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Re: Moy Yan/Mei Xian/Mei Hsien
Subject: Moy Yan/Mei Xian/Mei Hsien
"S. L . Lee" <email@example.com> wrote:
<SLLee> Jean-Francois Ah-Chow,
<SLLee> You posted a lot of questions. The reason for so many Chinese
<SLLee> Hakka with "surnames" starting with "A" has been discussed in
<SLLee> the Toronto Conference if you were there. These were actually
<SLLee> given names and Hakka and Cantonese speaking people have a
<SLLee> habit of adding the sound "ah" in front of the given name when
<SLLee> calling people. Surprisingly, I heard that some native
<SLLee> American tribes also have the same convention! This shows the
<SLLee> ancient relationship of the two cultures.
I'm afraid I'll have to correct the wrong impression given by the last sentence.
Supposed surface similarities does not equal any direct relationship between the
two cultures of Chinese (whether Hakka or other) and those of the various
American Indian tribes.
On a different point of interest, the city of Meixian is in Meizhou county. If
you look in Fodor's China, ISBN 0-679-00395-9, you'll find an entry for Meizhou
(although it did not provide the Chinese characters). This Meizhou is Fujian,
not far away from Fuzhou and was the birthplace of Mazu (otherwise known as
A1-Ma1-Ngiong2, the goddess of seafarers, whose birthday is celebrated on the
23rd of the third lunar month).
As for Jean-Francois Ah-Chow's scatalogical enquiries, yes, its a natural
resource and used on the land. Nightsoil is collected together with household
waste such as ash from burning wood and straw/grass, and sometimes animal waste
too as it is sensible to recycle nutrients.
In my own Hakka dialect, outhouses are known as bun4 liau2, material for
fertilisation is known as bun4. To fertilise soil is known as pui2 tien2. We
used to have huge earthern pots about three feet tall, and about the same in
diameter in the corners of some of our orchards, filled with liquid feed for the
plants. These as called bin4 gong2, or bun4 gong2.
My parents have always said that for those who don't have fields and much land
to tend to, but produce a lot of waste, their offer of fertiliser should not be
sniffed at, if you'll pardon the pun.
Yes, planks of wood with holes in them I have experienced before. Yes, I've been
lucky enough to have experienced some aspects of village life, and yes, roaming
chickens, ducks, pigs, oxen and other animals will do their business around the
place, but, you confine the beasts in their proper places such as stables and
pens and henhouses.
As for the dead, yes, they can be found in mountains and other places. However,
just because they're buried where they are doesn't mean that they will stay
there forever. I know friends who have had their ancestors forcibly removed from
their resting places several times because of development. In the turbulent
years of the Cultural Revolution, some the bones of the dead were dug up and
burnt to put on fields, though there are some lucky people who saved their
ancestor's remains in time by hiding them away in inaccessible mountainous
locations. Clan registers were destroyed as it was a relic of the past etc.
Now quite a lot of people are moving off agricultural land into the cities to
find work. The depletion of the rural population could change the geography of
these places in that different crops may be planted and harvested which are less
intensive, or that fields become fallow and left to be overgrown, as in the case
of wide areas of the arable land in Hong Kong and slightly less so in the
surrounding Shenzhen areas.
Eating eggs for birthdays is still a tradition in my family. If by Fu-mak, you
are refering to salad lettuces, we call them mak5 zai3 (which I think in Meixian
would something like mak5 e3). Delicious when dipped into the sauce of zu1
ngiuk5 bat5 (steamed stewed pork in tiu4 si4 ziong4 (black bean sauce) with a
hint of go3 pi2 (dried citrus peel)).