June 1 1956: Article in The Chinese Student Weekly Hong Kong
The Chinese Student Weekly vol. 202 (Hong Kong)
Ref: HK Literature Database, Chinese article is available here. (High resolution image)
I would like to ask you: What is the most interesting thing? Swimming? Ball games? Watching movies? Listening to jokes? These are interesting things. However, what is the most interesting thing? I see that every place, every corner, whether in the street; in the reading room, lying in bed, and even secretly in the classroom; everyone is reading cartoons, no matter whether it is colourful, monochromatic; big book, small book, in the magazine; newspaper or in dribs and drabs. Contents wise, no matter whether it is talking about cowboys, or talking about ghosts, or even talking about love. In short, we believe that reading comics is one of the most interesting things, otherwise, who is willing to pay to read it? Therefore, I need to say further: If you can draw it yourself, isn’t it more interesting? You individually think it out but thousands of people would like to read it. After reading it, they have to learn from you, does that make more sense?
Speaking of the two Chinese characters "meaning", we need to have a clear mind to differentiate, what is meaningful? What is not meaningful? Therefore, they have to distinguish between how to paint to make sense and which kind of paintings is meaningless? Being meaningless means soulless, being soulless means lifeless; being lifeless means truth-less. Suppose I say a meaningless sentence, you can scold me for sprouting "nonsense". Then, when you looked at a meaningless painting, you must have seen a piece of “useless painting” (a painting without any use). However in the society at present, it is full of these meaningless paintings. Be it fights, murders, pornography, dreadful ghosts and monsters, and those that influence you to indulge in flights of fancy and conjectures, may I ask do you want them? Of course you do not want. But why do tens of thousands of people still fascinated to read them? It was because these people lacked the resolve and they had lost their soul, life and truth, and they seemed to have gone crazy and just wanted to read to satisfy a craving. As you know, some addictions are poisons. Isn't the opium and excessive drinking have the same effects of satisfying a craving? That is because of having been poisoned.
Please beware of being poisoned by cartoons such as the likes of picture comic strips. Therefore I urge you as a cartoon creator, create good cartoons. Do paint cartoons with educational meanings, as this is equal to having done the job of rescuing people and rescuing the world. This is because tens of thousands of people young and old, men and women wallows in bad cartoons every day. The cartoon is really a piece of educational work about society, family and school.
Then you will ask me: "Oh I don’t how to draw and I have never painted it before? I also have no talent in painting?" You may even want to say: "Painting is a profession meant for the artists who depended on it for a living!" Haha, this is the real joke. However what we need now is to paint meaningfully. To be meaningful is to have educational value, which is to have wise thinking. With meanings, there will be soul and life. In other words, this painting has painted out the truth. That is to say, it does not matter whether the painting is beautiful or not, but as long as you use your brains; and put all your thoughts on paper for everyone to see, that will do.
This is because cartoons do not need you to draw attractively, but you must draw the summons of your heart, the life in your heart (your innermost feelings)!” It is very difficult for one to bloom one’s talents in the soul. This, if you are not oppressed in the heart and brains, then you are a creator. All inventions of scientists as well as any successful person will need to send out this “flash”! Therefore, it is to say that cartoons are paintings to show things in their true colours, a kind of paintings that are not hypocritical not made up. We can say cartoons are intelligent paintings.
We know about "Ren Nai Heng Qie (forbearance and perseverance)". The Chinese character “Heng” means everlasting; the Chinese character “Qie” means is realistic. All you need is to remember these words, day by day you paint graffiti, and very soon you will be able paint and will paint very well. Paint whatever you see and paint whatever you think. It is not necessary to take an individual as the teacher, just let the nature be the teacher as how many great painters or poets own a doctorate? It is not necessary to take an individual as the teacher, just let the nature be the teacher as how many great painters or poets own a doctorate? Pushkin was not only a great poet, he also painted. His paintings were graffiti, have characters, have poetries, weren’t they the most amorous cartoons?
At this time, you must distinguish in your writings whether they are realistic, lyrical, satirical, humorous, comical or funny. In short, they need to have meanings and educational values. In this way, your paintings have successfully become the world's cultures nutrition. Those who see your paintings, regardless of men or women, old or young, is like you providing them with nutrition, enabling everybody to have the growing up vitality; and helping the world to move towards a truly healthy path. Otherwise, if humans’ nerves remain in unhealthy state, how will the world be normal, healthy and genuinely peaceful?
The humour in cartoons is but MSG in nutritious food. With MSG, it will of course be fresher, more delicious and tastier to the people who eat it. To manufacture this kind of MSG, you must have your own optimistic outlook on life, observing everything; becoming thoroughly aware, to be in line with the dominating forces of nature. That way, your humour will come out and not stay in selfishness, in self-intoxication and in the hatred retaliation of megalomania. The above said educational values and core meanings, the most important point lies in this. Otherwise, the meanings will not glow, the value and power of education will become private property, become very pitiful, become locked in a pink glass cage, silver box or freezer. Actually the material for cartoons is everywhere, the family influences the society, the society influences the world, these questions, and each is a cartoon's theme. The world needs to progress, the society is also transforming every day. That is to say, the material for making cartoons is really bountiful and inexhaustible. Then, why don't you take a few minutes every day to carefully look at these materials to draw an interesting picture? It not only does not need you to spend your money, it also helps you to exercise your brains and produce cartoons that are beneficial to you and everybody isn't it a very interesting matter?
Therefore, I say that today you will start writing cartoons!
Note: The "Chinese Student Weekly", established on 25th July 1952 had a lifespan of 22 years until it ceased publication on 20th July 1974. Published by the Union press, it was a popular youth weekly in Hong Kong in the 1950s and 1960s that had nurtured many outstanding writers and intellectuals.