This is a very traditional photo of the Chans, a photograph of 3 generations. My Grandpa Chan Kee Seng is photographed with his second born male, my Dad, John Chan Hiu Fei. Dad was substituting for my oldest Uncle in China who was banished to Manchuria. Charles is the first born male/grand son.
This is a very rare occurance. Not many people take such a photo. When we were young, we sniggered that he wore a skirt. It was a gown, and he wore a pair of pants underneath. You see this ensemble in movies. The Chans have style. My great grandpa had an equivalent of a university more than 100 years ago. My grandpa made sure we didn't forget it.
When I hear, "I have to go away", my Grandpa left China to Sarawak. Dad went to England, and Charles went to New Zealand and Australia.
This was a very formal event. Here he is wearing the formal attire of a royal official of the Ming Dynasty. It was a black silk top on top of a black silk gown. According to our genealogy, the Chans were potters in the palace. His ensemble were made long before he was 70. Paid for by his sons, and he wore them to meet his maker.
Mum made his cake, a western butter cake and royal icing, 2 tiers. An aunt brought some red Chinese paper cutting of auspicious words. Making it a perfect fusion of East and West. For breakfast, all of us were served with sweet long noodles. Yes, you read it right, the sweetness signifying a sweet life, and long noodles for long life to all who ate this noodles.
There was great feasting, and hundreds of guest were invited. My dad told me that at the birthday of a very healthy and successful person, people like to come to these parties. Some even gate crash. They believe in taking away a bit of the luck of this birthday boy. They will take away uneaten food to share with their family at home.
Vice versa, if the birthday person was a sickly person, people will avoid going to the party. It is seen as taken home the bad luck of the sick person.
Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪
I am the writer of:
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2: Diary of a Bereaved Mother, Goodbye my baby 丧儿记:
Genre: Non fiction, self help, bereavement, infancy death
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