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a geography lesson « Jocelyn Wong's Blog


a geography lesson

Hi class, today we are having a geography lesson. Today we are learning about “Where the Wongs are from.”


Wong is actually the Cantonese and Taishanese version of the surname Huang, or Hwang. According to this website, Wong/Huang is the 7th most common surname in China. They counted 29 million of us in China back in 2000, with 2 million of us overseas. In high school there were 12 Wongs in my graduating class. None of the others were related to me. (My high school was about 40% Chinese and 40% Filipino.) In the latest list of Ironman China registrants there were 4 other Wongs registered and 1 Hwang, representing Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and AUSTRALIA. That’s a lot of us!

Of course since childhood we have put up with being the butt of Wong jokes. “Two wongs don’t make a right” etc. Lately the Doc has been assailing me with “What’s wong with you?” and “it might be wong, but it’s right for now” (regarding my horrid swim stroke). I figure if he is helping to make me faster, I will put up with a little abuse. :)

My family has been really excited about my trip to China. I’ll be the first of my generation to “go back” to the motherland. My dad hasn’t been back since moving to the USA almost 40 years ago and Mom was born and raised in Burma, so she’s never been. My oldest aunt wrote me up a little note on our family roots in case anybody I meet in China asks where my family is from. She also gave me a red envelope with some money for good luck, and a huge bar of dark chocolate just because:


The note basically says my name, the province my family is from (Guangdong), the city (Taishan), district, and village. Then it lists my great-great grandfather, great grandfather, grandfather, and father’s names. In case I bump into someone who might have known them, or hey, maybe a relative on the street. :)

I did a little bit of map-looking on Google and was surprised to see how close Taishan is to where Ironman will be in Haikou. I mean, in comparison to how large China is:


in fact, it is actually right between Ironman in Haikou and teamTBB training camp in Subic Bay:

It’s like I was meant to be doing this! I won’t have time to visit the Wong family’s village during this trip but I will return in the future and be sure to bring Mom and Dad.

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