Article contributed by Cheong Ying Hui.
At his first Chinese New Year charitable event, renowned Chinese calligrapher Holon Wong had a jostling crowd snatching his couplets selling at $100 per piece, with many requesting for more.
Throughout the demonstration, the 77-year-old artist displayed his proficiency with the calligraphy brush, easily injecting life into a string of Chinese characters. The event also kick-started the his 2013 plan to continue promoting calligraphy.
“Last year, I brought my students on cultural exchange trips to Fuzhou and Qingdao to interact with accomplished foreign artists. This year, we will be organizing cultural gatherings for calligraphists to come together,” he said.
As the president cum founder of the newly established Ink Splashing Calligraphy & Painting Association late last year, Wong has calligraphy students ranging from hawkers to doctors, children to retirees.
“He is a low-key and stoic person who is against the idea of keeping the arts to himself,” explained Yvonne Lee, Wong’s student. “He feels that art is a public heritage that should be passed to anyone who wishes to learn.”
Born in Guangzhou, China, Wong spent most of his life in Macau, Hong Kong and U.S. His migration to Singapore to promote calligraphy is by pure coincidence.
“Back in 1969, the government invited me to be a pioneer of Singapore’s first economic reform as a computer expert. I grew to love the place,” Wong said.
Wong values hard work as a requisite to mastering calligraphy. His certitude about the importance of diligence has touched the hearts of his students and peers.
“I once asked if my child has talent in calligraphy. He assured me that it will be fine if she practices,” said Toh Ai, a mother of one of Wong’s international calligraphy award-winning students.
Wong’s staunch beliefs came from his painstaking perfection of calligraphy and the arts for many years. “That’s how I became the best amongst my talented siblings,” Wong chuckled.