Friday, April 13, 2018

Explosive diaspora: second generation TCK-ness (a personal rather than academic post)

I had an email from my uncle today.
That's an odd thing because I am not sure I have ever met him, and if I ever did it was at least 30 years ago.

My father was Dutch, born in Indonesia in the 1930s. Also born in Indonesia in the 1930s were his older brother, a sister, and another brother.  This cohort of siblings all spent years in Japanese prisoner of war camp and remarkably (good genes!) all survived.  The youngest brother, the one who wrote me today, was born in the mid-1940s (possibly in Ethiopia, possibly in Holland: I am not sure). 

The diasporic spread of my father's generation is huge:
My father went from prison camp to years lived in Holland, Belgium, Nigeria, Canada, Wales, Canada, Singapore, Ghana, Canada.
The oldest sibling lived in Belgium.
The sister lives in Italy.
The younger brother in his cohort lived in Namibia.
The  youngest, the one who wrote me, lived in Hong Kong and is now, I think, in Holland.

The youngest wrote me (East Coast USA) to ask for my mother's address (West Coast Canada), observing of his own disconnection from his much older siblings: "our family lived all in a different part of this world and a visit around the corner was not so easy."

Not so easy indeed.  It was nice to hear from my uncle.  Despite years and geography, he writes just like my father used to.  Is that in the genes also?

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