Back in the USA

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31 May 2009 – Last 2009 May Day and summer is here!

After 15+hrs flight, 10+hrs layover in New York’s JFK (not your best airport for having a layover), 2+hrs flight to Atlanta, another 2+hrs layover in ATL and finally 1/2hr flight, am safely here in Columbia S Carolina. Good to see Linn, Jeff and the grandchildren. Feeling my age when such trips are concerned but certainly worth the while seeing the family.

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Katy (7), Ellie (4) and John (2) are as cute as can be. Will Sophie (due 12 Jun) be as fair and blond?

Having thoughts of getting help while I supervise to clean their 6 bedrooms over 3 floors house  in Columbia, S Carolina during my stay here! 

Perfect love sometimes does not come until grandchildren are born – Welsh proverb

Shanghai

30 May 2009 – At JFK en route to S Carolina

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Shanghai, the world’s most populated city of over 20 million is also known as Paris of the East and Pearl of the Orient. The Maglev running at over 400km/h (268mph) took about 8mins from the airport to town. The world’s fastest-growing economy is vibrant and cosmopolitan located on Hungpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze with Puxi (historic), the Western bank and Pudong (new financial), the Eastern bank. Unable to access WordPress in China in spite of everything mentioned above!

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Thanks to cousin LAM ChengEn and his Shanghai companion Karen, experiences to the Bund, Nanjing St, Temple City, tunnel ride under the Hungpu, local cuisine (baby eel+many other delicious dishes) and even a massage at midnight were all made possible within the 24hrs stay. Their hospitality and kindness were most appreciated. Very best of luck to his new venture and business in Shanghai.

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Ipoh

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25 May 2009 – Back in SIN before heading to USA via Shanghai

Took a side trip to Ipoh (about 2hrs drive from KL) for the weekend. It must have been over 50 years ago since the last visit when I was a flower-girl to Dr & Mrs Richard Yung’s wedding. The memory could not recall anything except playing with the other two flower girls who were identical twins named Jillian and Jacqueline.

The Ipoh sar hor fun (沙河粉), flat rice noodle is served in a clear chicken and pawn soup with chicken shreds, prawns and spring onions. Laksa (叻沙=spicy sand) is spicy noodle soup from Peranakan culture which is a merger of Chinese and Malay elements found in Malaysia and Singapore, but the Ipoh style contains prawn paste. Both dishes are delicious and a must try when in Ipoh.

Was hoping for a walk in the surrounding hills but the weather was too hazy and hot. Appreciation to the Mui family for their hospitality and to Jimmy Tan in KL for all his help. Hope that the business deal will profit all parties concerned. 

Business is not just doing deals; business is having great products, doing great engineering and providing tremendous service to customers. Finally, business is a cobweb of human relationships – H Ross Perot

Ancestors

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21 May 2009 – Great-Grand Mothers

Thank you the 14th uncle for allowing me to photograph three pictures from the ancestral hall which have been savaged and returned to him. How exciting and interesting to discover pictures of 1st & 2nd great grandmothers’ and grandfather’s LAM Song Kee painting on porcelain. The one of grandfather is cracked but the damage can be fixed. Need to find out the names of the two grandmothers and which one of the two is my blood ancestor?

Talked to him about the intentions of preserving our LAM heritage and he has agreed fully with my proposal. When in the USA, will contact 15th uncle LAM Tin Cheong and the branches from granduncle LAM Jee Chiew (most of them are in California); can only hope that the majority will also give their consent before I put the proposal in writing.

Let us make future generations remember us as proud ancestors just as, today, we remember our forefathers – Moo-hyum Roh

Gift

19 May 2009 – The Gifts of Peace 

After reading blurting’s blog, this is my contribution on gift. The word gift=both married and poison! (Norwegian). Should the word gift (depending on context) replaced with present or token? Do the Norwegians have a different concept on marriage? Is marriage the only institution for having a family? At this stage of life, marriage is certainly NOT in the vocabulary but who knows, perhaps an occasional companion can be considered 🙂

Off to KL again tomorrow for another round of talk with 14th uncle LAM Tin Chong in hopes of keeping the honour of the LAM family in Jiangmen. 14th uncle is the eldest surviving male from father’s generation. One has to be careful to not let certain skeletons out of the closet when digging into the family history! Diplomacy is not my forte but will have to learn to practise much of it in this matter!! Can always hope for the best when intentions are for the common good of the family and the community. 

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Freedom from desire leads to inner peace – Lao Tzu

17th May

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17 May 2009 – Hurra for syttende mai

Painting by Norwegian painter Christian Krogh (1852–1925)

Congratulations to Norway for winning the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. What a wonderful 17May for this Fairy Tale song and country… just love the illusions and ideas of fairy tales, please do not wake me from this LaLa land 🙂

The Constitution of Norway was signed at Eidsvoll on 17 May 1814 which declared Norway to be an independent nation but was still under Swedish rule. After much debate between 1814-1905, 17 May was agreed to be the National Day for Norway. A noteworthy aspect of the Norwegian Constitution Day is its very non-military nature. All over Norway, children’s parades with an abundance of flags form the central elements of the celebration.

