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Tunchang was a "desolate" place in ancient times. During the late Ming Dynasty and the early Qing Dynasty, wars took place frequently everywhere. Thus, people fleeing from the famine and the wars in the southeast coast of China all flooded to the south, settled down to the wasteland and cultivated plants there in an attempt to achieve prosperity. Hence the place is named "Tunchang".
The ancestors on the island preferred the coast, and then the later islanders moved to the central part. Before the Liberation, Tunchang became a marginal zone of Qiongshan, Dingan and Chengmai. In 1948, some villages and towns in Chengmai County and Qiongshan County consisted of the Xinmin County. Around the Liberation, the organizational structure of Tunchang had been split up and unified many times, and its name also always changed. Therefore, Tunchang people were very calm to these changes. Their pet phrase, "Nang mi nan mi" ( Hainan dialect, meaning that we will follow whatever they ask us to do), has saliently shown this mindset.
Running farms as parks
The land of Hainan Island has the following characteristics: the land around the island near to the sea has more sand and less mud, while the land in the middle of the island has more mud and less sand. No matter how many times organizational structure changes they have gone through, Tunchang people still focus on the land in the most time, while the harvest from the sea nearly has nothing to do with them.
Tunchang's land is relatively fertile and its climate is relatively cool, which are suitable for farming. Thus, when the national agriculture was in trouble in the 1960s, Tunchang people still lived a relatively good life.
When it comes to the climate and soil characteristics of Tunchang, it can take an example of Nankun Town, a mixed area of Li, Miao and Han people. Nankun has the characteristics of the mountain climate, with obvious temperature difference between day and night. It is not too hot in the daytime in summer, and thus air conditioning and fans are not used frequently. But at night, it will get cold, and you will easily suffer from rhinitis if you do not pay attention to keeping warm.
Looking west from Nankun Town Middle School, the outline of the peak of Mount Limu is hazily visible. Most of the land extending from Nankun to Mount Limu has the red black soil with a little sand. Thus, this kind of land is easy to keep water and fertilizer and suitable for planting. Many teachers in Nankun Middle School have planted vegetables in the vicinity of the school and the growth of these vegetables is not bad. Some people said that Tunchang has the best land, even if some shoulder poles stuck there can grow into a forest in a few years.
Nowadays, the "pearls" in pearl milk tea sold on the streets are real starch, and most of this starch is processed from the cassava planted by Tunchang people, which shows great potential for development in Tunchang. Moreover, the Hai-Tun Expressway has already been built. In just a few years, the black pigs raised by Tunchang people have taken a great vantage position in pork stalls in various markets in Haikou. The black pigs have already become a brand that can be compared to Wenchang chicken, Qionghai goose and Jiaji duck. Tunchang farmers may not be the most industrious farmers in Hainan, but they are very smart.
Tunchang people are gifted for art. They realize that it is not enough to concentrate on the land alone. They also need poetry and dreams, as well as to keep fit and cultivate themselves.
A netizen once said that industrious Tunchang people seldom leave the land desolate. In the limited space in front of and behind the house, they like to plant a few betel nuts. Farms built by Tunchang people are well-designed. From hillock to flat ground, there is a plot of litchi, a plot of longan, and then the clausena and jackfruit. Of course, there must be a big fish pond in the low-lying land, which is usually surrounded by duck huts. Then the following is the chicken sheds, and the plots of rubber forest is on the far slope. Tunchang people working in the land are a bit like Dutch, who always like to run their farms as beautiful parks.
Foreign culture brought a strong literary fashion
Tunchang County is located in the middle of Tunchang. People in the county are more active in literature and art. If you look at the layout of Tunchang's profession from the perspective of aerial photography, you will find that people in different locations around Tunchang County usually have different thoughts, beliefs and favors. Some people are writing poems or drawing oil paintings, while people in Xinxing Town, which is located in the north of Tunchang, are practicing martial arts (also called “Wushu” in Chinese).
With a short history, Tunchang County is a place where nationalities of Li, Miao and Han live together. And another part of residents came from all over the country in the early days of the Liberation. They built farms, reclaimed wasteland, set up factories and started businesses here at that time.
Fu Haoyong and Wang Huijun, who used to work and live in Tunchang, have such a consensus: more than 30 years ago, Tunchang's literature and art creation had already formed a microclimate. There were several favorable factors: on the one hand, the local culture department wanted to stimulate people's enthusiasm in literature and art works; on the other hand, the superior culture department also provided the support and favor for Tunchang. In addition, several troops and state farms stationed around Tunchang, and a large number of educated youth from Haikou also flooded there. Therefore, Tunchang people were greatly influenced by the foreign culture and soon a strong literature and art atmosphere was formed. In those days, educated youth and soldiers often came and went to Tunchang. The culture brought by the farms, educated youth and the army also had a subtle effect on Tunchang people. Thus, it was obvious that Mandarin was more popular in Tunchang than in the surrounding cities and counties. Because of fluent in speaking Mandarin, local youth accepted new things much faster.
