One of the most wonderful things that I have been gifted through our trainings and especially through Sigung’s wisdom and help is to enjoy a happy family life. It is one of the greatest gifts, I think, to love and feel loved within a family.
I would like to contribute the following question:
We are all different. We think, act and feel differently i.e. have different needs, aspirations, walk of lives etc. Apart from sharing our love and joy with our family members (family in a narrow and more wider sense), what are the skills and how can we train them to understand the other person better in order to be able to nurture them more effectively?
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
Indeed, having a happy family life is one of the greatest gifts in life. It is also one of the values we cherish in our school. As I have said often, we do not just practice chi kung or kungfu, we apply what we have learned to enrich our life and the lives of others.
We think, act and feel differently i.e. have different needs, aspirations, and walks of lives. It is precisely important to realise this fact in order to have a happy family life.
Let us look at the needs, aspirations, walks of lives and other relevant factors of our blood family and our Shaolin Wahnam Family.
We are all different. We think, act and feel differently i.e. have different needs, aspirations, and walks of lives etc. Apart from sharing our love and joy with our family members, both in a narrow and more wider sense, what are the skills and how can we train them to understand the other person better in order to be able to nurture them more effectively?
The first skill is to realise this difference. For example, we in Shaolin Wahnam have enjoyed the benefits of our arts, and naturally we want our immediate family members to have these benefits too.
It will be foolhardy and bring a lot of unpleasantness to force our arts on them. Although they are our brothers and sisters, fathers or mothers, nieces and nephews, they live their lives differently. Let them live the lives the way they want. Do not try to force them to live their lives the way we want. It is their lives.
But we can show by examples. If you happened to have an illness and recovered by practicing our chi kung, tell them not only the effect but also the joys of your practice. Remind them that you need to put in effort. If they do not listen, that is their choice, and also their right.
You now live life healthy and happily. Tell them that it is the result of your practicing chi kung. If they want to have this health and happiness, they can practice our chi kung. They have to pay the fees for the training, and most importantly they have to practice everyday. It won’t take up too much of their time. they need to practice just about 10 minutes a session, twice a day.
If they do not spend the time practicing our chi kung, they would waste the time anyway, and probably remain sickly and unhappy. But it is their choice. Don’t pay the fees for them, or force them to practice if they do not want health and happiness. Realising this difference in choice is very important in sharing love and joy with them, or at lease avoiding dislike and unpleasantness.
An excellent way to develop this skill is mental clarity and realisation. Our arts give us mental clarity. What is needed is to realize the different needs and aspirations.. You also show by personal example. You yourself, practice our arts everyday.
Another important skill is to talk about things that they like to hear, not about things you want to talk about or you want them to hear. What you say must be truthful. Don’t lie to them to make things pleasant.
For example, your brother may want a better paying job. Don’t tell him that he has no money. It is not what he wants to hear though it is truthful. Don’t tell him he can strike a lottery. It is what he wants to hear but it is unlikely to be truthful.
Tell him that he can find a job that he likes and pays better, but he must make the effort to find it. If he just continues doing his job, it is unlikely his boss will give him more money, or a better paying job will come to him. But, if he chooses not to look for a better paying job, it is his choice. He chooses a low-paying job over putting effort to find a better paying one. Don’t nag him saying that he has no money or that there are plenty of better-paying jobs outside..
Another excellent way to share your love and joy with your family members, irrespective of whether they are in your immediate family or part of the Happy Shaolin Wahnam Family, is to have regular get-togethers. Such get-togethers may be picnics, outings or dinners.
For your immediate family, you may have to organise such get-togethers. It is easier for our extended Shaolin Wahnam Family. Your regular class is a good get-together where you can practice your skills of sharing love and happiness. You can also attend my regional courses or intensive courses to share love and happiness with other members in other countries.
It is common, especially in immediate families, that family members spend their time playing with their mobile phones instead of with other family members. You may have to suggest a rule that mobile phones are not allowed in such family gatherings. If anyone has to take an important call, he (or she) must do so briefly away from the gathering, and come back to the gathering quickly. If he does this often, he has to shut off his mobile phone. Taking calls is not as important as sharing love and happiness at a family gathering.
