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A Day Of Reflection

Posted by: Alfred Ng on 01/23/2013 - 9:17 PM

Today, January 23, 2013 is an important day for me because on this day our family arrived in Canada and this year’s anniversary is more significant it reaches the 40th years mark.
I still remember the excitement of my first time being on a plane the long flight from to Hong Kong to Canada. During our long flight mother broke down because she has left her mother behind, perhaps she knew then we would never seen her again

For weeks I had been thinking about today. As I had done before I would paint a painting to commemorate this special occasion:
Two years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Beijing China to visit my friend Michael whom he was working there.. One day, after my visit the Forbidden City and I came across an unusual named “The Working People’s Cultural Palace” (It used to be the ancestral temple for emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties to offer sacrifices to their ancestors.).
I was all alone at this former imperial temple and standing in front of the lotus pond looking at the reflection of the marble bridge in the water. It took me back to my Chinese history class back in Hong Kong.

One day, instead of teaching the ancient history as he was purpose to, our teacher announces, “In 30 years Hong Kong will be return back to China!
It was 1967 and at the height of the Chinese Cultural Revolution although we were children but we had heard from our parents the stories of our relatives, what they had suffered during that time back in China As children born in Hong Kong under the British rule we thought we were different from the Chinese from the mainland. Knowing how our parents had to left their homes and families in China to start their lives all over again in Hong Kong and to think of one day we will back under the mainland China just stuck terror in me. I was thinking to myself, 30 years I would be so old and I Hope I won’t be in Hong Kong then.

However, forty years is a long time and many things had changed since then and my understanding of China changed as well. This year, is the first time my father no longer to be with us to mark the anniversary. The house we been living in the past 35 years is all quite, all my sisters, brother had moved out long ago and had their own families. I became closer to my mother. After my father passed away, we travel to China together for three weeks; we went to the Great Wall.
Our parents came from southern China so we were the only ones ever travel to the north and the capital city.
Looking back, the only one thing remain the same was my passion to make art. I don’t remember a single day gone by I did not spent some time to create art.

Today, I see how much Canada has change and how much China has changed and wonder where would be my future home would be?


Oldest Reply

Posted by: Janine Riley on 01/23/2013 - 9:22 PM

That is beautiful Alfred. Thank you for sharing such a poignant glimpse in your life's story.


Posted by: Vivian ANDERSON on 01/23/2013 - 9:33 PM

Beautiful thoughts, Alfred........thank you for are always so thoughtful about life and art, and so would be the top artist in China too......but I'm so glad we have you here, as inspiration, and so full of hope. Change is inevitable......hope it is always for the better, for you especially. Congratulations on this anniversary.


Posted by: Jean Moore on 01/23/2013 - 9:37 PM

Thanks for sharing your anniversary and your story with us. I'm honored.


Posted by: Beverly Livingstone on 01/23/2013 - 9:40 PM

Thank you for sharing your story and such a beautiful painting


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/23/2013 - 9:53 PM

I have seen you make wonderful things, so complex to look at, out of a paper cup, you will always be able to turn things into something enjoyable and interesting, whether that be art or a place you may end up living in, you take what comes, and see it for what it is and then make it your own, unselfishly, you are like a magician. The painting is a beautiful commemoration of your life and your family's life going back generations, they would have all looked at waterlilies, i suppose, so it's a good symbol too. Your parents were so lucky having such a devoted and caring/sensitive son. God bless you in all you do! :))


Posted by: Puzzles Shum on 01/23/2013 - 10:17 PM

great stuff


Posted by: Roy Erickson on 01/23/2013 - 10:21 PM

I do hope you are having a Happy Anniversary. I suppose in some ways it is very sad to have left an ancestral land and moved to a new - but on the other hand - such excitement for a future.


Posted by: Xueling Zou on 01/23/2013 - 10:35 PM

Beautiful painting, nice writing! Very interesting to read it from your perceptive to see the changes and the thought.


Posted by: Jolanta Anna Karolska on 01/23/2013 - 11:54 PM

Time to reflect..remember and carry on with this great journey Alfred...
Happy Anniversary!
thank you for sharing your story with us...


Posted by: Catherine Howard on 01/24/2013 - 12:25 AM

Thank you so much for sharing that with us, Alfred. It is a wonderful thing to honour your parents and your homeland. We are very fortunate to have you in Canada. The painting is exquisite!


Posted by: Alfred Ng on 01/24/2013 - 9:30 AM

Hello everyone, Thank you so much for your warm and touching comments. Sorry, I didn’t respond earlier, I went to bed early last night.
I am glad to share my thought of this important day with my fellow artists. I always think being an artist we do have the special gift to see things different than the others.
I feel so fortunate to live in a peaceful country like Canada.Thinking back I think how brave my parents were to come to a country they knew little and not able to speak the language in order to make a better life and future for their children. I am forever grateful to them!


Posted by: Mary Bedy on 01/24/2013 - 10:33 AM

It's such a global world now, Alfred, you can enjoy both cultures and it sounds like you have. Your work in beautiful, by the way...I'm especially blown away by your watercolors.


Posted by: Alfred Ng on 01/24/2013 - 8:11 PM

Mary, you are so right about global world. My parents used to get letters from relatives from China and it woulds took weeks to arrived. Now they all have cell phones and they call instead of writing letters. Our world is getting smaller.


Posted by: Sydne Archambault on 01/24/2013 - 9:28 PM

Thank you Alfred for sharing this part of your journey. Reflecting on all of the milestones in your life, the joy of family, the loss of family is often a somber time. Thank you.


Posted by: Elizabeth Lane on 01/24/2013 - 10:09 PM

Thank you Alfred for such beautifully expressed thoughts on the changes going on in your life since migrating to Canada.
I have long believed there is one thing, regardless of culture, or ideology, or ethnic group, that is common in the human race: It is the love of family, the desire for a better life, an aspiration to dreams and pursuit of happiness common to all of us.
You could not have affirmed that concept any better, with your opening topic.


Posted by: Ann Powell on 01/24/2013 - 10:36 PM

What a beautiful painting, and touching story. It made me think about a couple of books I read a few months ago by Lisa See, Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy. Her story is about different places, but she was able to convey what it must have been like for Chinese immigration into a Western country, and all the struggle and hardships. In the 2nd book they go back to China during the Cultural Revolution. Everyone's stories are unique, and her story may not be anything like yours, but she has a way to make the reader really feel the struggles that her characters went through. .


Posted by: Alfred Ng on 01/25/2013 - 4:21 PM

Elizabeth,Both of my parents left China for over 60 years and they had no desire to visit. Many oversea Chinese are like them because their memories of their homeland are filled with hardships and heartbreaks. They lost most of their family member because of the wars and the famines later It look much convening to got my mother travel with me to China last year. However she did not want to visit her ancestral home.. I think it could be too painful for her.

Thanks, Ann I know about Liza See's books there are many outstanding ones from writers in both Canada and the us. I will look for her books. Even in China today, the ones lived through the cultural revolution would not talk about their experience..


Posted by: Ann Powell on 01/25/2013 - 5:28 PM

I would recommend those 2 books, Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy, she wrote that she based soome of the immigrant experiences on writings from her grandfather.


Posted by: Alfred Ng on 01/25/2013 - 8:11 PM

Ann, I have a few suggestions for you, The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy, The Concubine's Daughter by Dennis Chong and Midnight at the Dragon Cafe by Judy Fong Bates.


This discussion is closed.