Blessing of the SS Ventnor

 
 
 

 

Blessing of the SS Ventnor

On 2nd February 2015 the Buddhist monk Venerable Zhuji, from Baoguang Temple in China's Chengdu province, performed a private blessing for the souls of the 499 Chinese gold miners’ remains, and the others who'd been on board the SS Ventnor that sank off the Hokianga Heads in 1902. In this photograph at Mitimiti, he was blessing one of the two greenstones that were gifted to the local iwi by the Chinese communities for their kindness and generosity to bury some of the bones that washed ashore after the sinking. This moment of reverence at transient dusk continues to linger without closure.

When I took this photograph Greenstone on Mitimiti beach at dawn, I would never realise that the skyline resembles the 1902 old photo of Survivors on Omapere Beach though the two photographs were taken at different places and had a time span of more than a century.  The greenstone, the remains, and the friendship between the Chinese and the local iwi are entangled and transcended beyond what are represented in the photograph.

For the four hundred and ninety nine Chinese souls and the others on board of SS Ventnor, down below the sea along the Hokianga Coast is a Santiniketan [寂鄉][1] for them — a tranquil but not lonely commune [寂靜, 但卻不寂寞之鄉].

For many Chinese New Zealanders, the commune of the SS Ventnor should remain undisturbed, forever.

 

King Tong HO

2015

 

[1] 寂鄉 is a Chinese term by the Chinese painters and artists Chang Dai-chien [張大千] and Ye Qianyu [葉淺予] of the small town Santiniketan which is commonly known as a university town in India today. Santiniketan means a peaceful and tranquil place in which Rabindranath Tagore had once established a school in 1901. In the Chinese name ‘寂鄉’, Chang and Ye had appended another layer of meaning of ‘not lonely’ to Santiniketan — a tranquil but not lonely commune [寂靜, 但卻不寂寞之鄉]  (Min Sun. 2009. “世人之林, 永恒之路”. Life Magazine. Issue 44/45. p.197. China).

 

 


 

SS Ventnor 的祷告

一九零二年, 载着四百九十九名“淘金者”遗体的 SS Ventnor船只, 在 Hokianga Heads 沉没, 船上还有工作人员。二零一五年二月二日, 来自中国成都宝光寺的佛教僧人珠吉, 到来为他们祷告。照片摄于 Mitimiti, 他对着绿石进行祷告, 此为华人社团赠与本地族裔的两块绿石的其中之一块, 以感谢他们的善良慷慨, 把漂流上岸的遗体埋葬了。短暂的黄昏中, 这敬重之心永存。

「Mitimiti 海滩的绿石」 这照片在晨曦时拍摄, 我没想过它的天际, 与摄于一九零二年, 名为「Omapere 海滩幸存者」那老照片这么相似。两张照片拍摄时间差距超过一个世纪, 而且取景自不同地点。这绿石、遗体、华裔移民与本地族裔友谊的交织, 远超越照片所表达。

四百九十九个中国魂, 及 SS Ventnor 船上的其他人, Hokianga 海岸的深处, 是他们的寂乡[1] — 寂静, 但不寂寞之鄕。

在大多数华裔纽西兰人看来, 他们不应该被干扰。

 

何经棠

2015

 

[1] Santiniketan 俗称大学城, 是印度一个小城, 一九零一年, 泰戈尔曾于这里设立一所学校。Santiniketan 意思是平和安静的地方。中国艺术家张大千和叶浅予在此有感而发, 称之为 ‘寂乡’  : 寂静, 但却不寂寞之乡。[孙敏, 2009, 生活杂志44/45期, 197页。]

 


 

SS Ventnor的禱告

 一九零二年,載著四百九十九名「淘金者」遺體的 SS Ventnor 船隻,在 Hokianga Heads 沈沒,船上還有工作人員。二零一五年二月二日,來自中國成都寶光寺的佛教僧人珠吉,到來為他們禱告。照片攝於 Mitimiti,他對著綠石進行禱告,此為華人社團贈與本地族裔的兩塊綠石的其中之一塊,以感謝他們的善良慷慨,把漂流上岸的遺體埋葬了。短暫的黃昏中,這敬重之心永存。

「Mitimiti 海灘的綠石」這照片在晨曦時拍攝,我沒想過它的天際,與攝於一九零二年,名為「Omapere 海灘幸存者」那老照片這麼相似。兩張照片拍攝時間差距超過一個世紀,而且取景自不同地點。這綠石、遺體、華裔移民與本地族裔友誼的交織,遠超越照片所表達。

四百九十九個中國魂, 及 SS Ventnor 船上的其他人,Hokianga 海岸的深處,是他們的寂鄉— 寂靜[1],但不寂寞之鄕。

在大多數華裔紐西蘭人看來,他們不應該被干擾。

 

何經棠

2015

 

[1] Santiniketan 俗稱大學城, 是印度一個小城, 一九零一年, 泰戈爾曾於這裏設立一所學校。Santiniketan 意思是平和安靜的地方。中國藝術家張大千和葉淺予在此有感而發, 稱之為‘寂鄉’ : 寂靜, 但卻不寂寞之鄉。[孫敏, 2009, 生活雜誌44/45期, 197頁。]