From China to Chennai, meet three generations of dentists who are as Tamil as Chinese…

Their families moved to Chennai from Hubei province and set-up dental clinics in the Evening Bazaar in the 1930s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The glass doors of the tiny dental clinic swing open to green tiles, wooden panels, lots of dental instruments and neatly stacked bottles and medicine packs. Dr Shieh Hung Sen is inside, dressed in a green linen shirt, attending to a patient with practised deftness, while directing his assistant Nila in flawless Chennai Tamil.

Dr Shieh, who is better known by his Christian name Albert Shieh, is a second-generation Chennaite of Chinese origin. He runs Dr Shieh’s Bright Smile, a 75-year-old clinic, the oldest among the 8 such compact Chinese dental studios dotting the sides of Evening Bazaar Road, Park Town.

“My parents moved from Hubei province in China to Madas some time before the World War II. The Chinese communists were forcibly recruiting people to the army. It was either abscond or die. So my parents along with 8 other families left in the cover of the night to Burma, from where they came to Chennai in boats,” says Albert.

His father, Saw Ma Seng, among others who fled the country, were traditional Chinese dentists who established their business in Park Town in the 1930s. Now, their children and grandchildren are running the operations.

“Dental colleges started in the city only around the 1950s. Yet, our fathers had set up thriving businesses way back in the ’30s and we sons took over when they passed on,” says Albert, who went on to a acquire degree in dentistry from Annamalai University, after finishing his schooling in Bishop Corrie School, Parrys.

Growing up in Chennai

As he reminisces of the Chennai of his youth, Albert, who specialises in denture making, prods open his patient’s mouth and fixes a perfect set of lower front dentures on his gums.

“The best days of my life in Chennai were my school days. We used to play cricket in the Park Town grounds until late evenings. I spoke English and Tamil with my friends group and at home we spoke Mandarin (Hubei dialect),” smiles Albert, who can also read and write Tamil. Albert also understands Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi, and even attempts speaking them occasionally.

“Today is Tamil New Year. You must be celebrating Vishu since you are a Malayali, right?” he asks this reporter with a smile.

Now married with two children, a son and a daughter, Albert reveals that his family speaks Tamil, Chinese and English at home.

“I got married to my wife, Hu Yu Kwan, who is from one of the families in the community itself. However, now the community is not as close-knit as we were, with the older generation passing on,” he says.

In his childhood, the families would get together every Chinese New Year and feast.

“The Chinese New Year’s Eve is a special day for us and the entire community gathers for a feast, which is a grand affair with Wuhan (Hubei cuisine) delicacies of Changyu fish and Sou Chin (stir fry) Chicken. It’s nothing like what you get in the Chinese restaurants in the city,” says Albert, who shares an equal and impartial love for south Indian cuisine too.

“Ïdly, dosa, sambhar and all other dishes I relish. My wife makes the best rasam and kaara kolambu, I feel. In fact, my son’s friends used to ask him if his mum was Tamilian or Chinese after tasting the lunches she used to pack for his school,” he adds with a shy smile.

Albert’s son, Joshua, is a practicing dentist in Canada and, interestingly, is married to a Tamil woman.

“When I was a kid, my mother used to threaten me that if I married outside of the community she would disown me. When I got married, I had a traditional two-day Chinese wedding and a church wedding. Now, times have changed; my daughter-in-law is Tamil and we had a register marriage along with a reception here in Chennai,” says Albert.

The family members are practicing Seventh Day Adventists who had earlier adopted Roman Catholicism. Over the years, many from the community have diverged to different denominations within Christianity.

In the next clinic, David Ma, also known as You Chang Ma, Albert’s nephew, is a Jehovah’s Witness and runs Venfa, a clinic started by his father. Unlike Albert, David belongs to the third generation of the Chinese diaspora settled in the city.

“I don’t have many ties to Hubei. All my life I have known this city. My favourite food is the karuvattu kolambu or the dried fish that you get here. I’m married to an Indian girl, who is from Sikkim. In fact, I had an arranged marriage and went all the way to Sikkim to find my wife, since they look similar to us,” David says with a chuckle.

