November 23, 2010

Bing Xin Literary Award

 " With Love everything  is possible" - Bing Xin

The World Foochow Congress in Miri included a Literary Award Presentation at its Grand Celebration Dinner. These bi-annual awards are given to the best writers amongst the Foochows in conjuction with any World Foochow Congress.

Bing Xin's daughter Professor Wu Qing was especially invited to grace the Award Presentation Ceremony during the dinner at East Wood. She also has the honour of being this year's Winner. The prize money is US$5000.00

This is the ward presentation moment. Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King presenting her with a plaque.(Photo from Ling Huong Yian)

A group photo with Professor Wu Qing and her husband Professor Chen Shu. Accompanying them is the Curator of the Bing Xin Museum of Changle (Fuzhou)

Professor Wu Qing is a professor of English at the Beijing Foreign Studies University. She is passionate about her mother's legacy - Practical Skills Training Center for Rural Women of which she is the Chairperson. Besides she has won many other accolades including the Magsaysay Award. I am just so humbled by her presence during the Congress and her personal visit to our small book stall at Mega. Her graciousness will always be remembered by my friend Yong Yi Fang and I.

She was accompanied by her husband Professor Chen Shu (also of the Beijing Foreign Studies University ) He has a unique specialty - in Irish Language Studies.

It is a pity that there was no opportunity for local writers to have a tea meeting or dialogue session with these two famous personalities. I hope that in future we would have the opportunity to meet them again.

Bing Xin's daughter Professor Wu Qing with Ling Huong Yian during the Celebration dinner. You can see that she is holding on to our new book on her left hand!! Hope she will like it as a contribution from Nanyang.

The two professors signing our visitors' book.

We asked her to pose with our book........and she was so sporting to do so!! Thank you Professor.

A short introduction of  the great Foochow woman writer (sourced from Wikipedia):

Fuzhou City born Bingxin grew up in the coastal port city of Yantai, Shandong from the age of four.
The sea influenced Bing Xin's mind and heart and it was there where she" first began to read the classics of Chinese literature, such as Romance of Three Kingdoms and Water Margin, when she was just seven".  When she was 13 she moved to Beijing. As a patriotic young writer she wrote for her school newspaper. At Yanjing University while still a student she published her first novel. Bingxin graduated from Yanjing University in 1923 with a Bachelor's Degree, and went to the United States to study at Wellesley College, earning a Master's Degree at Wellesley in literature in 1926. She then returned to Yanjing University to teach until 1936. In 1929, she married Wu Wenzao, an anthropologist and her good friend when they were studying in the United States. Together, Bingxin and her husband visited different intellectual circles around the world, communicating with other intellectuals such as Virginia Woolf. Later in her life, Bingxin taught in Japan for a short period and stimulated more cultural communications between China and the other parts of the world as a traveling Chinese writer. In literature, Bingxin founded the "Bingxin Style" as a new literary style. She contributed a lot to children's literature in China (her writings were even incorporated into children's textbooks), and also undertook various translation tasks, including the translation of the works of Indian literary figure Rabindranath Tagore. Bingxin's literary career was a really prolific and productive one, and she wrote a wide range of works----prose, poetry, novels, reflections, etc. Her career spanned more than seven decades in length, from 1919 to the 1990s.
Bingxin was known and respected for her philosophy of love, perseverance, integrity, and optimism. She was full of rich and beautiful emotions with love, as summarized in her life motto and quotation "Love makes everything possible", and she was also really perseverant in her writing career, continuing to write even if she was sick during her old years and saying, "Life begins at eighty". Her writings, enriched with her life philosophy, are among the most insightful and beautiful in Chinese literature. People praised and loved Bingxin for her deep love and optimism, and on her memorial people paid the last respects with thousands of red roses, Bingxin's favorite flower. To this day, people in China (which include lots of children) still remember Bingxin affectionately.
There is a Bing Xin Literature Museum in ChangLe in Fujian Province.

Her works:

  • Jimo (Loneliness) (1922)
  • Chaoren (Superman) (1923)
  • Fanxing (A Myriad of Stars) (1923)
  • Chunshui (Spring Water) (1923)
  • Liu yi jie (One six sister) (1924)
  • Ji xiao duzhe (To Young Readers) (1926)
  • Bingxin Quanji (The Collected Works of Bingxin) (1932-1933)
  • Nangui (Return to South) (1933)

Works available in English

  • The Photograph. Beijing: Chinese Literature Press (1992)
  • Spring Waters. Peking, (1929)


Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a wonderful event, meeting the daughter of a popular author, Bing Xin. I haven't heard of her though, simply because I can't read mandarin. But I can imagine the awe of meeting famous writers. One of my dreams is to meet my favourite author, Ken Follett.


Anonymous said...

It is a real pity no one thought of organising a tea party or a press conference for Bing Xin's would have benefitted the Chinese student population as well as the readers...Why didn't the Chinese Schools organise getogether. I am sure Professor Wu and her husband would like that....


Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes Josephine...It took us a few days to sight her in Miri and finally she came to Mega Hotel. We got her to come to our stall and we had photos taken with her.
At the grand dinner we were too busy and she was sitting down too...we did not want to disturb. Later after the dinner we had to man our stall again...
Hope one day you willo meet Ken Follett !!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

I understand she went to Brunei on Monday. She enjoyed her trip to Miri but may be the Foochow Association was too busy to organise one more event!! I hope too next time there will be a good get together with her if she comes.

Anonymous said...

Teacher, I just e-mailed your blog to Professor Wuqing. Her email address is : or I think she would be most willing to keep in touch with us.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning about Bing Xin

Now I will go and find all my Bing Xin books and put in a collection on my book shelf. Thank you again.

Please let us know more about her translation and books available in bookshops.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Precious Student
Thank you for the connection. The two professors were really gracious and I would treasure the connection. Thank you for your kindness. In future we must work even more closely together for the perpetuation of our values and culture.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous
I am sure you will be richly rewarded when you re-read her books and furthermore you will be much appreciated when you place her books on your shelves....

I will let you know from time to time about Bing Xin's books as and when I can.

Anonymous said...

I suggest to have a Science and Technology Award. China, in its history, has been focusing too much on the literature but not science, until it got defeated badly in the Opium War. Every students were so focused on studying the literature and poems until it became so backward in science and technology.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks Anonymous
It would be a great endeavour for the World Foochow Association to propose an award for Science and Technology.
It is a good suggestion. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

We never know (underestimate) what Foochow can do. Foochow may come up with something better than the Nobel Prize.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous
Any community can do anything...Not just the Foochows.
It just happens that the Foochows have this World Foochow Congress as an avenue to highlight their clansmanship. Other clans can do the same or even better.
And for that matter the Cantonese by world standards have gone beyond many other groups to do well! This is just an example.

If a community strives hard it can come up with something better than the Nobel Prize! Yes! After all Nobel himself was an inventor (dynamite) who put his profits to good use.

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