As the clock ticks and Chinese communities the world over have their reunion dinner in welcoming the Lunar New Year, I ponder every year where my Chinese relatives are today.
Born into a family of various ancestral heritage which includes Chinese, Javanese, Arab and Malay, I’ve always been clueless about my Chinese and Arab heritage.
I’ve since managed to find some possible information about the links to my Arab heritage by virtue of an exhibition that I visited about a year ago. My late paternal grandfather was an Arab, according to my dad and was a Kiayi (religious scholar). Based on that information, I did some tracing back to the time when Islam first came to South East Asia, Indonesia and can be quite certain with a tinge of doubt though that he had probably came from the line of Sheikhs who had travelled simply because the Sheikhs of a particular tribe were the ones who travelled out to spread Islam.
This is of course, at best, speculation but it gives me some hope to a quarter of my past at least.
I’m not worried about my Malay and Javanese ancestral line because I’m so rooted and connected to it. My major concern lies a lot with my Chinese ancestral line.
None of my relatives with the exception of a few of my aunts, has seen the Chinese side of the family. However, none of them have any whereabouts to where they stay at.
Nevertheless, all is not lost in my efforts to seek the ‘Chinese-ism’ in me as I always get mistakened for a Chinese, I studied in a Hokkien Huay Clan School (Chongfu Primary School), I am able to understand and converse in Mandarin and I have also tried to understand my Chinese culture a little bit more by doing some readings on it.
This Chinese New Year, just like the past 20 over years has been, I feel left out once more as I don’t get to celebrate the Lunar New Year. No reunion dinner, no Oolong Chinese tea, no yu sheng and no hong bao!!
Hence, if there is any of you out there reading this who know who my grandfather is, Jabbar Bin Jaffar, a boxer in the 60’s, now aged 86 (i think) please send me a message. His elder brother is the late Adam Bin Jaffar.
For those who are celebrating Lunar New Year, Gong Xi Fa Cai Xin Nian Guai Le!