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Biography of Sigung Wong Kiew Kit

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  • #16
    Hello there,

    great to see the reaction, indeed it should be great fun to discuss some of the subjects that Sifu touches upon.

    The title of this first chapter is....



    I'LL TEACH YOU FREE OF CHARGE

    although you will have to wait for a couple of installments to see the relevance of the title

    lets begin,



    (Please note that this chapter was written in the 1980s. Hence, some facts may have changed. For example, at the time of writing there were more than fifty kungfu schools in Penang, but now, 2009, there are very few.)


    Kungfu in the Garden of the East

    When I was just a little boy, I often heard thrilling stories of kungfu experts -- stories of their adventures and chivalry, fantastic feats and abilities. Little did I realize then that one day I myself would practise kungfu and could perform some of the seemingly impossible stunts which I had only heard in stories.

    My initiation into kungfu happened unexpectedly. It happened in 1958 without any previous notion no arrangement. It occurred at Soon Tuck Wooi Koon ( ), which is situated at 51 Love Lane, Penang, Malaysia. I don't know exactly why that road is called "Love Lane"; probably it was a favourable haunt of lovers in the past. Anyway, it introduced me to my love of kungfu, the Chinese art of attack and defence, which has become my life-long hobby.

    "Soon Tuck" is the name of a certain district in the Kwangtung Province of China; and "Wooi Koon" means "Association" in the Cantonese dialect of the Chinese language. Hence, Soon Tuck Wooi Koon is the Associ¬ation of Chinese who originated from the Soon Tuck District of South China.

    The Chinese are noted for their organizational ability in forming associations to look after the social, cultural, economic and other interests of fellow clansmen coming from the same native areas in China. In Penang, which is the chief port-city of Malaysia and which is sometimes known as the Garden of the East because of its beautiful scenery, there are numerous associations of this nature. Some better known examples are Phoon Yue Wooi Koon, Nam Hoi Wooi Koon, and Tung Onn Wooi Koon, which cater for community members originating from the districts of Phoon Yue, Nam Hoi and Tung Onn respectively.

    However, the modern Chinese in Malaysia who are Malaysian citizens and have accepted Malaysia as their country, are not so conscious of their native origins as their forefathers were. Hence, many activities organized by these Wooi Koons are not exclusively meant for their community members only, but are open to all Chinese, sometimes to other races.

    One activity sponsored by Soon Tuck Wooi Koon was kungfu. This was not because Soon Tuck people were particularly keen pugilists, but rather because such was the traditional practice in China before the Second World War. In South China, almost every village collectively employed a kungfu instructor to teach kungfu to its young villagers at their village-hall, which incidentally functioned quite similarly to the Wooi Koons in Malaysia. In towns in South China, kungfu was also very popular. Canton, for example, was reported to have hundreds of kungfu schools during the pre-war days. However, the Chinese who migrated here probably did not bring along with them this traditional practice to Malaysia, for although the Wooi Koons have remained the usual places where kungfu was taught, not many Wooi Koons, nevertheless, organized kungfu classes. Soon Tuck Wooi Koon was one of the few Wooi Koons in Penang at that time that offered traditional kungfu lessons.









    Very interesting I think you will agree!!!?

    It is indeed a little saddening to hear of how many Kung-Fu school there were in Penang and how many are now left.

    Personally I can also relate to Sifu's inspiration of the past Masters of Kung-Fu. When you read so many fantastic stories it definatley wets the apetite and creates a hunger to find out the truth of these stories.

    Another interesting thing I found was that Sifu started Kung-Fu at 51 Love Lane in Penang. I am sure many of us have stayed on Love Lane where there are many guest houses nowadays. Before my first meeting with Sifu I stayed on Love Lane in a guest house, of course i was not to know that that was were Sifu first started Kung-Fu, but it is funny how these coincidences’ happen.


    below is a valuable picture of Sifu as a 'cute little' boy with His Father and Mother.

    all the best


    Robin
    "The Power of Tai Chi Chuan. com"

    Comment


    • #17
      Soon Tuck Woi Koon

      Robin, thanks for your efforts in bringing us Sifu's story. Interesting, indeed.

      Lara and I have just come from Penang where we stayed in a very nice little guesthouse directly beside Soon Tuck Wooi Koon. Here are a couple of pictures.

      Yours,
      Charles David Chalmers
      Brunei Darussalam

      Comment


      • #18
        Awesome!