During the parade a marching band will play and the children will sing lyrics about the celebration of the National Day. The parade concludes with the stationary singing of the national anthem ‘Ja vi elsker dette landet’=Yes we love this country. People typically wear red, white and blue ribbons. Although a long-standing tradition, it has lately become more popular to wear bunad= traditional outfits (very expensive!). 

Happy 86th Bday to 10th auntie LAM Poh Chee

Oslo 17 May 1981: Linn & May HALD

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Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you when you are young at heart… –

Kuching

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15 May 2009 – Jalan Resevoir

Jalan=walk/road (Malay). Kuching trip this time round is for the siblings’ land which has been ongoing for as long as I can remember. Hope that we can now see the light at the end of a long dark tunnel and that it will be successful with whatever the majority agrees to do with this project. Also paid my respect at the Temple lighting a returned candle!

Received a copy of the Kwong Wai Siew Association Kuching, Sarawak 1854-1994 (the Cantonese Association), a book shown to me by the LAM clan in Jiangmen… such irony that I had to see it in Jiangmen before I knew of the existence. Thank you to the KWS Association for the gift. Lawrence promised to make a donation.

Returning to SIN tomorrow and then another trip to KL to talk with 14th uncle about the ancestral home and shrine before heading to SC, USA.

Irony is a disciplinarian feared only by those who do not know it, but cherished by those who do – Søren Kirkegaard

Off Again

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14 May 2009 – Appalachian Trail in mind

Just got back to SIN yesterday and off to Kuching this afternoon. Somehow thoughts from the AT hike surfaced again and remembering my favourite day, day 85 when my second daughter May HALD paid me a surprise visit. Of course the parting was not easy but my thoughts then and now…

Partings are part and parcel of life. Unless you are a Buddhist monk, we all have some attachments. How to detach and keep the balance with the changes of equilibrium from day to day is a life-long lesson. Traveling is more than seeing the sights, it is an awareness and change in the ideas of living. Change is constant and inevitable but growth is intenational.

Intellectuals say that experience is the best teacher. The reward of a thing well done is to have done it. But what is experience if we do not learn from it? Many confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress! When one reaches the 60th year of life does the mind plays game with the soul to make sure that it is still alive? The soul is there but is there a spirit?? And the circle of life goes on…

Between ourselves the best thing of all is a combination of the surprising and the beautiful – Ludwig van Beethoven

Hong Kong 2009

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12 May 2009 – Maternal side

Maternal grandfather Rev TSANG Wai Sun (1846-1942), pastor of Tung-San Baptist Church in Guangshou and maternal grandmother TSE Kung Ying, a midwife are buried in HK Chinese Christian Churches Union, PokFulum Road Cemetery; zone 1/section A, 143 steps left down from the top of the hill, right turn, 11th row, #2844. Appreciation to the supervisor who guided me to the grave site and provided the 2 data cards for future reference. Without his help I would not have been able to pay respects to the maternal grandparents.

Thanks to cousin Karen LEUNG Ka Ying and her husband Winston TONG for taking time to meet. Karen is the 4th offspring of my mother’s 4th sister, TSANG Yoke Lan married to LEUNG Yuk Kwong. How interesting to hear that our maternal grandfather had 4 wives but not at the same time. We do not know of the other 3 wives, if they died one after another and or if there are any off-springs from them.

Spent my last morning at the wet market enjoying the buzz and colours. Bought a punnet of berries but do not know the name. They are on the sour side but very tasty. Also got some jasmine flowers with stems. In SIN, have only seen them without the stems.

He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery – Harold Wilson

Happy Mother’s Day from China

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10 May 2009 – HKG & Jiangmen

Wed: arrived HKG Wed late morning and spent the afternoon walking the Causeway Bay area. Many thanks to John & Rebecca for dinner at their Tin Shu Wai Kenswood skyscraper condo.

Thu: appreciation to the Royal Geographical Society for hosting the AT Thru-Hike talk to an attentive audience at The Ladies’ Recreation Club – lovely facilities with good food and service.

Fri: 3hrs ferry ride pass many farmlands and industrial areas to Jiangmen. Met by two of the LAM clan and the village council. They gave a general tour of the village where grandfather LAM Song Kee & granduncle LAM Jee Chiew were from. Was also presented with a copy of the family documents and tree back to ???? will need help for this as everything is in Chinese.

Sat: all day photography and a farewell dinner. The LAM clan and the village folks were most kind and helpful. Their hospitality and generosity were received with much gratitude. Without them and John, my translator, these pictures+many more would not have been possible.

The 2 detached houses and the ancestral shrine are very impressive and way beyond my expectations. Hopes of convincing all the descendants of LAM Song Kee & LAM Jee Chew to help maintain our heritage of honour will be high on the list!

Happy Bday to grandnephew Andrew LAM.

If you don’t know your family history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree – Michael Crichton