Landing at the Ancestral Land
“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu
After meeting a dear old friend again who share part of her Nepali experience a couple of days ago, I realised my blank state mode was actually quiet normal. The conversation left me with a beginning of a paragraph. Those long process paragraph that need to start pouring out in this story. I had to make a choice in order to put things together with this post, to maybe map myself in this current planet of mine. Picking the trails where I left it off. I checked the sky, the stars and I know where to start from the very beginning of my own personal history. China.
My great great grandfather from my mother side came from Fujian. That’s all that I know. Although from the very beginning I didn’t even plan this trip, in the end I had to pay respect to my ancestor first by literally landing in China. I never imagine I would reach Chengdu in 2013. This part of Mainland, at thirty.
I learned to make peace with part of my blood somewhere along the line which as an Indonesian peranakan has been quiet a complicated experience. This part of your growing up identity sometimes matter much, sometimes it doesn’t matter at all. My first encountering problem of course is because I don’t speak Chinese at all. I had the lack of will in learning the particular language and yes, part of it cause by my grandparents generations all speak fluent Dutch instead (see it’s complicated?). Language and culture all tumble and mixed up so bad along with the Indonesian history plus politics, where I in end always have the difficulty to answer where I originated from.
It took me time to take all about being a Chinese Indonesian, having a mixed blood do make you feel like Hermione in the mudblood situation. My Chinese interest range record was reaching as far as Chinese food, kungfu movies and musing the contemporary Chinese literature translated in English. I learned three kingdoms history from the never ending Japanese manga series “Legenda Naga” (Ryuroden by Yoshito Yamahara). I do somehow often moved by the lyrical sad traditional Chinese tunes, especially those from the classic music records ones which I never catch the title or even understand any single word being said. It is a feeling of a tragic beauty fascination. The rest I often remain ignorance or even denied when I was younger, this part I had to admit. In the end I always feel I can’t take side with 4 ancestry down my bloodlines. My son have another extra 2, which make him with 6, well, at least we have a lot of ancestral guardianship or to put it simple, simply human.
It’s my first time in China, my only Mandarin dictionary was a small Lonely Planet Mandarin compact guide that T (my travelling partner) got hours before we landed into Chengdu. The plane from Kuala Lumpur feels hectic already, we end up drinking two bottle of Soju along the flight, to silence the killing voice of a mad Chinese family who keep on arguing and their scolded children keep on crying, throwing mad fits every 3 minutes at the back of our plane seat. We couldn’t sleep. No, not even the Bob Marley songs in T’s Ipod help with the situation. We arrived in the middle of the night at Chengdu Shuanglia airport with no clue, half drunk on Soju, in the middle of China’s summer breeze.
That first step entering China, was indeed our first step to the journey of a thousand miles ahead.