A better way is to lead the conversation so skilfully that other people voluntarily shut off their mobile phones. The topics of conversation must be so interesting that they involve everybody in the gathering. And you must be ready to be a good listener, not speaking most of the time.
You may, for example, start the interesting conversation by saying, “Mom, tell us how you keep our family together when we were small”, or “Dad, how ddi you spend time with our family when we were tiny children?“ If anyone is disinterested, for which you must be on the lookout, you can ask that someone what he thinks of the conversation. If his answer is short, like “Interesting”, ask him to tell the gathering what he finds interesting.
You may need to pay for the gathering to get it going. Paying some money is certainly worthwhile for you to share your love and joy with your family members. Later, you may suggest that family members pay a share of the gathering, or take turns to pay for the gathering. If any of your family member is unable to pay his share due to financial difficulty, you may secretly pay for him without others knowing so that he will not feel embarrassed.
If anyone does not attend the gathering, you can suggest a heavy fine. You may say something like “The gathering is in honour of our dad and mom who sacrificed much for our well being. It is insulting to them if you don’t attend.” Of course you dad and mom won’t be paying for the gathering.
If you follow these golden guidelines, you will make your family members more loving and caring for one another. The guidelines are:
Recognize that different people, even your family members, have different needs and aspiration. Let them live the lives they want. Do not force them to live the lives you want.
Say something pleasant and truthful in their presence. Do not say anything that may hurt their feelings or sensitivities. Organize family gatherings regularly. Mobile phones are not allowed in such gatherings. Lead the conversation so that everyone will enjoy the gathering.
But how would you develop these skills or abilities. These skills or abilities are related to mental clarity and internal force. If you have mental clarity, not only you realise the importance of having a happy family, you are also in a better position to acquire the skills or abilities for it.
You need internal force to learn the skills and carry out the abilities. If you just know that having a happy family is important, that is not enough. You must be able to make your family happy. Internal force will give you the necessary energy.
The training in our school gives us mental clarity and internal force. They will make our family happy if you carry out the suggestions mentioned above. Having a happy family life is a wonderful value to cherish. But you need to put in some effort to be successful.
Grandmaster Wong, his wife his son and daughter-inlaw and grandchildren
Many people were very kind to regard me as a kungfu genius. Only a few people knew that I was called a child prodigy long before that. I knew how to read Chinese even at the age of three due to my father’s and mother’s informal coaching.
One day, soon after my recovery from my long illness after falling into a huge monsoon drain, my parents took me to see my father’s friend who was a restaurant stall owner at the New Life Plaza at Cintra Street in Penang. The New Life Plaza has now given way to residential flats, but in the 1940s and 1950s, it was busy with hawker stalls.
My father was talking with his friend who was chopping barbequed meat for his customers. I couldn’t recollect what their conversation was, but I could remember my father saying I could read Chinese, which is a formidable feat even for adult learners as the Chinese written language does not have an alphabet and readers have to recognise each one by itself of at least a few hundred characters.
“What, a small boy of three can read Chinese!” The restaurant owner found it hard to believe.
“Yes, that’s true,” my father replied.
“I can’t believe it!”
“You can test my son.”
“Well, boy,” my father’s friend looked at me kindly. “Can you tell me these characters?” He pointed to a row of big Chinese characters on his signboard.
“Yeit ting ho fan tim (一定好饭店).” I read each Chinese character loudly and slowly. They meant “Certainly-Good Restaurant”.
The man was astounded.
“Just three years old, and you can read Chinese characters! A real child prodigy!”
He promptly cut a large piece of “char siew”, which literally means “fork-barbeque”, i.e. a piece of meat that was being forked to be barbequed, hanging in a showcase in front of his restaurant, and passed it to me.
“Child prodigy, please enjoy this piece of char siew,” he graciously said.
Years later, when I told my wife this old story, she went to town and on her return, she gave me a nice piece of barbequed meat.
“Child prodigy,” my wife said, “Please enjoy this piece of char siew.”
