Calligrapher Li Jhong-chih／書法家 李仲篪
Calligrapher Li Jhong-chih
◎English translation: Wendy Wei Chang
◎Photo by Lin Yu-hong
92 Year-old, Mr. Li Jhon-chih was around 18 or 19 years old when he left his hometown in Hunan, China. During the turbulent years of China's civil war, one of Mr. Li's few possessions which he carried in his backpack was a calligraphy book containing calligraphy scripts of Stele of Cao Cyuan. When he arrived in Taiwan, he decided to settle in Kaohsiung. It has now been 77 years since Mr. Li began practicing calligraphy and still displays remarkable passion for it.
Diligence best describes Mr. Li's attitude and passion for calligraphy. Over the years, he has mastered different styles of scripts. In order to write formal seal scripts, he created a customized version of clerical script strokes. Mr. Li explains that the beauty of calligraphy lies in its balance, delicacy, purity and elegance. Balance, refers to the symmetry of the characters, with every stroke being of same width. Delicacy is the strength of which each stroke is applied, whereas purity exhibits the cleanness in the execution of each character. Elegance is determined by a character's graceful presentation. When Mr. Li does calligraphy, he lifts his hands in the air and then brings them down, creating strokes that are full of strength. The connections between the strokes are rounded and the width and spaces between the strokes are identical. Mr. Li's calligraphy is beautiful and harmonious. He often switches between styles in order to give the characters greater depth in meaning. Mr. Li presents each character's strength and beauty by using different styles and emphasizing the elegance of each character.
Mr. Li explains the secret to creating great calligraphy is by mastering the basic strokes from the very beginning. Then move on to imitating the masters' styles in calligraphy copy-books. He recommends working on the scripts of Stele of Cao Cyuan because of its graceful seal script and Stele of Li Ji because of its neat writing style. Mr. Li believes that as long as people diligently practice, they will undoubtedly develop superb skills and eventually develop their own calligraphy styles.
Over the years, Mr. Li has been devoted to promoting calligraphy and has taught the craft to numerous people. He is worried that people these days depend too much on computers and do not often put pen to paper. Mr. Li believes that if people are not able to write the characters that reflect their culture, the culture will eventually disappear. He hopes people will become more aware of this alarming phenomenon.The history and traditions of calligraphy run deep. As a calligraphy master, Mr. Li has dedicated his life to studying its structure and strokes. Mr. Li's peaceful, modest disposition is an example of how he has internalized this art form.
Lai Hui-fang's Passionate Volunteer Work
◎English translation: Tan Shu-chun
◎Photo by Hou Ya-ting
Ms. Lai Hui-fang is originally from Indonesia but has been living in Kaohsiung for 16 years. During her first 7 years in Kaohsiung, she mainly took care of her family and didn't engage socially with others. She didn't speak Chinese. Today she speaks Chinese fluently and is passionate about volunteering for charitable foundations and helping new immigrants and senior citizens. These great transformations in her life have broadened her horizons and enriched her life. She firmly believes that the more you serve others, the happier you become.
Ms. Lai Hui-fang life-changing moment came when her child began elementary school. Lai was contacted by the local charity Fong Lin Guan Yin Foundation, which provides care to immigrants and seniors who live alone. The foundation provided her daughter with extracurricular tutoring. At first, Lai would accompany her daughter to tutoring sessions and would prepare refreshments for them. A short time later she was assigned a new task of visiting local seniors. This marked the beginning of her volunteering career. Now, she spends one day a week visiting four seniors that live near her home. Lai enjoys the work she does with the senior citizens and the great kindness and appreciation they show her by sharing delicious food. They make her feel as if she is a part of their family. Lai also wants her children to be positively influenced by her volunteer work, so she always brings her daughters along with her when she does community service. She has noticed the positive impact it has had on her children. They have become more considerate and more interactive with their family.
Lai appreciates Kaohsiung City Government New Immigrants Family Service Center for these opportunities. She feels the organization has given her a sense of belonging to a big family that enjoys serving others and finds great sisterhood with fellow immigrants. They help each other and give each other advice. When they get together they prepare food from their motherland and play Indonesian instruments together. On October 2014, Kaohsiung City Government established the new immigrant affairs office, which is located on the second floor of the Immigrants Family Service Center. Although there are other immigrant service centers closer to her home, Lai still prefers to take the 45 minute motorcycle journey to get to this service center. She feels at home there. Over the last three years, Lai has been a passionate advocate of volunteer work and has encouraged fellow immigrants to embrace volunteer work and broaden their horizons. She is a living example of how serving others will surely enhance your life.