Saturday, November 18, 2006
The story of the house
When I was in Hainan earlier this November, aside from visiting my paternal relatives, one of the activities that was to keep me occupied in Hainan was taking photographs.
I suspect that the folks at the village must have thought that I was very deprived of rural life. I would take photographs of everyday-events and even the architecture of the building where my paternal grandmother and aunts live. I would even take photographs of the chickens running wild on their own. Even meals on the table became subjects for my photoshots. All these items that might seem to be mundane to the villagers but I would like to capture them on visual medium to record the moments of my trip.
One of the subjects for my phototaking endeavour was the house where my paternal grandmother and aunts live. I heard from the folks that my late paternal grandfather had worked hard in the fields, farming, so as to earn enough to pay for the manpower that is required to build this very house. My paternal grandmother, had helped out by making the bricks that were required for the entire house. More than sixty years later, this house still stood for the younger generations to appreciate.
I seemed to have an affinity for the design of this house more than the affinity that I feel for the HDB flat unit that I have been living in. Perhaps it is because of its simple yet intricately beautiful design. Furthermore, it somehow struck me that every single part of this house was made possible because of the blood and sweat of the generations before me. I would think that much patience, pride and perserverance must have been put into building the house.
At the back of my mind, I wonder what were the materials used to make all those bricks. What have made the bricks so sturdy that they can withstand the test of time?
On my second day at the village, my third uncle shared with me about the geomancy of the house. He shared how the measurement of each items of the house, the length and width of the doors, the position of the beams, the length and width of the windows and so forth actually matters. With the proper ration and measurement, I was told that it would give visitors and dwellers of the house an overall pleasant feeling of the house. If the length had been too short or long, a door may end up looking awkward and unpleasing.
Third uncle shared that one of the doors was designed in a way which represents "Yi" (justice and duty). Another door represents "Wealth". It was interesting to listen to my uncle share about such topics.
I was told that a family of swallows would fly to this house, lay their eggs and raise their young. Can you spot the bird nest in the photo above? There must have been something about this house that the swallows like.
In the photograph that you would see above is the structure of the main gate of this house from the inside. My father told me that when he was young, he would climb up to the storage area above the main gate. I heard that there is a good view up there.
I shall end the post here. Enjoy the photos.