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Yang Wenli recognized his relatives in hometown with limited information and the help of all sides

Indonesian Chinese make the dream of seeking roots come true in Meizhou

Update: 2017-06-22 16:14:12 Source: MeiZhou Daily Hits:29

On the afternoon of 20th, Yang Lizhu,a villager of BanJing village at Songyuan Town in Meixian District,was standing at the door in the heavy rain with an umbrella waiting for a distant family member coming back across the oceans, the tea in the house was ready. What he is waiting for is his cousin Yang Huijin's granddaughter - Yang Wenli,who settled in Bandung of Indonesian.

Accompanied by teachers of the summer camp of Indonesian Bandung Hakka association,Yang Wenli embarked on the strange homeland and recognized her relatives in BanJing village.

For Yang Huijin, he never thought that this reunion was 40 years later; for Wen Wenli, she did not believe that the dream of seeking roots unexpectedly come true.

"What all I know is that I was born in Meixian"

On 15th, 2017 Indonesian Bandung Hakka Association "Seek roots in China" summer camp was officially opened in Meizhou, 41 campers began a 10-day cultural exchange experience tour in the homeland Meizhou.

In an atmosphere of curiosity and excitement, Yang Wenli has another expectation. As the fourth generation of Indonesian Chinese, she knows little about her hometown, including culture, language and where was her "root", "Given that there was rare opportunities to return home, she try hard to look for her relatives in the hometown."

With limited clues, Yang Wenli's road to find her relatives was not easy,"What she all know is that she come from Meixian", and her father's Chinese name. According to the information provided, the staff of Meizhou Overseas Chinese Affairs Bureau, began to contact her relevant clans for faster lookup.

"With limited information, it may be quite difficult." The reporter learned from the Liaison Office of the Meizhou Bureau of overseas Chinese Affairs on the third day of the summer camp. Yang Wenli was quite philosophical about this, "perhaps there will be no result in the end, but the search process will allow me to miss my hometown more".

After Yang Wenli contacted with her Indonesian family again, the staff received her grandparents' Chinese names and other information. The tracing journey has finally opened the door: through inquiring in every way and genealogical comparing, ultimately determined that Yang Wenli's grandfather Yang Wenjin is the 18th generation of ShaoDeTang, who came from Ban Jing village of Songkou town.

When Yang Wenli enter home, the aged Yang Lizhong put down the umbrella, could not wait to tell Yang Wenli the scene while her grandfather was coming back in 1977, and pointed to a tile outside the window that this was her grandfather's kitchen. Along the direction of the grandfather's cousin, Yang Wenli took out the phone to record the scene, then taken pictures with his Uncle's father and mother in front of the ancestral house.

Yang Wenli's grandfather Yang Huijin also experienced a series of frustrations when return home. He has never returned home, so he didn't know how to return to the village, then he asked his neighbors who often returned to Songkou from Indonesia for help. He was told to wait at XiNan after arriving at Songkou, his relatives would take him up right there. Finally, he returned to his ancestral home led by his relatives.

With the help of Yang Lizhong, Yang Wenli came to the Yang's ancestral hall to worship their ancestors. Wherever he went, she took the initiative to request photos with her uncle's father and mother. Yang Qinxin, consultant of ShaoDe Tang Clan Association told Yang Wenli that she is the first overseas young generation of ShaoDe Tang Clan who returned home by herself, hoping that more and more young overseas people return home taking her as a starting point, and she was rewarded a landscape photo of hometown. "I was so happy and touched, although it was obviously a strange place, there was sense of familiarity.” Yang Wenli speaks frankly about her delicate feelings.

Five memebers succeeded in finding their "roots"

This Meizhou camp consists of workshops, teachers and summer camp, with a total of 41 members, 7 of who return home for seek "roots". Up to now, five members have confirmed the match.

"Two campers with surname of Yang and Qiu came from Meixian District, three campers of Xiao Hechi was in Meijiang district." Deputy director of the Meizhou Overseas Chinese Affairs Bureau Deng Rui told reporters that insufficient information is the biggest headwind while seeking roots.

Indonesia has implemented a 32-year "ban on China" policy, which led to the Chinese culture was cut in the middle among the young and middle-aged Chinese. "Many young people have no idea of their hometown, they can't speak Chinese, not to speak of Hakka," said Rao Zhiqiang, the tour leader.” As the first generation and second generation of Chinese descents the passed away, the current Indonesian youth are more vague about the ancestral information. The lack of information, language barrier and culture barrier have become the problems to look for kindred families.

Against all the odds, Overseas Chinese affairs departments at all levels within Meizhou, followed the limited clues, dug information out, and mobilized all contacts to actively carry out the searching work. "Sparks of fire can start a prairie fire." Deng Rui said, the young Chinese is the successor of Chinese culture and hometown's culture, hosting this summer camp and root seeking activities can not only help them to establish contact with hometown, enhance their identity of hometown and attention to the community, but also help them gradually grow up as a successor of the local communities in the future.