Lessons From The Hakkas – Developing Grit, The Ability To Survive And Succeed In Life

by Patrick Liew on January 31, 2014

I believe we are part of the same race – the human race.

If we choose to preserve any cultural heritage, it is not just to ensure continuity but to also enhance improvement and progress.

When we respect our roots, we must also respect other people’s roots.

We should never discriminate anybody because of their race, language, creed, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, or disability.

If we think that we have the best belief and we look down on other people’s belief, then our belief can’t be all that good.

We may have uncommon philosophy but we share a common destiny as a human race.

We may be divided in our views but we don’t have to be divisive.

Our differences should never create disunity or worst, enmity. Instead we should respect each other and appreciate each other’s unique talents, gifts and strengths.

We should help each other reach a higher level of consciousness and wisdom.

I consider myself to be a citizen of the world.

I want to learn from the best that the world can offer me and remove any negative from my life.

Recently, I did some research about the Hakkas, the Chinese ethnic group that I belong to.

There are many lessons that I have learned from the study.

The Hakkas were considered to be one of the earliest ‘Han’ settlers in China and have therefore been linked with emperors and royal families.

Now you know why I’ve got so much class!

The Hakkas were known to have migrated many times in history to avoid wars, social unrest, and natural crises. Along the way, they assimilated positive values from other races and ethnic groups.

The Hakkas migrated to the south but they were never quite accepted by the natives in the newly-settled land. In fact, many locals discriminated and persecuted these northerners, calling them ‘Hakkas’ which meant ‘guest families’.

They were among the first group of people that migrated out of China to various countries all over the world. They seek a better life for their family and community.

You can say the Hakkas were early pioneers of world travel and global citizenship.

The Hakkas had to settle down in less desirable lands and constantly protect themselves against constant prejudice and harassment.

They were known for their adaptability and hardworking qualities.

They have a fierce determination to survive and succeed. They would  persevere through adverse condition so as to have a brighter future for themselves and for their future generation.

As a result of these qualities and emphasis on education, many Hakkas have become prominent leaders in society.

Through the passage of Chinese and world history, many of them have rose up to hold leadership positions in the army, government and enterprise. Many of the revolutions such as the Taiping Rebellion were led by Hakkas.

They have made a major impact on many communities and countries, impact that was disproportionate to their relatively small population.

There is a spirit for desiring and achieving breakthroughs among the Hakkas. For example, Hakka women’s feet were never bound even when the practice was commonplace in China.

I may not agree with the views and behaviour of some of the Hakka leaders but they have in their own ways made a mark on society.

These leaders include Hong Xiuquan, Sun Yat Sen, Lee Kuan Yew, Lee Teng Hui, Corazon Aquino, Thaksin Shinawatra, Liu Yongfu, Soong Ching-ling, Shing-Tung Yau, Deng Xiaoping, Chow Yun-fat, Soong May-ling, Chung Keng Quer, Yap Ah Loy, Ma Ying-jeou, Hu Yaobang, Li Peng, Martin Lee, Hon Sui Sen, Dr Hu Tsu Tau Richard, Howe Yoon Chong, Khin Nyunt, Penny Wong, Han Suyin, Pedro Lay, Gil Alves, Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah, Aw Boon Haw, Aw Boon Par, and Raymond Chow.

The Hakkas were afraid of losing positive values of their cultural roots. That’s why they kept a more in-depth record of their clan and family genealogy than most other Chinese ethnic groups.

They are known to preserve their cultural values; including customs, food and spoken language, and some of these values can be traced to a history of more than 2200 years ago.

You can understand the reason why when two Hakkas meet, the favourite greeting is, “We share the same roots (自己人).”

In the book, ‘The Origin of The Hakka Chinese,’ the author Mr Lee Siu-Leung likened the Hakkas to be like dandelions. In his words, a dandelion is:

‘A little flower, tough enough to survive the harshest environment, travels to all corners of the world, plants its roots in the poorest soils and blooms with yellow flowers. It has a lot of useful culinary and medicinal applications yet few people know about them.’

You can imagine why Hakkas take pride in their cultural roots and achievement.

I believe what made the Hakkas such an outstanding ethnic group is because of their high level of desperation quotient (DQ).

They know that if they don’t pursue excellence, they will be left behind. They may even lose everything in their life.

As a result, they cultivated a culture for hard work, education and grit. They seek to improve themselves and press on with perseverance to success.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at http://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/

Please visit my website, www.patrickliew.net

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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