        Wow, thank you Sigung and thank you Sisook Robin for bringing this first installment to us. Reading such work is inspriational and uplifting, and always brings a big smile.

        You know, I'm not a big reader believe it or not, I find it tiring and often quite boring and labourious. But I can tell you, I will devour Sigung's biographies!

        You know, I remember my first Summer Camp very clearly, so many fond memories. But you know some of my favourite moments were 'story time', when Sigung would begin to tell us a story from his or one of our Si Tai Gungs' pasts - He'd begin and we'd all slowly draw round and I remember feeling like a little kid sitting cross-legged in front of Sigung while he regailed us with these beautiful stories from the past. Sigung really has a gift for narrative too, and his light-heartedness means you never fail to feel a chuckle rising too!

        And thank you too to Charles Sipak for the pictures - this really enriches the experience of what we've read!


        Thank you so much for opening up and sharing this part of yourself with us Sigung, that very act in and of itself is an inspiration.

        With much love,

        Claire

        P.S. I 'love' that picture of Sigung as a young boy, just awesome!
        Last edited by Claire; 21st February 2009, 04:34 AM.
        "It's no secret that a friend is someone who lets you help". from the song The Fly by U2

        Comment


        • #19
          Cool, very cool, thank you Sigung and Si Sook Robin.

          I just thought I'd ask about a biography and here it is!
          It kind of reminds me of the "ask and it shall be given" thread.

          I can't wait to read on,
          Jim
          Sigung: This is a great exercise for women, because it makes them beautiful and radiant.
          Student: And what does it do for men?
          Sigung: It makes women beautiful!
          Smile from the heart!

          Comment


          • #20
            Excellent, thank you Robin for posting and thank you Sifu for sharing your biography here first on the forum. We are very fortunate indeed.

            Can't wait for the next installment

            Kindest regards
            Marcus
            Namo Amitabha Buddha Namo Amitabha Buddha Namo Amitabha Buddha

            Comment


            • #21
              Great Pictures!

              Hi everyone,

              Glad you enjoyed the first installment, I know I did.

              Charles thank you very much for those pictures, great timing. It really brings the story alive!

              Jim, I must agree with you on the ask and it is given theory. I too was suprised that so shortly after we talked of Sifu's biography , it appeared.
              Thanks again Sifu.

              Claire, your comments got me thinking. We all know that there are probably endless books inside Sifu, how about one just full of true Kung-Fu stories!

              Glad you are enjoying the thread Marcus, the next installment will be coming very soon!

              Robin
              "The Power of Tai Chi Chuan. com"

              Comment


              • #22
                Exellent,

                I very much look forward to reading more .

                Jim,

                Originally posted by Martin Do View Post
                Thank you Sigung and thank you Sifu Robin.
                I should of course say a very very big thank you to you too for strating this thread. Without which, we may not be experiencing these priviledges. Thank you brother .

                Kindest regards

                Martin

                Comment


                • #23
                  Martin,

                  Thanks Brother, but I'm sure if I hadn't asked, someone else would've.

                  Peace and Love,
                  Jim
                  Sigung: This is a great exercise for women, because it makes them beautiful and radiant.
                  Student: And what does it do for men?
                  Sigung: It makes women beautiful!
                  Smile from the heart!

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    2nd Installment

                    Hi there,

                    Come on Jim, dont be shy, you did a good job starting the thread

                    Next you can read about Sifu's native district in China. Unsurprisingly it was an area famous for it's Kung-Fu!

                    Another illuminating aspect is where Sifu initially learned his Kung-Fu and Lion dance. You will see that there appears to be a history in our school of not always following the social boundaries imposed in many of our societies, which is very refreshing. You will see more proof of this later in some examples set by our Si-Gung Lai Chin Wah.


                    Here is the next part of

                    I'LL TEACH YOU FREE OF CHARGE



                    (Unfortunatley, the Chinese Characters did not come over in the text Sifu sent me, hopefully they will be in the book when it is published!)


                    The Mountains of Cranes

                    My native district is not Soon Tuck, but Hok San ( ). Literally, "Hok San" means "Mountains of Cranes." My father used to joke that in the evening, cranes of all sizes would fly back to our district. Although this name sounds poetic, Hok San District was poor and agrarian, unlike the prosperous, urban Soon Tuck District. Partly because of its hilly environment and rural setting, Hok San people were traditionally steeped in kungfu, and well known for their Lion Dance. The Lion Dance is a notable feature of Chinese culture, and is closely related to kungfu. More will be said of Lion Dance later.

