LETTER TO JOHN AND LORRAINE
Dear John and Lorraine,
Writing to you is as enjoyable as reading your letter. Finding your letter at home as I returned from Alor Star just now, I couldn't wait to read it, and I enjoyed reading it so much that I want to extend this pleasant experience by writing to you immediately.
It is heart-warming to hear that Hoe Choon is doing well. Hoe Choon is a fine fellow, a charming lover, and most important of all, he is a friend I am always proud to have. During his boyhood days in Malaysia, and schooling together with me, we spent much time together -- fishing, camping, hiking, and swimming. I have learnt much from him -- of life, of philosophy and of beauty. Some of my happiest moments were spent together with him. His happiness or otherwise in Australia, understandably, is also very much a part of my happiness here.
The Wing Choon Kungfu set I taught you is indeed fascination, and its fascination is enhanced by the fact that if you demonstrate it to your friends, most of them, I bet, will not be much impressed by it, unless they understand its finer points of application and effectiveness. The simplicity is baffling. When Yim Wing Choon, the founder, first evolved this style of Kungfu, she selected from the elaborate Shaolin Kungfu that she had learnt from the Venerable Nun Ng Mooi, those techniques that are particularly noted for their effectiveness and economy of movements. Yim Wing Choon must be a very practical person -- she did not believe in spending much time to learn flowery movements to please spectators in mere demonstration, nor to waste energy over two movements when one movement was sufficient to strike down an opponent.
I, too, look forward to the time when I can go over this Wing Choon set with you, and to explain in some details, its beautiful applications for almost all combat situations. Meanwhile, I believe I can do better if I explain some of these beautiful applications in this letter. Only when one understands its application, he will appreciate better and perform more meaningfully, when he practises a Kungfu set -- a fundamental principle that many Kungfu exponents do not realize!
You must not use these Wing Choon techniques immediately after you have learnt them in this letter. Learning about them is one thing; practising them well so that you can execute them flawlessly is another. If you wish to apply those techniques well in sparring or in real combat, you must practise them many, many times, first individually, then with a partner. Only when you are absolutely confident of their successful application, should you use these in sparring or combat. This is another important principle many martial arts exponents do not know; and it is also one of the few principles that eventually differentiate a novice from a master.
Besides practising Kungfu, I also did some writing during my previous school holidays. Many years ago, at the height of my boyish idealism, I wrote some poetry. I egoistically call it poetry, and not verse, because though the stuff I wrote may lack excellence, it nevertheless does not lack emotions, for all the poems were captured on paper at times of intense feelings, sometimes of inspiration. During the holidays I collected these poems, and some essays and letters I wrote many years ago, and typed them. I am still in the process of typing. I hope to find a publisher to publish them. It is not easy, I know, for while these poems, essays and letters may mean very much to me and my friends, they may mean nothing to other people; and to imagine a publisher interested in such stuff, is good reminiscence of my boyish idealism. Yet, I'll try. It is better to have tried and fail, then to have never tried at all.
10th September 1975, Penang