Chan Sirisuwat in the Eyes of International Critics
Compiled by Zhang Zhi（CHINA）
Translated by Zhang Zhizhong （CHINA）
Revised by Aaron Anthony Vessup （USA）
THE EARTH CULTURE RPESS
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat delivering a speech at Peking University (November 2, 2004)
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat with Ms. Lisa Carducci from Canada at the Congress of World Poets, Tai’an, Shandong; September, 2005
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat with professor Liang Xiaomei at the 1st Forum on International Chinese Poetry, 2004; Southwest University, Chongqing
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat with Liu Jian the writer, Hainan, 2001
Between 1996-2007, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has published 13 books
Part I Criticism by Chinese Writers
1. Profile of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat Zhang Yaxin
2. Emotions and Thoughts on the Way of Life
— On Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s The Song of Life Zhu Xianshu
3. Poems of Chan Sirisuwat: Floating World Images, Illusory Beautiful Feelings Zhang Xin
4. Striving for the Goal in Life
— Mr. Chan Sirisuwat as Entrepreneur, Poet and Writer Xin Li
5. The Most Beautiful Theme in Life
— Reading Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat Liu Jian
6. Narrative Lines Direct to the Source of Chinese Poetry
— A Preface to 108 Selected Versets Zhang Zhi
7. Great Achievements in Tranquility
— Preface to In the Season Fragrant with Durians Zhang Zhizhong
8. Eternity through an Instant
— On Minipoems by Chan Sirisuwat Fang Wei & Fan Xiaotang
9. Rhythm of Life — Reading The Song of Life by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat Zhang Yaxin
10. Life Contemplations and Social Sentiments
— Reading The Song of Life by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat Yuan Zhongyue
11. Stepping on the Andante of Confucian Rhyme
— Comment on Hope by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat Fang Wei
12. Writing Is Responsibility for the World Liang Xiaomei
13. His Affection Water Flows Clear and Clean
— Preface to The Quiet Chaophraya River Zhang Tongwu
14. Intellective Rays of Light
— Appreciation of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s Minipoems Fan Xiaotang
Part II Criticism by Overseas Writers
15. Philosophy Implied in Ode to Life
— Reading group poems by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat [Thailand] Lin Mu
16、POT-POURRI OF POEM
— Thoughts about Selected Poems Of Chan Sirisuwat [Israel] Luiza CAROL
17、“A CROWN OF HARMONY WITH NATURE AND MANKIND”
— Selected Poems of CHAN SIRISUWAT [Romania]NADIA-CELLA POP
18、Selected Poems of CHAN SIRISUWAT [Austria] Kurt F. Svatek
19、“SELECTED POEMS OF CHAN SIRISUWAT” [Greece] Zacharoula GAITANAKI
20、Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat, translated by Zhang Zhizhong
[Australia] Georgia Xenophou
21、OPEN MIND, HUMANITY and COSMIC LOVE [Serbia]Dobrica-Dob Kamperelic
22. Set Oneself an Example to Others
— An Interview with Mr. Chan Sirisuwat [Canada]Lisa Carducci
A Chronological List of Events and Literary Creation by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat
By Zhang Zhi
Chan Sirisuwat in the Eyes of International Critics includes 22 articles by famous poets, writers, critics, and translators from China, Thailand, Israel, Romania, Austria, Greece, Australia, Serbia, and Canada, etc. The authors of these articles make all-around and pertinent evaluation and criticism on the life and literary creation by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, an outstanding entrepreneur, writer, and poet from contemporary Thailand.
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is Thai of Chinese origin. In 1931, he was born into a wealthy merchant’s family in Wenchang, Hainan, P. R. China. In 1939 when the Japanese occupied Hainan, the family fled to the French Concession of Kwangchowan, Guangdong Province, and the family circumstances accordingly declined. From his boyhood, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has tasted the joys and sorrows of life. In order to seek opportunities, he came to Hong Kong to brave the world by pocketing three Hong Kong dollars. Lacking capital, knowledge and craftsmanship, he worked as a clerk in the business circle. Soon afterwards, he was dissatisfied with the then economic boom and social stability in Hong Kong and, in order to pursue his own goal in life, he migrated to Thailand in 1975, whose economy was still backward and social stability not guaranteed, to be manager of a plywood factory. Through three years of diligence and efforts, he saved 160 thousand baht, before resigning his post to establish his own company of two staff members by renting a small room on the second floor from his cousin. His business of exportation, in ten years, developed into eight sole-invested and joint venture companies. Potpourri series products were produced and, in twenty years, they were exported to 43 countries across the world, for which Mr. Chan Sirisuwat won fame as “King of Potpourri in Thailand.”
Geniuses share many similarities. A close examination of Mr. Chan’s efforts and accomplishments in the business circle provides us the profile of a far-sighted person of wisdom, who eventually establishes himself as a famous entrepreneur.
When he reached the peak of his career, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat retreated from the rip current in 1996, at the age of 65 when he realized that “it is not worthwhile to struggle for money in one’s lifetime.” He stepped on the road of literature with determination for better self-actualization. He believes that we are now living in a complicated society: a mixture of civilization, advancement, resplendence, and darkness, decadence, filth. Feeling helpless about social reality, he believes that he can exert some salubrious influence on the society by his pen. Therefore, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat abandoned business for literature by relegating the management of his companies to his wife, so as to read and write with great concentration in his quiet room.
Since the publication is his maiden work My Road in 1999, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has published 13 books in the short period of 11 years, including poems, prose, fiction and autobiography. In 2004 Mr. Chan was interviewed by Beijing TV Station and was invited to give a speech at Peking University. At the 19th World Congress of Poets in 2005, he won the honor of “World Poet”. In April, 2007, an honorary doctor’s degree in literature was conferred on him by IPTRC; in the same year, the United Poets Laureate International in the United States of America conferred a certificate and medal on him “in recognition and appreciation of Excellence in Poetry for World Brotherhood and Peace” by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. Later, he won “International Award for Literature and Art” issued by Greek International Writers and Artists; in October, 2007, he was chosen as candidate for Nobel Prize in Literature 2008 by IPTRC. His works have been translated into many foreign languages such as Thai, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Romanian, Greek, German, Japanese, etc., to be published on international newspapers, magazines, and to be anthologized. In the field of literature, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat again is a great success.
The legendary experience of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat may be taken as a social poem which embraces various social realities, a life poem which is full of miracles, a carving-out poem which is full of different tastes, and a philosophical poem which is brilliant with great wisdom. Yes, only when a poet is faithful to life, only when a poet sees through life, can he compose great poems that move people from generation to generation.
This massive, Chan Sirisuwat in the Eyes of International Critics, brings us an encyclopaedic world of art. What is more, it offers a new chance, microcosmically or macroscopically, for us to know the legendary experience of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat and to find out the secret behind his literary creation panoramically.
For this reason, we collect international criticism on Mr. Chan Sirisuwat into this book to satisfy the reader.
April 15, 2008
Criticism by Chinese Writers
Profile of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat
By Zhang Yaxin
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is an overseas Chinese in Thailand; in 1931 he was born in Wenchang, Hainan, P. R. China. In 1961 he came to Hong Kong to brave the world while pocketing three Hong Kong dollars, and he later established himself in Thailand. At the age of 65 he abandoned business for literature and, in 11 years he published 12 books. He was invited to deliver a speech at Peking University in 2004 and, his legendary life and achievements are introduced to the world through overseas and domestic media such as People’s Daily, Guangming Daily, Literary Newspaper, World Daily, Beijing TV Station, etc. By and large, Confucianism in business, poetic frame of mind, and realm of Buddhism constitute three spiritual traits and personal charm of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat.
Confucianism in Business
Confucianism in business plays an important part in Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s personal and life pursuit. A businessman of Confucianism takes business as his occupation and people in his heart. Therefore, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat does not deviate from the way of benevolence while doing business and, he is living a life of high taste by picking up literary creation in the vale of years.
His Confucianism is owing to his native culture. The poet’s ancestral place is Wenchang, Hainan, which is a place of celebrities. His grandfather Chan Deyi (1850—1917), who had a bold and uninhibited character, was the first to come to Thailand to open up the situation there, and the straits of the family were alleviated. His aunt helped his uncle running a firm in Bangkok, and from time to time they relieved the economic burden of their native relatives by remitting money. After marriage in Thailand, his father Chan Jingxiao (1896-1952) obeyed Father’s order by returning to Haikou City of Hainan to run a rice-grinding mill. Chan Jingxiao is honest, thrifty, lenient, and filial to his parents, for which he won respect from his neighbors. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat was born in Houliang Village, Gongpo Town, Wenchang County of Hainan Island and, from his childhood, he was showered with love and concern by his mother and grandmother, while being edified and instructed with social knowledge. This is a traditional Chinese family where faith, loyalty, and books are valued and treasured. Examining the life of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, it is clear that benevolence, wisdom, and courage feature his personality: he who is benevolent is invincible, he who is wise has foresight, and he who is courageous realizes his goal. The poet has a loving, courageous heart, and he finally overcame all difficulties to realize his ambition by combing business and literature.
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat was born in time of hardships and tribulations, and he was brought up during the period of chaos. Though he enjoyed a wealthy life in his childhood, at the age of 8 when Japanese soldiers invaded Hainan, his family went down, and Mr. Chan Sirisuwat came to the French Concession in Zhanjiang together with his parents. His brothers dropped from school out of poverty, and Mr. Chan experienced ups and downs in life. He was keen on learning and his school performance was satisfactory, by dint of which he was matriculated by Guangdong Qiongya Normal School in 1946. Edification at the school became the starting point in his life. In spite of the fact that Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has never been a teacher, he is nothing short of an educator. He educates himself while educating others. He who excels by himself wins, and self-shaping is the starting point in his career. After graduation, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat was further matriculated by Haikou Practical Accounting School, from where he graduated one year later. He worked in official business circle after founding of the People’s Republic of China. In 1961, he was ratified by the government to go abroad. And Mr. Chan Sirisuwat went abroad at the age of 30, to brave the world single-handedly. His overseas business shows his extraordinary courage, insight, and ability.
The life experience of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is delineated in his autobiography Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars, while his life is mainly symbolized with his corpus Hope. After success in business, the poet turns to the business of “hope”, especially at the age of 65, and his achievements are encouraging. In a broad sense, the distinction between Confucianism and business lies in that between justice and benefit. Besides family burden, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat aims at self-actualization and self-establishment. Therefore, before poetry composition, he has written a poem of his life. At the age of 70 he composed a poem entitled Life, where he says that “human life is a poem”, which is a very portrait of his life. All in all, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat manages his enterprise with efforts, which can be regarded as conscious cultivation. While winning riches, he is also winning friendship; he intends to live a life which is different from others. One’s realm of life is determined by individuality. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has strong individuality; he has self-discipline and self-motivation, and he has explicit life goal, for which strives all his life. He has long-term goal and short-term plan which, once decided, he is meticulous in their fulfillment. For instance, he has smoked for dozens of years until the age of 50, when a doctor told him to give up smoking in a physical check-up, and he threw all cigarettes into the dustbin and kept the lighter in the safe for memory. Earnestness, promptness, optimism, and humor constitute Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s attitude toward life. He values kindness to other people, aloofness from worldly affairs, detachedness from fame and gain, and contentment with one’s lot. It is his belief that one good turn deserves another and when you sow the wind you’ll reap the whirlwind. Therefore, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is kind, pious, and lenient; he never seeks to benefit himself at the expense of others. Through years of business, he keeps his faith and never loses his principle. And he has no enmity and enemy. Obviously, this is the very Confucian image of a successful businessman.
