Lianhe Zaobao

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An honour to be mentioned in Zao Bao newspaper today. Many thanks to those who have supported me in researching my family tree and helping me understand my roots. The main photo is taken at my Hokkien great grandfather's ancestral temple in Singapore on Cantonment Road. English translation out soon! 

父亲是本地华人 母亲是高加索裔 澳籍女艺术家在我国寻根

2018年3月26日 星期一

文/陈莹纮 摄影/朱睿彬 来自/联合早报

林薇美小时候每隔三年就会从澳洲回来新加坡探亲,尽管与祖父母语言不通,父亲还是坚持带孩子返乡,这无形中在她心灵种下寻根的种子。

说到寻根,华人通常都会想到中国。林薇美(Jennifer Lim,41岁,艺术家)却是从澳大利亚到新加坡寻根的混血儿。

林薇美的父亲林思谦是新加坡人,年轻的时候当海员,25岁移民到澳洲,跟大学讲师罗敏(Robyn,高加索裔)成婚,生了林薇美和她的弟弟。

林薇美明显继承了母亲的高加索血统,皮肤白皙,鼻子高耸。她说,小时候父亲每隔三年,就会带她回来新加坡探亲,尽管她只会说英语,而祖父母也只会讲方言和马来语,父亲还是执意带孩子返乡,这无形中在林薇美幼小的心灵种下了寻根的种子。

六年前,林薇美同丈夫和孩子移居本地工作,父亲曾来探望,还带她探访小时候住过的房子以及曾祖父曾拥有的店屋,进一步激发她想深入了解家族史。

提起族谱,她有些尴尬地透露,不少家族资料是在亲戚丧礼上收集得来的,“华人家族大聚会通常都是在办红白事的时候,而停柩那几天,家人会有比较多的时间坐下来聊聊。”

四年前,因父亲中风,无法行走和说话,促使林薇美更积极地去搜寻家族资料。她将搜集得来的资料,包括先祖的照片和文字资料,放入黑色的文件夹内。

林薇美的祖父林宗礼,生前负责管理仓库;曾祖父林汝炎是驳船公司老板。她从上了年纪的亲戚口中得知,曾祖父富有、相貌堂堂,生前住在42号客纳街(Club Street),先后娶了三个太太。

寻根少不了到先祖坟墓祭拜。林薇美的高祖父、曾祖父、外曾祖父和外曾祖母都葬在“咖啡山”(武吉布朗坟场)。六年前,政府要建高速公路,林汝炎的坟墓必须让路,林薇美随大伯到咖啡山迁移曾祖父的遗骸。

她说:“那一天有一点悲戚,大雨滂沱,我们静静地站在帐篷下,看着道士在雨中诵经。过后,我们带着曾祖父的遗骸到新民路的光明山,放入骨灰瓮。”

林薇美住在大巴窑,不时会到邻近的光明山,祭拜曾祖父和其他先祖。一次在先祖的骨灰龛前悼念时,她特地请求管理人拿钥匙打开骨灰龛,跟先祖说了几句话,再放回去。

从墓碑搜集家族资料

咖啡山坟墓的碑文,让林薇美搜集到不少家族资料,包括先祖的籍贯和子孙的名字。她赞叹道:“传统华人墓碑,家庭成员的记录实在详细!”

几年来,林薇美结识了一群“咖啡友”,经常随他们走访咖啡山,从墓碑认识新加坡历史。其中一个文史发烧友告诉她,广东民路上的林氏大宗祠石墙上的捐款名录也刻有“汝炎”这个名字。后来,这名友人专程陪她到林氏大宗祠去查寻。果然,她看到曾祖父“汝炎”的名字和“伍佰元”捐款额的记录。

林氏大宗祠九龙堂家族自治会会长林清荣日前得知记者在宗祠采访林薇美,特地和几名理事前来会见。

林清荣对记者说:“宗祠现在有近1000名会员,林薇美不是本地公民,无法加入为会员,但这不妨碍她加入青年团,宗祠的许多活动,包括去年11月举办的90周年庆典晚宴,她都参与其中,跟宗亲同乐。”

