Saturday, June 12, 2010

San Tong Remarries -Yee Lai Ping

After 3 years , Leong Shee felt it was time for her remaining son to remarry, so she took him back to China to find a suitable bride. She wanted him to marry someone mature, but eventually he chose to marry a beautiful 19 year old girl named Yee Lai Ping . She was sick all the way back onboard ship with seasickness and morning sickness carrying Soo-Jan.
Between the years 1938 and 1945 San Tong and Ping had a total of 4 children , my Auntie Soo-Jan , Uncle Guy, Auntie Pingeleen ( named after her Mom) and finally my Auntie Soo-Yin.

Edited 3/22/2011
Video of weddings in China and the boat trip back to the United States added..

In 1937 San Tong , accompanied by his mother Leong Shee , returns to China to marry Yee Lai Ping . Yee Lai Ping's older sister is married to her first husband just before San Tong and Yee Lai Ping are married. Yee Lai Ping's sister later marries San Tong's cousin Loon and emigrates to America circa 1950 . Fay Loon , Yee Lai Ping's sister is the mother of my cousins Jimmy and Ming.
The first segment of this video features Fay Loon's wedding and pictures of other relatives in China . The second segment is on the boat carrying San Tong and his new bride Yee Lai Ping back to San Francisco.
Here are some notes on this video by Auntie Soo- Yin ( Thanks so much Auntie Soo-Yin !)
" Ah-Yee's( Fay Loon's ) wedding: Parade, dowry, and being carried piggyback to her 1st husband's house. Also, the close-up portrait of a 17-year old girl is that of Mansui, the one who later swam Sum Gong Village's canal all the way to Macau when the communists overran the Village.
The little boy later in this video is Cousin Mo at 4-years old in Sum Gong Village. He was the boy that Baba was suppose to bring back to the States, but could not. His mother, wife of Ah Fook (Baba's 1st cousin who was son of Ah Yao, Jue Joe's youngest brother) is carrying him. Auntie Pingy and I met them in 1987 when Mo was an adult, and his mother was in her early 80s (showing on her face the hard life she had lived as a villager). A short, thin young man walking toward the camera was the official witness to my parents' wedding. The 2 young ladies walking together at the end of
the segment is my Mom and Ah Yee (mother of Jimmy and Ming).
On the ship about to depart for Hong Kong with my parents aboard, and family to send them off: The young woman wearing glasses and a short, white jacket was my mother's teacher and matchmaker. The teacher and my maternal grandmother had arranged for my mother to bring Ah Yee's wedding cakes to the home of the teacher, where Leong Shee and San T. Jue were waiting. "


  1. Yee Lai Ping and her family lived in Xinhui town (Sunwui), one hrs drive north from Sum Gong Village, where San Tong and Leong Shee met Ping. Leong Shee had contacted her girlfriend in Five Village (about 1hr drive northwest of Ma Choong Village) and asked her to be the matchmaker. The girlfriend knew Ping's teacher and arranged for Ping to deliver "wedding cakes" (for Fay's 1st marriage) to the teacher. There, she and the teacher had arranged for San Tong and Leong Shee to be at the teacher's home, waiting. Ping had an older brother (who later died in Hong Kong), then Fay (mother of Jimmy and Ming), followed by Ping, and finally Ping's younger brother Jao (his twin sister had died in infancy). Their father, Yee Ngan Ban, was Governor of Hainan Island in the last years of the Ching Dynasty, and under Sun Yat-sen's Republic of China, he was appointed District Judge. He came from a family who were by tradition attorneys and judges. He died when Ping was 9yrs old. Ping and San Tong sailed aboard the Dollar Steamship to Hong Kong. They were lucky. The Dollar ran a Japanese blockade of Jeongmen harbor (Gongmoon) safely; on its subsequent run the Dollar was torpedoed and sank. In Hong Kong the couple were married by civil ceremony, and Ping was listed as "wife of a merchant." Under the Exclusion Laws San Tong always had to list himself as "merchant," not as a farmer. I will always remember my Mom writing letters to her mother and her teacher, she would sit at a desk in our nursery room, thumb through a Chinese dictionary and then write. As war in China became very unsafe for Madam Yee and the teacher, my parents sent them money to help out. My mother was 19yrs old when she married by dad, she did not know this would be the last time she would see her mother. When Madam Yee fell gravely ill in Hong Kong (she and her children had escaped to HK in a 16ft rowboat under the cover of night; my dad had sent them money to escape as war intensified), my mother wanted to see her. So my parents arranged to take Pingileen and I with them to HK. It didn't happen. There was a U.S. law that prevented my mother's reentry to the U.S. because she was not naturalized and was the spouse of San Tong who was not naturalized. Three months later my mother received a letter from her brother Jao in HK telling of Madam Yee's death. My mother was so devastated. Auntie Soo-Yin.

  2. During San Tong's trip back to China to marry Yee Lai Ping, Jue Joe had instructed San Tong to find suitable land in Hong Kong on which to relocate the "Jue Joe Family" in California. It was always Jue Joe's dream to move his family and himself back to China. But San Tong rejected the idea because China was at war with Japan (Japan would occupy Hong Kong), and Jack and Joan were born in California and he wanted them to have an American education and to have a better life. Auntie Soo-Yin.

  3. Correction: The ship that carried San Tong and Ping away from China, and that was later torpedoed by Japan on its return voyage, was called the "SS President Hoover." Also, the "paper" to bring Cousin Moe to California in 1937 was purchased in L.A.'s Chinatown for $1000 by Jue Joe. According to Chinese custom, it was Jue Joe's duty to look after descendants of his youngest brother, Jue Yao. A patriarch ensures that the bloodline of a deceased family member continues. So little Moe was supposed to become the "adopted son" of Jue Joe's first born son, San You, also deceased, who was San Tong's older brother. But little Moe was 4 yrs old and the Paper Son was 8 yrs old. Moreover, little Moe was a sickly child at the time and San Tong knew that he would not pass the health examination required upon entry to America. This is why little Moe stayed behind. Auntie Soo-Yin.

  4. Do we know the name of Ping's parents?

    1. According to Auntie Soo Yin, Governor Yee Ngan Ban was Ping's father, He was a widower when he married Ping's mother "Jiao Paw." Yee Ngan Ban's first wife died young .

  5. Replies
    1. Hi Marisol , here is some additional information from Auntie Soo-Jan
      According to Soo-Yin’s research, Jiaw Gung’s given name is stated. (Govenor Yee Ngan Ban) However, Jiaw Paw just means “grandmother on the maternal side”. I don’t know her given name. I’ve only heard my mother refer to them to us as Jiaw Paw and Jiaw Gung.