Tracing family roots in China
One hundred years later, Chen's family are still wondering about their original identification and who they really are.
In early 20th century, Chen Jiuwu moved from China to Malaysia and started his life adventure in the new country. Although he kept in contact with family in Fujian by letter, he did not get back home after that, nor did his next generation.
Recently, with more developed communication, his grandson Ng Yeah Cian gathered adequate courage to seek out his ancient roots in Fujian, China in person. He wants to find his existing distant relatives in China and trace the birthplace of his grandfather.
Mr. Cian expressed strong affection towards China, which triggered him to transfer from Tunku Abdul Rahman University College to Xiamen University Malaysia (XMUM) in 2016. He explained that he will not regret his decision as he got closer to his cultural roots in XMUM.
“I can still feel the strong connection with China. I feel like I am coming back home while visiting China. We still share the same language, the same habits, and the same culture,” he said.
He is extremely fascinated by Chinese culture and history. He indicated that every trip is a journey of mind and spirit. In 2017, he came to China five times and stayed here for about three months altogether. He has been willing to cut his daily expenses to save money for visiting China. So far, he has visited 20 provinces in China from south to north.
“I never regret each cent I have spent on tour. And each experience teaches me a lot of new things about Chinese culture and history, which inspires me to return again and again,” he noted.
Mr. Cian loves chatting with Chinese people. During his travels, he would seize every opportunity to talk with people around him. Once he even chatted with strangers in the hotel from evening through early morning. He joked that long night talk was too short for him to comprehend Chinese culture.
Every time he comes to China, he feels his understanding of this country deepens. He found that unlike the stereotypes in news reports, not all Chinese people are “Tuhao” (a cyber new word meaning rich but tasteless people) or illiterate. Most of them are truly generous and sincere.
Whenever he comes to China, he opens his eyes wide and listens earnestly. “Chinese culture and history are so deep and profound that my exploration will never end,” he stated.
Mr. Cian looks forward to a better future, i.e., working and living in China. He said he plans to experience real life in China rather than just have a flying visit.
By Deng Ruolan