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Monday, September 26, 2011

Ancestor Roots - Last 2000 Years (Further Qualifications)

Let me warn that there are some parts where I have to do further research... I have made some broadbrush estimates that have to be further verified

1) It was unclear which year Hugong, the first great ancestor, was declared the Duke of Chen, but the records seem to indicate early years of Western Han, i.e., 200 BCE (i.e., B.C.). But upon a 2nd reading just now, the sources seem to indicate that was much earlier during the Warring States era. I have to re-read those classical stuff again.

2) I am also unsure when Chen Xiaoxian, another ancestor was appointed governor of Qingzhou though the records say it was during the Han Dynasty. Hence, for the time being, I assumed the mid-dynasty year of 1 C.E. (i.e., A.D.). 

3) The records were vague about when the family moved to Fujian from Zhejiang but indicated it took place during the chaos of the Southern and Northern Dynasties. Hence I assumed 500 C.E. (or A.D.) which is mid-point of the period (420-589 C.E.)

4) The move to Fujian might have taken place in stages, with Chaozhou in eastern part of today's Guangdong Province as a family residence during the period between 317 and 500 C.E. The records hinted at that but I have to search further to verify it. The family might have been part of a military bureaucracy that got sent initially sent to the then wild tribal regions of Guangdong and later Fujian to crush ethnic rebellions and enforce assimilation.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ancestral Roots - Last 2000 Years

I have done some quick research into the location of my family in the past 2000 years, through the Tan family genealogical records (published by the Hainan Tan Clan Association) and have drawn this rough map.

From its origins in Yinchuan 颍川 of Henan Province (early days of the Western Han Dynasty around 200 BCE), my ancestors moved to Shandong when a patriarch was appointed military governor of Qingzhou during the Han Dynasty; then south across the Yangtze to what is today Jiangsu Province in 313 CE during the Jin Dynasty when the north of China was invaded by the five great nomadic tribes (五胡乱中原).  Then the family followed the imperial family across Taihu Lake to what is today Zhejiang Province where they stayed for approximately 200 years.  

In 500 CE during the Sui Dynasty when the Chinese forces invaded and crushed Min Yue 闽越 tribal rebellions in what is today Fujian Province, an ancestor was posted to be the military commander of Quanzhou 泉州.  One of his descendants settled in Putian 莆田 where the family stayed till the 13th century. Over the next 700 years, various members of the family appeared in the chronicles for their official postings not only in various parts of coastal Fujian but also the highest echelons of the imperial civil service as ministers and in one case, prime minister.  

In 1242 during the closing years of the Sony Dynasty, an ancestor was appointed magistrate of Wenchang 文昌, then the largest Han Chinese settlement in Hainan Island.  That was a traumatic era during which the Song Dynasty was eventually conquered by the Mongol Yuan's.  My ancestor initially led the resistance effort after he became the military governor of Hainan, but eventually allowed the Mongols to take over peacefully when he realised that the Song Empire was over for good.  Hainan enjoyed a peaceful and autonomous transition to Mongol rule.  The family lived in Hainan until the Sino-Japanese War that resulted in members fleeing to Singapore, around 1939.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Singapore Heritage Society 2010-11: A Year in Review



I created this video for the Singapore Heritage Society.  A good way of showcasing the Society's activities for the year.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fri 14th Oct Gathering: Myanmar by Johanna, Ashura Festival of Iran (BM) by Guohua

Next gathering: Fri 14th Oct 730pm 

Burmese Daze by Johanna
Brief Moments: Ashura Festival of Iran by Guohua

Venue: To Be Announced
Address: TBA

Time:  Door opens at 7:30pm (for usual potluck, socialising, networking, etc),
presentation will start at 8:40 pm.
(For potluck just bring a small box of pastry or a packet of noodles enough for 3-4 people or a bottle or 2 of soft drinks). 
PLEASE NOTE YOUR ATTENDANCE BELOW SO THAT THE ORGANISERS HAVE A ROUGH IDEA HOW MANY ARE TURNING UP.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Jebel Acacus, Libya

At a cave with 10,000 year-old Sahara rock art, Jebel Acacus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the remote Sahara of southwestern Libya, 2008. Gaddafi's wife, daughter and a son drove past this region last week to get to Algeria while fleeing the revolutionaries

Baraka, my Tuareg expedition cook in Libya

One of my all time favourite travel photos. This is Baraka, the Tuareg cook on my Libyan Sahara expedition 2008. I wonder how he is now. The Tuaregs, masters of the Sahara sands, are staunch supporters of Gaddafi. Many originally came from Niger or Mali, and were given Libyan passports by Gaddafi. With Gaddafi's defeat, many Tuaregs were forced to flee Libya where they have lived for many years.