Transcending cultural differences with calligraphy

Transcending cultural differences with calligraphy

KULAI: The Chinese New Year festive period is a busy time for Cheng Ho Chung.

The 83-year-old Chinese calligrapher has numerous orders for couplets, lanterns and other trappings for the festival to fulfil, all bearing messages of success, health and wealth in Chinese.

But this year, he has help from an unlikely pair of hands. Azizah Mokhsan, 38, who used to work in a shop next to his in Jalan Raya in Kulai Besar, is helping him to meet the demand.

“In the beginning, she would watch when I worked on calligraphy paper and lanterns. Soon I realised that she was interested, so I offered to teach her.”

Since she doesn’t know Chinese, Azizah took some time to master the art.

Cheng started by teaching her to hold the brush and how to perfect her brush strokes and soon she became good at it.

Azizah said many customers are surprised to know that a Malay woman is interested in learning Chinese calligraphy.

“They are also impressed because not many young people are interested in keeping the art alive. In fact, only one of Cheng’s three children is following in his footsteps,” she said.

To understand the words she’s putting on paper, Azizah has enrolled for Mandarin lessons. – Bernama