Friday, September 19, 2008

The Long Road - PhotoHunt

Theme : Road

Guide at Hua Song Museum leads tourists through The Long Road of a migrant

The journey of a migrant begins with The Long Road, a philosophical display representing the uncertainties felt by migrants who left their home villages to seek fortunes overseas.

When my grandparents decided to leave their village in Swatow, China to seek a better life overseas, they didn't expect it to be such a long and arduous journey. They travelled great distances, surviving on sheer grit and perseverance.

They were stuck almost 70 days on board a ‘Floating Hell’. It was a journey of sadness, death, and disarray. Our family clan is grateful to our grandparents who braved the storm to make history happen.

The junk was overcrowded with hundreds of other Chinese hopefuls, with dreams of a better life. It was stuffy and the air was filled with a terrible musty smell.

Some did not make it. My grandparents lived to tell their tales....

Early Chinese Settlers in Singapore

The Samsui Woman

The Amah (Domestic Servant)

..... a series of posts next week on my grandparents' life in Singapore during the Japanese Occupation.

NHB has kindly agreed to sponsor some prizes. Watch out for the posts next week.

Hua Song Museum
Haw Par Villa
262 Pasir Panjang Road
Singapore 118628

Opening Hours:
9am to 6pm daily (Hourly Guided Tour)


Adult - S$8.50
Children - S$5.40

Win a 60" LG HD Plasma TV!!
15th Sept - 25th Oct 2008


  1. ecl,
    My grandpa also went through a long journey from China to Malaysia. I think he only has few dollars or is it 100 dollars? Can't remember. It's always great to see how "strong" is the older people. Not anymore with the youngster like us when we only know how to COMPLAIN!:P

  2. haw par villa still open ah? i hv nvr been there b4...

  3. Ecl,

    You mean Hua Song Museum is located within Haw Par Villa. I thought it was completely demolished long time ago.

  4. Ooo...I missed this place during my last visit to Haw Par Villa.
    I do know there's a museum there...this is really nice:)

  5. Hi dear! That Floating Hell picture speaks a thousand words eh? Glad that ur grandparents survived to tell their tale. Have a good weekend! :D

  6. Kok,
    My grandparents came to Singapore with very little money but they managed to make a living and raise a family here.

    When I wanted to emigrate to another country, S$1 million also not enough. How can I emigrate with very little money? sigh...

    I'm not as bold as my grandparents....

  7. my rainbow angel,
    You heard of Haw Par Villa but haven't been there? Come, come to Singapore. I'll bring you and we can take some fun photos. :)

  8. stanley,
    I thought Haw Par Villa was demolished too, so for many years I didn't think of visiting it.

    In July, while researching on the early settlers in Singapore, a staff from NHB directed me to Hua Song Museum.

    It is a fun museum, look at the photos. The staff let me fool around with the displays! hehe...

  9. Christy,
    I don't think many people know about this museum nor bother to take a look. You have to pay entrance fees.

    But it is not only an educational museum but fun too. :)

  10. Mariuca,
    Reading about the journey of early migrants by sea to Singapore made me sweat. I can imagine the terrible smells, the overcrowding, the sickly passengers and screaming kids on the ship!

    I get seasick easily and to go on board a ship for 70 days is going to be Hell and turn me into a murderer! :P

  11. Life was so simple yet tough back then. We are all too lucky to be living in such a good, convenient life which we sometimes, or most of the times, take granted for.

  12. Doreen,
    Yes, life was very tough for my grandparents and parents. I would much prefer to live in the present. :)

  13. I love reading personal history as this. It makes us value our ancestors more knowing they have made it possible for a great life for us.

    I have never heard of this museum and I could almost imagine the journey they went thru before they landed in Singapore.

  14. Farah,
    I myself love knowing the history or life experiences of others. I'm a busybody. haha....

    I only hear of this museum recently too. It is an eye-opener to see how the early settlers overcome adversities to settle in Singapore.

    I really appreciate them after the tour.

  15. Life back then was hard, amazing how the older generations survived through it.
    The current younger generation given the life back then, would probably never survive!

  16. Very special take on the theme, ECL!! you must be very proud of your brave and adventurous ancestors!!

  17. napaboaniya,
    Yep, they could endure the harsh conditions, they were made of tough material. As a descendant of my awesome grandparents, I'm ashamed. :P My son is still quite tough, training from Scouts and the kitchen. :)

  18. Mar,
    After doing the research on early settlers in Singapore, I salute them for their resilience.

  19. A really interesting and inspiring story for the theme of road. I'm afraid I haven't even started mine yet. Yours will be a hard act to follow:)

  20. A.
    awww... you always write interesting posts yourself. I'm looking forward to that and the beautiful photos. :)

  21. Wow - what a great story behind this photo hunt (And so interesting)!

  22. ecl,
    It's just tough for our grandparents to emigrate but they managed to do it. Maybe it's the determination that do the trick...

