November 19, 2007
First met Christina Foo about a year ago, through a mutual friend, an ex-classmate of hers and at that time, really did not know what to expect to get out of the meeting.
What a year it has been since that fateful meeting.
When I first left Singapore to come to Sarawak, it was all about business. Knew a Sarawakian in Singapore who is into the landscaping business and when the economy went southward for Singapore that year, I packed my bags and headed to the “land of the hornbill” with that friend.
The first year was really tough going; being the new kid on the block and all that but still I was spending enormous amount of time, outside business, looking up Kung Fu schools and masters all around Kuching where I am based, kind of like a baggage I carry to everywhere I go, this kung fu obsession of mine..
What I found was totally staggering; styles that I had only read about in old magazines and books or heard from kung fu elders in Singapore. And they are generally preserved in pristine conditions; not deviating from the ways it was passed down by mainland Chinese masters resettling in this part in the last couple hundreds years.
In the months and years to follow, I discovered more and more and it was then I decided that something got to be done to inform the rest of the world about this treasure trove of Chinese fighting traditions replanted in Borneo soil.
Beside my own cataloguing and documentation, I needed a bigger platform to do a more competent job; something that is going to call for a lot of financial resources.
After a few false starts, I sat down in Christina’s office and presented my proposal.
For Tina to take this up is something that’s really admirable, to say the least. With absolutely no background in the martial arts, she proceeded with just a sense of doing the right thing; to preserve a legacy that is fast vanishing with encroaching “modernization” and folks shunning the “old ways”.
I guess you could say that both Tina and I share the same vision; to embrace the new and preserve the old.
This event would never be if not for her doggedness and tenacity ….
Well, I said it earlier, a thousand miles journey begins with a single step.
And now that we have taken that first step, the real journey begins …….
November 19, 2007
Two other names that really need special mention:-
Peter Lum – a Zhou Jia Sihing that I never knew I had up till about 6 months ago and really more because my days in Zhou Jia are really brief and even then I was spending more time with my own Sifu than mixing with others in the large Singapore and Malaysia Zhou Jia family. My Sibakgung, Lee Kam Yuen, is the man behind hooking me up with Peter.
Simply put, without Peter’s support, this show might never have taken off; he is the only one with good grasp of how WuLin in Penang works; having put together quite a few gatherings of all sizes in Penang in recent times and working with CKF folks from all over Penang.
Many times put on the spot because he was walking the tight rope of satisfying all parties concerned, Peter came through brilliantly.
Just before I left Penang, at the airport with the flight being delayed, we were sitting down at a small café and I told him how much I appreciate all his hard work, his response was simply – I agreed to help you and I did, dished out in his usual nonchalant manner.
That’s Peter for you, always so down-to-earth and my love and respect for this Sihing just soared.
The other person that played a critical role in the whole outing is my assistant, Dianne Lim.
Came on board a year ago with virtually no knowledge of MA, this lady started everything from scratch.
First week on the job and I had to crash her in; northern kicks southern fists, internal external Shaolin, Wudang, Emei blah blah blah…you know “Kung Fu for Dummies”
Well she got from there to handling the masters, shooting footages and coordinating much of the nitty-gritty behind the scene and helping out in post editing.
Methinks a better assistant will be very tough to find….
November 19, 2007
To say that this event is the culmination of a year’s work is to be right. Starting from a blueprint and then contacting and visiting individual master to “pitch” and include them was really the most resources-consuming portion.
Then the actual event itself needed to be coordinated like clockwork. With some 60 plus invited, there is just so much room for hiccups.
For the event to run the way it did, a few names needs to be highlighted; without their untiring behind-the-scene contributions, things might not be all that smooth sailing.
Edmond Wong is one such name.
A young Hakka Praying Mantis exponent/teacher from Sibu Sarawak, I met Edmond at the very outset of this project.
A full-time businessman, Edmond is also very vigorous in teaching and promoting his style of Hakka fists.
Trained originally by his dad, he went on to further acquire more from his 2 sisoks, Kong Xian Hua and Francis Ling.
I met both these experts and the level of their skills is really astonishing; the way they effortlessly “whip” is something that I have been training all my life to attain.
Despite his young age, Edmond is also very active rallying all the TCMA masters in Sibu to come together to jointly promote all styles of CKF; a objective that runs parallel to what we are doing in MY Martial Arts Sdn Bhd.
In Penang, he was multitasking as a driver, coordinator and he even co-hosted the show with me; all these in the name of promoting TCMAs.
He was everywhere!
Well, Edmond, thank you and I hope this first step is the beginning of your 10,000 miles….