他说:“很少有像她这样的外籍宗亲,对林氏大宗祠九龙堂有这般强烈的归属感,我们非常欣慰,希望以后有更多外籍林氏的后人可以跟她看齐,来参加我们公会的活动。”

两层楼的林氏大宗祠主体建筑,一楼摆放了林氏族人的祖先牌位。林清荣说,无论什么籍贯,只要是姓林的都可以把神主牌放在那里。

互助会主席林文生当初是第一个带林薇美参观大宗祠者。他指着一楼大殿牌匾上的“忠孝”二字说:“我们姓林的人最重视的就是这两个字。”

林薇美的祖母陈阴娘是土生华人,所以她对土生华人的文化也很感兴趣,他们使用的花砖也成为她版画创作的灵感。

林薇美的澳洲籍华裔丈夫陈锦光,是澳洲一家国际房地产公司新加坡分行的项目经理。他们育有两个孩子:女儿陈智娴(7岁)和儿子陈智光(4岁)。

她说,自从父亲中风之后,她更觉得有责任代替父亲梳理族谱,“这是留给后代的资料,我让孩子学华语,还有告诉上学的女儿学好华文,要有意识地保护和保留新加坡历史”。

她笑说,女儿现在还不懂得背后的意义,甚至觉得咖啡山是“全新加坡最热的地方”,但她希望在新加坡成长的童年会给女儿留下美好回忆,成为未来美好人生的开端。


Singtel 

This new commercial by Singtel for the Iphone 8 features my new Singapore Heritage Tile Art Collection in the background! Thanks to the Peranakan Tile Gallery for inviting me to exhibit this series of hand-made block prints on canvas there last year. Learn more about this collection. 


honeykids asia 

Thanks to Honeykids Asia and illustrator & writer Ilona Tar for this lovely feature on my 'hood, artwork and workshops in the corner of Singapore! 


find my trip

Wonderful to connect to Japanese audiences in this feature in JTB's online travel portal on Peranakan culture in Singapore. 

silverKris

Lovely to have my Peranakan printmaking workshops to be mentioned in Singapore Airlines Travel Guide Silverkris! My Peranakan grandmother might have been surprised, and perhaps keen to join!


 

Tripping 

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An honour to be interviewed for this Japanese travel blog! Japan has been such a big part of my life, and it's nice to be able to connect with the Japanese community in Singapore and abroad.  Japanese | English translation


 

Creative founders

Thanks to the team at Creative Founders for interviewing me! I just love this new community for female creators who are turning their passion into business. Read Now


The Weekend Scoop

Many thanks to Ben Nadarajan for the interview and feature of my workshops at the Peranakan Museum! Check the Weekend Scoop when thinking about what to do with your precious weekend! Read Now


 

Tiger Airways tiger tales magazine

Thanks to Tiger Airways for featuring me in their inflight magazine Tiger Tales for the September/October 2016 issue. Also thanks to Denise Li from Material World for interviewing me! You can also read the article in their online magazine (takes a minute or two to load- page 77). 



The Peranakan by the peranakan association

It's humbling to have my Where is My Heart and Tile Trade: Wealth & Luck featured in The Peranakan's issue 1 of 2016. I talk with Nyonya Dawn Marie Lee about my journey of discovering my roots in Singapore and beyond. Read the article. 



Houzz Singapore

I was excited to be invited to the recent Singapore launch of Houzz, an online portal for home renovation and design. As a trained interior technician and building designer, I love working with partners in this industry. Priya Naik is the guru behind Interior Design Journey and Parham Mansor Safaiam of Ethnicraft Online carries gorgeous interior items! What a ball we had that night! 

 With the gorgeous and talented Priya Naik of  Interior Design Journey ! 

With the gorgeous and talented Priya Naik of Interior Design Journey



the blend within

It's great to support The Blend Within - an online creative portal aimed at promoting awareness of Eurasian identity. Thank you for featuring me. Read the interview.