The way of successful business lies in a wide circle of friends. At the age of 30, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat left home to brave the world, which entails a gradual process. When he went on the road in 1961, he had only three Hong Kong dollars on him. When he bought the train ticket from Luohu to Hong Kong, the booking clerk charged him one dollar for a ticket. Unexpectedly, when Mr. Chan Sirisuwat went aboard the train, he found the price of the ticket was only half a dollar, and he hurriedly left the train to get his shortchanged money. After he got off the train at Kowloon, he inquired about ferry respectfully from an old man selling newspaper, who informed him in detail. He took a tourist class to save money. After getting off at Hong Kong Island, an old woman selling newspaper helped him with patience to find his cousin. This experience has become a spiritual wealth for Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. When roses are sent, the hands of the sender are fragrant with sweet aroma. Accordingly, kindness is to be repaid with kindness, and confidence is gained with honesty. In Hong Kong, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat first worked as buyer at a shoes factory. The purchase of the factory is huge, and he buys leatherette from a supplier on a long-term basis, and he asked for preferential price. Unexpectedly, the supplier gave him one percent as discount, which amounted to five months’ salary. What to do? His predecessor has pocketed all, but he turned all the discount money to his boss. When the boss evened the money to all staff members, Mr. Chan has won universal praise and trust. And he won their respect. At the same time, he never abandons his distant goal of career, while accumulating experience and improving his ability.
For 14 years Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has worked in Hong Kong where he thought English is of great importance for his future career, and he began to learn English in the evening when he returned from a day’s work. From a shoes factory to gauze mill to electric firm, from an accountant to a salesperson and cashier, from storehouse keeper to goods delivery department director, he was gradually maturing. At the same time, he found that in spite of prosperity of Hong Kong, it is quite competitive and difficult for him to earn his bread there, since he lacks knowledge and skills. Then he eventually fixed his eyes on Thailand where his forefathers have ever won success there by grasping a chance to be engaged as manager of a plywood factory. In 1975, he came to Thailand for the first time to seek his opportunities. Strange land and strange people, hot weather, social insecurity, and the laggard economy there all constituted new challenges for him. He has ever gone deep into the forest to get logs, running the risk of being kidnapped by bandits. In order to sell products of the plywood factory, he worked as manager and salesperson. His efforts have laid foundation for his future career. By 1979, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has scraped up 160 thousand baht, with which he established Prosper Co., Ltd. by renting a small house on the second floor from his cousin. Initially there were two people in the company, dealing with importation. Through 20 years of efforts, the company has developed into eight sole-invested and joint ventures with hundreds of employees. His company extends to Hainan Island and Hong Kong, and the scope of management includes rubber plantation, importation of chemical products, general agent of Canadian lubricant, real estate, traveling, restaurants, and publishing, etc. Prosper Co., Ltd. His series of natural potpourris in Thailand are exported to more than 40 countries all over the world. He got certificate for standard goods exportation from the Thai Government, and is honored as King of Pot-pourris.
In the beginning Prosper Co., Ltd. had only 70 thousand baht as circulating funds. Considering shortage of capital, he decided his business principle or strategy: to do business which receives little attention and needs small capital. And he began to process three wasters including water snake skin, scraps of flax, and discarded horns into goods for exportation, from which Prosper Co., Ltd. got high profit and developed quickly. After going overseas to investigate into world market, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat began to produce natural potpourris by using low-priced vegetable flowers, fruits, leaves, and stems which are inexhaustible. His potpourris are of high quality and variety, they are new artistic products to be exported to over 40 countries to satisfy the needs of the common people. Natural potpourris became the knockout product of Prosper Co., Ltd., which is the largest producer and exporter of natural pot-pourris in Thailand.
After founding of Prosper Co., Ltd., it has successfully experienced two great decade leaps:
Between 1979 and 1989, the single company has developed into ten companies, moving from its original rented room of 32 sq meters to his own five new buildings of five stories, the using area expanding to 1,500 sq meters. In addition, the company possesses a dye works of 6,400 sq meters and a three-storied warehouse of 2,256 sq meters. This is the first great decade leap.
From 1989 to 1999, the packaging department which had only 900 sq meters was moved to two five-storied buildings, and the using area was expanded to 3,000 sq meters, through which the second great decade leap is realized. In 2003, it was further expanded to four buildings.
The Asian financial crisis in 1997 inflicted heavy losses on the economy of Thailand. But Prosper Co., Ltd. gained illustrious achievements by mobilizing enthusiasm of its staff, and the amount, sum, and profit of exportation were rocketing. This can not dispense with the ability and courage of an entrepreneur, and it entails spiritual cohesion.
The meaning and function of Confucianism in business is made clear here.
Poetic Frame of Mind
Poetic frame of mind manifests Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s spiritual realm. In his native place Wenchang learning and teachers are respected, and Mr. Chan cherished the dream to be a writer since his childhood. In I Compose My Own Poems, he said: “I began reading Gorky, Pushkin, Lu Xun, Ba Jin, and Bing Xin since my middle school days; Gorky and Pushkin have exerted the most influences upon me. At that time I believed that I could also produce a book like My Childhood. I began writing poems, which were often pasted on the wall paper. I wished to be a writer someday.” The importance of this idea lies in that the poet has combined life experience and creative achievements, thus Confucianism in business leads to his poetic frame of mind.
In 1996 when Mr. Chan Sirisuwat was 65, he began to seek further self-realization. The poet believes it is meaningless to leave a big amount of money for his children: when the children are incapable, they will sit idle and eat up everything; when the children are of large caliber, it is unnecessary for them to rely on their parents. Further, when one’s life is devoted to making money, he is the slave of money, and he can not realize the value of his life. Consequently, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat handed his business under the care of his wife, and he abandoned business for literature. Through laborious writing, he has gradually established himself in the literary circle.
In 1999, he published his memoir My Road (Chinese-Thai), which is both his literary starting point and the manuscript for Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars. When miss Liu Jian, a young woman writer, found the value of the book in instructing the youths, she lost no time in modifying it into Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars.
In 2001, his biography Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars was published by China Overseas Chinese Press; it is included into the series of Overseas Chinese Elites, and the title of the book was written by Mr. Wang Guangying, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress of China. In 2003, the Chinese-English version of the book was published by Chinese World Publish House, which is one of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s representative works.
In 2002, Selected Verses by Chan Sirisuwat was published by The Milky Way Publishing Co. in Hong Kong.
In 2002, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat founded the international magazine Hainanese under the support of Chinese World Publish Co., Ltd.
In 2003, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s The Song of Life (Chinese-English) was published by his own Chinese World Publish House.
In 2004, his The Quiet Chaophraya River (Chinese-English) was published by Chinese World Publish House.
In the same year, Chinese World Publish House also published the Chinese-English corpus entitled Homeland in Dream with illustration by his daughter Duangthip Sirisuwat and his son Thanapol Sirisuwat.
In 2005, Chinese World Publish House published his Chinese-English version Days of Love —Selected Verses by Chan Sirisuwat. In the same year, he was given the prize of “World Poet Award” by the 19th World Congress of Poets (WCP), for which his poetic creation and his artistic niche in the Forum of Chinese Poetry was confirmed.
In 2006, Chinese World Publish House published Hope, a collection of poems, prose, stories, and lectures. In Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s literary creation, the significance of Hope can not be overestimated: it is a work of watershed.
Through his works, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat expresses his whishes for the young generation. His children are his important readers. In order to reach foreign readers, most of his works are in Chinese-English version, some translated into Thai and French, to be published overseas. Only two books by him are published in China; other six books and his magazine Hainanese are published by his own publishing house, to be presented widely to his friends and other people. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat does not intend to live an idle life; he is assiduous and fortitudinous in his daily life, in which he takes great delight. He abandons business for literature, because he has seen through the society, and he intends to praise kindness and castigate evils in his literary works. He ruthlessly lashes at various social evils; he intends to improve aesthetics by his works and further to influence the society.
The artistic conception of a poem lies in progression from physical cultivation to cultivation of mind and morality. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat shares his experience and understanding with readers, and his rare literary talent is exhibited. His poem Childhood is touching in recalling of childhood. The poet remarks in a lyrical tone: “the roundness bespeaks Mid-Autumn.” The language is impressive and profound, expressing perseverance in ideal, faith in pursuit, and attitude toward lapsing years. Therefore, poetry is the rhythm of life, and notes of feelings are left in life; when the sky is resonant with songs, justice and correctitude pervades the mortal world. Unselfishness of the poet leads to his feelings; brilliant splendor, boundless waves, and lofty spirits, all constitute his personal image. Consequently, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat captures picturesque years in his poems — while tasting life, he is also trudging in life; while enjoying life, he is also striving in life. The corpus Hope concentrates the contemplations of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat after his age of 65, and it is his realistic writing. Virtually, the unique artistic spirit of new literature lies in emphasizing discovery of aesthetic realm. The proper artistic spirit of new poetry lies in the ideal of pursuing hopes. Therefore, the author quotes the aphorism of “confidence is hope” on the cover of Hope, since poetic life begins from pursuit. His another poem Human Life also makes self-evaluation: “Whether or not a good poem / It is written by yourself”. For Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, human life is a process during which various hopes are realized; hopes are fair flowers in human life…
In his prose, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat again cites the saying of Paul: “we must first of all have confidence in life, then we can make our life continue, and the so-called confidence is hope.” What is described in the prose is nothing but a plot of wasteland in Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s home for growing vegetables or fruits. He feels this plot “is grown with hopes from day to day and from night to night”. Here, hope is expectation. The author uses symbolism to express a great idea through trivial things. Zha Shenxing, a famous poet in Qing Dynasty, composed such poetic lines: “you know that today talent is cherished, and the same is the intention when trees are planted.” Hope is like numberless small lives growing at home, in the garden of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. Such prose is seemingly simple, but it contains countless expectations of the poet, and the sweat of the poet! Small is the prose, it contains big artistic conception.
Concerning fiction, the opening mini-story It Is All Told by the Woman is synopsis in a sense. Most of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s fiction and prose are castigation on social evils. But It Is All Told by the Woman reads like a situational comedy: the woman uses bouilli instead of dragon meat, and she defends herself by sophistry: “I tell you a secret, through thousands of years, the dragon has dwindled into an ostrich today.” Her husband feels it hard to accept, and he snaps back: “nonsense, the dragon has beard and horns.” But the wife has an eloquent tongue: “Oh, when the dragon goes to the barber’s, he has got his beard and horns cut.” In line with the author’s contemplation that a rich family does not last for three generations, we can feels his inclination in literary creation: to praise kindness and castigate evils. It is his intention that Chinese descendants of Dragon shall be reinvigorated, that the “ostrich” which has lost the excellent tradition of Chinese civilization shall uplift its head. The symbolic image of bouilli to criticize the ostrich seems to be of no importance in the fiction, but it reveals the author’s idea of saving the world.
Hope is composed of four parts: poems, prose, fiction, and lectures. Through lectures are placed at the end of the book, the value of human life contained therein is of foremost importance. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is solicitous about Chinese descendants, and he endows life with value. This personal charm originates from Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s honest heart. He lives a regular life: he goes to bed at nine in the night and rises at five in the morning, and he takes three simple meals a day. In instruction of children, his method is effective: they seldom eat at restaurants; his clothes will last for years, and he has used a calculator for over thirty years; the pencilbox of his son is used from the primary school up to university days; two of the four cars in the family are used for entertaining guests of foreign trade. For all this, his lecture is moving and appealing. Miss Liu Jian, a famous writer, says in her article entitled A Legendary Life that when he delivers a speech in 2004 at Peking University, “Mr. Chan Sirisuwat steps onto the platform with vigorous strides, and the students give him a warm applause while standing up. During the one and a half hours’ speech, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat relates his legendary life, and his answers to their questions are full of witticism, which are interrupted from time to time by their applauses and laughters. At the end of speech, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is surrounded with students who ask for his signature and photos with him. In the evening, People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency, Guangming Daily, Beijing TV Station, Beijing Youth Newspaper, Beijing Morning Paper, Beijing Evening Paper, and other media all come for an interview, and various reports are made. Here the correspondence between his personal charm and his writing style is demonstrated.”
In various literary creation by him, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s optimism and loving heart is seen. Things like listening to music, cultivating flowers, and practicing calligraphy, all are his hobbies. He not only shares his likes and dislikes with his readers, but also shares fruits with staff members in his company. The dormitory is free of charge for his employees; subsidy is given to those who live a poor life; the salary of the staff is increased each year in accordance with his or her performance in the company; according to individual contribution to the company and the company’s profit, annual dividend is granted. Government by benevolence owing to Confucianism in business and the benevolent heart in the poet’s heart come down in one continuous line. For him, it can be alleged that literary thought comes from thought of feelings, and a poetic mind originates from a loving heart.
