Why do Ding'an people rarely go to Nanyang?

By Ye Haisheng / hiHainan / Updated: 2020-01-08,11:07

There are very few overseas Chinese in Ding'an. Why do Ding'an people rarely go to Nanyang? This is related to its unique geographic unit.

Ding'an is near the middle of Hainan Island. Whether typhoon is from the southeast or northwest of the island, Ding'an is not the first target of typhoon. Compared with other cities and counties, the land of Ding'an is richer in the color of farming civilization.

Dingan does not rely on the sea,but it is blessed.

Many years ago, the crustal movement in the northern area of Hainan was in an active period, causing a strong earthquake in the Longmen, Lingkou, Longhe and Hanlin areas. Wherever the flames vacated, the hot volcanic magma rushed through the terrain, creating a lot of fertile volcanic soil, until now, most of the land in Ding'an, especially in the southern selenium-rich fields, is very suitable for farming.

Ding'an people rely on fertile volcanic soil to grow agricultural and sideline products that are particularly popular in the province.

Since ancient times, Ding'an has been relatively far from the ocean. No matter how many clouds floated in the historical sky, no matter how many white waves were sprayed around the island, it was often irrelevant to Ding'an.

Although they all live in Hainan Island, a few Ding'an people have never seen the sea.

On the other hand, Ding'an is located between the Nandujiang and Wanquan river in the north-central part of Hainan Island. Some of the land is a barren hilly land with poor soil.

Some Ding'an people followed the rugged terrain, each of which opened up a small area of terraced sloping land. It is also difficult to capture water due to the unevenness of the land, and water is the most valuable resource for agricultural production. The violent sun in the tropics results in large water vapor, so some Ding'an people have to rely on the weather, such as the heavy typhoon rain to make up a lot of water. The dispersal of the land caused by the uneven terrain makes the farmers only take care of their own interests when diverting water. Therefore, when farmers seek to survive by diverting water for farming, they will compete for more or less water because of the lack of it.

But in general, the land of Ding'an is particularly suitable for planting and farming. Ding'an people do not rely on the sea to live, the influence of farming culture is strong, which is characterized by contentment and duty. The living conditions determine the character of most Ding'an people: they are more plain and honest, not too concerned about fame and fortune.

An aerial view of Gaolin Village in Longhu Town of Ding'an City. (Photo by Zhang Jie/Hainan Daily) 

Agriculture was in trouble in most parts of Hainan Island in the 1960s, the life of Ding'an people was better. When Ding'an rural people educated their daughters, they would say: "If you don't obey, then you will get marry to Wenchang man!" This is because in terms of farming conditions at that time, some of Wenchang's land was accumulated in tidal flats. There were many sands in the field and too many people made a living from the poor land. The marine economy was restricted at that time and was not very active. It was a common occurrence that food supplies were difficult for Wenchang people.

Men in many places such as Wenchang and Qionghai in the old society went to Nanyang to earn money to support their families, and it was rare for them to return home. Some women had to live alone for a lifetime. However, with its unique land advantage, Ding'an people suffered little hunger and cold.

Ding'an people stick to their local life, always feel that their hometowns are the best in the world, it is difficult for the men to give up their wives to go far away, and few people crossed the ocean. They could guard the two acres of thin fields and live the comfortable days of "you (wife) plowing, I weaving", they were satisfied with a small wealth, so they didn’t have to go out to make a living. It’s even harder to imagine crossing the ocean and going overseas.

Ding'an district has been an ancient town for five centuries. Since ancient times, it has rarely been seen that Ding'an people are causing troubles everywhere. Some people sit quietly at their doorsteps, leisurely and self-satisfied, kind and honest.

Ding'an people loved the Qiong Opera.

The climate of Hainan Island belongs to the maritime climate. During the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, Ding'an County was vast and located in the northern part of Hainan. It is far from the sea, certainly not easy to see the sea for Ding'an people, but most of the land is fertile and the annual rainfall amounts are sufficient. More importantly, due to the unique inland navigation conditions of Nandujiang, Ding'an became a small hub for land and water transport on the island at that time.

In ancient times, due to the extremely inconvenient traffic in Hainan Island, most of the goods of the merchants and the military dignitaries were transported by sedan and horses. Carrying the logistics from the land, the difficulties could be imagined. Therefore, merchants with goods and dignitaries preferred to take the waterway, relying on the Nandujiang water system to go upstream, passing the “Xunya Port” of Ding’an County and the “North Gate Pier” and “Ximen Wharf”of Ding’an Ancient town, and then sent to the island after landing, the flow of people and goods was much smoother. Ding'an has a geographical advantage and became one of the water transportation hubs at that time. The economy was active and used to be a rich place. Merchants from the south of Fujian Province and the eastern part of Guangdong came here to enter Ding'an along the Nandujiang water system and settled in Ding'an. People in cities and counties along the coast of Hainan, such as Qiongshan, Lingao, and Danzhou, also moved to Ding'an. Ding'an became a comfortable place for people to look forward to. The population of Ding'an County increased considerably in the early Qing Dynasty. For Hainan at the time,population was the most important factor for local economic development.Most of the new and old immigrants from various places had experienced many hardships,more kindness and tolerance, treated each other with courtesy and built a beautiful home for happiness together.

