My tusheez

This blog was started once upon a time when a young girl at school didnt know better but thought otherwise. So the way earlier entries can be crass and words inappropriate so please don't judge. As now the person has evolved into someone older and wiser (hopefully) ..:.... But some of the entries were classic and hilarious so I don't have the heart to delete them :@ Well we were all young (read:wild) once, right?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Family Ties and Lost Blood

Many has asked me before: " Is Marcelly an Indonesian name??"

My answer is.. NO. It's a universal name, it's not a common name like Alex, Cindy, etc. My dad jumbled up alphabets with a bit history, and he came up with it.

I have a creative dad. =)

People also asked me : " Is Suhali an Indonesian surname?".

Well, Yes and No.

The Suhali family I know is 2 generations old. My Grampa came up with it. It is derived from our real Chinese surname Li.

During Suharto's reign, Indonesian Chinese citizens were not allowed to have Chinese surnames. So, Suhali was born.

Tanoto/Tanwijaya is for Tan. Laurens for Lau, etc. You get the gist. =0

So, I was talking about family ties the other day, reminiscing on our forefathers and how brave, courageous and smart they were, for leaving China empty handed, and built an empire of their own in a foreign land called Indonesia.

My great grandpa (Dad's grampa), whom I only know as Mr Lee (we call him Tai Gong), was a China man from Fujian. He had a wife with two kids (eldest son is my grampa, second daughter lives in Hong Kong now as a Chinese doctor, and very succesful too), before he left China to try his luck in Indonesia.

He landed in Jambi, Sumatra. A smalish town, with opportunities and many mainland China immigrants.

He worked at first in a rubber plantation and started working his way up. He was one very honest and smart fellow, so he was a rich man in no time. Or so mom told me a few weeks ago.

This subject came up because apparently, he was more famous than I could ever imagine him to be. Just a pity I never really got to know him.

Great Grampa Lee (GGL), was apparently one of the most powerful man in Jambi. Or so people told my dad, during a camp, years ago. We also heard many stories of his riches and all we could do was go green.

GGL was so rich he had many lands, estates, properties and businesses.
He also married a Singaporean woman a few years after he had himself established in Jambi.

Great Grandma was of course upset. Upon hearing the news, she made her way down to Indonesia. But alas, GGL's Singaporean wife was the typical scary xiao lao po. GGL was unwilling but was forced (manipulated) to abandon his first family.

Great Grandma had no chance of getting very much reacquainted with GGL. SO she probably went back China after a while until later on when my grandpa made a real man out of himself already.

From what I know, it was my Grandpa, who made his own way to Jakarta and fought his own way up too. He did not get a single cent from GGL to start up any business.
I heard the Singaporean xiao lao po (XLP) was a scary witch, she would beat up my great grandma everytime she came to visit GGL. She also cast some 'jampi' spells on my dear GGL. SO, Grampa also gave up. He went his own way.

GGL had many many sons and daughter with the Singaporean XLP, and I heard her last few kids were even GGL's. TSK! And I have never seen any single one of them. The thought that they could be someone I bumped on the streets in Singapore tickled me. The other day, I was making sure Mr Gan had no similar background and no chance of relation at all.

Because GGL's blood line is lost in time. And I don't know my own family. I still have GGL's blood in me!! And there are so many people I don't know who could be related to me, one way or the other. Ain't it scary yet amazing?

But anyway, up to this very day, anyone from GGL's first LAo Po's family, has not inherited a single cent from tycoon GGL. SO, I suppose that's too bad for me. =) Cause even a miniscule fraction would do a lot to my struggling family right now.

Anyway, back to Grandpa's journey in Jakarta.

He was a young man then, very young, not even 20? with empty pockets and little education.
But life-changing entrepreneurial skills were in his blood, just like his dad. Grandpa made quite a man out of himself in Jakarta in no time. He started as coolies, coffee boys , working for other people. He started off in the garment industry.

Soon after, Grandpa had a little BATIK factory business that expanded multifolds and now his land in Jakarta CBD is one big ass place (about 4 football fields, right smack CBD).

Grampa has passed on for a few years now and I kinda missed him sometimes. I used to be his favourite gran daughter (before he blamed me for going to England to study and thus causing my dad's bankruptcy in 1998), cause I spoke the most Chinese, I was apparently his most geeky, "smart" granddaughter for a long time, and we both loved the karaoke.

He bought his sons houses, and sent one of my uncles to Imperial College. IT was a real achievement, thinking that he started with a big zero. Not even with his dad's connection or money.

Now that I think about it, were they made of a different material from us?

The rest of us, have high educations, some capital and lots of comfort in our lives, and we couldn't accomplish even a fraction of what they did, starting from base sub zero.

I totally admired their courage and smarts.

I guess in my case, I did experience a tad of such hardship, 7 years ago, when I was left alone in England with no money and dad saying "I can't afford your Oxford fees anymore, you find your own way out from now on".

But still, all I could do was take up 3-4 jobs, slogged myself in a year, earnt and saved as much as I can in England and finished off my studies in Singapore, on my own.