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat instructs his children by his own example. Literary creation by him may be at once regarded as his “teaching words”, and as his “teaching by his own example”. The poet is good at expressing his filial piety in his poems, which exert a subtle influence on his children. Filial and hard-working, they follow the example of their father, and take great delight in reading; born with talent, they spare no efforts in study, and do not even spend their Saturdays and Sundays in vain. In their teens, the two have published their own books; they particularly love the fine arts. In 1997 when Hong Kong was repatriated, his nine-year daughter Duangthip Sirisuwat and seven-year son Thanapol Sirisuwat won Silver Medals at the Paintings Contest which was organized by over thirty domestic and overseas groups of painting and calligraphy. In the same year, the two children won Silver Medal at Sunbin Cup International Exhibition of Painting and Calligraphy held in Beijing. Works by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat and the poems collection entitled The Rhymes of Love by Liu Jian are illustrated by them, and the cover design is also by them. It is the poet’s grace to go from his own home to his country, while putting himself in the place of another.
This grace of a poet originates from Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s habit and love of reading since his childhood. Through reading, preceding writers have exerted great influence on him, and he is edified. Besides, he consciously cultivates the independent life of his children through labor. The goal consciousness, reading habit, and socializing intention of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat reveal his years of cultivation. Therefore, he emphasizes: “to write is to influence the society with my works.” — herein lies the significance of his lecture at Peking University. And the pith of the poet’s grace lies in the unification of vitality, creativity, and imagination, because the future can only be deployed in imagination. People value his Confucianism in business and his poetic frame of mind, because they feel his personal charm through his style.
Mr. Zhu Xianshu, a poetry critic, says while commenting The Song of Life: “the poems of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat are the record of his experience and thought, the lyrics and speculation along the way of his life. They touch us by their sincerity; artistically, he does not seek any intentional skill, and his poems are therefore fresh and vivid.” For example, “in poems of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, love is a kind of spirit, and is embodiment of humanism. His poems about Mother are sincere and touching. From an old walking stick he describes his endearment to his mother; even at the sight of sparrows before the door, hearing ticktack of the clock, he is going to be missing his mother. …the feeling is hidden behind things, and the poems are sincere, genial, and touching.” (see Emotions and Thoughts on the Way of Life).
Mr. Yuan Zhongyue, another poetry critic, thus remarks: “Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s experience of life is closely related with time. Time is limitless and life is transient; life continues in time and ends in time; therefore, to cherish life, time shall be treasured first; the more we approach the end of life, the more we feel it. …he thinks the way he does it, and he writes the way he thinks it. In spite of his indifference to artisitic form, his poems give the readers a true and genuine feeling. The sweat and tears he shed during his fight for existence and development are far from futile concerning the success of his poetry creation.
Mr. Zhang Tongwu, a poetry critic, in The Limpid Water of Thoughts thus comments on The Quiet Chaophraya River: “fondling this book, I seem to see the rippling water of Chaophraya River, to hear the oaring sound in the vast ocean, …I see Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s rippling water of Chaophraya River, which contains his rich life experience, his deep philosophy, and his glittering thought. …in the works of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, ambition and self-perfection weighs more than complex of reminiscence; lofty personality is lauded, and realm of freedom is yearned.” After reading The Quiet Chaophraya River and Days of Love — Selected Verses of Chan Sirisuwat, Zi Zhang, a poetry critic, finds that “this natural and unmannered poetic stance reminds the reader of the very source of Chinese poetry. The poetic quality of simplicity, frankness, and genuineness which moves the reader by its content instead of rhetorical devices, does not this quality exist in the earliest poetry? Now, I find this quality in poems of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, and I feel the long-time-no-see naturalness and freshness” (see Poems of Chan Sirisuwat: Floating World Images, Illusory Beautiful Feelings).
After reading Days of Love — Selected Verses of Chan Sirisuwat, Miss Liang Xiaomei, a poetry critic, says in her Writing Is Responsibility for the World: “the poetic world of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is the blending of feelings and reason; what touches us is not only his ability in creating new forms of poetry, but also his devotion to life and his responsibility for the world through cohesion of content. …poetry composition is the life style of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, which exert its influence on the society, and more on one’s own soul and life. It is so enviable: numberless people aspire after this status but fail to reach it. For him, poetry creation is a way to atone for the soul, is an attitude toward life, and is responsibility for the world born of love.”
This is the personal charm, and this is the poetic echo!
Realm of Buddhism
Realm of Buddhism predicates sublimation of the poet’s frame of mind. Starting from Confucianism in business, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat transcends himself from time to time. When the small self is sublimed into the big self, when small love is sublimed into big love, poetry has purified the feelings of the poet. He tells us in his lecture at Peking University that the creation of a poet begins from his realization of human tragedy: “how do I write my first book? There is a saying in Hainan Island: the wealth of a family does not last for three generations. I know a wealthy landlord who has seven children, and his countryside wife is illiterate. When the husband makes money by the sweat of his brow, the wife is gambling day after day. And none of the seven children finishes his or her middle school, and none of them lives to the age of sixty. I do not know exactly about their daily life, but I know the family go down and down in several years after death of the landlord. If the story is magnified, it also alludes to a country. The wealth of a family does not last for three generartions: this is a good lesson for us. And I write my first book entitled My Road, in which I warn and instruct young people by my own experience.” In psychology of literary creation, motive of creation is of foremost importance. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat loves his family and his country; concerning the topic of Chinese nation getting off poverty, he pins hope on education, and on civilizatioin. His wishful heart has positively advanced literature into the realm of Buddhism which can purify the mind. The realm of Buddhism reveals Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s loving heart. The poet is content with his lot, devoting himself to self-cultivation, and he finally reaches his life of aesthetics, stepping onto the road of self-transcension where truth, kindness, and beauty are aspired after. He loves his native place and his country; he is keen on social commonweal, helping those in poverty and donating money for schooling. In order to develop tourism in Hainan Island, in 1994 he built a statue of Buddha atop the Copper Drum Ridge of Wenchang City, Hainan Province. And Mr. Chan Sirisuwat was awarded the prize of “Exemplary Overseas Chinese” and the prize of “Overseas Chinese Who Loves Hainan” by the People’s Government of Hainan Province. His loving heart originates from his philanthropism. Actually, the loving heart of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat lies not only in sharing burden and speculation, but also in sharing worries of the country. The life of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat begins from doing good deeds and charity, and arrives at cares and worries for the people. His self-cultivation leads to the realm of “great virtue”.
Summing up his life experience, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat gave five pieces of advice to students of Peking University: firstly, a clear goal in life, and stick to it; secondly, assiduity in study, and avoracious reading; thirdly, a wide circle of friends, and learn from their strong points to offset one’s weakness; fourthly, self-confidence, and be ambitious and optimistic; fifthly, patriotism, and spare no efforts to remunerate the society. Among the five pieces of advice, the spirit of self-discipline and self-actualization is carried through; an open mind and willingness to learn is revealed. Not only does he learn from books, but also he is a reader of the society. What distinguishes him from other people lies in his attitude to learn from everybody and to learn from others’ experience and lessons. His idea of gain and loss is testified in his kindness to other people and success or failure as lot has it.
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is kind to other people, because nobody is free from predestined relationship. In his childhood his grandmother has been kind to her long-term hired hand Ge Fan: she arranges a room for him to live in, buys clothes for him, serves him and Father and children delicious food three meals a day, while she and her maternal family take simple and coarse food. After ten years when Ge Fan was near fifty years of age, grandmother built a house and marry a wife for him on her own expenses. Therefore, Ge Fan has been grateful all his life. When grandmother and father died of persecution during the Land Renovation period, Ge Fan helped with the funeral. This leaves a deep impression on Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. In the course of career-making, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat came across an American boss of a company producing potpourris who came to Thailand to buy raw materials from Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. Owing to Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s good faith, friendship was established between the two, and the buyer imparted all his experiences to Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, while helping with his company. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat regards his staff as his family members, which is a further guarantee of his success.
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is resigned to predestined relationship, because any gain and loss, while opposing each other, complement each other. The success of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat can not dispense with a cheque of 20 thousand baht. In 1975 when he came from Hong Kong to Thailand as manager of a plywood factory, he has ever intened to produce tapes together with his friends in order to make money. Lacking capital, he went to his cousin who was wealthy by selling Japanese cars to borrow 20 thousand baht. His cousin agreed and produced a cheque for him; unexpectedly, just within an hour his cousin phoned to change his idea, asking Mr. Chan Sirisuwat not to draw money from the bank. When asked for the reason, his cousin said: “how can he pay back my 20 thousand baht?” Mr. Chan Sirisuwat swore to surpass his cousin in ten years. In spite of various difficulties, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has expanded his company into eight sole-invested companies and joint ventures, extending to his native place Hainan. From this it is clear that a loss may turn out to be a gain. His wisdom is seen in conversion between loss and gain: success lies in nothing but striving and struggling by oneself.
Realm of Buddhism finds its foundation in Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s life aptitude, embodied in the sacred image of Sakyamuni atop Copper Drum Ridge, which lies in Wenchang of Hainan. Legend has it that when General Fu Bo of the East Han Dynasty takes refuge in the mountain, he is protected by a fairy swan, and he gave her a copper drum as a gift, therefore the name Copper Drum Ridge. Another legend has it that Guan Shan the father and Guan Hai the son were helped by the fairy swan in accomplishing the feat of locking the sea with stones to prevent sea tides. In memory of such merits and virtues, people cast bronze statues in the mountain, and the mountain is again named Copper Ridge. In 1994 when his mother was 88, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat spent millions of yuan building a satue of Sakyamuni atop Copper Drum Ridge in exact imitation of the statue in Pattaya, Thailand, while a Buddhist temple of Thai classic style was built through three years of efforts, in order to commemorate the virtue and fostering of his mother, and to support the tourism in Hainan Island. The sitting statue of Sakyamuni is 16 meters in height including the platform, and 180 tons of weight. The Thai Buddhist temple is finely carved and splendidly decorated. The statue and the temple are open to all visitors free of charge; a poor box was in the temple, and the money is to be used to support the primary schooling in rural areas of Hainan. In this way the poet commemorates his mother and helps the development of Hainan, isn’t this a good idea? Confucianism in business is translated into poetic frame of mind, and is further purified into the realm of Buddhism. It begins from kith and kin, and ends by improving people’s quality, quickening social progress, and promoting national wealth, wherein boundless beneficence lies.
September, 2006, Mt. Thousand-Buddha,
Jinan, Shandong Province
(About the author: Zhang Yaxin, researcher and vice director of the Literature Department of Shandong Social Sciences Academy)
Emotions and Thoughts on the Way of Life
— On Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s The Song of Life
By Zhu Xianshu
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is a Thai Chinese entrepreneur. He has lived a hard life, yet become successful in his career by his own strong belief and willpower, outstanding intelligence and hard struggle. Now he has been in his seventies, but he began to realize his literary dream that he once had as a teenager. He writes biography, stories and poems published in domestic and foreign periodicals and presses. Certainly, the reason why Mr. Chan came back to the literary road is not searching for fame or benefits, but for kind of spiritual consolation: writing down his experiences and feelings as spiritual wealth left for offspring and society. When I once read his long biography “Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars” published in Sept, 2001 by Overseas Chinese Publishing House, I was deeply moved by his spirit of unyielding struggle. And now I read his selection of poems entitled “The Song of Life” to be published, listening to his song of soul on the way of life. I am moved much more and cannot help writing down my affections. I also wish that the readers might be moved.
