A series of motivating true stories that will inspire us in our journeys to age with love, purpose, hope and dignity.
Written by Vivien Webb and Virginia Devereux (daughters)
“Time is most precious, and hence an invaluable commodity you can share with others. As a teacher for the last 70 years, I continue to learn and improve; observe the changing cultural shifts and aspire to create a second rainbow in my life…”
This was a poem that our father, Wong Chai Lok (endearingly known as “Master Wong” or “Lok Yung”) wrote as a commemorative piece for his 90th Birthday Calligraphy Exhibition in 2014.
Anyone who knows our dad, knows of his love for art and calligraphy. He was brought up as a single child singlehandedly by our late grandmother. Further, making it to Hong Kong from Guangzhou in tumultuous times, only with the help of friends, made him deeply appreciative of the values of family, friendship and service to the community.
He showed us by example the importance of helping the underpriviledged. Even as early as the 1960s, he founded the Hong Kong Adult Education night school system to provide young immigrants from China an opportunity to be better educated whilst they were working to make ends meet. He provided guidance to HK Boy Scouts Association for 50 years and established a charitable foundation to help rural schools in China to be rebuilt or to be better equipped, to name just a few. His charitable activities were and still are mainly funded by the proceeds from his calligraphy exhibitions and auctions as he regards money earned from his art as a means to help others.
Dad’s love of calligraphy is not simply for personal enjoyment. He wants to pass on his styles, his passion for the art form, to others. Since his retirement from the Hong Kong government, he has been teaching calligraphy for over 20 years to several hundreds of students, some of whom are extremely accomplished and are now teachers themselves.
Everyone would agree that any 91 year old would want to kick back, relax and enjoy the hard earned fruits of the many years of labour in the comfort of the family retreat. However, dad is still giving and continues to contribute to the community by conducting weekly calligraphy classes at the Hong Kong University SPACE. His motto of “One life One Art” provides a guiding light for his students to pursue their passion.
His many students, young and old, his friends and ours, seem to get along with him effortlessly and seamlessly with no sign of any “generation gap”. Perhaps, there is a common language of love – for art, education, people and living life to the fullest. In that sense, he is a true renaissance man !