Archive for the ‘English articles’ Category

mother—please enlarge

January 15, 2009


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Originally uploaded by goodlaplam

artist’s statement

January 7, 2009

Artist’s statement

Ever since Dadaism, modern western art seems to be in the grip of negative spirituality, works by Bacon, Pollock, Warhol and Freud etc. all embraced this phenomenon.

I find the Chinese old thoughts of Confucian, Taoism and Buddhism all have enduring values, and for the last thirty years I have been trying to express these ancient ideas through the format of modern abstract expressionism.

My recent attempt of “Stand firm in the sea of ink, shine steady in the darkness….” , is based on a poem written by Shih Toa four hundred some years ago, heralding the Confucian ideal of  the incorruptible spirit of a true gentleman in no matter what the adverse conditions.

award–please enlarge

January 7, 2009


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Originally uploaded by goodlaplam

4 moves in 4 months

January 7, 2009

sharing new immigrant experience

How I moved 4 times in 4 months
I came to Calgary from Hong Kong on September 1970 to attend to the art college.
the student union already found me a basement room close to the college for $40 per month, but I found that too expensive and started looking for a better due.
Two months later I moved in with a Canadian family as a house keeper in exchange for free room and board.
With my poor English and as a klutzy teenager, It was the first time I touched a dish washer and vacuum cleaner, I didn’t even know the difference of the bed cover from the comforter, so it was actually very kind of them to keep me for 3  weeks before they kicked me out.
I then moved to a tiny room in the attic of an old house in Chinatown for $25 a month, the old couple went back to Hong Kong for X’mas and turned down the heat so low that thick ice built up on the only window in my room and I could not see outside.
That X’mas was the loneliest holiday I ever had, my triangular shaped room was so small I could only stand up straight in the middle of the room, when I stretched out my arms I could touch both sides of the ceiling walls, so to escape from the icy hole I spent all the time in the central library closeby when it was open.
X’mas day and new years day were the worst because the library was closed, sitting in my room I could hear all kinds of activities going on in the two Chinese churches near by, I was very tempted to go over to join them for some company or at least have a free X’mas meal, but by that time I already had much doubt about the true nature of god according to the old testament, I felt I could not respect myself if I gave in to the temptation, so I stayed put in my empty room that didn’t even have a radio.
one day I was making some beef bone soup but I also went to the library, by the time I got back in the evening, the pot almost melted and the smoke from the charcoaled bones left a layer of brownish tint on the walls, so naturally , when the owners came back from HK, I had to move again , this time I sacked up with some hippies from the art college.—-and that’s how I moved 4 times in 4 months.
To saved the bus fare of 25c. everyday I walked 45 minutes to go to the art college next to SAIT. I was half frozen by the time I got there because I didn’t have the right clothing and shoes, the winter clothes from Hong kong is only good to 10c above.
That summer, I worked two fulltime jobs, one in the laundry dept. of the Banff Spring’s hotel, the industrial detergent was so strong my heels are still suffering the damage from the chemicals. Then at  4pm I went into town to do dish washing at a steak house till 12am.
It takes half an hour to walk back to the employee’s residence at the hotel following the main road, but by that time I was so tired I could hardly stand up, so to save time I took the short cut following the path way by the river through the trees which was so pitch black at night you could not even see your own fingers, it was very scary because there might be bears etc., That experience trained me not to be afraid of darkness since than.
Lap Lam

calgary herald—please enlarge

January 7, 2009


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Originally uploaded by goodlaplam

calgary herald–3

January 7, 2009


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Originally uploaded by goodlaplam

title of painting

January 7, 2009

“Sea of ink ” actually has double meanings;
1–as sea of spiritual corruption.
2–as sea of art–the chinese literati painters prefer to paint with ink only , they see colors as something superficial that pleases the senses but not the soul, it is also more challenging to do a good painting just in ink than colors.
we often describe a devoted artist as he or she is”deep in the sea of ink”.

This poem is actually very rich in content.
“stand firm–shine steady in darkness” is the ideal of  the Confucian gentleman’s ability to resist corruption.
” transfer your phyiscal being on the painting surface” is the  Taoist ideal of transending oneself from the phusical to the spiritual world.
“brush not brush, ink not ink, here Iam” is the Zen  wisdom of  Nothingness.
So in this very brief poem , Shih Toa(Tua) successfully combined the three pillars of the chinese culture–confucian, taoism and buddhism.—an ideal chinese gentleman.

why my english is so poor

January 7, 2009

why is my English so poor?
As  Mao said, everything has to do with politics.
When I was in grade 9 in Hong Kong, the cultural revolution broke out in china, the leftist in HK incited the students to rise up and do struggle with the ” British colonial slavery education system” I, already not a very good and rather restless student took this opportunity as an excuse not to learn English, so that I won’t be further enslaved by the British.
this made me feel very patriotic and self-important.
And of course I have to face the consequence now.

Another reason
As a person interested in Zen Buddhism, the elimination of all unessential baggage in order to return to the root of the”unpolluted original nature”is our life’s pursuit, I find English grammar is extremely tedious and unnecessary, for example, in Chinese, we don’t need go-went-gone to express the time of action. we say– I go now- and I go”ed” yesterday.
our vocabulary is also far more simple and precise, e.g. pass day is yesterday and next day is tomorrow.
cow meat is beef , young cow meat is veal —for a beginner, one can never guess beef has something to do with cow.
This gave me an “wise” excuse not to pay attention to English grammar.

By the way, “you good” means I wish you good,  “as face” means as I am facing you, don’t you find that more precise and direct, such as “long time no see “is far better than haven’t seen you for a long time?

But honestly, all the above are just excuses for my laziness and lack of linguistic talent.
all the best
lap lam

contact magazine–please enlarge

January 7, 2009


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Originally uploaded by goodlaplam

樂無極—Boundless joy

January 7, 2009

樂無極

松下木舍數間, 前後綠水青山.

日月升沉不息, 快活天堂人間.

一九九四年為新木亭而作, 表達了我對郊外新居的歡悅

Boundless Joy

Among the pine trees, a few wooden huts.

green hills infront, blue ponds in rear.

The sun and moon rise and set endlessly,

happy is heaven on earth.

1994 composed this couplet for the new gazebo

to express my pleasure of moving to the country side.