Mr. Chan’s understanding of life is true and deep. He says, “as a person living in society, what should he devote to the society during the dozens of years of life? And what should he leave to his offspring? A man should not be like an animal only following the natural law: birth—growing—maturing—senescence—death without any achievements for himself or any donations for the society. This is the question of life that I am always thinking about.” Due to such a self-conscious cognition and such an active attitude, he has the poetic expression in the poem Time:
In haste, you come
In haste, you go
You take away sorrows form this world
And also pleasures
You are merciless
Life disappears for your tortures
And will never come back
I will gild every inch of you
To fill all the grids of life
And you will accompany me wherever I go
Certainly, it is inadequate for you to have the optimistic attitude toward life. Only when you really stick to and practice it in life and no difficulties, twists and turns can obstruct you, will you truly realize this ideal of life. In fact, in the poem Mangrove Forest—Seen in the Phuket Island in Thailand, he sang the praise of the mangroves to express the hard-bitten spirit that one should struggle for his ideal:
Rooted deeply in the sea bottom
You are proud to have your head sticking out of the water
One by one, the yachts are sliding by
No matter how the waver are attacking
You are still standing upright
You are courageously living and breeding
Never shrink from any storm
Never yield to the burning sun
You are still expanding your territory toward the depth of sea
To show your true qualities as a hero
Here I think of the sonorous and forceful lines by Li Qingzhao: “To live as an outstanding man, to die a heroic ghost.” Mr. Chan’s life attitude can obviously be traced to the same origin, yet more optimistic and tenacious.
In Mr. Chan’s poetry, besides the expressions of the spirit of struggle, there is the wide, extensive and tender affection in his heart. Mr. Chan is a businessman, but he does not follow the selfish principle “If a man is not selfish, he will be extinguished by Heaven and Earth.” As for his essence of mind, he is edified by Chinese traditional culture. Kindness and love are deep-rooted in his heart, so he loves his homeland, parents, relatives and friends. Everywhere he thinks of others and feels pleasant to help others. He says, “It is a very beautiful thing for people to care for and help each other” and “we can get happiness and satisfactions from the pleasure of helping others.” He also says, “I am not a billionaire, yet I have a warm and pathetic heart for billions of people.”
In the poem Confession, he wrote:
I love the sun
It offers human beings light and warmth without asking any reward
I love the sea
It has surging waves and vast bosom
Without any selfishness
I love the high mountain
It fashions sublime virtues
And never lower its head to money or vanity
Please scatter the seeds of love
And enrich the life
Please spread out the picture of beauty
And beautify the life
Let the floating clouds of fame and gain
Be taken away by the wind
He compared himself as Weed:
You never surrender to the powerful sun
Being blown by the gale
You stand up again
Being overwhelmed by the flood
You stand out of the water, more outstanding
Being covered by ice and snow
You grow up again next spring
Who gives you the courage and strength
I wish to add silently some green to this world
With poetic words
Though the position of weed is low, its will is strong and tough. Its aim is only to devote itself to others, which reveals a kind of spiritual strength.
In Mr. Chan’s poetry, love is a kind of spirit, and even more a kind of humanistic and concrete expression. The poem on his mother is sincere and touching. He wrote his affection to his mother through “a matted stick”. Even when he heard the little sparrows in front of his gate and the ticktack of the clock, he would memorize his mother with deep affection. For example, he wrote in The Threshold:
Is the witness of my childhood
Mother was sitting on it
Weaving the split pants for me
The high threshold
Is now silently shedding tears
The past pleasure has gone
Where are you now, mom
He placed his feelings on objects and got feelings by touching objects, so his description was true-hearted, amiable and moving. Generally, Mr. Chan wrote about brotherhood, homesickness and friendship through memory and relation with profound affection while those poems employing concrete expressions of settings were also wonderful. For example, The Heartfelt Wish at the Midnight depicts love’s sweetness:
Your light steps
Awake me silently from my dream
My heart stops beating
To prevent the sound of breath from disturbing your steps
I am carefully listening to your tenderness
And raise the night curtain
To prevent the moonlight from shining your eyes
Let’s draw our hearts together
To prevent the time from going on
Through the description of real settings, he expresses a kind of fine and warm feeling that is also moving.
Mr. Chan has experienced the sea of business and discerned society and life, so there is love as well as hate in his world of feelings. He always unmercifully discloses the ugly things as written in The Dog Wearing Tiger’s Skin:
Don’t approach. It will bite you
Because you are barehanded with a bamboo hat
If you have a chicken’s leg in your hand
It will follow you
Only if you are cruel and vicious
Only when you raise a wand
It will take to its heels
For some people like the dogs wearing tiger’s hide, this kind of disclosure and satire is profound and acrid. The big crocodile depicted in The Big Crocodile Not Yet Dead shows: “Like a pile of ochre stones / Placed on a riverbank”. In fact it is a conspiratorial waiting for the crocodile to have his eyes closed, mouth opened and body full of flies and leeches. At the end of the poem, the poet reminds the readers:
The big crocodile has not been dead
It is difficult for him to change his nature.
He will still eat men
Such a description is loaded with deep meaning and suggestions. There are penetrating criticisms on the faults of time in other poems such as A Minion, Hypocrite and Repentance Is Salvation — to Mr. S, etc.
Above all, Mr. Chan’s poems are true records of his thoughts, feelings, experiences and expressions on his way of life. What is moving is his sincerity without any affectedness. As for the artistic expression, he does not sedulously pursue the application of any method, so his verses appear to be more natural and fresh. Form the point of poetic art, readers may think that there are some kinds of shortcomings, yet Mr. Chan’s excellence is really praiseworthy.
Finally, it should be mentioned that it is his 16 years old daughter Duangthip Sirisuwat and 14 years old son Thanapol Sirisuwat who design the cover and draw the illustrations of this book. Their succinct, innocent and imaginative illustrations add more beauty and admiration to the book. Mr. Chan’s daughter and son are versatile with gift in drawing, music, math and foreign languages, etc. Early in 1997 when Hong Kong returned to her motherland, they attended the calligraphy and drawing contest held in Beijing and won the silver prize. Mr. Chan says that he “publishes his book to instruct the next generation.” He has such a good family education that his offspring will not let down his high expectation.
Written in Beijing on July 26, 2002
（Tr. Bei Ta & Sun Jicheng）
(About the author: Zhu Xianshu, member of China Writers’ Association, director of China Poetry Association, and editor of Poetry)
Poems of Chan Sirisuwat: Floating World Images, Illusory Beautiful Feelings
By Zhang Xin
Nature does not grow old as fast as man; worldly ways are uncertain but certain is human heart. Charming is Mt. Doi Dong, where paths are meandering and flowers are fragrant.
This is my impression after reading two poetry collections respectively entitled The Quiet Chaophraya River and Days of Love by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, a Thai poet of Chinese descent.
The opening poem in The Quiet Chaophraya River is On Mt. Doi Dong. Through the note, I know that Mt. Doi Dong is a mountain to the north of Thailand; the poem is composed after the poet’s climbing to the top. In line with other poems about mountain climbing, the poet gives vent to his feelings through landscape description: another world is found atop the mountain, a Xanadu which is different from the mortal world and yearned by people from day to day. The poet’s excitement and exclamation is expressed through lines such as “taking a deep breath of the nectar-like air”, “while gently moving feet”. Therefore, it is my belief that the lyrical structure of On Mt. Doi Dong seems to symbolize two hierarchies setting off each other in Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s poems: one is sigh and alas for the floating mortal world we are in; the other is lyrical song for eternal love and illusory beautiful realm.
I received Mr. Chan’s two poetry collections in the autumn of respectively last year and the year before the last year. The cover design is simple and elegant, like wafting breezes, which is quite endearing. In my spare time, I read the lyrical poems at random and with enjoyment, and I feel that I benefit a lot from the reading. Besides the impression of “two worlds”, I am steeped in speculation about “the nature of poetry”. Reading his simple, mellow, and integral poems, I seem to trace the very source of Chinese poetry.
Later I observed the content arrangement in The Quiet Chaophraya River, and my first impression is confirmed. The poetry collection is composed of four parts: the titles of the first two parts are respectively Days of Love and The Dream of the Wind; the titles of the last two parts are On the Streets of Bangkok and Within and Without the Church. Doesn’t this testify the two lyrical hierarchies of “human sentiments” and “mortal imags”? Of course, there may be a mistake in case of a mere juedging by titles; furthermore, “streets of Bangkok” and “church” may transport readers to exotic scenery or feelings. Then, let’s come to the poems per se.
Actually, On the Streets of Bangkok is the poet’s group poems, including 12 realitic and satiric free verses, entitled respectively Roadside Restaurants, Taxi, The Roadside Shop, Billboards, Multinational Market, Air Tramcar, The Girl Selling Flowers along Streets, Cars , The Swallow on the Electrical Wire Pole , The Five-star Hotel, The Roadside Diviner, and Mid-Autumn Festival, etc. Almost all the life elements of any cosmopolitan city are descreibed here. In the light of common sense, these life elements per se do not contain any judgement of value, because they form the material world on which city dwellers rely. So it is reasonable to praise them with an indebted heart but, a special reason must lie behind in case of a curse. In human society, the so-called “special reason” refects the “inequality” between people and the universal rule of capitalist economic operation, which have already been described and cursed by Shakespeare, Balzac, Maupassant, and Zola. In spite of its faith in Buddhism, Thailand can not avoid the jungle law and money worship.
For Roadside Restaurants, “the poor make a fortune out of the poor”; the Taxi is nothing but a vehicle for the poor to earn their bread. As for Billboards, “larger ones cover half the sky / Small ones make use of every possible interspace here and there”, and “all are coaxing money out of people’s pockets / coaxing people to rise to the bait”. Finally the poet comes to such an orientation: “This is the vitamin of the city / to foster the wealthy of the city / which has nothing to do with the have-nots”. The poet sighs at The Five-star Hotel: “Don’t complain about social inequality / without which there will be no five-star hotels”. In another poem entitled Self-account of Money, the poet reveals charactersistics of money as “speculator”.
In Part IV, the indignation in Within and Without the Church is more directed to the political pick-pockets, speculators, or international clowns outside economic life. This kind of poems, of course, are not easy to write well, because they are liable to didacticism or moralism. However, in the part, except for a few poems which are a little bit shallow and straight, most of the poems are visual and full of images, which are tinctured with allegory. Take Realistic Painting of Life as an example, comparison is made with the evil performances of “low animals” and a bevy of swallows freely soaring in the sky; the poem is connotative while granting readers space of imagination. The note of “Polling Day at Bangkok” also provides readers with some information.
Of course, the society or the nature or human heart, sometimes may be dark or floating, but more powerful or eternal is the nature toward truth, kinkness, and beauty. One of the poets’ duties is, like a prophet, to promulgate the faith of love and beauty, in order for people never to give up hope. In this aspect, I believe Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has done his responsibility through his lyrical poems. “Human life is a poem / full of vitality love joys / each line is glittering with happiness / each word shall be retained // Human life is like a flower / which is gorgeous and brilliant when abloom / but it can sear and wither / therefore it is valuable and priceless”, this is Human Life. “When meeting trouble halfway / conviviality is far from you / when the vault of heaven is used as a quilt in case of collapse / happiness is together with you”, this is Conviviality. “To forget it / what weighs on the mind is only air / to remember it / even the air can suffocate people”, this is Worry. “Tolls in the distance continue / silently people are / praying to God / for quietness of the earth / peace of mankind // Does the love of God come / does dawn come / sacred fire and halo illuminate all things / it is wished in this Christmas eve / tolls continue / to open peole’s heart and soul / to bring peace to the world”, this is The Christmas Eve. But I like The Butterfly the best; when the poet sees a butterfly flying into his study, “Sometimes you pause on the cover of Evgenii Onegin / sometimes you repose yourself by standing on the Complete Works of Lu Xun”, the poet is transported with joy, and he thus guesses: “O my darling you also dream to be / a writer-poet”. Then from the angle of the butterfly, the poet exhorts the butterfly: “My advice is that you return to nature / to the great nature / to enjoy the freedom of finite life / instead of being infatuated with the mortal world / which is filled with intrigues and turmoils”. Temporarily, the poet seems to forget that the jungle law or survival of the fittest also applies to the great nature, and he only sees “the freedom of finite life”.
