Updated: Nov 17
Tsung Tsin invited its members to ponder this question, inspired by the words spoken by prominent Canadian Hakka businessman, G. Raymond Chang, of his Chinese heritage and Jamaican birth. The essays printed in this souvenir brochure are several members’ responses.
We know the journey that brought each of these writers here today, long or short, is both personal and collective. Along the way, these writers have made many memories that deserve to be shared. They will act as glue that will strengthen the social fabric of our Canadian Hakka family.
Congratulations to all who took their first steps to save their memories for our collective future. Their participation in Tsung Tsin’s The Memory Project is the first of many more steps in their ongoing journeys. TTA applauds your efforts here today and encourages your efforts tomorrow.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” - Lao Tzu
If you could do something that was simple, yet would produce powerful effects for your child’s well-being, confidence, self-esteem, lowered anxiety levels and improved school results, would you do it? Of course, it would have to be legal and moral, or we wouldn’t suggest it. So, here it is: telling family stories. Yep, it’s that simple. Researchers at Emory University reported in 2010 that the telling of family stories lead to better outcomes for children, not because of the content of the stories, but because telling family stories meant sharing time at the dinner table, on a family vacation, or during holiday celebrations. Children who knew their family stories came from families with more cohesiveness, which the researchers believe lead to more resilient and better adjusted kids.
Tsung Tsin’s The Memory Project was designed to help you share your family stories, providing a tangible source of memories for your own and your family’s enjoyment. Your memoirs will enhance the joy of spending time together.
Over the past year, TTA developed and implemented a memory-making program that included memoir writing workshops, visual memoirs through scrapbooking, video memoirs, and our community memory project. The workshops were well attended by many enthusiastic TTA members.
In the memoir writing workshops, attendees learned about storytelling and practiced some activities to get their stories out of their heads and into written text.
Scrapbooking participants worked with photographs, colour, shape and patterns to design some beautiful pages that could be framed or put into an album.
In video memoir, our guest speaker, award-winning Hakka filmmaker, Jeanette Kong reminded us that our individual stories make important contributions to the collective Hakka memory.
Our community memory project served as the basis for our year-end celebration in March, showcasing the written works of TTA members who answered a question based on businessman, Raymond Chang’s description of himself as Jamaican by birth, Chinese by heritage and Canadian by choice.
The articles revealed a variety of experiences, both familiar and unique, and all important reminders of where we came from and where we are going.
Patrick Lee’s photographs of Chinese history in Jamaica were also on display and brought back many good memories.
Shirley Wong shared her scrapbook pages, as well as her beautiful memory boxes, inspired by her scrapbooking activities and created with and for her granddaughters.
Janet Wong’s digital story premiered at our final event, telling the tender story of her father’s lessons of cultivating love.
Participants enjoyed TTA’s Memory Project and some commented: “very timely and relevant”, “Hakka by birth forced me to reflect on my heritage in a good way”, “program exceeded my expectations” and “it sparked an interest to write down my memories for my children to have.” All participants would recommend the program to a friend and all would like to do more. So, we will be holding more workshops and drop-in sessions. Come and get creative with the various scrapbooking tools and our selection of pretty papers. Bring your photographs and videos and use TTA’s computer and editing software to create a digital story. These sessions are casual, social, supportive, fun and for you to decide your own path to memoir making. Young and more mature members are welcome!
Come and see how your past can help you make sense of today and of your future. You have, after all, a lifetime of memories, and they hold a lot of value for yourself, your kids, your grandkids and generations to come.
Funding provided by the support of the New Horizons for Seniors grant from the Government of Canada.