Chinese clan grows from one to 75 million during 3,150 years
Every one with the Lim surname – including Singapore Member of Parliament Lim Wee Kiak, fourth from left, Tan Sri Lim Gait Tong, Vice President of the World Lim Association, eighth from left, as well as Dr Robert Lim, head of all the Lim Associations in Malaysia, ninth from left, Dato Dr. C.F. Lim, 10th from left, met at Diamond Island Exhibition Center to lend their goodwill to the Lims of Cambodia. At least 850 delegates from 52 Lim member associations in 12 countries came to Phnom Penh.
Cambodian Lim Association leader Okhna Lim Hui Leng
THE vast function room at the Diamond Island Convention Center was filled with 2,200 people, all connected to one of the world’s largest Chinese associations – the Lim clan.
Organised by Madam Lim Chhiv Ho and with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife Bun Rany Hun Sen as an honoured guest, the big event on November 1 marked the 10th anniversary of the organisation of the Lim Association in Phnom Penh and the 13th huge Lim Association convention – which only happen every four years – that Cambodia’s own Lim Association hosted this year.
Heading the Cambodian Lim Association was Okhna Lim Hui Leng.
When you look across the room full of all those Lims and their relatives, you are struck by the fact that they are spread across the globe – mostly overseas Chinese from Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Canada, the United States or elsewhere – coming all the way to be with members of their clan.
Every four years the Lim sssociations of the world congregate somewhere – usually in connection with an anniversary or something special that provides an excuse for everybody to come to one particular place. This year it was Cambodia’s turn as host.
The panel of members at the table – every one of them with the surname Lim – had come from all over the world but mostly Asia – as heads of their local Lim Associations in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and elsewhere to bring support to the host association.
Many of the members met each other for the first time at the airport, looking over and saying: “Hey, you’re a Lim too.” There’s an instant sense of familiarity and brotherhood.
That immediate fraternal kinship and trust is what holds the giant global family together and keeps them coming great distances to meet their relatives. “The Lim family is over a very wide cross-section of professionals and business” said Dr Robert Lim, National President of the Malaysian Federation of Lim Associations.
Members of the Lim clan are all descendants of the original grandfather Lim Shen Tai Shi, who came from Henan province an estimated 3,150 years ago.
“Lims are discouraged from marrying each other. We now have about 75 million Lims on the planet Earth,” Dr Robert Lim said.
Malaysia, for example, has about 800,000 Lims out of 7.5 million ethnic Chinese.
“Actually, we are all doing this part-time. I’m a real estate developer in Singapore and Malaysia and I’ve devoted a lot of time to the Lim associations – I have to attend most if not all their annual anniversaries.”
The Lim delegation to Cambodia this year included one distinguished member of Singapore’s parliament, Dr Lim Wee Kiak, who explained this year’s charitable project – giving backpacks and books and writing materials and having a fun fair for more than 600 Cambodian orphans.
“This was a special project between the Lim Clan Association of Singapore and the Lim Clan Association of Cambodia,” said Dr Lim.
“We invited 600 orphans and helped these orphans as collaboration between the Lim Clans of Singapore and the Lim clans of Cambodia.” he said.
“The Lims have various country bases and there is a world presidency for the Lim Clan Association.”
Describing Madam Lim Chhiv Ho’s role in hosting the Cambodian event and inviting the Lims from around the world, he said: “She is the host country now and we are her guests. She is the honorary chairperson.
“We are all from the same family. Inside of us is the blood of the Lim family and we all have a common ancestor.”
As far as who gets to choose the next Lim Association meet place – sometimes we have to lobby for it,” Dr Lim said.
“Normally we go by consensus or we go by what might be a special year for that country, an anniversary or any special occasion. If they have a 25-year anniversary, or whatever, then we always give priority,” said Tan Sri Lim Gait Tong, of Malaysia. Bangkok was chosen as next year’s annual meeting location, during which time the venue for the big convention, four years from now, will probably be chosen, according to Lity Yap of the Attwood Investment Group, who works as a special assistant to Madam Lim.
Four years ago, Singapore hosted the last big Lim clan convention, with more than 3,000 Lim associates – underscoring the important role the Lim associations play not only in Singapore, but also in Malaysia.
“We are very excited once every four years to meet all our clansmen from all over the world and this year we are in Cambodia,” Dr Lim said.
In their home countries, individual Lim associations do a lot of helping poor and needy people and giving scholarships. “We are all doing these kinds of jobs,” said Terry Lim of the American Center for Long Life.
“It is like a charity, every month they collect and how much you give us up to you,” he said.
The night with 2,200 Lims on Diamond Island was clearly a highlight in Madam Lim’s life.