However, this poetic stance of naivety, naturalness, and unaffectedness reminds readers of the very source of Chinese poetry. The things that touch readers by rusticity, simplicity, and frankness, and the things that touch readers by the natural force of poetry instead of rhetorical devices, don’t they exist in the earliest poetry? Now, I find these things in Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s poetry, and I feel the long-time-no-meet freshness and naturalness. Then, those well-read and well-educated “professional poet” who wholeheartedly want to produce the most beautiful lines in the world, why should they abandon these things? Maybe the only reasonable explanation is: in his poetry creation, Mr. Chan is not fettered by any regular education and any poetic mode, and he does not intend to testify that he is good at “innovation”. He has been in the business circle for most of his life, and he abandoned business for literature at the age of 65; therefore, he writes poems with his heart. When his meaning is expressed, he does not care about the way of his expression.
Now I cannot help thinking about the happy experience when I made acquaintance with Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. In the autumn of the year before last, I attended the World Poetry Forum in Chongqing organized by the New Poetry Research Centre of Southwest Univerity. In the last day of the meeting, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s seat and mine were next to each other on the platform. Mr. Chan was hosting the meeting, and made comment. Our exhange of name cards was accompanied by a brief talk. His modesty and elegance has left a deep impression on me; during afterward touring, we have ever eaten at the same table, and photos were taken of us two. Later I received books sent by him from Hong Kong, from whose foreword and postscript I came to know that before 65 Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has been hard-working in business circle, then he abandoned business for literature. His legendary experience literally surprises me. But repeated tasting of his words serves as a key to him. I began to understand him, and something begins to dawn on me. He said: “in 1996 when I am 65 years old, I begin to consider: how not to waste our finite life? I have been striving and struggling in business for dozens of years, shall a person’s life be spent in accumulating wealth? Men die for money, and birds die for food. In such a case, life is meaningless. And I decide to hand all business over to my wife, while resigning all other social posts, so as to abandon myself to literature. I pick up my pen which has been lying waste for half a century, to be immersed in the dream during my childhood: liteary creation.”
This is the comprehension of a man at his seventies about life and literary creation, and this should be the best note for his works — including poems, stories, and autobiography.
“The true face of the mountain is not seen, since we are in the very midst of it”. More often than not we are lost in the castle built by ourselves; therefore, in order to live a reasonable life, it is advisable that we keep a distance from the castle.
(About the author: Zhang Xin, his pen name is Zi Zhang, and he is professor of Humanities College of Zhejiang Industrial University)
Striving for the Goal in Life
— Mr. Chan Sirisuwat as Entrepreneur，Poet and Writer
By Xin Li
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat was born in 1931 in Wenchang of Hainan, and he is the third generation of a big Chinese family in Thailand. In 1939 when Hainan was invaded by Japanese soldiers, he fled with his parents to Kwangchowan (now Zhanjiang City of Guangdong Province), where he went to primary school. After anti-Japanese war, he returned to his native place and was admitted into Qiongya Normal School (now Qiongtai Normal College) through examination. In his youth he came to Hong Kong to brave the world by pocketing three Hong Kong dollars; 14 years afterward, he left Hong Kong for Thailand, which was then still socially unstable and economically backward. Here he saved 160 thousand baht and founded his own company and, in ten years, his company developed from the original two persons to 8 solely-invested companies and joint ventures; in another ten years, his products were sold to 43 countries, and he was honored as the King of Potpourri.
Though he is living overseas, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is rooted in China: he is sentimentally attached to his motherland and his native place. After China was opened up to the outside world, he returned to his hometown from which he has parted for more than 20 years, and he made much contribution: his native village was hence rated as “Honored Village”, and his family was rated as “Honored Household”. In order to commemorate his mother, and in order to develop tourism in Wenchang of Hainan Province, he spent three years building “The Buddhist Glory Over Copper Drum Ridge”, which is open to all visitors free of charge. In 1998, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat was awarded the prize of “Exemplary Overseas Chinese” by Hainan Provincial People’s Government.
At the age of 65, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat abandoned business for literature. In 1999 his maiden work My Road was published and, in 11 years, he published 13 books including poetry collections and autobiography. In 2004 he was interviewed by Beijing TV Station and was invited to give a lecture at Peking University. In 2005 he was awarded the prize of “World Poet Award” by the 19th World Congress of Poets. His literary works have been translated into Thai, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Romanian, Greek, German, Japanese, etc., to be published in international newspapers, magazines, and anthologies. In April, 2007, he was conferred with honorary doctoral degree in literature by the International Poetry Translation and Research Center (IPTRC) and, in the same year, he was awarded a certificate and medal by United Poets Laureate International in the United States of America “in recognition and appreciation of Excellence in Poetry for World Brotherhood and Peace”, while awarded “Prize of International Literature and Art” by Greek Association of International Writers & Artists. In October, 2007, he was chosen as candidate for the winner of Nobel Prize in Literature for 2008 by IPTRC. After his success in business, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat again is successful in literature.
Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars
Chan Deyi, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s grandfather, came to Thailand from Hainan Island in his youth to make his career. His father Chan Jingxiao established his home in Thailand before goint back to Hainan to do business by following the advice from his grandfather. Born into such a philanthropic family, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat was deeply influenced by his mother and grandmother concerning kindness, diligence, and readiness to help others, and his character is thus strong, straight, and ambitious.
In 1961 when he was thirty years of age, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat determined to leave Hainan for Hong Kong to try his fortune. Mr. Chan’s memory of that day is still clear until today: it was an autumnal day when he walked into Hong Kong by Luohu Bridge of Shenzhen, with only three Hong Kong dollars and a suit of worn clothes. He paid one dollar for the train ticket but he found, when he went aboard the train, that the price of the ticket was half a dollar, and he lost no time going off to demand the overcharged hald dollar from the booking clerk.
The next day in Hong Kong, he went through formalities for residence. The third day, his brother-in-law helped him find a job as purchaser at a shoes factory. He came to Hong Kong only for three days, and everything and everywhere is strange for him, but he purchases raw materials and articles for the factory from day to day, by dint of his perseverance and a map of Hong Kong. In two months, he was quite familiar with Hong Kong and purchasing. Later one day he received a brokerage from a big supplier, which he gave back to his boss, and his boss evened it to each member of his staff. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s frankness is universally praised, and he gained people’s respect.
The first goal for his coming to Hong Kong is to learn English, because without English one can not brave the world. Even though he was over 30, he worked at day and, at night he learned English together with children from ABC.
During the ten years in Hong Kong, he lived a stable life, but he does not think he has a bright future here. In order for a better future and better development, he left Hong Kong for Thailand, the second hometown of his grandfather and father.
Making a Fortune by Three Neglected Businesses
In 1975, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat arrived in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. The then Thailand was still economically backward and socially unstable. He worked as manager of a plywood factory, which was run by one of his relatives.
His early life in Thailand was hard, which was a test on his will and determination. Considering his future development here, he began to learn Thai, while making friends, accumulating business knowledge, collecting exporting materials, and saving money in his daily life. In four years, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has saved 160 thousand baht, with which he rented a small room on the second floor from his cousin, while resigning his post to establish his own company. Adopting the name of “Prosper” which has been used in his family business dozens of years ago, his company is named “Prosper Co., Ltd.” At the beginning, the company has only two persons. With the development of the company, he spent 60 thousand baht buying a second-hand car, and 30 thousand baht buying air-conditioners for installation of his office and some more furniture. His circulating capital reached 70 thousand baht.
Considering his meager capital, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat decided to adopt the business principle of “doing businesses which are neglected by people”, and he began to process waste materials into products for exportation. His first business is to buy skin of water snake from Thai farmers to be exported to Hong Kong for leather factories. His second business is to clean, process, and compress the flax discarded by the sacks factory, to be exported to Australia for carpet mat and raw materials of heat insulation; 20 to 30 containers are exported monthly, from which a huge profit is made, while an Indian company engaging in this business for over one hundred years was squeezed out of the market. His third business is to process the horns abandoned by the laughterhouse of Thailand to be exported to Taiwan, Korea and Japan for seals and carvings.
King of Pot-pourris in Thailand
After economic accumulation through three neglected businesses, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat began to widen his scope of business. He undertook selling Thai vegetables to Hong Kong, craftworks of Dalian to Japan, and medicine raw materials to Germany…in ten years, “Prosper” prospered from a small company of two persons to eight solely-invested companies and joint ventures, his exportation covered over ten countries, the area of his office expanded from the original 32 sq meters to a five-storied building of 1500 sq meters. On the other hand, he also suffered losses in business. His restraurant in a scenic spot was closed down within a year, and he suffered the humiliation of refusal of borrowing 20 thousand baht for investment from his wealthy cousin. But he turned all this into motive to strive for his own success.
In spite of flourish of his company, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat does not lose time to produce his competitive products. A German company intends to buy unlimited amount of dry lotus flowers from him; later an American costomer wants to import Thai globe amaranth dry flowers by tons. Mr Chan sent his secretary to America to investigate into the market, while collecting data from the Agricultural University of Thailand. After intensive study, he finally found great business opportunity in natural potpourris. He lost no time in building warehouses to store nationally purchased goods. At the same time, he supported farmers in plantation, while establishing factories to produce series products of potpourris. In ten years, raw materals of potpourris and products are sold to 43 countries in the world. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat became the biggest exporter of raw materals of potpourris and products, and he was honored as King of Potpourris in Thailand.
The Dream to Be a Writer
What should one contribute, in one’s decades of life, to the society? And what should be left to one’s descendants? When his business is reaching its peak, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, who was already in his sixties, began to ponder over the meaning of human life. He believes that it is not worthwhile to live solely for making money; besides, it may not be beneficial for one to leave a huge amount of money to his posterities.
At the age of 65, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat handed over all his businesses under the care of his wife, and he abandoned business for literature. In his autobiography, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat thus writes: “social responsibility is the motive for my literary creation. I believe that social prosperity, progression, and development can not dispense with social elites. But, darkness, corruption, and evils still exist in the society; if they propagate without check, the society is going to revers, even perish. I believe the social responsibility of a writer is to carry forward justice and disseminate truth, while faithfully record history as it is, leading people onto the right way. Social darkness and corruption shall be revealed; evils shall be castigated; the society shall be purified from another angle, so as to promote the development of society.”
My Road, the first book of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, sums up his life experiences in order to instruct his next generation. Later after revision, the name of the book was changed into Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars. The name was written by Mr. Wang Guangying, with a preface by Mr. Lin Mingjiang, vice chairman of China Association of Overseas Chinese, and it was published as one of the series books entitled Books by Overseas Chinese Elites.
In the preface, Mr. Lin Mingjiang thus writes: “as a successful Thai businessman from Hainan, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s autobiography truthfully records his decades of years of struggle, which is the epitome of overseas Chinese efforts in career-making. It is an ideal textbook for the next generation from which they can carry forward traditional Chinese virtues incarnated in their predecessors…”
In spite of pains and hardships, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is optimistic, and he keeps fiery passions for life. He writes poems, to express missing for his mother, love for a happy family, and love for life. He writes prose and short stories, to praise good deeds and good people in life, to castigate social evils. In this way, the society can make progress. He intends to influce the society by his works.
Writing is the no-return road for Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. He said that recent years of reading and writing has completely changed his life. He find it quite meaningful to make friends with people of culture and education, instead of living a busy life only for money.
His main works include Chinese-Thai My Road, autobiography Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars, poetry collections Selected Verses of Chan Sirisuwat, The Song of Life, The Quiet Chaophraya River, Days of Love, and illustrated anthologies Homeland in Dream, Hope, Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat, The Season Fragrant with Durians, and 108 Selected Versets. Most of his works are Chinese-English versions.
The works of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat are extensive in content; a philosophy is contained behind its simplicity, which reveal the poet’s deep love for life and record the author’s observation and consideration in life.
