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Tracing My Children's Lineage

文章日期:2011年4月12日

I am a big fan of history books, biographies and autobiographies; there being in me some inquisitive curiosity about the past and people's lives. It could be how I have learned from those before me to deal with life's ups and downs, or it is my prying nosiness, if negatively viewed. Either way, it does not matter, for it is the joy of reading that counts.

Quite contrary to my expectation that the book would be the author's personal reminiscences of the Ho family, he adopts a factual and systematic approach to detailing the family's lineage against the backdrop of Hong Kong over a century ago. The author has evidently put in very extensive and comprehensive research.

If it had not been for his children and other descendents of his family to have a full grasp of their origin and ancestry, I doubt whether the author would have taken up the very tedious task and grave responsibility in his retirement to delve into the past. If it is not a labor of love and a project of family pride, I do not know what else to call the book.

When I compiled a photo album for my mother's memorial service last month, I felt the same love and pride. My mother had passed away quite suddenly and the album had to be put together in great haste. The evenings spent digging up and selecting old photos were exhausting, but there was the drive to keep working, at times well into the wee hours of the morning. Very meticulous attention was paid to where to locate each photo, what the text should say and how family members, especially Mother's grandchildren, might react to every big and small inclusion. Mind you though, this album is only a very small one, and the effort to produce it unquestionably pales compared to Mr. Eric Ho's in his book. But fond memories of the past are no different, I believe.

The book will take readers on a journey to our city in the old days; daze them with old Chinese and Eurasian ways; subtly remind them of kinship bonds; and share with them the delight of passing family lineage to children's children and forever more.

Reviewed by Ms. Brenda Mau, Principal of St. Mark's School



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