Wong Shin Chiang
Date of birth: 17th December 1887 China
RIP : 3rd March 1939 Age 52 Malaysia Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Hometown: 廣東省 寶安縣 深圳市 布吉鎮
|Wong Syak On||Wong Nyuk Lan||Wong Shui Hiong||Wong Syak Kee||Wong Shui Yun||Wong Syak Choi|
|According to 'Wong Family History' by Christopher Wong :
"...Shin Chiang had an older missionary brother: Shin Kim in Hong Kong/Malaysia and a younger brother in China who was given away for adoption. No recorded nor verbal information on Shin Chiang’s father or why only he and his mother went to Kuching ... Shin Chiang did try to look for his older brother Shin Kim in Malaysia/Hong Kong twice but was unsuccessful...."
In between 1975-1977 one day I had a casual conversation with Grandma, Phang Lien Yin, she mentioned something about one of Wong Shin Chiang's long lost brother "....you have a Suk-Kong (Grand-uncle) Wong Shin ????? (I forgot the name) in Fiji Island............many years we received his letter....we wrote letter to him............latter we lost contact with each other........"
I remembered very clearly she mentioned the name of the country "Fiji"
A hand written HAKKA DICTIONERY by Wong Shin Chiang
Records Year by year : 2000
| Ancestral Home -
The particular village where the ancestors lived,
Villages where Wong Family Members (黃)
could have come from.
The list include names of the villages, its administrative post and the name of the Town in Chinese, to help family roots researchers in tracing the location of their ancestral village.
Chinese surname : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_surname
Wong Shin Chiang passed away on 3rd March 1939 at age 52 in Jesselton (Today Kota Kinabalu. Local name Api) and buried in Basel Church Cemetery on signal hill road.
彭蓮英 PANG Len Yin (Wong Shin Chiang's wife)
Hand Writing of Wong Shin Chinag (photo above)
I like to be sure that I am historically accurate. But my grandfather and father left me with no visual material such as letters and documents that show that I was descent from China.
On 22nd March 2008, Siew Don shown me this piece of paper. This piece of paper prompted me to change my pre conception on Wong Shin Chiang, my grand father, which I had on him for almost 40 years.
Wong Shin Chiang passed away before I was born. As I grew up old enough to understand things, I began to gather information on him from family members. I knew him as an ordinary person 'with little education'. But from this piece of paper, his hand writing is not of an ordinary uneducated person. The hand writing is those of a literate person.
All my family members (from Grandmother to Aunties to my mother) could read and write in basic, but except for a quick look at the newspaper, reading and writing didn't play a big part in their lives.
There were very few books in the house. Our family didn't have the tradition of writing diary. My father and mother almost never wrote letters or postcards or even Christmas cards.
Remote and mountainous Longyan has long been known as an ancestral Hakka homeland. About 1.2 million overseas Hakka trace their roots to Longyan, and 700,000 to 800,000 Hakka of Longyan origin live in Taiwan.
The Hakka, a subgroup of the Han people, live predominantly in the provinces of Guangdong, Jiangxi and Fujian. Their ancestors are thought to have arrived centuries ago from what is today's central China.
According to statistics released at the 12th World Hakka Convention in 1994, there are more than 65 million Hakka around the world, with 61 million in China's mainland and Taiwan.
Searching for one's family roots in China can be difficult without maintaining with the clan in China over the years.
Church records, ship records, census records, newspaper archives, and oral history are the only tools that are now available for family history source.
Wong Shin Chiang came to Kuching under an " indent labor" program of Raja Charles Brooke around 1905/1906.
Few years before Wong Shin Chiang came to Kuching was also Wong Nai Siong. (Though both having the same surname WONG, they are by no way related neither they were from the same dialect. Wong Shin Chiang was a Hakka while Nai Siong was a Foo Chow. Nai Siong was an organized PIONEER for the Brook administration while my grandfather was an young wondering laborer seeking for a shelter.
Here is a very good account of the period of his time and why he came to Malaysia (Borneo at that time) : CHINA - The 1500’s to the 1900’s
In 1901 Wong Nai Siong led the first batch of Foochows laborers from China to Sibu Town to open up the fertile lands of Sibu. 1901 was a landmark year or a milestone in the history of Sibu ( a town my grandfather never set foot). Mr. Wong Nai Siong originated from Ming Ching District, Foochow City, China. More about Wong Nai Siong at : http://www.thelex.com/sibu/history.html
While very little is know about my grandfather Wong Shin Ching, Wong Nai Siong instead has a rich historical records on him. I keep a page about Nai Siong because by learning about his historical background, I also know about the historical background of our grandfather.
There is a Wong Nai Siong Memorial Garden, Sg. Merah Baazar, Sibu.
Wong Nai Siong Memorial Garden was build by Sibu community who felt deeply grateful to his bringing their forefathers to Sibu.
This memorial garden is next to the landing point of Mr. Wong Nai Siong.
Industrial Revolution in the West
Why has my family anything to do with the Industrial Revolution of West ? Answer : It (the Industrial Revolution in the West) altered the destination of my Wong family and that caused why I write this family history in Malaysia and not in China. This will be the similar reason that in 100 yeas time many many Indonesian will be writing their family history in Malaysia and not in Indonesia.