He eulogizes life in his poem:
Human life is a poem
Full of vitality love joys
Each line is glittering with happiness
Each word shall be retained
Human life is like a flower
Which is gorgeous and brilliant when abloom
But it can sear and wither
Therefore it is valuable and priceless
He commemorates his love for his mother:
An Old Walking Stick
At my bedside
A walking stick accompanies me from night to night
An old walking stick
Accompanies me from night to night
It brings me unfading memory
From day to day —
On August 2, 1988
Mother in her 82
Leaning on this old walking stick
Comes to Bangkok the capital of Thailand
From Hainan the hometown thousands of miles away
After three months Mother returns to the native place which haunts her mind
Leaving this old walking stick
Forever to me
In my babyhood
Mother feeds me with her breast
In my childhood
Mother raises me with her sweat
When I enter the prime of life and begin to establish myself
Mother comes to my side over rivers and mountains
Leaning on this old walking stick
And she carves her encouraging words
On my very heart
But when my career reaches its most pleasant stage
Mother O dear Mother
You go away in silence
Before my obligation
You left me in silence for aye
Mother O Mother
Your son is holding the old walking stick
As if holding your hands
And again in your bosom
How can your son repay you
When flowers wither
And my life comes to its end
I will put this old walking stick
When raging fire is flaming and burning
Let this old walking stick
Serve as my guide
To bring me back to your side
In order for me to nestle in your bosom
Forever like in my childhood
He speculates about the great nature:
Dark clouds as its backup force
The lightning is domineering
And has frightened rats and the like into their holes
When the lightning intends to lord it over the earth
The frog is scornful while perking up its head
And is snickering
He thus describes society and human life in his minipoems.
Are used by lovers for courtship
By friends to show friendship
And by corrupt officials for self-defense
Holding its head high and wagging its tail
Showy in the air
Yet its fate is in the hand of the one controlling its thread
Are suffering and shedding tears
You sacrifice yourselves
To enlighten other people
Is buried deep into the earth
And is going to see the light of day
A locked door guards against theft
And a locked brain creates a puppet
Is the result from losing light
A product of the brave
Mr. Chan’s poems have drawn attention from domestic and international forums of poetry, and he is held in high esteem.
During the Spring Festival of 2006, Mr. Zhang Xin, a professor from Zhejiang Industrial University, wrote a long comment singing high praise of Mr. Chan’s works. Professor Zhang holds the opinion that, while sighing and alasing for the floating mortal world he is in, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat lauds eternal love and illusory realm of beauty. Poems by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat are simple, na?ve, natural, which touch the reader by their essential force. And the reader is reminded of the very source of Chinese poetry.
Mr. Fang Wei, a doctoral candidate of the Literary Research Institute of Shandong Social Sciences Academy, thus applauds in his article: reading Hope is like following the andante of elegant notes and rhythm. Hope is a comprehensive and connotative collction of works, as well as the accumulation and distillation of decades of years of his life experiences. Reading it we can feel Mr. Chan’s ingrained Confucianism, na?ve personal charm, and pure poetry style. Many poems in Hope are suffused with tranditional culture and thought. It is difficult to imagine that an overseas Chinese in Thailand can comprehend the profound Chinese culture so thoroughly: we are moved and filled with admiration.
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s Hope is a painstaking work which instructs us how to be an upright person; through it we realize the elegance and gentleness of a businessman and his pure and beautiful spiritual kernel. Today when science and technology is developing and changing with each passing day, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat can creatively absorb the pith of Confucianism and can earnestly practise what he advocates. This is quite thought-provoking. Treading on the andante of elegance and Confucianism, Hope has cast the spirit of Chinese people with detached air, deep thought, and elegant style of writing, while bringing an eternal force: hope.
After reading Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s works, the writer Wang Simei summarizes her impression and perception into “great minds mature slowly; his works are like a sonorous large bell”.
Since its founding in 1995, International Translation and Research Center (IPTRC) nominates a candidate for Nobel Prize each year. The candidate is chosen by International Executive Committee of the research center, which is composed of ten executive members. For each year, they choose, by secret ballot, a most distinguished poet or writer internationally as candidate for Nobel Prize in Literature. And Mr. Chan Sirisuwat was nominated by the center as candidate for the winner of Nobel Prize in Literature for 2008.
A Warm and Harmonious Family
“Now it is the best time for me in my life!” Mr. Chan Sirisuwat said with earnestness: “I have a happy family and a healthy body; my wealth ensures me the life an aristocrat, but I am forever a common civilian.”
In Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has a touching dialogue with his wife: “a university graduate buys vegetables and cook for you, and he manages your company to make profit for you. And you are going to be a writer. How happy you are!” His wife bantered.
“Oh, when you get up in the morning, I make the bed for you; after you come back from morning exercices, I prepare breakfast for you. When you are going to have an egg, I peel it for you; when you eat the body of the fish, I eat the head. After I have been successful in business, you take it over. Where in the world can you find such an ideal husband like me?” His wife is all smiles before Mr. Chan Sirisuwat finishes his words.
This is a life portraiture of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, who enjoys a happy family. Through seventy years of winds and rains, Mr. Chan comes up with a valuable experience: a good housewife is the patron saint of wealth and health.
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s children are also his pride. One of his sons is a scientist in America, who has ever provided high-tech design for important sectors such as American Boeing and Dows Aeroplane Manufacture Co., Ltd. and American bank; another son is the biggest businessman engaging in imports and exports of timber in Thailand, who has has own ocean goods ships shuttling between China and Southeastern countries; his youngest son and daughter are good at design and drawing, who have ever won Silver Medal at Beijing International Competition of Drawing in their childhood. In recent years, all the books published by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat are illustrated by them.
Root in China, Affection in Hainan
“…I find footprints of the dragon / that is my motherland where I was born / I turn clouds into rain / to rain into my hometown”. In Nostalgia, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat thus misses his ancestral place.
In the second year of China’s opening up to the outside world, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat went back to Hainan Island from which he has been away for 20 years, and he went back to Wenchang, his hometown. “My son is back! My son is back!” His mother called with emotion, swelling with tears in her eyes.
Seeing the backwardness of his hometown, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is determined to build roads, bridges, and water towers here, while putting through electricity in order for villagers to know about the outside world through watching TV.
In 1993, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat spent three years building “Buddhist Glory Over Copper Drum Ridge” atop Copper Drum Ridge of Wenchang to be open to the public, by which he has contributed to the tourism of Hainan. For many years, Mr. Chan has donated money for various public projects, in addition to donating money for education. In recent ten years, Mr. Chan often participates in various overseas Chinese activities. In 1995, under the invitation of Overseas Chinese Office of State Affairs Department, Mr. Chan had the honor to attend the 46th National Grand Ceremony of P. R. China. In 2000, under the invitation of National Political Consultation Committee, Mr. Chan was honored to be the secretary-general of “the touring group of Chinese entrepreneurs in Thailand” to visit six large provinces and cities including Beijing and Shanghai, and they had an interview with Mr. Wang Guangying, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress of China. Half of the group have experienced the old China, and they were greatly encouraged by the great achievements of China.
By the end of 2004, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat was invited to give a lecture at Foreign Languages College of Beijing Univeristy, where he shared his life experiences with the students, talked about his philosophy, world view, and view of value, and he told them to persist in their life goal. His lecture was from time to time punctuated by applauses.
In March, 2007, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat told me by e-mail that his eleventh work Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat was being translated into English, that his Group Poems on Human Life (12 poems) were going to be carried in the 46th issue of The World Poets Quarterly (multilingual), and his photo to feature its cover. The World Poets Quarterly is an international magazine to be distributed to more than 190 countries throughout the world, and to be presented to world famous literary organizations, institutions, university libraries and Library of the United Nations.
Now Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is 76, but he is still hale and hearty. “I strive for the goal in my lifetime.” He said, “I value time since my childhood, and I never waste time. On the way of life struggle, I am not content with what I have achieved, and I never surrender before difficulties. I am self-desciplined, and I harbor no evil intentions. In life I am content with my lot, and I am healthy in my seventies.”
The wish of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is to write until the age of one hundred years…actually, whether in business circle or in literary circle, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat distinguishes himself.
(About the author: Wang Xinli, writer, head of Haikou Branch, China News Agency)
The Most Beautiful Theme in Life
— Reading Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat
By Liu Jian
With the approaching of the new century, reading Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars whose name was written by Mr. Wang Guangying, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress of China, published by Overseas Chinese Publishing House in Beijing, and written by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, an overseas Chinese who was honored as “King of Potpourri” in Thailand. Between the lines, the reader can feel the meaning and importance of life. Reading it, we can not help acclaiming for the uncommon success of a common person. Furthermore, we find the most beautiful theme in life: love contained in life, love of one’s life, time, career, ideal, family, hometown, ancestral place, and dwelling place, as well as love of mankind and ove of great nature…
Born in Wenchang, Hainan of China, Mr. Chan was edified by traditional Chinese culture; his later life of nearly forty years in Thailand steeps him in Buddhist culture. When he was thirty years of age, he began to brave the world with three Hong Kong dollars; later be became King of Potpourri in Thailand. His life experience is circuitous and legendary. While he shows the reader how to accumulate wealth, Mr. Chan brings us — with his forever young heart —into a world which is more important and more wonderful than money: a blossomy garden of human spirit. Here many things are more important than money: a loving heart, ideal in life, perseverance, aptitude in living-making, successful strategy, worldly ways, and life quality, etc. These things can not be purchased by money; and these are the most beautiful theme in life.
“As a person living in society, what should he devote to the society during the dozens of years of life? And what should he leave to his offspring? A man should not be like an animal only following the natural law: birth—growing—maturing—senescence—death without any achievements for himself or any donations for the society. This is the question of life that I am always thinking about.” At the beginning of the book, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat thus highly summarizes his thought and pursuit in life, to show the reader the source where the most beautiful theme in human life was born.
“Now I am over seventy, I have braved winds and rains, and have experienced various difficulties. If somebody asks me what human beings need most in life? I will answer without hesitation: we need love, kindness, and concern the most.” The heartfelt words of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat in his book are thought-provoking. In the wide world where we are living, our pursuits and dreams are various and colorful; and the measure of happiness is different, but the words of Mr. Chan beat our heart like a drum: “in our life, the measure of joy or happiness lies not in the amount of money you have accumulalted, but in the amount of love you own in your life.” Mr. Chan is encompassed with love: love from his grandmother, love from his mother, love from his relatives, love from his staff members, love from his hometown, love from his motherland, love from Thailand where he is living, and love from the great nature. Meanwhile, he is also dedicating his love to the world: in his hometown, he put through electricity and water, built roads and bridgres, contributed for schooling, purchased food for children of orphanage, provided lodging to needy staff members free of charge while paying tuition for their children, etc.
“I am not a billionair, but I have billions of enthusiasm and commiseration.” His unadorned words in the book reveal human truth: so long as everybody contributes a little love to the world, the world is going to become a beautiful world.
In the preface to the book, Mr. Lin Mingjiang, vice chairman of China Association of Overseas Chinese, thus writes: “as a successful Thai businessman from Hainan, China, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat truthfully records, in his memoir Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars, his decades of years of painstaking career-making, and the autobiography is the epitome of the efforts and perseverance of overseas Chinese. It serves as a teaching material for our next generation in inheritance and carrying forward of traditional Chinese virtues which are incarnated in the old generation of overseas Chinese.”
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, who was awarded the prize of “Exemplary Overseas Chinese” by Hainan Provincial People’s Government, thus writes in the introduction to this book: “I establish myself from nothing, and I do not belong to distinguished people. But my rich life experience, my thought, my worldly ways, my inclinations in life, and my vicissitudes in life, all these can suggest something for the young generation.” This is his original intention in writing this book. He wants his offspring to remember that their root is in China, and to contribute to the society. In particular, through the illustration by Mr. Chan’s 12-year son Thanapol Sirisuwat and 14-year daughter Duangthip Sirisuwat, who are native-born in Thailand, people are delighted to see traditional Chinese culture.
The resplendence in life, more often than not, originates from persistent love of life and pursuit of lofty ideals. The miracle in life originates from a lofty passion for mankind and the great nature, as well as from the never-stopping steps out of pursuit. And we are touched in our life, because a great and common heart is always sailing in the sea of love. The sun of the new century has risen; Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, who has strived in business circle for nearly half a century, has stepped into the dream in his childhood to be a writer in his seventies. He lets his mind roam on the computer, and he lets his thought soar freely in the garden of human spirit. After completing Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars, his poetry collection Song of Life is going to be published recently. Besides, short stories and poems written by him are often carried in newspapers and magazines of China and Thailand. Presently, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is chairman of the board of directors of Prosper Co., Ltd. of Thailand, vice chairman of the board of directors of Hainan Hongjian Real Estate Co., Ltd., and assistant manager to Hainan Organization of Thailand and, bathing in the brilliant sunshine of the new century, he is singing the most beautiful theme in human life for this world.
