About 150 km to the west of Guangzhou is a rural community known as the village of Tung's clan. This is my ancestral homeland, the place where my father was born and raised. Although he has left for Hong Kong with a few brothers and sisters when he was young, they still maintain strong connection and return regularly to the village. On the other hand I am an urban boy born and raised in Hong Kong. I known very little about the village besides the occasional stories from my parents. I have only make one visit when I was small. I remember very little about the trip beside an impression that the village is a dirty place.
After so many years I suddenly have the urge to visit my village on the way. This was the last stop before I return to Hong Kong. I met with my parents in the nearby city Zhaoqing. It was many months since we have last seen each other. We shared a hotel room and went for dimsum the next morning before making the trip to the village.
We are hosted by our cousins and nephews. They were really glad to have us visiting. It is not often for them to have guests in the village. So our visit has created some festive atmosphere. They have already finished harvesting the year's rice crop. So my nephews have a lot of free time to show me around. I have visited Tung's family shrine. The building was once collectivized but the ownership has since returned to our clan. What remains is a rather barren building.
I must have learned lot more about the world. My village does not seem so dirty to me this time. After a few weeks in China's backwater countries, even the squat toilet there failed to shock me. On the other hand, life remain poor in China's rural communities. For young people, the village seems to have little to go for.
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From Zhaoqing I have temporary parted with my parent to take the high-speed ferry home. They would rather return by train because it only costs half as much. But after living minimally for weeks, this last trip is an easily justifiable splurge for me. After all it was an emotional moment. I wish to end the trip in a more romantic way.
The ferry ride can be described as calm and uneventful. We were seated comfortably inside the sealed compartment. Hong Kong movie was played during the trip. It has been a long time since I was surrounded by Hong Kong people all speaking Cantonese. Somehow this didn't feel so exciting.
As the ferry approaching Hong Kong, we sailed pass the site of the new airport, the new suspension bridges and finally the Central reclamation area. Upon landing at the China Hong Kong City terminal, I headed directly to Tsim Sha Tsui's waterfront promenade, to see the harbor, and to feel Hong Kong.
2007.09.03 comments -