Simplify, simplify and simplify some more…..

May 3, 2009

So we did our TCM workshop conducted by Master Liew; I will post some pics from that event later ….

This is a “tryout” run; workshop like this is a rarity around here particularly with the English speaking folks.

These foreign-educated Chinese are often alien to the subtleties of TCM; if all you know about TCM is through “western” eyes then views are bound to be skewed.

Around here, with the common folks, TCM and modern medicine have co-existed for a long time; folks have learned when to apply what. 

Folks like Master Liew play a significant role in the grand scheme of things and like in villages everywhere in the old country, “bare-footed” doctors serve the immediate vicinity in an inexpensive manner. 

Master Liew is the epitome of the kind of kung fu masters you read about in wuxia novels and movies.

His humble clinic is choked full of herbs, oilment and a small treatment room that constantly smell of “jow”. 

During the workshop breaks, we again spoke about life in the past, how things were much simpler and everyone has a clear role in the village. 

Functions precede forms is really the substance of the whole thing. 

You contribute the best you know how – your core competence. 

Okay, some of you might go “oh no, this is going backwards – societies are much more sophisticated now and no one is an island” …… 

True, coming from a place like Singapore and having spent time in the US, I understand these sentiments, really. 

But mull over this, are we happy?

We are kept hectic with all our high-tech toys, concrete-jungle habitats and in many cases, living with “manufactured realities” that we are estranging ourselves further and further away from mother Earth.

And again, are we happy as we rush through this lifestyle? 

Last year, when I was flying to the US, a journey that saw some 20+ hrs of transits and flying, I brought one book to keep me company throughout. 

Written by a British author, Tom Hodgkinson, the book is entitled “The Freedom Manifesto” 

And let me tell you, you’ll be surprised how much of what’s in that book could be found in Master Liew’s community and his lifestyle. 

Kung Fu found in such communities reflects much of the “simpler” qualities that I am trying to depict. 

Again, functions over forms predominate and some of you might find them “basic”. 

But let me remind you, one of the highest characters of any style of kung fu is:- 

“Without postures or forms, take your enemy out with one move”.

It’s just that folks around here don’t bother with the circuitous route; they keep everything straightforward and practical. 

If you’re a Chinese coming to these parts back 100 years ago and faced with a hostile environment, you got no time to be flashy.

You do what it takes to stay alive. 

A clip from a Hakka performance taken last year…..

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