Fu Haoyong still remembers that in 1975, Ouyang Ling, editor of The Works (who later served as the executive vice-chairman of Guangdong Writers Association), was sent to Tunchang to select an editor. A young farmer writer from Datong Commune sent him the first draft of a novel that reflected rural themes with more than 100,000 words. Then he was soon selected to train and study in the editorial department of The Works and later remained there as an official editor, making the local literary youth very envious.
The children's songs written by Wang Huijun have been adopted by monthly magazines, such as Guangzhou Youth Daily and Guangdong Children. The poem Coconut Candy had won "The Moon is Home" solicit articles award jointly organized by All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese and The Voice of China Daily. At that time, it was very honorable and admirable to be able to go to Beijing from a border island to receive the award, which also played an inspiring role in the local literary youth.
In those days, people who passed by the Tunchang Culture Center often saw teachers and students in Tunchang Yanpuxuan Art School drawing there, mainly practicing drawing sketch. Later, it is learned that since 1984, Tunchang Yanpuxuan Art School has trained more than 4,000 rural students. Apart from a small number of graduates are admitted to higher art colleges, most of them have been recommended to work in craft factories, oil painting factories and advertising companies in Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Guangzhou.
In 2010, Tunchang invested more than 5 million yuan in special funds for oil painting development to remold the oil painting village and to build "oil painting street" shops.
Tunchang people attach great importance to martial arts virtues in martial arts training.
In history, Tunchang, this fertile land, was once coveted by bandits, and these bandits usually entered from the north. Thus, Xinxing Town in the north of Tunchang became a "fortress" to safeguard Tunchang. It is not surprising that stories about martial arts came into being here.
More than 100 years ago, Pochen Village of Xinxing Town in Tunchang formed the custom of men, women, and children all practicing martial arts, which continues to today. According to the genealogical records of the Xu’s Family, Xu Lehua, the first master of Big Five-Shaped Stakes Boxing (a kind of martial arts), came to work in Lingqiandong area after the outbreak of the First Opium War. He was hired as a resident boxer by Xu Baoshi and Xu Songshi, who were brothers from Pochen Village. Then he set up a school and began to teach here. Xu Songshi, inheritor of the second generation, moved to Pochen Village soon, and his family was weak. Thus, they were often bullied and harassed by bandits and villains. Villagers in Pochen Village admired the martial arts skills of master Xu Lehua, and respected their teacher as their fathers. So they cultivated during the daytime and practiced boxing in the morning and evening, thus gradually completing the five-shaped stakes.
It seems a bit reluctant to regard Tunchang as the home of martial arts, because most people who are crazy about martial arts in this area live in Xinxing Town. To more specific, they live in Pochen Village in Xinxing Town. However, in November 2013, the first Hainan Wushu Championship was held in Danzhou. The descendants of Big Five-Shaped Stakes Boxing, who are once famous in Hainan Island, were invited to participate this championship. Xu Huanshang, direct disciple of the fifth generation, led eight villagers to bring Big Five-Shaped Stakes Boxing to the competition arena and won the first collective prize at one stroke. Therefore, Pochen villagers set off firecrackers to celebrate this victory and banqueted guests, because this is the most pleasant event in the village for decades. In 2015, Tunchang was named as "the National Wushu County" by Sports Management Center of General Administration of Sports of China.
Pochen Village's martial arts have made the name “Tunchang” famous. It is not surprising that Tunchang has popularized martial arts throughout the whole county and is known as "the home of martial arts".
In recent years, the descendants of the "Five-Shaped Pile Boxing" have set up more than 40 martial arts schools in various parts of Tunchang, employing more than 1,000 disciples and hosting some summer camps for children. After improvement and transformation, Pochen Village has been built into Hainan Pochen Folk Wushu Inheritance and Exchange Center. A martial arts hall and a martial arts square have been newly built here, which will ensure the healthy development of martial arts culture and attract groups of different ages to come to experience the charm of martial arts.
Tunchang people attach great importance to martial arts virtues when practicing martial arts. “To learn martial arts, one must learn martial arts virtues at first.” This is the consensus of Pochen villagers, and even children have remembered this monition from the first day of martial arts training. Ten-year-old Xiao Zhou, a primary scholar, has talked about his original intention of practicing martial arts, and said, “To keep fit. Practicing martial arts is not for fighting.” Some older children sometimes pat him on the head, and he always chooses to avoid them instead of fighting back angrily. “Master told us that we should learn to endure, otherwise others would say that our martial arts practitioners are not virtuous.” Xiao Zhou’s master is Xu Hengshang, who is now the head of martial arts in the village.
Over these years, the population of martial arts practitioners in Tunchang has reached more than 60,000, accounting for more than 20% of the county’s population. More than 2,000 martial arts backbone members distribute in communities and rural areas all year round to serve the masses. Now martial arts have gradually been involved in the daily life of Tunchang people.
Responsible editor： 丁昕