  23. I salute u for dressing up and posing with the "settlers"! u r one resourceful mama! talk about sun/moon/stars lighting? ;P

  24. looking at this post, it is no wonder u r one of the top Singapore bloggers. well done

  25. Hi Sherry,
    Welcome to Singapore! You'll love my country. :)

  26. Expat Traveller,
    Thank you.
    Come back for more posts to this story. :)

  27. Kok,
    Probably it's because either way, they would starve to death. There were no job and food in their villages, plus there were natural disasters, so when they heard about the 'Treasure Island' down south, they took a gamble....

  28. sho,
    haha... when I want to write stories, I must do a good job. Sometimes, readers are not as imaginative as me. :P

    There is so much resources around us, look around and use them to your advantage!

  29. Bengbeng,
    aiyohhh.... with a bit of creativity, any one can do it.
    *blush blush*

  30. Thank you for sharing your grandparents inspiring story. I admire their strength and courage.

    I will post mine tomorrow.

  31. reading your entry makes me wanna ask my parents how did my great grandparents came over. LOL

  32. Rachel,
    Welcome. I hope others would learn something inspiring from their ancestors too. :)

    Will visit you tomorrow.

  33. satkuru,
    That's great! You could write their story down and passed it down to the future generations.

  34. Thank you for sharing this story.
    Very interesting - we don´t have stories like yours here in Sweden.
    Have a great weekend!

  35. Randi,
    That means there are very few immigrants in Sweden?
    Happy weekend!

  36. That's a great post. It is such a long road for so many immigrants and your grandparents must have been very strong.

  37. Great post eastcoastlife. One of the eearliers chinese women to emigrate to England did so bywalking the Trans siberian railway. Happy weekend

  38. My grandparents migrated by ship from England to Australia. I enjoyed reading your post - it is very thought provoking, and will bring up a lot of memories for your readers. :)

  39. I have a few of the suitcases that these people packed their lives into for their trip to a new life in Singapore.

  40. Great choice for today's theme... I'm back! Mine's up too hope you can drop by.... Happy weekend!

  41. Oh that a nice entry for the theme. The long road...Happy hunting!

  42. Great story. Looking forward to reading more on the story.

  43. Carver,
    They were young. Poverty and starvation forced them to leave their village to seek a better life overseas. They had nothing to lose by taking a gamble. It paid off.

  44. thanks for sharing something universal yet personal =] i think i saw an exhibit like this in sentosa? but that was in april 2000 (the first and last time i was in singapore!) so i hardly remember the details...

    but, yeah, we're all migrants- maybe from the province to the city, from one school to another, from one relationship to the next. fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. sometimes it feels better to just stay where we are...

    as one saying goes- ships at the harbor are safe... but that's not what ships are made for =]

    happy weekend! (sorry this comment has gotten a little out of hand hehe)

  45. At first, I thought the KPE post was the entry for this week theme "road". LOL!
    Somehow, thanks for the great story telling. :P

  46. Great post this week, eastcoastlife! Informative and interesting! :)

  47. You managed to bring back my youth with this post, thanks, I left a comment of each link.

  48. It must be a terrible feeling to leave and look for a new home in another country !

  49. The Long Road, fascinating.Makes me think of a local Museum in Halifax, Pier 21- Canada's Immigration Museum, . looking forward to what you share about your grandparents journey.

  50. The Long truer words were ever an it's journey and the road we must all walk....great story and great photos for the theme...

  51. I can't imagine 70 days on a ship in those awful conditions! I don know if I get seasick, never been on a ship! ;)

  52. I know to you I'm a day late but it Saturday as I type this.
    Enjoyed reading about your grandparents and there journey.
    Have you every been to there village which they came from?

    If you have the time stop by and the coffee is on.

  53. What a journey, thanks for sharing your story :)

    Happy Sunday!

  54. I visited this museum quite a while ago. Thanks for bringing back the nice memories of the museum by sharing this post.

  55. "What a journey it has been..." so goes a song. It must have been really an arduous journey and your grandparents were strong enough to survive.

    This should serve as an inspiration to the youth of today.

  56. i had previously written in my posts about the roads and a quote really intrigued me. it goes like this - May the road rise up to meet you.

  57. Very nice idea for today's post. I liked it very much.

    My post...

  58. Great post for the road theme. It is important to remember the trials and tribulations of past generations (and some current ones) in seeking a better life for themselves and their children.