My father and mother, myself and my wife, my sister and her husband, and my three eldest children in the 1980s
I made a mistake regarding addressing family members, and of course it is not late to correct it. Chee Seen’s students, like Hoong Hei Koon and Lok Ah Choy, addressed Ng Mui, who was Chee Seen’s sijia (elder kungfu sister) as sipak (elder kungfu uncle) and not as siguma (elder sister of father).
Hence, you should address the senior female kungfu sister of your sifu (kungfu teacher) as sipak, and the junior female kungfu sister of your sifu as sisook, and not as siguma and sigujie as we have been doing. For example, the students of Leo (Sifu Leonard Lackinger) would address Joan (Sifu Joan Browne) as sipak. Joan’s students would, of course, address Joan as sifu.
We are proud (in a good way) that we are one of the very few kungfu and chi kung schools today that keep this tradition, which, amongst other benefits, contributes to our effectiveness in learning and in everyday life. It is rude to call your sifu by name, whether talking to him or her personally, or talking to other people. Your sifu, who has brought you good health and happiness, is always addressed, with a sense of pride and gratitude, as “Sifu” when talking to him or her, and as “my Sifu” when talking to others.
I wish to thank you again for the wonderful teachings and deep impact you had on me and my emotional health at the Valentine’s Course in Ireland only a few months ago.. I was lucky enough to make a lot of progress during the past few years, especially in 2014. I did leave my job after you sent me the kind message and I am now working for a different and absolutely incredible new employer. I feel very blessed and grateful.
Nevertheless, there is an issue about women equality that has bothered me more than ever this year and that I feel is a major blockage.
Sigung, you are always very kind, generous and most important of all, objective and fair. I am also aware that there are still some cultural differences that make me so torn and conflicted about accepting some of your comments about women and marriage.
Whenever I think of finding a husband or having children, my thoughts and optimism grind to a halt. It wasn’t always like that, but my experiences in my professional life as well as in Shaolin Wahnam have somewhat disheartened me, so holding onto optimism and hope is difficult when thinking about marriage and children.
— Fabienne, Switzerland
I am very happy about your progress though it is expected as you are a very good student. With mental clarity you could easily see that your previous job was unsuitable for you. With courage from internal force, you were not afraid to leave a job that you did not like to look for another one. Mental clarity and internal force are developed in the training you practice in our school.
It is useful to understand more deeply the term “women equality”. To me, women equality means that women are not inferior to men, but it does not mean that they should be treated as if they were men.
For example, a woman can be as efficient as a man in her job as a manager, but in work where physical strength is required, like carrying heavy luggage, she should not be treated the same as a man. Let her husband or boyfriend do the job.
How the concept of women equality is interpreted in martial arts is interesting. Many Karate and Taekwondo masters boast that they want their female students to fight like men. “If a man throws a punch of 200 pound at you,” they tell their female students, “block it with 200 pounds.”
Our interpretation is different. We don’t want our female students to fight like men; they should fight as women — without losing their feminine charms. They are not men, but can be as combat efficient as men. They can, for example, deflect the powerful punch with minimum force, and elegantly drive a phoenix-eye fist into a male attacker’s ribs.
It is precisely failing to appreciate the deeper significance of women equality that brings suffering to both men and women. Many men have told me that they are afraid to be married for fear that their wives might quarrel with them like men. Many women like to be women, but are forced by a mistaken concept of women equality to act like men.
Your problem of being disheartened about marriage and children may be due to a mistaken concept of women equality, wrongly thinking that when you are married you have to be a husband instead of being a wife, and to be a father instead of being a mother. Such a mistaken concept will distort family roles and is unlikely to bring family happiness. You are likely to have family happiness when you let your husband be the husband of the family, and you remain to be the wife.
I’m scared of being a loving wife and mother one day, because the kind of devotion you expect a woman to show towards her husband is not something many males nowadays are worthy of.
Sadly, not all men in Shaolin Wahnam are a shining example of honourable men one might think they are. I can speak as a female student who has had some unpleasant, non-consensual experiences. I heard some very demeaning things about myself and others. I didn’t want to list them at first, but I think I have to in order to make the situation clearer.
Your problem here is not being scared of becoming a loving wife and mother one day nor the kind of devotion expected of a woman toward her husband. Your problem is finding a husband worthy of your devotion.
