Liu Kang (image from NUS webpage)
I never knew the famous artist well, but I met him during his last year of his life when I did a TNP story. It was a difficult interview, my Mandarin was rusty and he was preoccupied with other things on his mind.
I asked him how did he endure his temporary blindness that stopped him from painting.
He said, “Nian qing ren yao kan de kai.” (Young man, you have to take things easy.)
I know it was difficult for him during those dark days, but his words remain with me. “Taking it easy” is one of the most difficult things to achieve in life, but the old painter was telling me an unassailable truth. I guess that’s why I don’t get so fed up with the kids’ wailing these days.
Like Seilin told us over 10 years ago, “Endure, because the day will pass.”
When I was applying to get into ACS (this was before there was a second ACS) in 1988, my mum was with me when we met Mr Ying. He is more popularly known as Lao Ying (old eagle) and is considered one of the institutional pillars of the school.
My mum, full of barbed words as usual (so it’s not my fault I speak like this okay), said: “Why is it ACS boys must always wear such expensive and branded clothes? What kind of things are you teaching the kids?”
Lao Ying hardly blinked behind his thick glasses and said loudly: “ACS is a branded school what!”
Spot on, old man.
As my posts continue in the nostalgic vein, I might as well tell you about my favourite Gibb brother. While I do love the BeeGees, it is their baby brother Andy Gibb who really strikes the chords in my soppy heart.
“I Want To Be Your Everything” is one of the songs I heard when sitting in my mum’s car in the late 70s, and so were “Shadow Dancing” and “Our Love, Don’t Throw It All Away.” They are classic BeeGees tunes, only because they were mostly co-written with the help of the older Gibbs. Barry and the twins also helped with backing vocals (look, nobody else could hit those falsettos). So it’s not wrong to think of Andy as the fourth BeeGee, he was just too young to join his older brothers when he was starting out.
Until today, when I was reading the Wikipedia entry on Andy, I never realised he died in 1988. I thought he passed away a lot earlier. The sad truth is that he spent most of the 80s trying to regain the glory of the previous decade, but drugs and drinks overtook him. I guess that is why I have no memory of him in the decadent decade.
One of the most moving tributes to him was by his older brothers in concert. Before they sung “How Deep Is Your Love”, Barry said: “This is for our kid brother, Andy.”