A Search for Family Roots
February 1, 2020
U.S. State Department travel advisory: Exercise increased caution in Hong Kong due to civil unrest.
Since June 2019, large and small political demonstrations have taken place in various areas of the city. Some have resulted in violent confrontations between protesters and police.
Ignoring all that, RHS'69 Reunion Committee chair Vincent Yim visited Hong Kong to see and learn about the part of his family he never met.
Back home he removes his flak vest and tells of a wonderous trip.
Officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), it's a special administrative region on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With 7.5 million people of various nationalities in a 426 square mile territory, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places on Earth.
The city also has the largest number of skyscrapers of any city in the world and its residents have some of the highest life expectancies.
October 2018, we lost Mom.
Our family, from all over, came together to celebrate her life. My cousin from my mother’s side came in to stay with Wendy and me for 5 days.
David and I went thru mom’s most
valued stuff. After the first day I
realized I knew nothing about my
Mom’s side of the family...even my
Father’s side and who they were in
China. David was a wealth of knowledge
and we talked for 4 days, how my great
grandfather helped Dr. Sun Yat-Sen win
the revolution and was rewarded
with land and title. David did all the
talking and I, with my mouth wide open, listened.
After Mom’s service, we all talked about going back to China to see where our families came from, also to see our famous uncle in Hong Kong. He is 92 and not doing well. Cousin Alice volunteered to put the family trip together. It took me 2 months to decide to go with my family. Being the black sheep, I have never gone on any trip with any of my family members. I took two deep breaths and said OK!
Cousin Alice Kwok has been going back to Hong Kong at
least twice a year for many years. She booked the best
hotels for the area and has used the tour guide company
before, Wing On. We finalized, booked and paid for
everything in April 2019.
In June the People’s Republic of China decided to change
the immigration laws and the protesting started.
In September the rioting were getting worse, the Oahu
family group started to talk about cancelling the trip. I told
them the airline and hotel will not give us a refund until
the last minute and only if there are death to a few, eminent danger.
Seems like the protestors were targeting all the transportation stations. So we hired a professional tour guide and got our own bus. We kept the schedule loose in case we had to avoid the trouble areas.
Now we are committed - no turning back. There are 22 Yims and Kwoks from 2 to 70 years old. The adventure has just started.
Video by Chris Kwok, a member of the Kwok/Yim trip