Spring, 2002 Hainan Island
(About the author: Liu Jian, writer and reporter of China Education Newspaper at Hainan)
Narrative Lines Direct to the Source of Chinese Poetry
—A Preface to 108 Selected Versets
By Zhang Zhi
Opening the window of time to cast a look at the brilliant constellations of Chinese poetry in the 21st century, we find a dazzling giant star from Bangkok Thailand shining with everlasting radiance in its own way…
It can be said that Mr. Chan Sirisuwat and I have long been friends spiritually. Years before I have been continuously reading Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s poems, essays and novels from newspapers and magazines, which has left me a deep impression. I still remember the late night of November 1, 2004 when I searched for the TV channels to catch sight of a high interview of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat by a journalist of China’s Beijing TV Station. The next day he was invited to deliver a speech at the School of Foreign Languages of Peking University, narrating to the students there his own life story of establishing himself with only three HK dollars and made a great success, which won warm applauses from the students. It was a moving scene. Through TV screen and reading his works, I have got more knowledge about Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, an excellent poet, writer and entrepreneur. I hold a high respect for him.
As luck would have it, I and Prof. Zhang Zhizhong, vice-chairman of the International Poetry Translation and Research Centre and vice dean of the Foreign Languages Department of Zhongyuan University of Technology were invited by Prosper Co., Ltd. to meet Mr. Chan Sirisuwat in Bangkok, Thailand, and I finally have had a chance to meet this giant face to face. Mr. Chan is of middle height and a little thin. Though over seventy, he is of a strong build, with black hair and vigorous stride. No one would guess his real age from his appearance. Whenever he talks about his enterprise and literary creation, Mr. Chan is never restrained to express himself. Bygones of decades ago seemed to have just happened only yesterday. He can even clearly remember the details others would easily neglect. He seems to be dreaming of them. During our stay in Bangkok, Dr. Zhang Zhizhong and I were invited to visit his enterprise. Entering his exhibiting room, we seemed to have stepped into a brilliant world of “flowers”. Tens of thousands of samples of pot-pourri gave off their intoxicating fragrance. Small wonder that Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is honored as the King of Pot-pourri in Thailand. In the mean time, we also visited his factory and learnt that the products of the company have been exported to forty-three countries by now. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat won the prize from the Thai government for his business. With the success of his career, he has contributed much to his homeland and was twice honored as “the Model of the Compatriots” and “the Compatriot in Love for Hainan” by the Chinese government.
In 1996 when he was 65 years old, Mr. Chan decided to devote himself to literary creation as he came to realize that “it is not worth a life when it is lived only for money.” He believes that our society is too much complicated and it is civilized and progressive on the one hand and dark, corrupted and ugly on the other. He feels he cannot do anything about the social reality, but he can bring impact on it and help promote it by his writing. Therefore, he entrusts his enterprise to his wife and gives himself to literary creation.
In the past just 11 years, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat published 13 completely literary works, which have been successively translated into Thai, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Rumanian, Japanese, Greek and German, and published in various newspapers, magazines and anthology in the world. He has made such a surprisingly rapid achievements. In 2005, Mr. Chan attended the 19th World Poets’ Congress and was awarded the “World Poet” Prize. In April, 2007, he received the title of Honorary Litt. Doctor from The International Poetry Translation and Research Centre; on June, 17, the American “Union of International Laurel Poets” bestowed him the certificate and medal to “honor the excellent contribution he has made in promoting the world brotherhood and peace with his poetry”; on September 3, he won the “International Literary and Art Prize” issued by the Greek Association of International Writers and Artists; in October, he was recommended the candidate of the Nobel Prize for Literature by IPTRC. It is never chancy for him to have received those honors and prizes, which, in fact, are affirmation and praise of the literary world for his achievement.
In my view, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has made a great success in late years in both business and literary worlds. He founded his company with 160,000 Thai baht in 1979 when he was 48 years old, and he devoted himself to literary creation while entrusting his enterprise to his wife in 1996 when he was 65 years old.
If we say that Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars is a good summary of his brilliant feats in his business, his Chinese-English bilingual The Songs of Life can be viewed as his foundational work to step into the international literary circle, and his Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat and 108 Selected Versets can be said as his representative works. His works, especially his poems, simple, na?ve, innocent, yet weighty and profound, have neither unnatural trace nor dazzling skills, moving and stirring us with its natural power. They are a show of grandeur in simplicity, which reminds us of the great Book of Songs, the source of Chinese poetry.
Chan Sirisuwat’s works are mostly published in Chinese-English bilingual, and this 108 Selected Versets, for the first time, is published in Chinese-English-German-Russian multilingual. In the postscript of the book, Mr. Chan wrote, “In Water Margin the 108 heroes and heroines were forced to go to the Liangshan by the evil society, and my 108 versets have also been forced by the social reality.” These versets are only of three or two lines or even one line, but they are a good reflection of Mr. Chan’s view of life, his world outlook, his value and his idea of art. Just as Dr. Fang Wei said, “Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s versets are direct to the inside of life with his keen eye through representations so as to refract eternity from instance and profile grandeur from miniature. In his careful diction, his texts present readers with his elaborate conception, imaginative space and profound philosophy.” What is more important is that his poems are not only works of art, but also a textbook of life.
It is known that poetry, as a special linguistic art of narration, has naturally a narrative feature. In other words, narration is an essential (normal) feature of literature. Textually, it is just a main feature of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s poems: direct to the matter, direct to his thinking, one matter mentioned as related to another, full of irony and criticism. Each poem collected in this book can be said to be real projections of realistic life or social phenomena on his soul. Since Book of Songs, Chinese poetry has formed a narrative tradition, explicit or implicit. Seemingly, the “prose-poetry” of the poets in the Song Dynasty poets originated from Han Yu of the Tang Dynasty; in fact, it can trace its source from Du Fu’s poems. It is only that Han Yu developed that style to its artistic summit. Without a detailed analysis, from his works we can find that the realistic poet Du Fu’s poems have an implicit influence on him. From this viewpoint, we can say that Mr. Chan’s poems have directed his deep and simple way of narration to the source of Chinese poetry, the great Book of Songs.
Now we can clearly feel that Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, a prominent poet and writer from Bangkok, Thailand, is having a dialog of heart and art to the world.
Hence this preface.
At the Moonless Tower, Chongqing, Oct., 14, 2007
（Tr. Yang Xu)
(About the author: Zhang Zhi, his pen name is Diablo, chairman of The International Poetry Translation and Research Centre, director of the Archives Centre for International Poets, and executive editor-in-chief of The World Poets Quarterly)
Great Achievements in Tranquility
— Comment on In the Season Fragrant with Durians by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat
By Zhang Zhizhong
In the Season Fragrant with Durians is the second book I translated for Mr. Chan Sirisuwat; the first book entitled Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat (Chinese-English) was published by The Earth Culture Press in June, 2007, which continues to draw world-wide attention. If Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat (Chinese-English) is his anthology of poems, In the Season Fragrant with Durians is his anthology of poems, prose, as well as a novelette. When I translate Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat (Chinese-English), Mr. Chan and I are spiritually attracted to each other without seeing each other; but when I begin to translate In the Season Fragrant with Durians, I, together with Dr. Zhang Zhi, executive editor-in-chief of The World Poets Quarterly (Multilingual), have been to Bangkok of Thailand by air in August, 2007 under the invitation of Mr. Chan, and we have a merry meeting in the season fragrant with durians. Mr. Chan is a person of passions, and he promptly composes a poem entitled In the Season Fragrant with Durians:
In the season fragrant with durians / My friends come from afar / In the yacht on the Chaophraya River of Thailand / We raise our glasses / To celebrate the harvest in human life / To congratulate / The sincerity and permanence of friendship / The sunshine shines everywhere / The future is boundless and the ground is full of hope
Back to China, I also write a ci-poem entitled Riverside Daffodils?Night Yachting on the Chaophraya River:
Fiery trees and silvery flowers illumine the night, / Heavy traffic here and there, / Makes people slow of steps to loiter. / Like the United Nations, / The languages people speak differ. // The cool wind wafts spells after spells, / The colorfully-lit yacht sails on the river. / Dishes are sumptuous and music celestial aboard. / Glasses in hands we are happy to cheer, / To meet each other now and here!
Through the association, I get to know more thoroughly about Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. In 1931 he was born in Houliang Village of Baoluo Town, Wenchang City, Hainan Province of China. At 18, he graduated from Practical Senior Accountants’ School and began to do business work. At 31, he went to Hong Kong by train via Luohu, pocketing only three Hong Kong dollars; more than ten years afterwards, he came to Thailand for personal development. At 48, he founded Prosper Co.，Ltd. with his saved 160,000 bahts. His company develops quickly and, by 1997, Mr. Chan has been reputed as King of Potpourris in Thailand. After he gains his fortune and fame, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat does not forget his native town and people, and he makes investment in Hainan time and again, for which he was awarded the prize of “Exemplary Overseas Chinese” 1998 and the title of “Overseas Chinese Who Loves Hainan” by the People’s Government of Hainan Province in 2006. When he was at 65, Mr. Chan realizes that it is not worthwhile to strive for money all his life, and he transfers all the management of his business to his wife: he abandons business for literary creation. Up to now, he has published 13 books, including poems, prose, novels, and autobiography. Some of his works have been translated into many foreign languages including Thai, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Romanian, Greek, German and Japanese, etc., and are published internationally on different newspapers and magazines. In 2005, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat attended the 19th World Congress of Poets, and was awarded the prize of “World Poet”. In April, 2007, he was conferred with the honorary degree of doctor of literature by The International Poetry Translation and Research Centre. In the same year, for “Recognition and Appreciation of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s Excellence in Poetry for World Brotherhood and Peace”, he was awarded the certificate and medal by United Poets Laureate International (USA). In September 3, 2007, he was awarded “International Letters-Arts Prize” by International Society of Greek Writers & Arts. In October, 2007, he is the IPTRC candidate for Nobel Prize in Literature 2008.
As entrepreneur, Mr. Chan braves the world with three Hong Kong dollars, and he has achieved much and finally established himself; as poet-writer, he examines the world with detached eyes, while writing down what he sees, what he experiences, what he feels, what he realizes, as well as his successful experience in business and literary creation, what he realizes, by his works, Mr. Chan is instructing and influencing the young generations both domestic and overseas. From an entrepreneur to a writer, Mr. Chan’s human life is legendary and unique. In an epoch when money worship is so rampant and belles-lettres is so weakened, how can a person worship pure literature instead of mammon? Filled with deep esteem for Mr. Chan, I compose the following ci-poem entitled Pride of Fishermen?To Mr. Chan Sirisuwat:
Born into a common family in Hainan, / With three dollars you leave your hometown, / For fourteen years you earn your bread in Hong Kong. / To seek and search left and right, / You come to Thailand for personal development. // With 160 thousand baht you become a boss, / Your farsightedness makes you King of Potpourris. / You donate money from time to time, / Detached from gain and fame, / Most praiseworthy is, for literature, you abandon business.
Yes, without a simple life, without a goal in life; without inner tranquility, without brilliant achievements. Mr.Chan Sirisuwat is neither haughty nor humble, neither proud nor priggish; instead, he is sincere, modest, magnanimous, and natural. He lives a simple life, and he realizes his goal in life; he is tranquil of heart, and he achieves brilliant achievements. During our stay in Thailand, Mr. Chan, not without a sense of humor, said to us: “Since you come here, I share your felicity and enjoy myself together with you. When I have no friends here, I just have homely meals at home. ”
We can say without any hesitation that, even as a businessman, Mr. Chan is a businessman who possesses a Confucian heart. Therefore, when his business is at its peak, he tears himself away from the business circle to devote himself to reading and writing, so as to realize his dream to be a poet in his childhood. He is free from the worldliness of businessmen and the loftiness of literary men; he persists his own ways and is faithful to himself. The heart of a harp and the courage of a sword, the bone of a cavalier and the affection of Don Juan — this is the very portrait of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat.
