Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Tung Uahn (同安)

So finally, I've completed my Cheng Beng obligations for this year. My wife and I left the house later than usual at just past seven o'clock. Previously, it would be 6.30am on the dot and we'd arrive at the Batu Lanchang cemetery while the sky is still dark. This year, it was bright all the way to Batu Lanchang. After paying my respects to my maternal grandparents, it was the turn of my paternal grandparents at the nearby Siamese cemetery in the Wat Pimbang Onn grounds. Cost of getting people to spruce up the two graves, that is, to clear the area of undergrowth and overgrowth, was RM180. Finally, we went to the Triple Gem temple in Pangkor Road, this time to pay our respects to my parents and aunt. All in, we finished just before lunchtime.

I had one additional objective when doing this year's Cheng Beng. It is common knowledge that Chinese gravestone heads would contain information about the male deceased's district of origin in China. It is a useful way to let descendants know where their ancestors had come from.

I know that my paternal grandfather came from an old district called Tung Uahn (同安) in the Hokkien Province. In fact, the forebears of the present Quah members from the Swee Cheok Tong Quah Kongsi (檳城瑞鵲堂柯公司) all originated from Tung Uahn in China. So it was very gratifying - and re-assuring - to see these two Chinese characters engraved on his gravestone. But then, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my maternal grandfather's headstone also featured the same two Chinese characters. So his fore-fathers had come from the same district in China too!

Of course, China being such a large place, it is impossible for me to find out exactly where in Tung Uahn. Their villages could jolly well be next to each other or they could have been hundreds of kilometres apart. Nevertheless, it was sufficient for me to know that both my grandparents were Tung Uahn lang.

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