Three bows, the third one was the longest bow that I gave to anyone ever. I was holding back my tears, gasping for air as to how much my bow would mean for my calligraphy teacher- 王老师. He had passed away on the Father’s day Sunday morning, and I was instantly crushed into pieces. I did not know how to react nor what to feel, it was pure emptiness due to shock.
王老师 was and is one of the most influential person in my life. Without him, I would not have this burning passion for writing Chinese calligraphy. This talent was molded by his very hands, given time and effort, I am who I am today. To be frank, I only harnessed 60 percent of his mastery, I had yet to learn everything from him, but unfortunately, time forbade me to do so anymore.
I started learning from 王老师 since I was around 10, I could not remember much as I was still a young child who had not come of age yet. The first few years learning from him was fruitful and abundant. Miraculously, I was planted with the smouldering compassing for writing Chinese calligraphy. I reached my peak when I was around 13 where my works were comparable to 王老师, (only 行书). At that time, I only had ‘style’ but no firm foundation which results into a lack of intent, just simply waving the brush around the paper and calling it art. Nonetheless, he opened my eyes and mind to the erratic, wild style of 行书 which I am still in love with it till this very moment.
Around 15 or 16, I stopped writing calligraphy completely as I lost myself to my ego and was embarrassed of the state at which how calligraphy stood in Malaysia. I did not uttered a word to my teacher about this at that time and stopped writing for three whole years. At 18, when I had reignited the passion to write, I did explain myself to 王老师 about my three-year absence. I re-started my journey with 王老师 and continued until he passed away.
My last class with him was on the Saturday before I went to Tokyo, Japan. I missed the opportunity to have his last class which was when I was having fun in Tokyo. During my time in Tokyo, I wanted to get him something as a return after for so long, it was a calligraphy brush that I would never lay my hands on (four or five times more expensive than the local brushes and having a grip of a 书法家). But, I got it anyway, hoping to give it to him during his next class, which was too late.
Regret is the one word which painted across my thoughts once I received the news that 王老师 passed away. I still have too much to learn from him- how to produce a creative calligraphy work, 隶书, how to carve my own name on marble, how to draw Chinese painting, and many more. I have yet to mastered the current skills that I have too. But, I think 王老师 has his ways of doing things that I have yet to understand. At a certain period of time, he stopped spoon-feeding me with his style and so he would never imply a stringent guidelines for me to follow whereas he just let me wing it and he would give his opinions about it. He rarely do this to other students, but only to his ‘older’ students as in experience wise.
“…很有风格” that was the comment that I received from 王老师 most of the times. “你的字很有sty. le.” which is a similar comment to the previous one. He meant that my words are unique, which was weird considering that I am the only one who received this comment (not sacarstically) among all the different classes that I had attended.
结构 (jie4 gou4) is the word that have been truly embedded in my mind even after 王老师 left. It means structure. I got this a lot from 王老师 as he said if I were able to grasp the 结构 of the word, I am going to write better than I am now. I believe that word mean more than that every time he said it to me. At times of my life, I am in a mess, he would just say this word and it would indirectly resonate with my situations in life.
At the very last periods of time that I spent learning from 王老师, I got to realize one of the most crucial piece to writing good calligraphy which is ‘intent’ and ‘power’. Every stroke that I take must be intentional and filled with power. I am really grateful that I learned that very important piece of knowledge and apply it into my writing with more intent and more power.
60 percent was how much I can get from 王老师, the rest is up to me to innovate and breathe new life into calligraphy, bringing up my style of writing to revolutionize the posterity of calligraphy.
Rested in peace on 16/06/2019
This timeless piece of writing is created on 17/06/2019
P.S. Somehow, he knew I am the kind of person that can never follow a ‘trend’, I want to be the ‘trend’ and he taught me accordingly, as a teacher. Thank you.