Dragon Field Village with Chinese Police (Guangdong News Online Sa 18.3.17)


Guangdong News Online, Saturday 18 March 2017 Stony Xiao translation edited by Helene Chung

72 岁的澳大利亚华裔女作家钟海莲,带着 20 多年前亲人在开平祖屋附近拍摄的照片,只 身一人回国寻根问祖。
Seventy-two-year-old author Helene Chung arrived in China with little more than her cousin’s photos taken seven years ago. Yet on 17 March 2017 Kaiping city police tracked down her ancestral village, the home of her grandparents and of relatives who moved to America.

3 月 17 日,在开平市公安局潭江派出所和新昌派出所民警的热心帮助下,钟女士终于 找到了自己外祖父曾居住的房屋以及在美国亲人的联系方式。

(From L) Policeman Xiaonuan Lao, Security officer with boss Xiaoyi Lao, Bureaucrat Qingwo Zhen, Helene Chung, Superior Chaozan Lao, Jenny Lai, Victoria Chen, Jinju Liao, Friday 17 March 2017

3 月 16 日晚 9 时,开平市公安局潭江派出所来了几位女士,其中 一位说英语的女士通 过翻译向值班教导员劳潮赞表达她的请求。

原来,这位说英语的女士叫钟海莲,她的外祖父在 1901 年举家迁往澳大利亚定居,到 她已是第三代人。1930 年,钟海莲的外祖父曾回到开平修建房屋,钟女士希望在有生之年 能回中国寻根问祖,寻找自己的亲人。
At 9pm on 16 March she stepped into the police station in Sanfu town and, through an interpreter, asked for help. In 1901 Helene Chung’s maternal grandfather, Gin/Zhen, following in his father’s footsteps – her great-grandfather – ventured as a tin miner to Tasmania, Australia. So she’s a fourth-generation Chinese Australian. In 1931 her grandfather returned to a part of Taishan that is now rezoned into Kaiping, and built a new home in Dragon Field Village.

钟女士手中拿有 2010 年其表妹在开平拍摄的祖屋门牌和村中环境照片。她告诉民警, 表妹不懂中文,当年来到开平后记下的地址都是译音与中文地名的表述有差别,前些天她们 在赤坎镇和水口镇等地叫“龙田里”的地方寻找过,均一无所获。她们在城区叫“龙田里” 的地方再次寻找无果后,通过 GPS 搜索到潭江派出所的地址,便上门寻求帮助。

Cousin Helen Henry by the house plate in 2010: No 9 Dragon Field Village (Long Tian Li), Lane 5 (Stefan Innerhofer)

Helen Henry and son Stefan at the village library, 2010 (Helen Henry)



Chance coincidence


On duty Auxiliary Police recognise place

得知钟女士的请求后,劳潮赞教导员召集所里的同志传看钟女士打印的图片,辅警小黄 接过图片看了看,高兴地告诉钟女士,他认识这个地方,是簕冲管区的龙田里。大家听到这 个消息都很激动,劳教导员立即安排车辆,让辅警小黄带路前往簕冲龙田里。
As there are numerous Dragon Field Villages and Ms Chung had limited information, that Thursday she had already pursued three false leads in Chikan and Shuikou towns. Then GPS led her to the Sanfu police station, where Superior Chaozan Lao asked his staff to examine the pictures. Fortunately, policeman Huang identified the village library: ‘It’s in the Le Chong group of villages’.

当一行人驱车来到簕冲龙田里时,尽管夜晚光线不足,钟女士还是一眼就认出了“龙田 书馆”的外貌和她表妹拍的图片完全吻合。钟女士激动不已,在村里逐间房屋寻找“龙田村 五巷 9 号”的门牌号。在大家的帮助下,钟女士很快找到了表妹照片上所拍的祖屋门牌号。 This caused great excitement among both police and Ms Chung and her three assistants. Superior Lao directed that they be driven to Dragon Field Village as soon as possible. There, even in the darkness Ms Chung recognised the library.