There are two different approaches to train a school of honorable men and women.
One approach is to select people who are already honorable to train them. This will make the group exclusive.
Another approach is to open the school to those who want to be honorable, and train them.
Shaolin Wahnam employs the second approach. But we require that those who wish to be trained to be honorable must be deserving, like following the Ten Shaolin Laws.
Hence, it is understandable that there are some in our school who are still dishonorable. Either they have not successfully completed their training in our school, which means that in time they will be honorable, or they have failed in their training, which means they do not want to be honorable.
Comparing our school with other schools, we have done very well.
The examples you have listed will be commented on below.
Grandmaster Wong and Sifu Joan. Women equality does not mean women are the same as men. It means women are as capable as men.
When a close Sije of mine went through a difficult time, I heard more than once that “She should find a strong man to have sex with her. She’ll calm down then.” That’s unacceptable!
I was propositioned for sex after a course. The man was ugly, ignorant and thought I’d sleep with him because “nobody else would find me attractive” due to my weight.
All these things stopped once I became more advanced and confident. They also disappeared because I aged and gained weight. But I wish to show that women are much more likely to be reduced to their beauty and features. Even in Buddhism, almost every description of female practitioners says something along the lines of “she was known for her beauty.”
This is so infuriating and unfair. It is a nice compliment when it comes from someone sincere and without ulterior motives, but I’m scared of being reduced to it in the future. But if I defend myself and talk to other people about this, I might be called a “feminist” and “attention seeker”. No man will approach me then, I’m sure.
Both asking a distressed woman to have sex to calm down, and asking a woman to have sex otherwise no one else would have sex with her were not only unacceptable, they were despicable. As mentioned earlier, there may still be dishonorable students in our school. Either they failed in the training to be honorable, or they do not want to he honorable.
They automatically eliminate themselves in any competition to be husbands of sensible women.
The insulting comments stopped because you had advanced in your kungfu training and had become more confident. The insulting males might be worried that you asked them to have free sparring instead.
You are still very young. With our training, you can remain young when you grow in chorological age. Our exercises can also help you to reduce weight. Exercises like “Drawing the Moon” and “Merry-Go-Round” are excellent. You have to practice these exercises regularly.
You should not feel infuriating or unfair when someone says you are or any woman is beautiful. I believe women, regardless of their age, will take it as a compliment.
There is no need to defend yourself when complimented to be beautiful. Accept the compliment graciously.
It is natural for women to want to be beautiful. She will indeed be very odd if a woman wants to be ugly, or tough and masculine like a man. This is what I mean by misconception of women equality. Women and men are equal but not the same. If a woman appears or behaves like a man, such as putting on man’s clothing or putting her legs on a table, most men I believe will find her ugly.
I might adhere to what you called a “liberated” woman in a past article. But I don’t wish to oppress my husband with my intelligence, my wit or my knowledge. I don’t wish to confront and nag him unnecessarily, as you seem to think most “liberated” women are doing according to this article.
Truly liberated women are exactly that: liberated. They’re happy, independent and free to express themselves, not bitter and unpleasant and trying to oppose their partner at every step. I am truly sorry if you or other men have had unpleasant experiences with these kinds of women. I do not identify with these women.
A liberated woman can be feminine and gentle. She needs not act or behave like a man.
Oppressing her husband with her intelligence, wit or knowledge, and confronting and nagging him unnecessarily is not a matter of being liberated; it is a matter of being unwise.
You are mistaken that I think liberated women tend to oppress their husbands, nag or confront them unnecessarily. I advise that women, regardless of whether they are liberated or not, should not do such things. If they do, they may win arguments but lose their men.
Liberated women are independent and free to express themselves. But they are not necessarily happy, not bitter, unpleasant and trying to oppose their partners at every step. In other words, liberated women can be happy or depressed, sweet or bitter, pleasant or unpleasant, oppose their partners at every step or not at all. Being liberated or not liberated, and being happy, sweet, pleasant, opposing or otherwise are different issues.
Liberated women who are wise will be sweet, pleasant and accommodating to their husbands or partners, and as a result they are happy. Unwise liberated women will do the reverse and be depressed.
