Calligraphy has been my passion for well over 40 years during which I thoroughly enjoyed the joy of the art. It has become part of my life. Bit it has never come crossed my mind that I should one day compile my works into a book for record. During my recent trips to Eastern Europe, I was immersed in and struck by the rich cultures in such cities as Vienna, Prague and Budapest. It reminded me that I, too, had been immersing in another culture with rich heritage. On my return, I decided to preserve my works for posterity. Thus, the birth of this collection.
My interest in calligraphy dated back to my childhood days in Jinmen, Fujian Province. There I used to write with a brush as often as I used chopsticks for my meals. I came to Singapore at age eight. Here I had my groundings in the art during my school days at Tuan Mong High where I modeled my regular style on master calligraphers like Yan Zhenqing and Liu Gingquan. I must be doing quite well to win several prizes in competitions held at the Chinese High School and later at the Nanyang University. Encouraged, I was determined to improve myself and scale new heights in the pursuit. Among the various styles, I have chosen xing cao - a combination of walking and running styles - as my favourite style to excel in. Xing cao is widely used and easily acceptable. Furthermore, it gives the calligrapher room to exercise his creativity. With practices and references to established calligraphers of the same style, I develop a style of my own over time.
To me, calligraphy brings me joy despite occasional agony experienced while trying to achieve the desired standard. It takes on a rhythm of its own while you execute the strokes and plant the dots on paper. It is a culturally very enriching experience when I write a brush lines from the literary giants like Tang poet Li Bo and Song ci writer Su Dongpo. My view is that their works are best expressed in xing cao style. I even get high when writing their lines. In this respect, I share similar experience as contemporary calligrapher Lin Sanzi. Indulging in the art gives me a break and brings me joy to my otherwise mundane and busy life. To me, nothing else gives me greater satisfaction than calligraphy.
I intend to share my calligraphy pieces done over the years. There were mostly done between my busy schedules, in the dead of night or at the spur of the moment at the gatherings with fellow calligraphers. I wish to thank my teachers Mr Lim Tiow Kim and my seniors Tan Ban Huat and Dr Ho Chee Lick for their guidance and encouragement. Last but not least, my special thanks to my wife Swee Kin for her advice in selecting the calligraphy pieces that went into this collection.
学习书法本来是件很严肃的事，写字的人必须要有苦行僧那份吃苦的精神，以及耐心与恒心。古今书法理论对这方面有很详细的说明。写字的人如想要稍有成就，除了应具备首要条件 -- 天分之外，必须遍临各家、勤写多看、神交古人、道法自然，以及注意人格修养与提高学识。经过数十年后，若有机缘和造化，才能达到“人书皆老”的理想境界。但如此漫长的学习路程，会不会把吃惯快熟面的现代人吓跑了吗？