From Kung fu to Kollywood

Emphasising that they don’t watch Chinese films but for the occasional Jackie Chan Kung fu movie that is released in Chennai, Albert and David reveal that they enjoy Tamil cinema, especially the songs.

“I love old Tamil songs. There are some beautiful songs from Mudhal Mariyathai,” says David as he hums ‘Poongatre’ from the Sivaji Ganesan-starrer.

While David had no qualms about breaking into song, his uncle is more of a closet musician.

“He is usually singing all the time. He loves SPB and sings very well,” his assistant Nila tells TNM.

Albert is a fan of Suriya too and says he is excited about Kamal Haasan’s entry into politics. Apart from this, the dentist also boasts of a few famous friends from the industry.

“Prabhu, Sarathkumar and drummer Sivamani are all my close friends. I became close Prabhu and Sarathkumar as an athlete in school when we met at an inter-school sports competition. We meet once in a while when I am in town,” says Albert, who migrated to Canada with his wife a few months ago and shuttles between Chennai and Ontario.

The future

The Chinese clinics like Albert’s and David’s cater to the local population in Park Town.

“We have a thriving business and clients who have been consulting us and our fathers before us. They trust us and we have sort of established a brand here in Chennai,” says David.

Although many of their relatives have migrated to the US, Canada and other parts of the world, David and Albert remain rooted to the city.

“Although I keep going to Canada, I can’t let go of my business here and most of the year I’m in Chennai,” says Albert.

And despite this mass migration to several parts of the world, none of the Chinese in Chennai have returned to their home province of Hubei.

“I once visited China on a packaged tour with my wife. We couldn’t visit our native place as we couldn’t break away from the others.I have a few cousins there and I hope to visit them once in my lifetime,” says Albert.

However, Chennai remains in their hearts even as they search for better prospects elsewhere.

“I have never felt like an outsider. Chennai has and will always remain one of the most welcoming cities here. My sentiments for this city, in IPL language would be Namma Chennai-ku oru whistle podu,” David concludes with a grin.

Source…… https://www.thenewsminute.com

Natarajan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Give Your Idlis a Healthy twist ….

Give your idlis a healthy twist.

Dietitian Jasleen Kaur shares her recipes. You can share yours too! Scroll down to find out how. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photograph: Kind courtesy Upendra Kanda/Creative Commons

Hot and sour idli

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup arhar dal/ toovar dal
  • Red chillies
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • A pinch of hing
  • 1 tsp grated jaggery

Method:

  • Soak the rice and dal separately in three cups of water for four hours.
  • Grind red chillies and tamarind to fine paste. Grind dal and rice separately.
  • Add grated jaggery and red chillies, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well. Set aside for four to five hours to ferment.
  • Lightly grease idli moulds and put the batter. Once steamed, serve the idlis with chutney.

Idli Upma

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 idlis
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1/2 ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 dry red chilli
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped

Method:

  • Crumble 5 to 6 idlis and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.
  • When they start crackling, add urad dal and cumin seeds.
  • Saute till the urad dal turns golden. Add 5 to 6 curry leaves (chopped or kept whole), ginger, red chili and green chili.
  • Stir and then add the chopped onion. Mix well and saute for a minute or two.

SOURCE:::::: http://www.rediff.com

Natarajan

How Sivalingam battled pain to snatch another C’wealth gold….

‘I had no hopes of winning a medal after I injured my thighs during the National Championships while attempting 194 kg in clean and jerk. ‘

‘Even now I am competing at less than ideal fitness, but I am glad that was enough to get me a gold.’                                                                                                                                       

Defending champion Sathish Sivalingam (77 kg) claimed India’s third gold medal at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday, emerging triumphant despite having given up podium hopes after his injured thighs made even routine things like sitting painful.

The 25-year-old Indian lifted a total 317 kg (144+173) and was so ahead in the competition that he forfeited his final clean and jerk lift.

