Yung Ga Ma

Yung Ga Ma is an ongoing project together with graphic designer and illustrator Chaima’a Lahnin. I told Chaima’a the story of Yung Ga Ma and she told me that there is a similar story in Morocco, with seven sisters instead of two.

The Yung Ga Ma is a Hakka myth, or story that we are told as children. It has been passed down for generations orally and I have not found a book with the same story I know. and I am half Hakka- on my mother’s side and my grandmother told it to my mother and my mother to me. It is a horror story, but something like a mixture of Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding hood, with more eating and horror! Now my sister has a little girl and she loves to hear the story from my mother. In fact, when my mum tries to tell her the story of Cinderella she says “Poh poh, no more talking!”

I have asked so many people, what does the Yung Ga Ma look like? Some say she is like a cross between a bear and an old woman, others say she looks like a sloth but also a witch who can disguise herself as a human. Others tell me she has long nails, long hair and sharp teeth…

For those of you who haven’t heard of the Hakka people, they are a Chinese minority dialect who are thought to have originated from the central plains. Someone told me the Hakka people are known as “The Jews of China”, because unlike other Han Chinese subgroups, the Hakkas are not named after a geographical region or a province, county or city.

Their origins were of northern Chinese refugees fleeing social unrest, upheaval and invasions throughout the northern parts of China (such as Gansu and Henan) throughout history who then sought sanctuary in the south where the Cantonese-speaking provinces such as Guangdong and Guangxi are.

The Chinese characters for Hakka () literally mean “guest families” and you can find Hakka people all over the world, and practising all religions. The word is Cantonese in origin and as the name implies, they were originally the guests of the Cantonese people. Modern day Hakka are generally identified by both full Hakka and by different degrees of Hakka ancestry and usually speak Hakka Chinese as well as several other dialects or languages. My mum for example can speak at least four distinct dialects of Chinese as well as English.

Would you like me to tell you the story of the YUNG GA MA?








Concept presentation work in progress

This entry was posted in About us, Animation, Literature, Uncategorized