History lesson of the Djinggas root
After Chengdu Mery and I went different directions. Mery directly flew to Hong Kong and arrived there well, but after only one day after she got there, there was a Typhoon warning. According to the pictures they showed in the news it was pretty strong. Luckily Mery stayed at the hotel and didn´t really noticed that much.
For me the journey continued from Chengdu with the plane to Jie Yang and on the following day with the bus to Puning, both places are in the Guangdong province in South China. In Puning the Djingga family have their origin, at least what we know today. My great grandfather emigrated round about 100 years ago from that place to Indonesia. The name Djingga is translated from the Chinese name which is in Mandarin Huang and means as much as yellow…well, not that exited…
My godfather from Kunshan made really great effort for me to find out if someone in Puning know something about our family history, He did a lot of calling and correspondences to the city council. I am really thankful for his help, without his support I were there only as a lost tourist and wouldn´t know so much about our family history. The city of Puning has a population of about 280000 people, which in my eyes is not that little. The city itself is divided into different sections, amongst others in the city centre the part which is called Pinghu. If I am not wrong Huang Wu Shi settled down at this place in 1597, he bought a piece of land and brought more than 30 family member to this place. The current head of the city council is a Huang member, of course ;-) Until now there are round about 8000 people around Puning who is somehow related to the first Huang family members who settled down to this place in 1597…so many of my family member…I never thought…
Well, here a short summary about my visit in Puning:
After I arrived in Puning by bus I went directly to the hotel to check in. The bus ride took about 1,5hrs from Jie Yang bus terminal to Puning downtown. I had to hurry up a bit because my uncle arranged a meeting at 11 AM with the head of the city council Huang Zhen Lin at his office, and by the way he is somehow my granduncle. When I arrived at this office he welcomed me with a traditionally Chinese tea. Unfortunately my granduncle told me that he is not really familiar with my family history but his 70 years old elder brother Huang Zhen Fu knows more about the family history of the Huang and could show me the family places. I was quite happy to hear that someone would show me the different places around, that’s really nice. But on that same day it was not possible for Huang Zhen Fu to accompany me because he had to go to a funeral of a family member. So we made an appointment on the following day. That same day I went on my own through the city and tried to find some historical places. Well this city is really not a nice place for tourists, nothing special to see and pretty dirty, the rubbish is sadly present everywhere…
From my grandmother I learned a Chinese dialect which is called Chaozhou in Mandarin or the local people would say Teochew. In this area every local people speak that language. It is somehow funny because I seldom heard this language besides talking with my grandmother or with some few other relatives. It´s been a while when I spoke this language the last time but I could somehow understand few simple words what the local people are talking, it seems to me very familiar. Unfortunately my vocabs was not enough for an extensive conversation, I only learned the basics when I was young and it´s really been a while when I talked it the last time.
The next day I went again to the city council office as per agreement and this time there was already a committee waiting for me, somehow they are all relatives of me, also the 70 years old granduncle Huang Zhen Fu. We again had the traditionally Chinese tea and he told me that he could remember to meet my great grandfather and my grandfather when they once came for visit. We didn´t stay that long at the city council office as he said we have to hurry up to see all the places. After we took a picture (I try to comment some pictures in my picture folder) at the office we started our tour. He organised a car and we visited with three other relatives the different temples, shrines and the tomb of my great-great-grandparents. About noon the head of the city council invited us for lunch, we met in a traditional Chinese restaurant and there were other relatives joining us, at the end we were about 14 people for lunch. In the evening I was also invited, this time only 6 people, also all relatives. We went to a very noble restaurant where we had a separated room for our dinner. Some dishes were very familiar to me, I knew them from my grandmother, but there were also dishes which I honestly would never order, e.g. snails, pork intestine and cognac…well for celebratory ;-)
When we visited the different historical places we were always welcomed with the traditional Chinese tea, and quickly other curious people are coming to see what’s going on and wanted to have a small talk…but I couldn´t really understand that much. And somehow it was quite familiar to me and I didn´t have an uncomfortable feeling. It was like they welcomed a family member who come home, it seems like this doesn´t happen that often here. Before I had to leave the next day my granduncle Huang Zhen Fu gave me a book of the Huangs pedigree, I was really impressed and thankful for his gift, really cool. Currently I am in the 15th generation since the founding father Huang Wu Shi settled here in 1597 as the first generation mentioned in that pedigree.
The next day one of my granduncle picked me up at the hotel and brought me to the train station, really a nice touch. The 2 days in Puning where I had some insight into my family history was already over and I continue my travel towards south, to Hong Kong.
It was an exciting time for me to learn something about the history of my Asian family side. I am really thankful for all the people who made it possible in Puning and especially my godfather who really did a lot of investigations and correspondences. It was an unforgettable experience.