“I had no hopes of winning a medal after I injured my thighs during the National Championships while attempting 194 kg in clean and jerk. It’s a quadriceps problem; even now I am competing at less than ideal fitness, but I am glad that was enough to get me a gold,” said Sathish, after the medal presentation ceremony during which he was accorded a warm applause from the packed arena.

“I was in so much pain that even sitting was very painful for me. Everyone took care of me, gave me hope but I was not very confident. I had not trained that hard and my body was not at its best, and so how could I hope for a medal,” added the Tamil Nadu lifter.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 07: Gold medalist Sathish Kumar Sivalingam of India poses during the medal ceremony for the Men’s 77kg Weightlifting Final on day three of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre on April 7, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a fascinating contest of one-upmanship between Sathish and eventual silver-medallist Jack Oliver of England in the snatch competition.

The two kept upping the weights before their attempts but Oliver kept his nose ahead at the end of snatch as he lifted 145 kg in his second attempt. It was a kilogram more than Satish’s final attempt.

However, Satish had the last laugh in clean and jerk after Oliver failed two attempts of 171kg and settled for a total of 312 kg (145+167).

The bronze medal went to Australian showman Francois Etoundi, who lifted 305 kg (136+169) and collapsed clutching his injured shoulder after his final lift.

“I got lucky there, had he (Oliver) not dropped those weights, I would have had to go higher and I am not sure how my body would have taken that. I am quite relieved actually.”

At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Sathish won the gold medal with 149 kg snatch and 179 kg clean and jerk lifts, totalling 328 kg. His lift of 149 kg in snatch continues to be the Games record.

“I didn’t want to touch that level because I still need to undergo rehabilitation. The fact that the access to our physio was limited made it all the more difficult. I just hope that we get a physio with us at the Asian Games,” said Sathish, once again highlighting the problems the weightlifters are facing due to the lack of accessibility of their physios in the competition area.

Sathish is also the reigning Commonwealth Championships gold-medallist.

“I hope to do even better in the Asian Games because there is a gap now. Earlier, the Asian Games used to come within 20-25 days of the Commonwealth Games, which didn’t give us enough time to prepare. But this time I have got time to prepare and be fully fit now,” he said.

Tags: Jack OliverKumar SivalingamSathish SivalingamFrancois EtoundiIMAGE

Source:   www.rediff.com

Natarajan

வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை …” நெருப்பின் தாகம் “

நெருப்பின் தாகம்
——————-
மலையேறும் மோகம் …உன் மடி மீது விளையாடும்
தாகம் …வேகம் வேகமாய் உன்னிடம் ஓடி
வந்த அந்த சிறுமலர்கள் செய்த பாவம் என்ன ?
சொல்லு மலையன்னையே  …உன் வெறுப்புக்கு
காரணம் என்ன ?
உன் நிழலில் ஓடி விளையாடி ஒரு புது உலகம்
காண வந்த அந்த  சிறு மலர் கொத்து
மீது நீ நெருப்பைக் கொட்டியது ஏன் ? யார் மீது
வெறுப்பு உனக்கு ?
நெருப்பின் தாக்கம் என்ன என்று தெரியாதா உனக்கு ?
உன் கோப நெருப்பின் தாகத்துக்கு உன் பிள்ளைகள்
என்ன தண்ணீரா ?
உன் வெறுப்பு யார் மீது இருந்தாலும் கொட்ட  வேண்டாம்
மீண்டும் உன் கோப  நெருப்பை யார் மீதும் தாயே !
போதும் இந்த சோகம் …வேண்டாம் இன்னொரு நெருப்பின்
தாகம்!  பிள்ளைகள் எங்கள் பிழை  பொறுத்து
மன்னிக்க வேண்டும் மலையன்னை நீ !
K.Natarajan
in http://www.dinamani.com dated 17th March 2018

வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை …” கொஞ்சி விளையாடும் கோபம் “

 

