The Teochew Store Blog / photography
A special series of articles about ordinary people living in Swatow, written by students from Shantou University (STU) Cheung Kong School of Journalism
by Lv Shanshan
Bustling with traffic and pedestrians, Little Park, an older district of Shantou, was busy as usual on a recent winter day. “Drawing, Photography, Video”—A red signboard stood on the first floor of Wang Yulong’s shop. Starting as a self-taught painter, then a sent-down youth, a photographer and a business owner, Wang’s life path had been closely linked with China’s rapid changes....
If we could foresee the dark clouds in life, what would we do differently for the sake of ourselves, or for our children? For those of us who have weathered the worst tempests, we know that this is only a hypothetical question.
When Teochew-born photographer Hang Tsi-kuang (Han Zhiguang 韓志光) capture the stunning picture of a lone man walking by the sea with dark clouds gathering like mountains in the background in 1951, he could not have imagined the turmoil that would ravage the whole of China for the next three decades.
"Jubilation" would hardly seem like the correct word to describe the mood of the masses when Mao Zedong's Red Army marched into the Teochew region in 1949. After all the Teochews are a people known above all for their business acumen and the chief port Swatow was China's shining model of capitalistic and modern progress in the 1930s.
Yet beaming jubilation was the very emotion shown on many faces captured by the camera of photographer Hang Tsi-kuang in the historical year of liberation. Gripped by intense fear for their livelihood as the value of the money in their pockets plummeted each day under the Kuomintang government, hope was all the common people looked for. In their eyes the triumphant entry of the communists was not the takeover of a peasant army, but about them becoming part of an army of peasants to change the world order
Through the Eye of a Master Photographer (I) - 15 Vivid Images of Life around the Teochew Region in 1948
Teochew opera is said to have over 1200 traditional plays that fall into two broad categories - those adapted from the 12th century nanxi 南戲 from Southeast China as well as chuanqi 傳奇, and others derived popular local lores including romance tales and ghost stories... The most dramatic episodes however were the ones played out behind the scenes that were summed up by this Qing Qianlong era (1736 to 1796) saying:
For the Teochews, the Chinese New Year is the grandest and most important festive period. All across the Teochew region, people mark the occasion with activities strongly rooted in local tradition. Through the camera lens of avid photographer Ling Shyue Miin, we bring you a series of extraordinary images capturing how villages in Teochew welcome the Year of the Monkey.