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Friday, August 25, 2006 

The Notion of Hometown - Xi Murong

Some very tender words on the meaning of hometown from Xi Murong (席慕容), Chinese-speaking poet and painter of ethnic Mongolian origins. Xi was born in Sichuan. Her parents were Mongolian intellectuals who went in exile when Xi was still a child. She spent her early childhood years in Hong Kong, grew up in Taiwan, did graduate studies in Brussels and is currently a professor of Fine Arts in Taiwan. (Thanks to Tian for the heads up to the article which I managed to find a full copy on the internet via Baidu.)

What is hometown? It is not only the place where you were born. Other than being a space, it is also the management of time. It can be hometown. It can be place of birth. But that's not enough. It also has to be the place of blood ties where mom and dad as well as previous generations were born. Therefore hometown is a space, it also needs time to build. If you were born in your hometown, leave after you grew up, even if you never go back, you still have the rights, because hometown is already in your heart. However for our generation, whether in Taiwan or mainland China, have always been traveling on the road of searching for hometown because we don't have a hometown.

[...]

Professor Qi Banghuan (齊邦媛) once said, hometown can be a piece of land, but it should also be a group of people, who have love you, have expectations of you when you were young.


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