I did not build a certain empire, like GGL or Grampa. I did not make a woman out of myself.

i am no where near cool. But I suppose, as long as I haven't given up, I haven't failed.

Ah.. speaking of families... We will all eventuallu eb building our own families too.
This family think really multiply and soon we lose touch from our roots.

My family is pretty much dispersed and it's quite sad sometimes.

The only family I have, physically close to, are the ones in Singapore.

And that's really just mom and Cessa (who's my dad's sis' daughter), even Cessa, I haven't met for months. My baby bro Win may be joining us soon when he enters NTU in August.

So, currently, these are the people I consider family in Singapore, with Mr Gan in the qualifying round.

Here is mom and Gan.

Mr Gan would one day make a wonderful son-in law, if not to my mom, to any very lucky woman's mom in the future.

Here is my baby bro Win and mom, we were having Japanese BBQ at home the other day.

This is me and hopefully the man I will be building my own family with. ( Mr Gan sometimes says I mention the "M" word too much, but I am sure he wants it all the same, it should be just about timing. Of course, it will depend on the both of us and we work things out. But so far so good..).

But other than these lovely people, my dad, my other brother, my aunts, my uncles, my cousins, my nephews, my neices, and my only grandparent left, mom's mom, are all in Jakarta.

Kinda sad ain't it? I have spent most of my life away from my family. Mom and I are really catching for lost times now.

Come to think about it, I am not sure I wanna send my kids to study overseas from too early a phase in their life.
Hmmm... why the entry becomes kinda sad now? I dodn't mean it that way.
I really think we should just cherish the times we have with our family, no?
I just realised that at any time, your priorities should always be:
1. family
1.5 career/2. close friends...
You really don't wanna build an empire, making billions and end up not really knowing your own kids/wife/mom.
Sigh. I sound like I am having mid-life crisis deep thoughts.
Ok lah.. I shall rest now.
Anyway, I have some pictures I took in Serem-WHAT?-ban and Jakarta during my CNY trips,
I am gonna have so many comments on them, should be quite interesting. Hur hur..
PS: My musical unplugged showcase at Esplanade went pretty well last weel. Crowd was cheering, response was good, Mom was beaming with pride, and one of my favourite clients (who is a rather atas , heavy weight person, yet amazingly down to earth in Singapore) came down and I was so so so grateful. The musical was my first but it shall not be my last. I am trying to get inspirations on what to write about next. Suggestions?


At 7:57 AM, Blogger Doreen gently snorted that...

Aww~~~what a lovely couple! (^_^)

At 11:35 AM, Blogger CELLE gently snorted that...

he he hez ^_^ thx babe..

At 5:31 PM, Anonymous jinx gently snorted that...


At 8:12 PM, Blogger CELLE gently snorted that...

hmmmzz.. tink u are not utilizing comment column to the fullest lehh

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Alex gently snorted that...

are you saying i'm common! =p

At 12:16 AM, Blogger CELLE gently snorted that...

you are common??? why dude??

At 2:04 PM, Blogger ciscalim gently snorted that...

being chinese, especially in Indo, is something to be proud of.

It's true that so many of the older generations indeed generated so much in wealth and finance department.

I just love it when i hear the story of how they thrived lar, dont you? All the rise and fall.
especially if you pour in the dirty mistress and all the affairs, haha

Anyhoo, things changed, and the next generation will never be up to be compared with the older ones lor... kinda sad, but hey, just like you lor, we chinese wont fail one. at least if fail also will fail with grace.

At 11:03 PM, Anonymous Sleepless in Bangkok gently snorted that...

How about women in love seeing marriage as the natural next step?
Not taking a dig at you.

I just see it everywhere.

At 9:58 AM, Blogger CELLE gently snorted that...

ciscalim: yupp.. i spose so.. those stories from the grmpas are just so interesting..

SIB: what about them??? i do see them yup. but i guess that's the the way the world goes around..
it's everywhere aint it? gold diggas i mean.. nothing wrong with it too actually!

At 7:31 AM, Anonymous viswatching gently snorted that...

Hi Celly, I stumbled upon your blog quite recently. It's really interesting and I've been checking back ever since. tt's also cuz i get bored sometimes w school n all. You should blog more!!! it's fun to read. def much more fun than mugging diffusion constants and spinothalamic tracts.

At 9:54 AM, Blogger CELLE gently snorted that...

viswatching: thanks for dropping your comment and man.. sometmes i wish im still in school leh!! i envy uuu

At 10:44 AM, Blogger -jUsT- gently snorted that...

Really fascinating... made me think of my grandma who brought up her kids by herself... slogged her whole life for the family... she had her own pineapple plantation, 1acre or 2 i think... and the amazing part is that the land is urs if u plant something first... so barehanded she n my grandpa planted pineapples tat time... was like 60 yrs ago... and unfortunately my grandpa passed away cuz of some unknown diseases that time and a few siblings of my dad passed away 2... left my dad n his younger sister only...

At 1:55 AM, Anonymous Jon gently snorted that...

I am truly very impressed with the story of ur grandfather. I am a poor person but i really find these stories interesting as they convey the human spirit and that is not to yield.


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