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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
As the result of torrential rains on 29 and 30 August, extensive areas in the Teochew region were afflicted by floods. In some worst hit parts in Teoyor (潮陽 ) and Pholeng (普寧) districts, water-levels reached up to 2 metres and entire towns and villages were covered under water. Watch the Gaginang spirit in action as communities across Teochew mobilised themselves wasted no time to step forward selflessly evacuate and provide relief to tens of thousands of families trapped by the deluge. Teochew nang, Gaginang!
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.
As an overseas Teochew, you probably have at least one, or two, or more favourite Cantonese or Mandarin pop song that grew up with you. And sometimes as the familiar tunes play themselves in your mind, you wonder, why can't we have the same in Teochew?
The Teochew songs that we had always been exposed to, apart from Teochew opera ones that we may appreciate but cannot understand, were folk ballads that can be cringeworthy, if not downright weird.
Thankfully, things are not all that bad. You see, we Teochews are not only good humoured, our language is rhythmic, we are creative, adaptable and we can sing too.
Click "read more" for a selection of Teochew songs that you'd fall in love with.
The first made-in-Teochew movie to be screened soon nationwide in China in recent times. Video uploaded for entertainment purpose.
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
Two months ago, The Teochew Store made our popular "Conversational Teochew In A Month" (潮州話一月通) text-cum-audio self-learning course available to all to download for FREE. To help learners revise and have a structured means for further practice, a friend and supporter of our website, as well as keen advocate for the revival of southern Chinese languages, S.L., has created and generously volunteered to share two decks of Anki flashcards that cover the vocabulary terms and phrases/sentences in "Conversational Teochew In A Month". These flashcards may be used on computers as well as Android/iOs mobile devices.
In a month's time The Teochew Store will turn three. We remain a humble set-up, but at the same time just as committed as in the beginning to our mission in Restoring Community to Our People, Bridging Teochew Culture to the World.
In line with our conviction that every Teochew should be given fullest opportunity and encouragement to be connected with the language, values and culture of our forefathers, we have decided to make available for FREE our store's hottest selling product "Conversational Teochew In A Month", as well as its Chinese versions "潮州话一月通 (简体字版)" and "潮州話一月通 (繁體字版)".
99 Teochew Expressions in Their Actual Chinese Characters - Difference Between Our Language & Mandarin
Teochew, like Cantonese and Hokkien, has a literary form that traces to at least the 10th century during the Tang dynasty, whereas Mandarin evolved in northern China only after the 13th century.
Here is a list of 99 Teochew expressions in their actual Chinese characters, as opposed to Mandarin ones that they are commonly confused with.
Spoken Teochew is both ancient and at the same time evolving, just like any other "live" languages. The Teochews settled in the Malay-speaking world covering Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia have absorbed not a small number of native expressions into their daily vocabulary. Here we present a list of over 50 expressions.
Thailand, also known in the past as Siam, was the first stop of the Teochew during a series of migratory waves from the 18th to 20th century. Bangkok today has by far the largest Teochew community anywhere outside China.
Here we have a list of 181 Teochew loanwords found in the Thai language.
The social life of a Teochew centres around his/her extended family. This is something many of us living in big modern cities can be unused to.
One of our greatest fears is to be "ambushed" by a group of uncles or aunts whom we have not seen for a while, and being caught tongue-tied not remembering how to address them. But fret not. Getting the correct address for almost any relative can be real simple (yes!!!), if we keep by these ten basic rules....