A woman can be very combat efficient and still retains her femininity
I don’t have any illness or problems. Is it necessary for me to practice Cosmic Breathing?
— Belinda, Germany
It is not necessary but it is very beneficial. In fact it is not necessary to practice chi kung, yet a person can live, but practicing chi kung will bring a lot of benefits. As an analogy, you don’t need to buy a car, but a car is certainly very useful. You can walk from Germany to France, or even cross the sea to reach England hugging a log — if you survive the journey. The Polynesian people, for example, crossed the Pacific before cars and ships were invented. But if you can afford it, having a car is very beneficial.
As you have successfully learned the skills and techniques of Cosmic Breathing, make full use of its benefits even when it is not necessary to practice it to carry on living.
When your boyfriend takes you to a date and you are tired, for example, practicing Cosmic Breathing for just about 5 minutes will energize you. When you study for an examination, and your mind just cannot take in any more knowledge, go for a short walk and practice Cosmic Breathing for about 5 minutes. You will be mentally fresh and study more effectively. When you want to play some games, practicing Cosmic Breathing for just 5 minutes will give you better mental focus and more energy for better performance.
Can I combine Cosmic Breathing with Eighteen Lohan Hands?
Yes, you can. You can also combine with other chi kung exercises.
But it is not necessary because Cosmic Breathing is already very powerful by itself. Combining it with other exercises will dilute its power. But for fun or variety, you can combine Cosmic Breathing with any other exercises.
As an analogy, you already earn a lot of money working as a doctor. You are also good at cooking and gardening. Can you combine being a doctor with being a cook and a gardener? You can, but it is not necessary because working as a doctor alone will bring you more incomre than combining your job with cooking and gardening. But for fun or other appropriate reasons, you may combine being a doctor with cooking and gardening.
An Intensive Chi Kung Course in Penang in 2012
I’ve been practicing chi-kung for some time, self learning out of necessity since there is no chi-kung master in my place. I’ve been learning from books, articles and videos, and I have received large benefits from my practice.
May be one of Sifu Wong’s advanced students may come to teach us. I would like to become a healer, though I need to learn first hand from a master.
Mexico is a country with a lot of problems, including very low wages. There are hardly people who can afford the fees of Master Wong Kiew Kit. But I know there should be a way I may learn form the master.
— Francisco, Mexico
I taught in Mexico a few years ago. It was a large class of about 100 students, and each paid about 1000 euros for my courses.
You are right to say than one must be a good chi kung student before he thinks of becoming a chi kung healer.
You are also right to say that if you wish to learn from me, there is a way. I would recommend that you attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course. You will find the chi kung practiced in our school, Shaolin Wahnam, very different from what you have learned from books, articles and videos, and also very different from the chi kung practiced in most other schools.
Editorial Note :
Francisco’s immediate reply:
“Thanks for your answer, I am going to travel to Malaysia to learn at your school. I don’t know when, but I will be there. When I’m ready I’ll check courses and details.”
Grandmaster Wong’s response:
I am very glad of your prompt and right decision. You will certainly find the Intensive Chi Kung Course worth many times your effort to learn it.
Apply the same principle, “When there is a will, there is a way”, to all worthy tasks, and you will soon find that your life will be richer and happier by manifold. A worthy task is one that is honorable and brings benefit to yourself or others or both.
Sifu Wong mentioned that one should not masturbate too often. How often is too often? Is once a day too much?
— Jussi, USA
It depends on the age and vitality of the person who wants to masturbate.
The following verse in Chinese (Cantonese) would be a useful guideline:
Ye sap lien lien
Sam sap thien thien
Translated into English it is as follows.
At twenty, continuously
At thirty, every day
It means that at twenty of age a person, male, can have sex continuously, provided, of course, he has a willing partner who preferably enjoys it too. At thirty of age he can have sex everyday.
As masturbation consumes a similar amount of energy as having sex, perhaps with less pleasure and often with a tincture of frustration, a person who wishes to masturbate may use this verse as a guideline, provided he has vitality. If he lacks vitality, masturbating once a week is too much.