                    Of the many villages in the Hok San District, the one that was best known for its kungfu fighters was my own native village, Wong Tung Village ( ), which literally means the "Caves of the Wongs", though we, the Wongs, did not really live in caves. My father told me that some of my uncles and grand uncles were great pugilists, and that they once killed a tiger which had marauded into our village. My father, however, did not practise kungfu; he preferred literature. Thus, I missed the opportunity of learning Hok San Kungfu from my father.

                    At the time of my initiation into kungfu, there was no Hok San Wooi Koon in Penang. Many Hok San people, however, practised kungfu and Lion Dance at Chap For Hong ( ), which is situated at 4 Rope Walk, not far from the premises of Soon Tuck Wooi Koon. "Chap For" in Cantonese means "Grocery", and "Hong" means "Trade". Hence, Chap For Hong is the Grocers' Association. Many Hok San people in Penang are in the grocery trade, so many of them are members of Chap For Hong.

                    Today there are easily more than fifty kungfu schools in Penang that also teach Lion Dance. But in the 1950s there were only two prominent Lion Dance troupes, namely the Soon Tuck Wooi Koon Lion Dance Troupe ( ) and the Chap For Hong Lion Dance Troupe ( ). These two famous Lion Dance troupes were also great rivals. Even today the rivalry between them is still felt, though with less intensity.

                    Considering my native origin being Hok San, and the close relationship between Hok San people and Chap For Hong, it certainly appears odd that I joined the kungfu school cum Lion Dance troupe at Soon Tuck Wooi Koon, instead of the one at Chap For Hong. Indeed many people have expressed their surprise and have asked me why.





                    Below is a fantastic historic picture Sifu Lai Chin Wah's Lion Dance troupe, the smoke from the Joss sticks adds to the atmosphere.
                    Last edited by Charles David; 24th February 2009, 12:37 PM. Reason: fix typo
                    "The Power of Tai Chi Chuan. com"

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Brilliant .

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Wonderful.
                        Sigung: This is a great exercise for women, because it makes them beautiful and radiant.
                        Student: And what does it do for men?
                        Sigung: It makes women beautiful!
                        Smile from the heart!

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Brilliant Thanks to Robin, Jim and especially Sitaigung. Looking forward to the next installment .

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            (Unfortunatley, the Chinese Characters did not come over in the text Sifu sent me, hopefully they will be in the book when it is published!)
                            If you use Windows it might be that the Chinese fonts/language support is missing. This can be easily added. Here the instruction for Windows XP:
                            1. Go to Start -> Settings -> Control Panel (or navigate there directly if you do not use the classical interface)
                            2. In the Regional and Language Options go to the Languages tab.
                            3. Check the box for "Install East Asian Languages" under Supplemental language support. Then click Apply and OK. You might need the original Windows XP CD.
                            Warm regards and looking forward for the next installement.

                            Btw has anybody found where the Hok San District is located. I tried to "google" it but found only pictures of the Hok San Lion, which ofc is nice too.

                            Andrea
                            Enjoy some Wahnam Tai Chi Chuan & Qi Gong!

                            Evening Classes in Zürich
                            Weekend Classes in other Swiss locations


                            Website: www.taichichuan-wahnam.ch
                            Facebook: www.facebook.com/Taichichuan.Wahnam.ch
                            Google+ :
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                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Andrea,

                              There is some interesting info on lion dance on wikipedia:
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion_dance

                              Here is a page with somebody's vacation pictures of Hok San (complete with annoying pop-ups):
                              http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/569088354YeJJOO

                              The reason you had trouble finding info on it is because you find it under the names "Hok San", "Hok Shan", and "Heshan." I'm not sure of the difference, but Heshan seems to be the official name (So, I'd guess that's the Mandarin version).
                              Check Heshan in Wikipedia and you'll see it on a map (hint, you'll find more info on the German Wikipedia).

                              Jim
                              Last edited by Jimbeaux; 23rd February 2009, 06:39 PM.
                              Sigung: This is a great exercise for women, because it makes them beautiful and radiant.
                              Student: And what does it do for men?
                              Sigung: It makes women beautiful!
                              Smile from the heart!

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                ooh, this is so exciting!



                                And thanks for the links and info Jimbaux, much appreciated

                                Claire
                                x
                                "It's no secret that a friend is someone who lets you help". from the song The Fly by U2

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