In 19th century an enormous expansion in world trade between 1815 and 1914 grew on average at 4-5 percent a year compared to 1 percent in the last hundred years.
This driving force of growth came from the Industrial Revolution in the West which resulted large scale factory manufactured goods made possible by technological advances, accompanied by more efficient communications (e.g., railways, cars, trucks, steamships, telegraphs) which speeded up and greatly lowered the cost of long distance trade. Industrializing countries required ever-larger supplies of raw materials as well as foodstuffs for their growing populations.
Regions at the south of China such as Malaysia with ample supplies of virgin land and relative proximity to trade routes were well placed to respond to this Western demand. What was lacking was an adequate supply of capital and wage labor. In both aspects, the deficiency was supplied largely from foreign sources.
As expanding British power brought stability to the region, Chinese migrants started to arrive in large numbers with Singapore quickly becoming the major point of entry. Most arrived with few funds but those able to amass profits from trade (including opium) used these to finance ventures in agriculture and mining, especially in the neighboring Malay Peninsula. Crops such as pepper, gambier, tapioca, sugar and coffee were produced for export to markets in North Asia, and later to the West after 1850 when Britain moved toward a policy of free trade. These crops were labor, not capital, intensive and in some cases quickly exhausted soil fertility and required periodic movement to virgin land (Jackson, 1968).
Here came Wong Shin Chiang, my grand father, from a poor village of South China in 1905 - at the time of 19th Century World Trade Expansion.
Economic History of Malaysia by John H. Drabble, University of Sydney, Australia http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/drabble.malaysia
Life in China during my grand parents
time was difficult. Those who studied Chinese modern history can understand
The Hakka Chinese were farmers and they had to till their own soil to support their families . There was famine , and the economy was low. When the harvest was good, only then family would had enough rice to ear. At the time when the American and British Children were enjoying chocolate, lollypop and ice-cream, my grandparents in China and their surrounding children did not even have 3 proper meals most of the years. Today the young Hakka do not like to mentioned these shameful past related to them not to long ago. Neither my 2 young children could understand this did happen to their ancestors.
Many of them do not even have their own soil. They work as labors for 'Land Lord' who owned the land.
Clan warfare was common those days in South China. But I never heard from elderly mentioned clan warfare in their homeland.
Not all Chinese came to Malaysia on their own will, and some were kidnapped and made into slaves. This is according to history records. But I never heard of any friends' great or grand parents were kidnapped to Borneo. This can be easily understand as by the turn of 1900s, the British had maintain rules and order in this regions and that labors were to be brought through propel arrangement instead of kidnapping during the 1800s.
The Chinese who came to Borneo during my grandparents time (1900s) were of three type :
1 - Type one : For opportunity - they keep their family in China and try to make a fortune in Malaysia and return to China with wealth.
2 - Type two : For a new life - they have nothings in China, no land no house and look forward to begin a new life in Borneo with no intention to return to live in China,
3 - Type three : For a new identify - they have done something wrong in China such as joining the Boxer rebellion to fight off the European. They will never return to China.
4 - Type four : Group with miscellaneous reasons.
My jotting down of my own family history gradually lead me to shown keen interest on my friends and neighbor's history and their relationship with China. Hakka become more and more a interesting ethnic group of people to me. They (the Hakka) mostly belong to type 2 and type 3 (the types with no family tie with China and no interest to return to China)
The plantations owner in Borneo sent representative to China to get field laborers. and brought they by British ship to do hard labor for a few years . After their contracts were over, many Chinese had the choice to go home to China or stay in Borneo.
Today , the situation in my grandfathers
time was very similar today in Sabah where laborer (unskilled and uneducated)
were brought in from Indonesia to do the hard labor jobs in agriculture for Rm10
(less then US$3.00) per day. Except that after their work contract completed,
they must return to their home country Indonesia.
No Indian were brought to Borneo for the same reason. The Indian from India went mainly to Peninsula Malaysia (Melacca and Singapore)
I searched Shenzhen hoping to find some trace of historical background of my Wong family and stumbled upon this paragraph : "......The absence of history and culture here make Shenzhen city seem almost desolate and the abundant wealth and investment do not compensate for the lack of soul and the drab atmosphere in the city......"
Shenzhen was a sleepy and unknown poor village town during Wong Shin Chiang's time. The reason Wong left this town was poverty and lack of prospect for the future. The reason this town suddenly busted into a modern international city was because of Theng Siao Ping who designated it as the first open window to the outside word and within 10 years it took shape as an industrial city from a humble village.
Wong Shin Chiang arrived Kuching in 1905/1906 during the highest era of Christianity in China
Hakka factitively took part in the boxer rebellion. After the movement failed many of them escape to Sabah, Malaysia and started a new life with new identity.......
The Chinese pony tail
In WONG FAMILY HISTORY by F.S. Wong , Wong Shin Chiang wears a pony tail ( a requirement in China at that time because China was ruled by the Munchus).
But he should have the pony tail cut by the time he landed on Kuching river bank in 1905 or 1906.
This unique hairstyle was originally worn by the Manchus of central Manchuria in China and later imposed on the Han Chinese. The hairstyle consisted of the hair on the front of the head being shaved off above the temples and the rest of the hair braided into a long ponytail queue.
Saturday, April 30, 2016 08:42:54 PM