claim and a twist of Hainanese.