How Well Do You Know Your Family?

Following my previous post about how facebook has taken my friends away,  I also have to mention that this particular social network has helped me to connect with long lost relatives. I am not really good at keeping in touch with my cousins, second cousins, and so-called aunties and uncles. I mostly know the immediate members of my parents’ siblings and their children, and vaguely can pinpoint one or two second cousins but that’s it.

Then one day I was being nosy seeing my cousin’s friends list in facebook and found that she joins our family group. Immediately I signed up and before long I knew I have so many relatives. But it was overwhelming to receive the information about how we relate to each other, too many names, too many initials, too many connecting lines.

However, one particular thing that reminds me how proud we are all to become the member of the family, specifically me, is my grandfather. He was the first doctor in the whole province, which probably explains why we have so many doctors in the family (my last count was my father and 2 other siblings, plus at least 3 other cousins. I might have become one if I wasn’t in a rebel period that time, rejecting everything my parents suggested!), as just like many other professions in the world it is passed from one generation to the next. He died a few years before I was born, and I only know him from the picture hang up on my father’s study. I heard he also was a successful businessman, owning lots of things, from a movie to oil palm plantation. But it is difficult to tell where the story ends and the fable begins, or I didn’t pay a lot of interest when people telling me the story.

But one thing for sure, not only us who are proud of my grandfather, but also the rest of the province. When the general hospital was open, they named it after my grandfather. His statue is still standing there, looking deeply at the world with concern, just exactly like the picture I have seen over the years. I don’t really remember when he was honoured, I don’t even think it is a big deal, until I saw the picture sent by one of the relatives who found me through facebook.


I can feel that not only me, but the rest of them family are proud of him.

Then I feel so embarrassed. I know almost nothing about my grandfather, the beloved father of my own father. And it seems that everybody else in the group knows more than I do. It is also shocking that I have not ever set my foot in the city where my father was born and where I supposedly have a lot of relatives.

I start asking around, and apparently there was a family tree somewhere, held by someone. I need to find this person who could tell me how come we have Arabian last name then was changed to something else and why.  I want to know more about our family history, how come we end up living in Surabaya and owning one of the most famous restaurants in the city (if you click Wikitravel you will find the restaurant in the list), and whether there was an Italian guy who was there to supervise the process and if there was, I want to know what happened to him. I want to know how come many of my father’s sibling are married to Germans. Many questions have many answers which have several versions. I want to find out the truth.

So, how well do you know your own family?

Note: the picture on the teaser is borrowed from here.






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