Posted byon 11 November 2009 - 10:42 AM
作者:晚来风急 - a Singapore TV scriptwriter
Taiwan television has grown by leaps and bounds this past decade with the satellite channels predominating in my household, hence I have not watched TVB series for a long time now. One day while at a bookstore I came upon the name, “Ma Chun Wai”, I did not even know that TVB had such a person. The other book that also momentarily caught my eye was Pang Jie’s 潘秀琼 (tn: Poon Sow Keng, a 60s-70s famous singer) biography. Both are books by artistes: one is a biography; the other, a collection of prose essays. I chose Ma Chun Wai’s 《图文并谬》.
That I chose Ma Chun Wai’s is not because he is an artiste but that I could not believe an artist can write a book. Like how Pang Jie’s book is not written by her, but Ma Chun Wai’s is a prose essay book at that. Artiste vs prose essays – made me very curious; enticing because it intrigues. What kind of a logic is this? None, just intuition. So my apologies to Pang Jie for I only skimmed her book penned by 玉嬌 before returning it back on its spot on the shelf.
Actually, what made me pick Ma Chun Wai was primarily because of the few pages he wrote of his mother. Mother Ma passed away because of cancer. Ma Chun Wai’s writing was unadorned and subdued yet imbued with heart and genuineness. I have never appreciated melodramatic essays; too much histrionics. In fact, the over-the-top kind of unrestrained emotional essays made me feel smothered.
He wrote when his mother was diagnosed with cancer, he was only six years old. At the time when his mother frequently carried a heap of medicines home after her doctor visit, he was merely curious. Why mother had to consume so much medicine?
During middle school, when he finally knew what cancer was, he was panic stricken and felt helpless. He went to a corner at the school all by himself and sobbed bitterly.
Mother under Father and family’s solicitous care lived her life uneventfully for 22 years. Just when we thought Mother was blessed, the author’s pen tip shifted. He wrote that within those 22 years, she had had 3 relapses; her hearing, smell, and taste faculties; all gone. Just one sentence conveys a ton of unbearable pain.
It is precisely this kind of pen strokes that evinced Ma Chun Wai’s restrain. Later, Mother even lost the ability to ingest food, therefore could not eat. Doctor said the only way to let her live was to drill a hole into her stomach to get food into her. But Mother refused. Naturally, the author did not want to force her, but at the same time, he felt helpless against life. So at that very moment, for the very first time, he wept helplessly in front of his mother. That Mother could persist over the years of adversity was due to her unceasing optimism in the face of suffering. Son crying in the public was like a knife into Mother’s heart, and so she gave in. Subsequently, food flowed into the stomach, but the lungs got infected; she departed.
A very moving story indeed, but the emotions aroused were not through the written words, but through what were not written.
To better understand Ma Chun Wai, I watched some of his short videos which further deepens my appreciation for this Hong Kong artiste. As artistes, they should possess this kind of class and inner substance (氣質和內涵). Both are artistes of small islands, but I just can’t understand why ours are so much more inferior?
-- original in Chinese