It should be note that the above verse is meant to show a person’s vitality in relation to sex, not to show his necessity or even desirability. In other words if a male youth of twenty can have sex continuously, it shows he has vitality. It is not necessary or desirable that he does it.
How does one know whether he has sufficient vitality to perform his chosen task, regardless of whether it is masturbation or meditation? It is simple. If he is twenty and can satisfactorily masturbate or meditate continuously, he has the vitality to accomplish his task, otherwise he lacks the vitality, in which case it is only wise of him to masturbate or meditate less or none at all even when he wants more.
A sure way to have vitality is to practice genuine, high-level chi kung. Nevertheless, when a person, old or young, male or female, has acquired a lot of vitality, he or she will find masturbation uninteresting. That person will find other activities more rewarding.
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org stating your name, country and e-mail address.
An unforgettable incident, which had much effect in my healing of other people years later, happened one night when I was alone, as my usual friends for some reasons or others were not around to play. I went out of the New World Park and looked around at a hawker selling a variety of fruits. I had twenty cents in my pocket, given to me by my father. Twenty cents was quite a lot of money at that time, especially for a small boy of eight. One could buy a bowl of noodles, which could fill up one’s stomach as lunch or dinner, with twenty cents.
Although my mother did not know much about science, she was to my young boy’s mind quite a dietician. Like most Chinese, she conveniently classified food into two types – hot food and cold food. Hot food was her favourite, and cold food was strictly forbidden.
“Mama,” sometimes I would beseech, “Can I have a slice of orange, just a slice?”
“Oh no, my dear,” my mother would sweetly persuaded, “Oranges are too cold for you.”
“How about a banana, mama?”
“Bananas are cold too. Fruits are cold food. They will make you sick.”
It is enthralling that now, sixty years later, I can eat bananas like a monkey and drink fresh orange juice like a horse, and become healthier.
So that night I was just curious, besides being tempted to have a taste of the forbidden fruit to find out whether bananas could make me sick. I saw a long, big banana known locally as an elephant’s tusk in a transparent ice box. It was quite expensive, costing 10 cents per banana, compared to a bowl of noodles costing only 20 cents.
Well, ten cents for a taste of a forbidden fruit, I thought, was quite a bargain. So I paid ten cents and had the banana.
It was exquisite and delicious, sweet and fragrant in every bite. It was not only the first time I ate such a sweet and fragrant elephant tusk, it was the first time I ate any fruit. I was discreet enough not to mention this to my parents.
But my secret did not last long. Soon after midnight, I started to have stomach ache. At first, the pain was mild but it quickly became terrible, causing me to roll wildly in bed. I had no choice but to tell my parents about me eating a forbidden fruit. My parents were very caring and loving. Instead of scolding me, they were decisive and acted immediately to ease my pain.
There was no time to take me to see a doctor or to the hospital. Even if they had time, it might not be a right choice. Their method was extraordinary – at least to Westerners, though it was a folk practice amongst the traditional Chinese. My parents had me lie comfortably in bed. Then my mother placed a 20 cents coin on my naval, dropped some wax of a burning candle on the coin, and stood the candle on the flat coin. Then they inverted a small glass over the candle.
My sister, my mother, my father and me in the 1960s
1989 was a very important year that I proved distant chi transmission was real. But the most important event of the year was the birth of my youngest child, Wong Chun Yian (黄俊贤), who brought love and happiness to the family. “Chun Yian” means “Handsome and Wise”.
I honestly believe that my youngest daughter, Wong Siew Foong born in 1987, and my youngest son, Wong Chun Yian, born in 1989, were our children sent to my wife and me from the Divine for the good deeds we had done. They brought to our family, including my parents and my three elder children, a lot of joy and love.
We did not hope for any rewards when we were blessed to perform some good deeds, but it is a universal truth that goodness always brings goodness. I dearly remember my mother telling me once that it is a greater blessing to give than to receive. Indeed, we are very blessed.
When my wife was carrying Chun Yian, she was a bit apprehensive because she was already over forty years of age. It was said that women giving birth after forty may result in children who were not so intelligent. But Chun Yian, I believe, is a divine-sent child, and he was, and still is, very intelligent.