கொஞ்சி விளையாடும் கோபம்
—————————-
நேற்று இருந்தவர் இன்று இல்லை …இது
தெரிகிறது எனக்கு !…இன்று இருப்பவர்
எல்லாம் நாளை விடியல் பார்ப்பாரா இல்லையா ?
விடை இல்லையே என்னிடம் இந்த கேள்விக்கு !
நெருநெல் உளனொருவன் இன்றில்லை என்னும்
பெருமை படைத்து இவ்வுலகு …சொன்னான்
அன்றே வள்ளுவன் ! குறளை  பாடமாக படித்த
நேரம் புரியவில்லை அவன் சொல்வது என்ன என்று !
வாழ்க்கைப் பாடம் தினம் படித்து வள்ளுவன் சொன்னது
என்ன என்று புரியும் இந்த நேரம் கோபம் கொஞ்சமும்
வேண்டாம் எனக்கு என்று நினைக்கிறேன் நான் இன்று !
வேண்டாம் நீ என்று நான் சொன்னாலும் விட மாட்டேன் நான்
உன்னை என்று என்னுடன் கொஞ்சி விளையாட வரும்
கோபமே …கெஞ்சிக் கேட்கிறேன் உன்னை , விட்டு விடு
என்னை இன்று ஒருநாள் !
நாளை விடியலை நான் பார்த்தால் மீண்டும் கெஞ்சுவேன்
உன்னிடம்  கோபமே, “கொஞ்சி விளையாட வர வேண்டாம்
நீ என்னிடம்  இன்னும் ஒரு நாள் ” என்று !
K.Natarajan
in http://www.dinamani.com dated 4th March 2018

வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை….” அந்நாளே திருநாள் …”….2

அந்நாளே  திருநாள் …
————————-
“உங்க வாக்கு எனக்கு தேவை …
என் சேவை உங்களுக்கு தேவை ..”
என்று சொல்லி யார் கொடுக்கும்
இலவசமும் வேண்டாம் எனக்கு…அது எனக்கு விஷம்
என்று  நீ  உறுதிபட சொல்லும் அந்த நாளே
ஒரு திருநாள் தம்பி !
என் தேவை என்ன என்று புரிந்து நீ
எனக்கு சேவை செய்வாயா  …இல்லை
வெற்றி முகம் பார்த்தவுடன்  யார் நீ என்று
உனக்கு வாக்களித்த என்னையே நீ திருப்பிக்
கேட்பாயா ?…என் வாக்கு உனக்கு நான்
அளிக்கும் முன் நீ தர வேண்டும் எனக்கு ஒரு உறுதி மொழி !
” நான்  உண்மை  ஊழியன் என்றும் உனக்கு ” என்று !
மக்கள் ஊழியரிடம் உறுதி  மொழி  இதை நீ
கேட்டு பெறும் அந்த  நாள் …ஒரு திருநாள் தம்பி !
வெற்றிக்கனி பறித்து ஆட்சியில் அமர்ந்து அதிகார
மமதையில் மக்களின் தேவை என்ன என்பதை
மறந்து தங்கள் தேவை என்ன என்றே குறி
வைத்து காய் நகர்த்தும் உன்  ” ஊழியரை “
அடையாளம் கண்டு அவர் செய்யும் வேலைக்கு நீ
கொடுத்த உத்தரவைத் திரும்பப் பெறும் அதிகாரம்
உனக்கு கிடைக்கும் அந்த நாள் …ஒரு திருநாள் !
தன்  பதவி நிரந்தரம் அல்ல … ஜன நாயக
மன்னன் நீ   நினைத்தால் “மக்கள் ஊழியன் “
என்னும் பதவி  ,  பதவிக் காலம்
முடியும் முன்பே கூட  பறி போகும் என்னும்
அச்சம் உன் ஊழியனுக்கு வரும் அந்த நாள்
எனக்கும் உனக்கும் மட்டும் அல்ல …நம்
ஜன நாயகத்துக்கே ஒரு திருநாள் !
வரவேண்டும் விரைவில் அந்த திருநாள் !
பெற வேண்டும் நம் ஜன நாயகம் ஒரு
மறு மலர்ச்சி !
Natarajan
18th Feb 2018

Will Chennai be able to save a 300 year old Plaque connecting it to its Armenian Past …?

