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Trace the ancestry, Seek the roots, and Search for a kind of culture
[Source: | Author:Liu Jiesheng | date:2015.12.10 | Browse94 ]

  Liu Guojun is my great-grandfather.
  It has been a long-cherished wish for us the fourth generation to trace the ancestry and seek the roots.
As the New Year's bell is about to ring, we the fourth generation of Liu Guojun living both home and abroad decided to launch our roots tour searching back home together.
  The roots tour literally means a trip seeking for traces of our ancestors ’legendary life.
  The group of our fourth generation includes 12 people, ages ranging from tens to thirties, getting together from different parts all over the world, but most of us speak English. No matter how poor a person’s birth place is or how rich the places he or she is going to, ancestors are always unforgettable. It is everybody’s destiny though it seems to be incredible to some extent. Instead of merely a miss for our ancestors and hometown scenery, roots seeking is more like a long-awaited but strong desire for our hometown.
  This is actually where the essence of our roots tour lies.
  I have never seen my great-grandfather, neither have most of the fourth generation. When I was a child, my father used to tell me the stories of my great-grandfather. You can imagine how strange the name was, since I had never got the chance to know what he was like at that time. Therefore, I wondered about his appearance in my mind until the first time I saw his picture at teenage, he is amicable, moderate with a sense of perseverance and persistence. From his clear eyes I can see his determined mind and strong will.
  As time goes by, I grow up and somehow a strong desire-- to trace the ancestry. Actually, it is not simply a seeking, but a kind of self-identity or to be more accurate, spiritual ballast.
  My hometown, where my great-grandfather was born, is a place for our Liu family to be born and grow up.
He is a hero in our heart. He began his entrepreneurship from “a poor boy”, and through his fearless and brave efforts, he created miracles of national industry one after another in his times. He is a life model for all of us and we are eager to seek his anecdotes, learn from his experiences, and inherit his qualities.
  At the end of last year, I had the honor to join Changzhou Youth Association. Zhang Yue, director of Municipal United Front Work Department of Changzhou, gave me a book named A Changzhounese who Influenced China, expecting me to know more about the homeland. In the first half of this year, I came back to Changzhou with my father again, and I was granted special access to the cultural relics vault in Changzhou Museum. There I was shocked by the over 500 volumes of historical files and data about Liu Guojun and his Dacheng Factory, which is a valuable mineral reserves of history and contains inexhaustible spiritual wealth, waiting for us to seek, explore, and promote.
  With the changing of seasons, a person’s spiritual world is always in search for those interesting memories. Whenever I was depressed, sad and hopeless, I can feel my inspiration deep rooted in the homeland, in the elder generation represented by my great-grandfather.
  As a matter of fact, tracing the ancestry and seeking the roots are not just for the family names, the former residences, the memorial temple or tombs, but for a kind of culture. It is the ever-lasting cultural nutrition that has pushed the development of either the human society or family clansman forward. Therefore, the history will not vanish, the human society will not reverse and the family clansman will not end.
  We have set out our roots tour for the marvelous place in high spirits.

(Liu Jiesheng, male, born in 1989, is Liu Guojun's great-grandson. Graduated from Johns Hopkins University, he is now general manager of Hong Kong Three Houses Properties Limited, and member of Changzhou Youth Association.)