When my wife and I took our two youngest children for car rides, which we often did, and our other three elder children were at an age when they would prefer to spend time with their friends, Chun Yian would compose songs of his own which he would sing to entertain us.
One of the songs he often sang was as follows:
Grilled chicken wings, grilled chicken wings We shall have something to eat Get two or three cups of fragrant wine To go along with the feast
Sometimes, he would compose words for our private use. For example, instead of saying, “Please pass me some tissue paper to wipe my hands”, he would say, “Please pass me some ti-boys”.
“Why do you call tissue paper ti-boys?” Once I asked him.
“Ti is a short form for tissue. As the tissue paper is small, I call it ti-boy,” he explained.
We certainly had a lot of fun.
I attributed his high intelligence to his practice of chi kung, but he attributed it to his secretion of “brain-juice” by sleeping before ten o’clock every night.
So, while other parents might have difficulty coaxing their children to go to bed early, my wife and I did not have this problem with Chun Yian.
In fact, on occasions when we were out late at night, by Chun Yian’s standard, he would say, “Papa, can we go back early? I want to produce brain-juice.”
Siew Foong, my wife, Chun Yian and me at Chun Yian’s graduation
The year 1987 was very special for me and my wife. That was the year my youngest daughter, Wong Siew Foong (黄小凤) was born. My wife often said Siew Foong was a harbinger of good luck. Since her birth everything was propitious.
One indication of good times to come was the appearance of pigeons in the compound of my house. One morning, after my daily kungfu practice, I was surprised to find many pigeons flocking to my house. The pigeons had been coming, but that particular morning, there were many. They made a lot of noise and were obviously having a good time, though neither my wife nor I, unprepared for their arrival, bought any grains to feed them.
I was surprised not at the pigeons, or their number, or the noise they made, but at why they came to my house. According to Chinese beliefs, pigeons only go to houses of rich people. Although my financial position had improved, I did not consider myself rich, i.e. financially rich, though I was actually very rich in other aspects, like good health, happy family and appreciative students both in the school I taught as a school teacher and in my kungfu and chi kung classes.
Nevertheless, my financial position continued to improve. I did not know, neither was I concerned, whether it was due to my improving financial position that pigeons came to my house, or the other way round, due to pigeons coming to my house that my financial position improved. But I found it poetical to believe that because of Siew Foong’s arrival, both my financial position improved and pigeons, symbols of love and peace, came to my house.
With our improved financial position, both my wife and I could help other less fortunate people, like my wife buying meals for poor children in school, and I giving money to people in need.
Indeed, it was just the other day at the time of writing, that Swee Zhi, the girlfriend of my youngest son, Chun Yian, told us she was so pleasantly surprised when she and Chun Yian caught up with Chun Yian’s friends during the Chinese New Year festive session, that one of Chun Yian’s friends, who is now a lawyer, told her that he knew my wife.
“How did you know auntie?” Swee Zhi asked.
“Not only I know her, I am very grateful to her.”
“Did you meet her before?”
“Yes, every day during my primary school days. She bought meals for us during school recess.”
My youngest daughter, Siew Foong, was very attached to me. Initially, whenever I went overseas to teach chi kung and kungfu, she would be sick. At first, I was not aware of the relationship between her sickness and me going overseas, but my wife, with her motherly instinct, discovered that her sickness was due to her thinking of me when I was not at home.
So, following my wife’s discovery, when I was about to fly overseas, I would console my youngest daughter, telling her that I would soon be home again and asking her not to be sick. It worked very well. Since then, she was not sick when I went overseas.
Whenever I was at home, I would spend a lot of time playing with her and her younger brother, Chun Yian, who arrived two years later. They would run into my arms, and I would swing them overhead, sometimes with them somersaulting in the air, but with me holding them carefully. My wife would be concerned.
“Be very careful not to let them fall,” my wife would call out with some apprehension.
“They are perfectly safe,” I would reply.
My youngest daughter and youngest son, Siew Foong and Chun Yian, were specially close, especially when my other three children were much older than them, and therefore may have different likings. Nevertheless, all the five brothers and sisters were close and loving to one another.
Myself and Siew Foong at the China Town in Terengganu