The Teochew Store Blog / roots-finding
In this concluding part of "The First Teochews in Singapore" series, we find out about the leader of Singapore's pioneer Chinese settlers, whom the Singapore government later appointed as the settlement's first Captain China, as well as the historical links of Wak Hai Cheng Bio (粵海清廟, a.k.a. Yueh Hai Ching Temple) - the oldest Teochew (possibly Chinese) temple here - to two temples in Riau (Bintan) and Bangkok's Chinatown.
2019 is officially the bicentennial year of Singapore. In part two of "The First Teochews in Singapore", we look into the evidences proving a Teochew oral tradition identifying a group of Chinese settled in Singapore before British establishment, as Teochew sojourners from Siam (Thailand), and how an old map of Singapore rediscovered in Scotland pinpoints where they lived by the Singapore River.
2019 is officially the bicentennial year of Singapore, a former British colony and today one of Asia's wealthiest cities.
The island-state is also home to the second largest Teochew overseas diaspora, after Thailand, and up till the mid-20th century a critical node on a trading and migratory network that connected the principal Teochew port of Swatow with key trading centres such as Hong Kong, Saigon and Bangkok. Teochews from Singapore were responsible for the early economic development of Johor, Malaysia's southernmost state whose capital Johor Bahru was once known as "Little Swatow".
What has long been forgotten is that more than half a century ago, the Teochews in Singapore held to an oral tradition claiming that their forerunners were settled in Singapore before Sir Stamford Raffles, the Englishman hailed as Singapore's modern founder, even arrived. If true, this assertion will demand a change in the written history of Singapore.
Starting from this week, The Teochew Store will publish in three parts an in-depth research that sheds light into what this oral tradition says and seeks to verify its authenticity and accuracy.
The fourth and last instalment of our "Origins of the Teochew People - Archaeological Evidences" explores the question of where did the prehistoric people in Teochew came from? And we turn to geography to help us find an answer.
Origins of the Teochew People - Archaeological Evidences (Part 3): The Early Teochew Culture Trilogy
This video, produced by a popular radio show of Shantou Radio & Television (STRTV, 汕頭電視台), strings together nearly 40 Teochew nursery rhymes.
Many of the nursery rhymes were written back in the times of an agricultural society and may be unfamiliar even to daddy or mummy. However, they could well be happy childhood memories of Ah Gong and Ah Ma, so more good reasons for big family-get-togethers.
Origins of the Teochew People - Archaeological Evidences (Part 2): Our Ancient Ties with the Hokkiens
“All these turned on its head, the theory that the Teochew region was an isolated and sparsely populated backwater before supposed mass migrations from the Central Plain towards the end of the Song dynasty (960–1279).
At the same time, it should not be lost that the geographical limits of the Fubin Culture from some 3,000 years ago conforms neatly with the territory of native speakers of Teochew and Hokkien – two closely-related vernaculars, if not two branches of a same.”
Update:amendments made to reflect the correct pronunciations of the following surnames - 韋, 顏, 史, 藍, 戴, 方, 倪, as well as additions of other surnames 單/单, 區/区, 查 and 費/费. Special thanks to our reader Lee Kheng Nguan for his contributions.
Origins of the Teochew People - Archaeological Evidences (Part 1): Traces of Teochew's Oldest Inhabitants
Where do the Teochew people come from? The Teochew region in southern China is the obvious answer.
Yet if one is to run a search on the Internet, he or she would find a string of references stating that our ancestors came hundreds of years ago from the Central Plains in the Yellow River reaches, thousands of miles away.
Click "Read more" to begin our journey of discovery
Hui Lai (variant: Huilai, Hweilai, Hwelie) (惠來, in Mandarin: Huilai) was one of historical Teochew prefecture's eight counties. It was formed as a county in 1524 after being partitioned from Teo Yor (潮陽). Hui Lai is now administered as a county under Gek Yor (揭陽) prefectural city.
Jao Peng (variant: Jaopeng, Jaopheng, Joepen) (饒平, in Mandarin: Raoping) is the easternmost of the Teochew region's eight historical counties. Partitioned from Hai Yor county in 1476, Jao Peng was an important pottery manufacturing base in the Ming dynasty and had a prosperous port at Tsia Lim (柘林). It is now a district under Chaozhou (潮州) prefectural city.
