My Ancestral Village

In 1993, accompanied by Dr. Ho Puay Peng of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, I took a ferry to Zhongsan Harbor and then a taxi to Nam Bin, my ancestral village near Sun Yat-Sen’s home village of Cuiheng in Guangzhou prefecture. There I met Ching Yoon In—our grandfathers were brothers who both emigrated to Hawaii. Being the older of the two, his grandfather had to return to China to take care of our common great grandfather while mine remained in Hawaii. Yoon is about the same age as me and when he told me this story, I immediately thought that if our grandfathers’ birth order were reversed, I could have been standing in his shoes and he in mine. To help me make sense of how Yoon and I were related, I drew this diagram. You can also see other small sketches of our ancestral gravesite, Yoon’s sister’s house, and a tower-house, a typical defensive structure built with overseas money in the 1920s.