The Teochew Store Blog / roots-finding
Today's Teochew presence in the United States was largely established after a wave of migration in the 1970s and 1980s. However, do you know that historical shipping records show that about 40,000 coolies were shipped from Swatow to the country between 1852 to 1858, and some of them might have formed their own fishing settlements on the West Coast? Learn about this and various stories of success achieved by the Teochews in America in this documentary produced by Shantou Television 22 years ago.
For over 200 years till the mid-20th century, Southeast Asia was the primary migration destination for the Teochew people. However, as the result of various wars and upheavals in the 1970s, tens of thousands of Teochew families in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were forced to resettle again in France. Watch this documentary produced by Shantou Television in 1997 to hear the stories of how these Teochews who arrived in a foreign land as refugees courageously re-established their lives in Europe.
Watch how the Teochews living in Cambodia in the 1990s, after surviving the devastations of the brutal Pol Pot regime and years of war, devoted their scarce resources towards the education of the next generation.
Thailand has the largest Teochew diaspora in the world, with the size of the community estimated at 5 million in the mid-1990s. This documentary from 1997 by Shantou Television gives a glimpse of the lives of the Teochews in Thailand. (Audio in Mandarin, with some interviews in Teochew).
The following 11 maps of the Teochew region and its counties are taken from the covers from the Volume Four issues of Teochew Home News (《潮州鄉訊》) magazine that were published between February and August 1949.
Map of all counties in Teochew 潮州各縣圖
A fellow Teochew in the UK is running a blog, Learn Diosua Ue with Juyee 和如意學潮汕話, since 2013 to help English speakers learn and appreciate our mother tongue. Her name, you guessed it, is Juyee 如意.
Juyee's blog is at learnteochewwithjuyee.blogspot.com
Juyee grew up speaking English and picked up Teochew, both speaking, reading, writing only as an adult. The Teochew Store recently spoke with her to find out more about her blog and her personal experiences in becoming fluent in our language, a formidable task for many of us!
An animation film telling the history of the Teochew people, directed by a Teochew and dubbed entirely in Teochew language by 3 generations of Teochews living in France. How can you not be EXCITED?!
“The Forest of Miss Tang" (陳小姐的森林) is in an advanced stage of production and it needs funding support to be complete. The project has so far raised over €20,000 through crowd funding, but more support is still needed for it to be better.
The Teochew Store is lending our voice to this fund raising campaign as we believe this is a much worthy cause.
Watch the introduction video of the film by director Denis Do below (in French with English subtitles). To back the production of "The Forest of Miss Tang", click here for the project fundraising page.
Meet Mr Tan Peng Boon, a 78-year-old grandfather in Singapore. He is a Teochew and nine years ago he created a website with the goal of enabling English-speakers to pick up the Teochew language. Remarkably, the retiree took upon himself to learn how to build a website in order to realise this.
The Teochew Store recently spoke with Mr Tan to find out the story behind his passion to keep alive his Teochew heritage and his “Teochew for English Speakers” website.
“Teochew for English Speakers” can be accessed from http://gateways.sg/~TeochewEnglish/index.asp.
Video of Mr. Tan's grandsons doing a lively recitation of Teochew nursery rhyme “A Pear Tree on the Hilltop”):
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.