Hong Sung (variant: Hongsun) (豐順, in Mandarin: Fengshun), was one of historical Teochew prefecture's eight counties. It was formed during the Qing dynasty in 1738 and is connected to the Teochew prefectural city by an upper branch of the Hang-kang (韓江) river. Hong Sung remained part of the Teochew region, until it was carved out and placed under Meizhou in 1965. Today close to one-fifth of the population in Hong Sung continue to speak Teochew.
Pho Leng (variant: Poleng, Poeleng) (普寧, in Mandarin: Puning), was one of historical Teochew prefecture's eight counties. Although Pho Leng is now administered as a county under Gek Yor prefectural-level city, it was originally carved out from Teo Yor county and large parts of its area fall within the Liēng-kang (練江) river basin.
Theng Hai (variant: Tenghai) (澄海, in Mandarin: Chenghai), was one of historical Teochew prefecture's eight counties. Occupying the Hang-kang (韓江) river delta, it was formed from areas carved out of Hai Yor (now Teo Ann) and Gek Yor in 1563. Theng Hai is today administered as a district of the Swatow (汕頭, Shantou) prefectural-level city.
After its conquest by the Han dynasty in 111 BCE, the Teochew region was incorporated into the map of imperial China for the first time as a county named Gek Yor (variant: Kityang, Kityall) (揭陽, in Mandarin: Jieyang). The origin of today's Gek Yor area is traceable to a county of the same name created in 1140, which along with Hai Yor (now Teo Ann) and Teo Yor formed the “Three Yor" (三陽) of the Song dynasty that is the core of the Teochew homeland.
Teo Yor (variant: Teoyeo, Tioyio, Teoyall) (潮陽, in Mandarin: Chaoyang), was one of historical Teochew prefecture's eight counties and its most populous. Originally formed in 413 as part of the Ngee Ann Commandery (義安郡), it is now represented by the Teo Yor and Teo Nam (潮南, Chao'nan) districts in the Swatow (汕頭, Shantou) prefectural-level city.
Since The Teochew Store was formed, we have received numerous requests for help from fellow Gaginangs to locate their ancestral village. Depending on the leads provided, we were able to assist many, but for others it is more difficult because some places have been renamed or now fall behind a different boundary line, other communities are unlisted on maps or the internet, or even when a place is found, there remains uncertainty if its residents have the same surname.
Fortunately the Shantou University (STU) Library has built a khieu-phue database (僑批數據庫) allowing keyword search for meta-data of some 70,000 pieces of khieu-phue (or "migrants letters", which were correspondences sent together with money remittances by Teochews living in Southeast Asia to their homes in Teochew), receipts and return letters. The site URL is http://app.lib.stu.edu.cn/qiaopi/index.aspx.
Visiting the Teochew region in China to “re-discover” one’s roots has become increasingly popular in recent years amongst overseas Teochews. Quite reasonably we arrive expecting our ancestral heritage to be perfectly preserved in motherland, only to find that the Teochews here no longer call the place Teochew, but Teo-Swa (潮汕, in Mandarin: Chaoshan) and themselves Teo-Swa Nang (潮汕人, Chaoshan-ren). Baffled, if not also shocked, we question how can this be?
Amidst the cheers of the ongoing Chinese New Year celebrations, Malaysian budget airline AirAsia has announced the launch of a four-times weekly direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Swatow. Operations of the route will commence from March 25, 2016 and is expected to boost family visitations between Teochews in Malaysia and China.
The Chaoshan Jieyang International Airport, which serves the Teochew region, is currently connected internationally to Singapore (Jetstar), Bangkok, Hong Kong and Taipei (China Southern Airlines), and domestically to a host of major cities in mainland China, including Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing.
The Teochew Store潮舖一岁啦！
为了庆祝我们的第一周年与答谢各位读者的支持，我们希望邀请您和大家分享您对主题 “My Teochew Family 潮州一家人”的故事.
The Teochew Store is turning ONE!
To celebrate this occasion and to thank all our readers, we would like to open the floor for you to share with all fellow Teochews your story on the theme “My Teochew Family 潮州一家人”.
Your story can be about your own family and relatives, any Teochew person(s) who has influenced your life, or a Teochew community that has helped you understand the meaning of “family”. Entries can be submitted in one of the following two ways...
A list of the top 100 most common surnames in the Teochew region.