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Tales of a Hakka town (2)
Tales of a Hakka town (2)
Before the second world war there were many "Ah Fan" in Pusing.
"Ah Fan" meant people of mixed race according to Pusing Hakka language.
They were the Australian born children of Hakka fathers and English mothers.
Their fathers were the gold diggers who had spent many years in Sin Kim San
(Melbourne, Australia). These gold diggers were originally from Dongguan
county in Guangdong province. They had made their little fortune by digging
gold and had married English women in Australia.
Having had enough hard lives in Australia, with their families they
returned to live in their villages in Dongguan. Finding it hard to live in
the villages many of the English women left their husbands and children
behind and went back to Australia.
Some of the ex-gold diggers were unsettled in their old villages
because they did not want to work in the rice fields. They could not go
into businesses because they did not possess the know-how. They had no
intention of going back to Australia either. Eventually they took their
Anglo-Chinese children and migrated to the Tin Land (Pusing) and worked
in the British tin mines. The Hakkas in Pusing nicknamed these
Anglo-Chinese children "Ah Fan". The time was in the 1910s and 1920s.
My grandfather and his younger brother left their Hakka village in
Dongguan in around 1878 and went to Australia to seek for their fortunes.
They spent many years there digging gold. Eventually, granduncle
married an English girl and grandpa was quite happy to remain single.
However, after ten years of marriage they remained childless. Great
grandparents summoned grandpa back to the village to get marry. Grandpa
married a Chinese girl. Under the White Australian Policy grandpa was
not allowed to return to Australia because he had married a Chinese girl.
Finally, grandparents ended up in Pusing working in a British tin mine.
Although grandpa was from Australia Pusing Hakka did not nickname his
children "Ah Fan" because they were pure Hakka.
In 1941 the Japanese were preparing to conquer Malaya. Many rich men
from Ipoh came to Pusing to buy the birth certificates belonging to these
Anglo-Chinese men, as they had grown up by then. Many of them had sold
their Australian birth certificates for a small fortune. With the
Australian birth certificates these rich men could enter Australia and
become permanent residents.
I don't think there are any more "Ah Fan" left in Pusing. If they have
not died of old age by now they must be very old. I remembered they were
also being called "Fong Mao Zai" (Red Hair Kids). However, their
descendants, some of them are my friends, are not being called the
offspring of "Ah Fan". The name "Ah Fan" has become history in Pusing.