The plaque is the last living relic of the Marmalong, the first ever bridge built over the Adyar river in 1726 by Armenian trader Coja Petrus Uscan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you take a walk across the busy roads of Saidapet in Chennai, chances are that you would cross what is perhaps one of the oldest living relics that connects the city to its Armenian past.

To the uninitiated, it may look like an unremarkable slab of stone on a pale green crumbling wall. However, this ordinary looking slab of stone is in fact a 300-year-old plaque that belonged on the pillars of one of oldest bridges in the city.

Marmalong Bridge, the first ever bridge across the Adyar river, was commissioned in 1726 by Coja Petrus Uscan, an immensely wealthy Armenian trader. Uscan, who had decided to settle in Madras after coming to the city in 1724, paid 30,000 pagodas from his own money to build the bridge and another 1,500 pagodas for its upkeep.

“Uscan was immensely respected and perhaps was even one of the only non-British allowed to stay in Fort St George or the White town. A devout believer in St Thomas, Uscan wanted more people to visit the Saint Thomas Mount, and therefore removed the two impediments – the river and the lack of steps – by building the bridge as well as 160 steps to the mount. This was the initial purpose of the bridge. But all that soon changed as the Marmalong Bridge became crucial to the expansion of the city, especially towards the South,” says Chennai-based novelist and historian Venkatesh Ramakrishnan.

Mount Road came after the bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Mount Road, around which the city developed, came 60 years after the Marmalong bridge.

Named after Mambalam, one of the villages near the Adyar, the Marmalong Bridge perhaps laid the foundation stone for the city as it led to the emergence of the Mount Road, around which Chennai developed.

“It was only natural that a road followed after a bridge was built. The British built the Mount Road in the 1800s, around which the city grew. So, in a sense, the bridge led to the city’s birth and is very close to its heart,” Venkatesh adds.

However, the Marmalong only lives in our memories today. Where the arched bridge of Uscan once stood, a concrete replacement called the Maraimalai Adigal Bridge now exists. There are no traces of this Adyar-Armenian connect but for the last living relic – the plaque commemorating Uscan’s construction of the bridge.

With inscriptions in three ancient languages – Persian, Armenian and Latin, the Uscan plaque was established in memory of the great nation of Armenia and is a tribute to the people who helped build the city.

“The Armenian inscriptions are on the lower portion of the plaque. It can’t be read because the writing has faded with time and neglect,” according to Venkatesh.

Crusade to preserve the plaque

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The neglected plaque stands near the Saidapet Metro construction site. 

Displaced from its original site, the plaque faces the perils of urbanisation and is further threatened by the metro rail work that is underway.

Years of neglect and development in the area has buried the stone in layers of debris. In fact, the bottom of the stone has disappeared under the ground as the road levels have been rising every year due to re-carpeting, Venkatesh laments.

With the construction of the Saidapet Metro station underway, historians who are fighting to save the plague urge the CMRL to give the stone a place of honor in the metro station.

Highlighting the importance of preserving such relics, Venkatesh says, “The Armenians have contributed immensely to this city. I believe it is important to preserve all traces to this link. It is really unfortunate that while the Uscan stone stands neglected, another plaque at the Fourbeck Bridge is preserved by the Architectural Society of India,” he said.

A dedicated group of Chennai historians have launched a Facebook page “Retrieve Uscan Stone” to draw attention to the issue and save the plaque.

“The Saidapet Metro work is too close to the plaque. We have been urging the officials to move the relic to a better place, may be a museum or a memorial site. We just don’t want to lose a precious piece of the city’s history,” Venkatesh says hopefully.

Source….https://www.thenewsminute.com

Natarajan