My father was born in the last century, well imbued with the
traditional Chinese culture. But he was not weighed down by the old. He
was open-minded, a tireless teacher, creating new ideas with full
enthusiasm and keeping doggedly his principles in those fashion-filled
times. After inheriting the past, he was a forerunner for the present,
without being contaminated by the new heresies.
My father once wrote a poem :
“Rooted in watery soil, the lotus floats
free and pure. Although humble, she surprisingly radiates natural truth.
She laughs at my efforts to paint her eternal beauty And breathes her
timeless fragrance on the hundred-year-old man.”
My father loved painting lotus. Every
birthday he uttered poems and brushed lotus: Sunny lotus, rainy lotus;
thousand arrangements at sunrise or sunset; creating an overabundance of
After dinner he often sat with my mother
in a little garden house playing chess, both looking elegant and sublime
like a celestial couple.
This is a poem of mine in memory of my father:
“Still I see my father’s face, hear
his voice, feel his great love. The lotus glows in the sunset’s warm
blush, Like a goddess dancing, her silk gown swaying in the wind; Yet,
it’s the sweetness of the flower’s fragrance that reminds me of his
beautiful poet’s soul.”
In relation with others, he was filial
toward his parents, a good responsible man, a faithful husband, open and
candid toward his friends, full of righteousness, an untiring teacher
nurturing the next generation, a model father.
He taught us Confucius and Mencious
Doctrines. He was strict with himself, tolerant of others. He followed
Mencious’ sayings “Not corrupted by riches, not withdrawn on account of
poverty, not bent by authority, those are big heroes”.
And he followed Confucius, “I examine
myself three times a day. Do I work for people but am I disloyal? Do I
make friends but am I distrustful? Do I instruct but not practice?”
Father’s words and deeds were endless
models for us. He lived a simple, thrifty, but fruitful life. He managed
things with order. He never envied nobility; never craved for fame or
profit. He taught Madame Chiang painting for 14 years with respectful
quietness. In short, he maintained that one’s stature rests with one’s
inner worthiness, and he always felt satisfaction from everything,
together with a grateful heart.
On his education: He lost his father
while young. Three fires destroyed family property. At ten he suffered a
severe head injury. Nevertheless he studied hard regardless of all
those tribulations. He encouraged himself with the motto, “Deep and
deeper sufferings make higher and higher persons”.
He sought progress endlessly and his
talents overflowed. He traveled over mountains and rivers to associate
himself with poets and literates. They called him “Southern Genius!”. At
14 he was already famous in Shanghai. At 18 he became a professor at
Beijing Yu Wen University and School of Arts and Literature. At 25 he
was head of the Arts Department, Shanghai Fine Arts College and an
instructor at the Literature Department, Kee Nan University.