Yeung Cheung Ming
I went to interview Mr. Yeung who runs a small household goods store in Sun Hing back street. Like so many people in Cheung Chau what is seen from the front disguises the riches we find when we start to enquire deeper. “I am an ordinary man nothing special. I can draw, no big deal, just others found it surprising that a shopkeeper can draw.” His background reveals Cheung Chau when it was a manufacturing base when his father set up a pottery painting studio to which there were a few around at that time. Originally the Yeung family was from the Chu Chow city of Guangdong Province and moved first to Shau Kei Wan and then to this island. As a small boy he developed his interest in drawing and because of his father’s occupation he focused on the Gon Bi style of Chinese brush drawing. Mr. Yeung has now been practising brush drawing for about 40 years and his interest is from the traditions of the Gon Bi artisan style to which bears a strong relation to the practice of porcelain painting. However, back in the past he became more absorbed by the practice of Chinese painting but was confronted by one of the issues of Chinese painting which is you either go big or small. He felt very humble about the subject of Chinese painting, so he focused on the small.
He applies himself to painting from 9 to 11 pm everyday, his range of subjects are from figure and portraiture to landscape and horses and even micro brush drawings of ants, flies and mosquitoes. Of his larger scrolls in which he can spend three months in completing the work paying attention to every detail. Apart from brush drawing, Mr. Yeung in the last two years has developed his interest towards calligraphy which he said that in the beginning one starts with four-inch characters but then you either go bigger or smaller, because of his preference he went smaller so from three by three grid to nine characters. Now he can write twenty-five characters within the grid. This called micro calligraphy.
Mr. Yeung holds a humble attitude towards the arts. He said “Many people are boastful, but when you step out of your door, you will find that 50% of the people are greater than you. And when you walk down the street, you will find 80% greater than you. Till you walk to the market, you may find that you are the remaining 10%.”
「很多人都很自大，但其實只要踏出自己的門口，你會發現有50% 比你強，再走過這條街，比你強的人可能已有80%，再走到街巿，你可能就是餘下的 10% (其他90%的人都比你強!)」這就是謙卑的藝術。
Text credit: Gary Ng
Photo credit 1+2: Killie Burton
Photo credit 3: Judith Pernin