Jottings From Xiamen
Group photo taken with relatives at the wedding dinner in Xiamen China.
The bride and bride-groom
Last year I was invited to attend my nephew’s wedding in Xiamen. Xiamen is a port city on China’s southeast coast, across a strait from Taiwan. It was formerly known as Amoy. I had visited this island twice, one in 2001 and one in 2008. This was my third visit to the island.
An elegant wedding banquet was held in a 5-Star hotel attended by a large number of well-wishers, friends and relatives. It was not a Chinese traditional wedding. In fact,it was an European-Style wedding. As we all know that the residents of Xiamen are more inclined to Western culture as compared to other Chinese cities. Historically it was a migration port for thousands of overseas Chinese seeking fortune in foreign countries especially in the South East Asia nations. Its small island Gulangyu ,was a foreign concession from 1903 till World War II. Many Europeans and Japanese lived on Gulangyu. But, today it is a vehicle-free island with beaches and meandering streets lined with old colonial villas. It has become a “must visit” tourist destination.
The living standard of the people in Xiamen has greatly
improved ever since the opening up policy in 1978
However, Dadeng Island(大嶝島) is another important tourist attraction in Xiamen. It is only a few kilometers away from Kinmen(金门) of Taiwan. It was a battle field during the hostilities between PRC and ROC in the years of 50s. In 1958, at the peak of the Taiwan Strait Crisis, Dadang Island was bombarded from the sea and from opposite Kinmen islet by ROC armed forces. I was told that more than 120,000 artillery shells fell on the island during the attack. I visited this tiny island in 2001 and saw many military installations which have been preserved and located in their original positions. At that time, the Authority allowed Duty-Free goods imported from Taiwan and set up a “Taiwan Small Goods Market”. Today it was replaced by a Taiwan Duty-Free Park.
My wife and I also paid visits to Kinmen and Fujian Earth Buildings(福建土楼),. The former like Dadeng Island was a hotspot during Taiwan Strait Crisis. The PLA extensively shelled the island during the first and second Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1954-1955 and 1958 respectively. At that time , I was studying at the Chung Chi College ( Today Chinese University of Hong Kong), my attention was drawn on the evening newspapers concerning millions of artillery shells fell on this tiny island. So magically, it was survived and today opens to the world in so as to promote tourism.
Gulangyu is a vehicle-free island with beaches and
meandering streets lined with old colonial villas.
The latter, Fujian Eartrh Buildings(福建土楼), was renowned to the world and became a World Heritage Site in 2008. Its Chinese name is Tulou(土楼) meaning “Mud Buildings”. There are all together 46 Earth Building Clusters constructed between 15th and 20th centuries. However, we only visited the two most popular and famous World Heritages Sites, e.g. Yongding Tulou (永定土楼) and Nianjing Tulou Clusters(南靖土楼群).
After all, all these Tulou belongs to Hakka people. It is a type of Chinese Hakka rural dwelling in the mountainous areas of southeastern Fujian Province, China. Hakka Chinese originally came from the centre part of China. Due to unending wars and social disturbances, they fled massively and settled down in the southeastern part of Fujian Province.In my home town Longyan, about 70% of its inhabitants are Hakka people.
We only spent about 10 days in Xiamen.