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0.1 韓素音 Han Suyin on Hakka

World diaspora of Chinese and their relatives and origin in China.
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0.1 韓素音 Han Suyin on Hakka

Postby chungyn » Sat Jul 30, 2016 11:29 pm

0.1 韓素音 Han Suyin on Hakka

This is an excerpt from Dr Han's book "The Crippled Tree 殘樹". Han Suyin
is a Hakka and her profession is a medical doctor cum author who was born
in China. I think many Hakka friends have not read any of her books.

Long, voluminous and weighty are the books and records about the Hakkas,
written both by Chinese and non-Chinese. Their origin is Henan province
(河南省), in the Yellow River loess plains of North China. Five centuries
before Christ, in the time of the great philosophers, this was the centre
of Han culture. But the Han people of the northern plains were for ever
subject to pressures from invaders, galloping in from the Siberian steppes
on their horses, Tartars and Mongols of various names and tribes. Great
migrations of the Han people took place, until the almost empty luxuriant
middle and south of China were also peopled by northern migrants.The trek
of the Guest People, the Hakkas, was one of many such peasant migrations
which must have taken place again and again in the course of the centuries,
always greatly intensified in times of wars and during famines due to drought
or floods. The fact that the silt-loaded Yellow River overflowed its rising
bed and changed its course nine times during the last two thousand years,
each time ravaging areas as large as England, must also have led to large
peasant displacement.

Every change of dynasty was heralded by peasant risings, a shifting into
gigantic Long Marches of millions of the dispossessed and the hungry, and
these are now recorded in the Museum of History in Beijing, for they belong
to history, they were the upheavals of a people looking for a way out of
the long feudalism which ended only yesterday.

The word Hakka does not denote a racial group, for the Hakkas are Han People,
Chinese people. It was a word applied to all displaced peasants, and only
after the tenth century came to designate a special group. Moving en masse
these refuges from misery were "people who sought a roof", hence called
"Guest People 客人" which was more courteous than calling them displaced
persons or refugees. A code of regulations was formulated for dealing with
such immigrants into new districts, to provide for their welfare and their
resettling in lands where tillers were needed, and to avoid conflicts with
older settlers.

The Hakkas themselves claim that they moved five times within recorded history.
In their first migration, dating about A.D. 311, they crossed the YangtseRiver
(揚子江) and settled in the provinces of Jiangxi (江西省) and Anhui (安徽
省). Some of their historians claim that they already had their own folklore,
traditions, customs and dialect, but this is doubtful. A second migration
took place from A.D. 874, during the decades of turbulence which saw the
end of the Tang Dynasty (唐朝 618AD to 907AD). A third migration started
after A.D. 1276, was due to the Mongols, when Genghis Khan's hordes came
riding from the steppes of Siberia. In this migration the Hakkas were at
a disadvantage, for by that time the provinces of Middle and South China
were in great part settled, the jungles curbed, the best fields tilled. The
Hakkas were driven farther south, or mountainous, poor areas. They entered
the province of Fujian (福建省), Guangdong (廣東省), Taiwan (台灣省) and
what is now North Vietname, settled on the poorer lands, survived and multiplied.

This is their folk song about their migrations:

There are large numbers of Hakkas living in the province of Fujian, especially
in Zhang Zhou (漳州) and Ting Zhou (汀州). Ning Hua Shi Bi Cun (寧化石壁
村 or the village of Ning Hua), 福建的客家搖藍 or the cradle of the Hakka
in Fujian province is in Ting Zhou. The village of Shi Bi is recognised
by the World Hakka Association as the cradle of the Hakka people in Fujian
province. On the bank of Ting Jiang Mother River (汀江母親河) there is a
statue called The Mother which is sacred to the Hakka people. This is the
mountain song about the Overseas Hakka coming back to Shi Bi Cu composed
by an unknown Hakka scholar from the Malaysian Hakka magazine "Persekutuan
Persatuan Persatuan Hakka".

山歌唱來一蘿蘿, 遊子回到母親河, 河南福建轉一轉,
方知祖先苦難多, 翻山越嶺受折磨.

翻山越嶺受折磨, 萬苦千辛都挨過, 平地已有前人住,
只好走入大山坡, 開天辟地淚沱沱.

開天辟地淚沱沱, 今日終有好結果, 開枝散葉天下走,
隔山隔水難隔疏, 勿忘公公同婆婆.

記得祖公和祖婆, 回到祖地感觸多, 汀州寧化石壁村,
親情都像母親河, 河水長流暖心窩.

河水長流暖心窩, 遊子歸來唱贊歌, 優良文化應傳頌,
結出美麗好花朵, 千年萬代笑呵呵.

There are lots to sing about in mountain songs. The wandering sons have
returned to Mother River. Touring through the provinces of Henan and Fujian
we realize the amount of hardship our ancestors had suffered, crossing the
mountains and ridges.

After crossing the mountains and ridges our ancestors thought the hardship
was over. However, the flat fertile land was already being inhabited by
the progenitors. Without alternatives they settled in the hilly slopes.
With tears, they removed the forest and cleared the land before they planted
the crops.

Having removed the forest, cleared the land and planted the crops, wonderful
results were achieved as today their descendants have spread far and wide
through out the world. Though they are separated by land and sea yet their
relationship is inseparable. Forget not our grandparents.

Remembering our ancestors, we return, with stirring emotion, to the ancestral
land of Shi Bi village in Ning Hua county of Ting Zhou prefecture. Our love
is like Mother River whose water flows through our hearts.

As the water of Mother River flows through our hearts, the wandering sons
sing the praise of our excellent culture blossoming with flowers for the
upcoming thousand generations.

Hakkas also occupy the southern part of the province of Jiangxi and parts
of Guangxi province. There are scattered Hakka communities in the provinces
of Sichuan, Hunan and Taiwan. The estimated population of Hakkas in the1920s
were: about ten million in Guangdong, one million in Guangxi, one million
in Jiangxi, two million in Fujian, one hundred thousand in Sichuan and about
half a million in Taiwan.

Because of their mobility, hardihood and fierceness, the dynasties began
to regard the Hakkas as potential pioneers, good for settling in sub-populated

The present estimate of Overseas Hakka is about five million. In Malaysia
alone there are about one and a half million Hakkas according to the Prime
Minister of Malaysia Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad. be continued.....

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