Ding'an people are less likely to eat sea fish, and the typhoon is not so violent in this county, but less banditry, and local residents could leave their homes open at night. It could be inferred that Ding'an people have a sense of security because of their wealth and life superiority, their mood was calm, temperament is mild, and they were more inclusive. Ding'an people gave Tujieer,the prince of Yuan Dynasty who was exiled to Hainan and Li Qinglong(the originator of Qiong Opera)more warmth, which was more conducive to the unfolding of the story for romantic relationships and being mad about music and dance. Since most of Ding'an's land, especially in the southern selenium-rich fields, is well suited for farming. Ding'an people have more advantage for elegance when they are full and warm, and they have no shortage of food and clothing. Ding'an talents have a leisurely attitude to appreciate Qiong Opera. On the other hand, Ding'an women speak with soft Voice and soft breath, and the performance of the Qiong Opera are more charming, and the Ding'an lady is gentle and beautiful, as if they are born to be very suitable for singing and the performance of Qiong Opera. Ding'an women have the inheritance of Ding'an's temperament and endowment, it's more or less related to the land of Ding'an and unusual women like Qingmei who had a love story with the price in history.

The still of "Female Royal Doctor" performed by the Qiong Opera Troupe of Ding'an County in the 1980s.

The development of Ding'an district is not as wide-open as the surrounding counties and cities such as Qionghai and Haikou. Ding'an people are naturally optimistic and open-minded. What troubles seem to be relieved when singing a few lines of Qiong Opera. Men, women, young and old often sing a line of Qiong Opera "it was a lady who came to the study".

Ding'an education is not very good in the province, but in the Qing Dynasty, Zhang Yuesongn was conferred as Tanhua(the third-place winner in the highest imperial examination in the Ming and Qing dynasties) in Hainan during the imperial examinations. Although the champion was not rare in some provinces on the mainland, it was not easy to get title of Tanhua in remote island at that time. The local dialect was difficult to interface with the "official words".The title of Tanhua for Zhang Yuesong seemed to be a wonderful one. With Zhang Yuesong, the students in Ding'an used to be better than those in brother cities and counties.

Ding'an people are deeply influenced by the farming culture,kind-hearted but cautious and lack of courage to go outside.

Over the years, Ding'an has rarely produced well-known entrepreneurs, and there have been a few benevolent people in politics. The reason is that some people think that it was caused by the lack of good traditions, and it was also concerning the psychology of not paying so much to education and getting rich overnight. This phenomenon existed in many places, but the impact on Ding'an seemed especially serious. For example, Ding'an Middle School, a key middle school in the county, some students have been admitted to Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Chinese University of Science and Technology in the 1995 college entrance examination, and some others have been admitted to other well-known front-line institutions.Later, few students were able to take it.

Ding'an women are diligent and virtuous. Even today, it is still the case. Most of the drivers of the tricycles called “Fengcai”are women. The Ding'an men know how to enjoy leisurely life, such as drinking tea at Daddy Tea Shop and playing cards at a tea house.

In many units, Ding'an People are always the business backbone, who are conscientious,hard-working and loyalty for trying their best to complete the task.The "loyalty and honesty" means not good at drilling, too lazy to "walk around” to engage in relationship.

Ding'an people are not too sad or dissatisfied with the promotion and demotion of the ups and downs, let it be, or accept it quietly. Some Ding'an people are in the officialdom,but official affairs just like being none of their business, always looking like floating cloud and passing wind, and seldom insisting on "shortcuts."

Ding'an people are indifferent to fame and fortune,which also caused a lot of trouble to themselves.The black tea of "Yuanhang" of Ding'an Nanhai Farm was originally alive and well. Later, it did not go far away. It was a pity that the "Yuanhang" brand was bought by the British "Litton" (without growing tea) and it is sold to market as the "Litton" black tea.

The brand awareness of Ding'an people still lags in the economic tide. Ding'an's Xiangou rice noodle and Tanlan rice noodle have long enjoyed a good reputation,but they could not be famous in the Haikou streets and alleys like Wanning's"Hou'an rice noodle" and Wenchang's "Baoluo rice noodle". The dried rice noodle in the alleys of Ding'an County had its own characteristics and unique flavor. The people from the Guangdong Province highly praised the local rice noodle of Ding'an,but it has been lost today.

Ding'an Zongzi with the fillings of salted egg yolks and black pork. (Photo/Hainan Daily)

Fortunately, the brand awareness of Ding'an people has begun to awaken. The unique Ding'an Zongzi and the high-quality Ding'an black pork have made great efforts to enter some of the big shopping malls in Haikou, which are forming scale. "Ding'an Pork Bone Soup" is also blooming everywhere in Haikou and even in the whole province,to some extent reflecting the spirit of "going out" for Ding'an people.

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