In Lane 5 by the Gin/Zhen home No 9 to left, Thursday night, 16 March 2017

由于夜深人静,祖屋的房门也上了锁,无法进入屋内观看。细心的民警告诉钟女士,祖 屋的门锁是新的,这间屋子应该有人看管,或许就是她的亲人,不如等明天一早再过来向村 民打听情况寻找亲人。钟女士也觉得太晚了不好打扰村民,一行人便先离开了龙田里。 That spurred her to search for her ancestral home. And, with everyone’s help number 9 was soon found. As it was night and the property locked, she couldn’t enter to look around. But the police noticed the lock was new. This confirmed Ms Chung’s belief that someone was taking care of the house. It being far too late to disturb the villagers, they left.

Looking up at the locked house, No 9, Thursday night, 16 March 2017


Inquire about


Enthusiastic villagers find love
3 月 17 日一早,钟女士就来到潭江派出所,请求民警再次带她到龙田里寻找亲人。民


Next morning, as scheduled by Superior Lao, he and his colleagues escorted Ms Chung and her assistants – two from Zhuhai, Jinju Liao and Jenny Lai, and one from Taishan, Victoria Chen – back to the village.

Examining the plaque’s list of donors who helped fund the arched gate of the village in 2000 Friday 17 March 2017

一下车,钟女士就兴奋地拿起手机拍了起来。社区民警也前来协助,在附近走访村民, 打听钟女士亲人下落。
No sooner out of the car than Ms Chung began taking pictures with her mobile phone. Local security police also joined the search for the holder of the key.

The first villager they meet is an agile octogenarian tricyclist, Friday 17 March 2017

Elders discuss one of the villagers in the photographs, the late Mrs Zhen, Friday 17 March 2017

这时,村中一位老婆婆认出了钟女士打印出来的图片中的一位老人。“这是村民阿亮的 母亲,不过已经去世了,阿亮应该知道情况。”老婆婆说道。

Another elder identified a villager in one of the photographs. ’She’s passed away,’ she said. ‘But she’s given the key to her son, Deliang Zhen.’

村民阿亮赶来后告诉钟女士,她家的祖屋是她居住在美国的亲戚托他看管的。随后,阿 亮找来祖屋钥匙,开门让钟女士进屋参观。新昌派出所社区民警随后也通知了村书记和治保 主任前来。他们告诉钟女士,她的亲人都去了美国定居,并向钟女士提供了她美国亲戚的联 系方式。

When Ah Deliang arrived he explained that, after Ms Chung’s aunt left the home for Tasmania in 1948, it was occupied for many years by other Zhen clan members. ‘Before they left for the United States, they entrusted my family with the key.’

The keeper of the key, Deliang Zhen (2nd from R), Friday 17 March 2017

Outside No 9 before the door is unlocked, Friday 17 March 2017

Amid excited onlookers, Ah Deliang then opened the door, slipped inside to switch on the lights and so enabled Ms Chung to cross the threshold into her family home for the first time.

Helene Chung photographs the straw-fired kitchen stove and pots in disrepair Friday 17 March 2017

多方努力下,钟女士终于圆了寻亲梦。参观完祖屋后,钟女士向民警和帮助她的人一一表达 谢意。钟女士说,回澳洲后她要把她寻亲的经历都写进书里,写上开平警察和村民如何热心 地帮助她这位素不相识的.

After a thorough examination of the property’s two floors, its staircases, its shrine to the ancestors and its roof garden, although saddened by the ravages of time to the property, Ms Chung thanked the police, security and village officials, the villagers themselves and her own assistants. ‘I could never have experienced this without all your help. I’ll return to Australia satisfied and share this moment with family and friends. I shall always remember this special visit to China.’

Helene Chung thanks Police Superior Chaozan Lao, Dragon Field Village bureaucrat Qingwo Zhen, happily returned today from Sydney, and policeman Xiaonuan Lao

Friday 17 March 2017