General information about Ruosong
Ruosong Huang: 1942.12.8-2017.1.3
Ruosong was born in the beautiful sub-tropical city of Fuzhou in China. Growing up during the chaos of the Second World War and the Chinese civil war, he always dreamed of becoming a scientist who would invent faster and more efficient ways to produce iron and steel. He came a step closer to his dream when he graduated from the University of Science & Technology in Beijing as a Mechanical Engineer.
In 1967 in Shanghai he met the woman he would spend the rest of his life with, Lin Jin.
Not long after he met Lin, Ruosong started working for the Pan Zhi Hua iron and steel plant. Pan Zhi Hua is a city in the middle of nowhere; 1000km south west of Lin’s hometown Shanghai.
The living conditions were so poor that as soon as Ruosong arrived, he telegraphed Lin telling not to join him. Lin followed Ruosong there nevertheless, because she knew that Ruosong was a man she could trust with her life. It must have been clear to Lin at that stage that he was a man of high aspiration and great capability.
Life in Pan Zhi Hua was very bleak, but love made the time there much more endurable and even happy. That happy union brought forth two children, Xin and Kai, who were born during that period of time and who are here today to celebrate his memory.
In 1975, due to his outstanding performance, Ruosong was chosen to be in the first group of experts to help with setting up the Wuhan iron and steel plant. His wife and two children followed him to his new battle field. Wuhan was a much more civilised city than Pan Zhi Hua, but still too far away from Lin’s home.
Once again Ruosong excelled at what he did and an opportunity eventually came in 1978 to join the first group of the engineers moving back to Shanghai when the Bao Steel Group corporation was established. After almost 10 years, Ruosong had finally taken Lin, and their children, back to her home town.
The family lived happily in Shanghai and Ruosong made a successful mid-life career change when he requalified as an IT engineer.
Ruosong finally retired in 2002 but instead of settling down he immigrated to New Zealand with Lin in 2009 to join his daughter, Xin. Always open minded, once in New Zealand Ruosong became involved in the Christian community and in 2013 was baptised at the Maungaraki Baptist Church. Finally, he was granted New Zealand citizenship on the 16th June 2016. New Zealand was home now.
Ruosong led a low profile life. He was kind; gentle; dedicated to his family; someone who appreciated the beauty of the natural world. He had a superb brain. He could play chess with two other players whilst wearing a blindfold and still win the game. He also loved to read and could remember all the details of every book he had ever read as a boy.
As well as being a bit of an intellectual, Ruosong was a natural athlete. At university, he was a champion 100 metre sprint runner. His favourite sport was football and he played the centre-forward position. After retirement, in NZ, Ruosong slowed down a bit and became a fisherman. His new favourite sport was probably lying in the sunshine feeling its gentle warmth. Not quite as hot as Fuzhou, but still nice.
Ruosong enjoyed life in New Zealand so much that he became determined to master the English language. He worked hard at his lessons, never neglecting to complete his homework. Through his studies and his involvement with the church, he made a lot of friends and regarded Wellington as his second home town. He made it very clear when he was dying that he wanted to remain in New Zealand. He rests now alongside his best Kiwi friend, Murray, at Taita cemetery.
若松非常喜欢新西兰，他重新开始学习英语，决意要掌握这门语言。他上课非常认真，仔细完成每一份作业。通过学习和教会活动，若松结交了很多朋友，在惠灵顿建立了自己的生活圈子，新西兰成为了他的第二故乡。他选择留在这里，和他的kiwi好朋友Murray 一起在Taita 陵园安息。
嶙对松说 From Lin Jin
Ruosong, I’ll never forget meeting you so long ago in a very different time and place. Whilst everything was different then, you were the same gentle, kind man that everyone here knows today. It was easy to fall in love with you and easy to be married to you (most of the time). I think it is auspicious that we married on New Year’s Day in 1970 and that you died just after New Year’s Day in 2017. We were blessed to have our ‘pigeon pair’, our daughter Huang Xin, and three years later, our son, Huang Kai. In Chinese, when you combine the characters for a girl and for a boy, it creates a new character with a new meaning. Now, it means ‘good’, and that is what it was for us.
Dear Ruosong, over the last 50 years we have shared so many good times. I will treasure these memories and keep them safe until we meet again in Heaven.
Memory of our father Ruosong Huang
From Xin and Kai
Father was always a man of few words. He was soft spoken and gave the impression of being reserved. He chose each word with care. In Chinese we say “Xi Zi ru jin” which means ‘treasuring each word like gold’. When we had a gathering of family and friends, father rarely joined in the discussion.
But it is not that he didn’t have a point of view. It is just that he was such a perfectionist. He wanted to get every word and phrase correct in his head before he uttered it aloud. So very often, once he was ready to talk, we had already moved on to another topic.
Nevertheless, father never felt discouraged, nor would he fail to deliver his opinion in time. He would continue to think, continue to ponder, even after people had left.
Then after a while, when his thoughts about the topic finally came to fruition, they would just pop out, completely out of context, leaving mother totally bewildered.
