Chinese calligraphers present traditional works in Istana open day in Singapore

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 7, 2019
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A Chinese calligraphy writing brush in hand, Singaporean President Halimah Yacob added the Chinese character "one" on a nearly-finished couplet on a red slice of paper with a fine and final touch, while applause arose from the surrounding audience.

Halimah joined the visitors to her office the Istana Wednesday afternoon, where she went into the tent set up by the Chinese Calligraphy Society of Singapore to help finish a couplet written by the president of the society Tan Siah Kwee.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the completion of the presidential office this year, the couplet, which says "a 150-year-old famous site with 54,000 days of history," pays tribute to the building with spacious grassland, a garden and a fountain, said Tan, who is also president of the Singaporean Arts Federation.

According to Tan, it was the 10th consecutive year his society has partaken in the open house activity during the lunar Chinese New Year holiday.

Eight Chinese calligraphers have written words of good wishes to visitors soon after the Istana opened to public on 8:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday, also the second day of the lunar Chinese New Year.

Their works were given to visitors as gifts, but the collectors were encouraged to donate money for the President's Challenge charity event which would finance the disadvantaged Singaporeans.

Halimah also joined the calligraphers during last year's new year celebration and wrote a Chinese word "Ji" which means luckiness in Chinese.

Besides Wednesday's open house event, Tan and his fellow calligraphers will also join in the annual New Year Garden Party hosted by the Singaporean prime minister to grassroots leaders. This year's party will take place a couple of days later at the Istana and will attract 22 calligraphers, Tan said.

Kong Derun, a primary student from Beijing, China, was thrilled to get Tan's calligraphy work "Fu" which means happiness. Kong, who was on a tour to Singapore, said he loves and practises Chinese calligraphy regularly, and would take Tan's work back home to imitate.

During the open house, visitors were treated with lion-dance, musical performance and martial arts.

Standing inside the white tent under the scorching Sun, Tan said it is a pleasure to be able to present the traditional Chinese calligraphy to the public, especially to the younger generation in this fast-growing age, and to do their parts to help those in needy. 

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