Returning Back To My Roots

by Patrick Liew on August 19, 2019

Returning Back To My Roots

I was sent a video of a classical song, recorded in the Hakka dialect.

The song touched a deep part of my being because I’m a Hakka.

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

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

As a result of many positive 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.

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.”


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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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