Only my brother and I understood how father processed information. I would ask him questions about what he said from different angles, putting it together like a puzzle. When the last piece of information was finally in place, we would understand what he was trying to say.
To make things even more confusing, father enjoyed quoting things that we had said, sometimes very far in the past, as a way of expressing his views.
Mother often said that blood is thicker than water, children can understand their father, whilst their wives might get lost.
我最喜欢用苏小妹嘲笑苏东坡的长脸的一句诗来总结父亲这项特点： ”去年一滴相思泪，今年方流到口边。” 父亲想说的话通常要过上一段时间才能说出口的。
I like to use a poem from Su Xiaomei, a famous poet and statesman of the Song dynasty, to summarise father’s way of dealing with words:
“A tear drop shed for absent love last year, only arrives at the corner of the mouth this year.”
Su Xiaomei wrote this poem to tease her older brother, Su Shi, whose face was horse shaped, longer that what you would normally see. But it is suitable for my father too because it illustrates the amount of time it took for a thought to move from his mind to his mouth.
Because of father’s discretion with words, mother would often have to guess whether or not he felt comfortable.
When mother felt cold and sneezed, she assumed that father must be communicating with her telepathically and she get up and put more clothes on him. When mother felt hot, instead of cooling herself down, she would check that father didn’t need to take off a layer of clothes.
If mother felt thirsty, she would pour father a cup before reaching for her own drink; If mother felt hungry, she would bring father some snack food before sitting down and eating hers.
At first, my father attempted to resist, actually using real, spoken words to tell her that just because she felt cold, didn’t mean that he felt cold. However, his words got him nowhere so he stopped complaining but would often contradict her opinion by doing the opposite of what she wanted (like taking off his jacket when she felt cold). Even the best men can be exasperating sometimes! Occasionally mother would give in and let him have his way. This usually resulted in father catching a cold and having to put on another layer anyway.
Over time, father learned the meaning of the phrase “happy wife, happy life’. Also, mother was usually right anyway. He eventually ceded to mother’s rule, referring to her without cynicism as ‘her majesty’. Because she was a queen to him. No wonder they were married for 47 years…
What we admire most about father is his courage. Facing his doctor’s straightforward verdict, realising that tomorrow may never come, father didn’t flinch. Instead, he calmly sent a farewell message to his beloved family and friends:
“My illness has reached its final phase. I am now suffering from bone marrow failure. My immune system has stopped functioning. Although doctors here give me regular blood transfusions, this is just to help me feel comfortable. Jesus is calling me. I will have to take my leave from this earth at an earlier date than expected. Don’t be surprised if I am out of touch, precious memories will be with me forever.”
Father then carried on with life in a quiet and tranquil way. He diligently followed the regime the doctor’s set for him, thereby maximising the time he had left, and made every day count.
What made him so calm in the face of death? What allowed him to farewell family and friends so fearlessly? This is courage.
In his final days, father saw Jesus coming to take him. Without a trace of fear, father told the doctors to stop treatment.
Calmly, father spent his last New Year’s eve with us; welcomed his last New Year’s day of 2017 with us; enjoyed his last wedding anniversary of 47 years with mother.
On January 3, 2017, accompanied by family and friends, with his pastor at his bedside praying for him, father peacefully left us to be with God.
Father ‘s courage gave us strength, and with his strength we are able to care for mother and get on with life happily until we meet again in Heaven.
A short story about father
Father loved to eat lotus root powder paste but it takes quite a bit of skill to make a good quality paste, not everyone can accomplish the task. He often said that a child is blessed if there is someone who can make it for them. Father had to rely on his big sister a lot to cook for him.
Father would be rewarded with a cent for gently massaging his grandmother’s tired legs, and another cent for waving her fan for her to cool her down. Three hundred waves for a cent. I think she got a bargain!
But it was worth it. With these two cents, father could buy a decent amount of lotus root powder and enough sugar to make a bowl of tasty paste.
His older sister would cook the paste for him by adding a little of bit cold water, just enough to melt down all the powder, then pour in boiling water, stirring quickly and the lotus root powder would miraculously turn into a half transparent paste. With some sugar, it was ready for father to eat. His older sister would sit aside and watch him eating.
But a single bowl of lotus root paste was not enough to satisfy father. He wondered if he could produce more paste by simply adding more cold water. He put his theory into practice one day but was dismayed when the lotus root powder simply refused to turn into paste and became a watery mess. With no other option, father turned to his big sister for her magic touch.
His big sister didn’t laugh at him. Instead she told him that the secret of making good lotus root paste was to use as little cold water as possible. While talking, sister boiled the watery mess until all extra water was evaporated, and it turned into a bowl of paste again. Since then, father remembered this secret recipe and practiced it religiously.
In his final days, father once more craved for lotus root paste. Watching mother adding the powder into a bowl, weak but clear, father said: “Remember, first to add a little bit of cold water just enough to melt the powder; then pour in boiling water bowl and stir it.”