In the Season Fragrant with Durians consists of three parts: part I “poems” includes 20 short poems, 12 quatrains, and 28 minipoems; part II “prose” contains 13 pieces; and part III is a novelette entitled Reunion. In spite of poems, of prose, or of novelette, Mr. Chan’s writings share the same gist: through them the author’s philosophy is revealed.
Firstly, Mr. Chan’s literary works are overflowing with a deep love for his mother. In the childhood, tribulation is his teacher, and his mother sets a good example for him. Lines quoted from In Remembrance of Mother — A sonnet:
Winter clothes are repaired and repaired / My cloth shoes are mended to conceal my toes / During the Spring Festival, the meat is sliced into paper / Which is given to the other members during the meal / Poverty fails to lower your head or depress you / You are not sorrowful nor do you shed tears / Living in present days you are gazing far afar / With your pure water of spirit / With your sweat and blood you irrigate your children / How fortitudinous how benevolent how noble
The influence of Mother on her child is deep and lasting through all his life. The poet expresses thankfulness to his mother:
It is your loving-kindness and fortitude / That has brought about my resplendence of today (The Photo Hanging on the Wall)
As a saying goes: “like father, like son.” But here I want to say: “like mother, like son.”
In addition to a deep love for his mother, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat also extols friendship. For example, the quatrain of Friendship:
Is presented / To my dearest friends / And it / Links my heart and those of my friends
Besides, some of his prose pieces, such as Affections, Simon, In Remembrance of Zi Fan, etc., also reveal the lasting friendship between him and his friends. As an overseas Chinese, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat nurtures a deep love for his motherland, as in the quatrain Stele of Poetry:
Under the tree of fine-leaved white bombe / I leave my poem / And my heart / Is forever engraved on the soil of my motherland
The poet loves life and treasures life, as in his minipoem entitled Life:
We have only one life to live / Whose value lies in being of use
The poet does not forget to express his love for the great nature:
Thankfulness to the favor of great nature / Truthfulness kindness and beauty shall be enjoyed in human life (May)
Reunion, a novelette about the love and marriage of Swallow, sings high praises of pure love, through which the author’s attitude toward love and marriage is revealed.
Besides, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat pours his deep love for the common people into his works. Buying Non-Staple Foodstuffs, a piece of prose writing, describes the deep affection between the author and the street pedlars through daily association. A quotation from the piece: “Another reason for my buying from the peddlers is that I can approach the common people and help the poor: when their vegetables and food are sold out, they can go home earlier to look after the family.” Here, the Bodhisattva and benevolence of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is shown through minor details.
Reverie, a minipoem by him, is well written:
It rains gold / Into the pockets of the poor /The sunshine braises grasshoppers into fertilizer
Such a “reverie” is tinctured with the poetic romance of Li Po the great Tang poet, while not lacking the depression and disquietness of Du Fu another great Tang poet. Expressions such as “it rains gold” and “the sunshine braises grasshoppers” show the poet’s flight of imagination. The three lines of such a minipoem are so meaningful and connotative, which are suggestive of the famous lines by Du Fu: “Could I get mansions covering ten thousand miles, / I’d house all scholars poor and make them beam with smiles”. (My Cottage Unroofed by Autumn Gales) In Reverie, the author’s concern and sympathy for the poor is expressed in so few words. How wonderful a poem it is!
To sum up, love for his mother, love for his friends, love for his motherland, love for life, love for the great nature, and love for common people, all constitute Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s philanthropism. In Search, the poet describes the love in his inner heart:
The universe is still boundless / The earth is still incomparably huge / The love buried deep / Lies still and silent / In my heart / It is moving silently
Moreover, the loving heart of the poet never changes, like the deep-rooted Root:
In spite of lashes of winds and rains / I hold fast / Regardless of day or night / I never change my ground
The poet’s philanthropism leads to the poet’s optimism, which is eloquently embodied in Whispers of the Swallow:
I am flying in the high sky / Flying between the clouds and the ocean // I build my nest of love atop the mountain / Which is unattainable far from the mortal world / My song lacerates the clouds / Strong and sturdy I am singing to my heart’s content // Singing the beautiful nature / Singing the value of human life / Singing the force of pure love / Singing the brilliant tomorrow // Broad-minded and magnanimous I am flying freely / Away from the turbidity and hypocrisy of the world
Obviously, the poet compares himself to a swallow and, toward human life, he is always positive and optimistic.
Though “away from the turbidity and hypocrisy of the world”, the poet does not isolate himself from the mortal world. Instead of overlooking various social evils and unhealthy practices, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat does not hesitate to criticize existing evils and social wickedness. In Celebrity, he thus anatomizes the so-called “celebrities”:
Once on the operating table / Seen through X rays / They are nothing but a sheet made from the shit of elephant / Which cannot stand a single blow / It so happens
Unbelievable and Unimaginable is a piece of prose which focuses on some social nabobs who, in order to show off their wealth, spend millions of dollars for a single sumptuous meal. The author is critical of this practice. “Oh my god! Are you sleeping?” The anger and contempt of the author manifest themselves in the very ending sentence of the piece. If Unbelievable and Unimaginable criticizes social malpractices in Thailand, Hometown Youths, another piece of prose by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, involves youths of the author’s hometown: they are lovers of vanity instead of lovers of books. Swanking, a minipoem by Mr. Chan, shows his penetrating insight into this phenomenon:
Glory and greatness is packed with paper / In the furnace / All turns into a wisp of smoke
For the egoists, the poet warns them in a minipoem entitled Self:
If self-centered / What finally remains is nobody but the very self
The Leech, a piece of prose, criticizes the leech-like tricksters and swindlers, while warning the reader: “When going out, we shall be wary of the wolves and alert to the leeches.” World-Amazing Words, another piece of prose, lashes at the unfair means adopted in the literary circle in order to distinguish oneself. According to the author, “Some scholars, …resort to such world-amazing words to make a noise in the world. Lamentable it is!”
In “the world of turbidity and hypocrisy”, the author is the sworn enemy of corrupt officials, and he has accordingly produced a host of works, such as Different Breeds — Speculation on Some Corrupt Officials Being Killed as Reported in the Newspaper, The Will of a Corrupt Official (poems) and Heredity (prose), lashing at corrupt officials in the present society. In a poem entitled Wooden Shoes — To Current Corrupt Officials, the poet warns those officials:
Don’t beat drum / Don’t be priggish / Sooner or later / You’ll be rejected into the dustbin of history
The society is a hodgepodge, where people differ from people. Some are “celebrities” who only have a shining appearance, some are haughty upstarts who show off their wealth, some are young lovers of vanity instead of lovers of books, some are self-centered egoists, some are swindlers of bravado, some are literary men who establish themselves by hook or crook, and some are corrupt officials each trying to cheat the other. It is just these people that make “the world of turbidity and hypocrisy”.
In the face of hypocrisy, of turbidity, and of darkness, the poet’s attitude toward life is positive and optimistic; his optimism is not in the least weakened. For example, his minipoem entitled In the Sunshine:
It is a dream forever / For darkness to enshroud the earth
Another example is a quatrain entitled Dark Clouds:
Try to cover up the ground / But all in vain / Don’t flaunt your superiority / You are nothing under a spell of wind
Mr. Chan’s optimism is further illustrated in the finishing sentence of his prose work entitled The Revelation of My Son:
The backwardness, darkness, and the corruption of the society shall not be exaggerated; in the sunshine, human beings are progressing and full of hope.
In general, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has philanthropism as well as optimism. If it is alleged that philanthropism leads to optimism, then optimism further leads to happiness. This is testified in his poetic lines:
To sum up human life / Happiness is in your hand (Reach Out Your Hand)
Then how can happiness be achieved? Mr. Chan’s interpretation of happiness is quite edifying: “Where does happiness lie? It lies in self-content.” (Happiness, a piece of prose) Self-content? Is it easy? Classic is another quotation from him: “Only when people are through hard days can they know what is real happiness!” (The Table of Mid-autumn Festival, a piece of prose)
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, of course, is no stranger to hardships, and he rests on self-content. Therefore, he is happy, and he is optimistic. All this originates from his heart of philanthropism. He writes in Confession:
The seeds of love are sown / In order for them to grow in fertile field / Sweet fruits are shared with others / In order for life to be more meaningful / A beautiful picture is unfolded / In order for human life to be more resplendent / As for the drifting clouds of fame and gain / Let them be gone with the wind
This may be regarded as the manifesto of the poet. When the heart of a person is overflowing with love, particularly with universal love, while the drifting clouds of fame and gain are scattered — his heart, can it lack tranquility? In this perfect frame of mind, it is no wonder that Mr. Chan Sirisuwat achieves so much.
In the better half of his life, Mr. Chan has been engaged in business and, in the vale of his years, he abandoned business for literature. In the two stages of his life, he has made brilliant achievements. He remarks: “Looking back, I find the two stages of my life have not been spent in vain, and my heart is filled with confidence and comfort.” (Postscript of In the Season Fragrant with Durians) In spite of engagement in business for the most part of his lifetime, Mr. Chan is not contaminated by the stink of money; in spite of striking achievements in literary creation through more than ten years, he still remains his very self; in spite of talents in both business and literature, he is still free from being proud and priggish. He once said: “my wealth ensures me the life of an aristocrat, but I’m always a plebeian.”
An aristocrat who has a plebeian heart — this is the very portrait of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. “The style is the man.” Thus says the French writer Buffon. But here I want to say: “the man is the style.” A simple and easy person is sure to write simply and easefully. Therefore, the writing style of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat can be thus summarized: plain language, no embellishment, true content, and natural feelings.
Mr. Chan refuses works of mannerism and mystification. In a poem entitled The Sail — On Reading Misty Poems by Misty Poets, he expresses his puzzlement:
The sail / Where are you bringing me?
In his piece of prose entitled How Much Is Time? The author’s criticism on misty poems is more relentless: “If time is spent in reading such poems, how much is time?”
The aim in literary creation by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, instead of utilitarian, lies in instructing, influencing, and edifying the readers for a better future. Consequently, literary creation, for Mr. Chan, is his spiritual comfort, as well as his way of living.
All in all, poems or prose or novelette, Mr. Chan’s literary creation reflects his insight into human life as well as his philosophical speculations, which are value judgment made by him in tranquility after he is through human cares and social snares. Therefore, works by him are unique, profound, and instructive to the large circle of readers. Obviously, two themes predominate his works: philanthropism and optimism, for which his works never fail to bring the readers something moving and nothing hopeless.
In 2007, when the season is fragrant with durians, we are yachting on the Chaophraya River of Thailand together with Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. It is hoped that, in the future years when it is again fragrant with durians, we could read more works by him.
(About the author: Zhang Zhizhong, vice dean of the Foreign Languages Department of Zhongyuan University of Technology, English professor, and vice-chairman of The International Poetry Translation and Research Centre)
Eternity through an Instant
— On Minipoems by Chan Sirisuwat
By Fang Wei Fan Xiaotang
Minipoems are poetry within three lines, which can express deep and profound poetic thought in succinct language. A critic says: “Minipoems are dainty mini-sculpture in the realm of poetry.” And minipoems by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, just penetrate surfaces of things to reach the essence of life with sharp eyes, while reflecting eternity through an instant, showing magnificence through minuteness. Between choice words and careful lines, the text presents to the reader ingenious conception, vacant artistic conception, and deep philosophy.
1. Ingenious Conception
Limited space of minipoems entails the poet to display infinity in limited room, while projecting concentrated inspiration and widom under the pen. To exhibit almost perfect poetic language and poetic thought in such limited space, the poet has to develop a new style of his own through ingenious conception. Minipoems by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat are like a lightsome butterfly dancing in the poetic space of meandering paths, suffusing the reader with fragrance all the way. “Greenery as the background / Various colors of red, yellow, green and white / Performance in the nude” (The Season of Bumper Fruitage The Season of Bumper Fruitage). From the angle of photographing, the poem unfolds a scene of harvest, which is original. Various colors are enumerated against “greenery as the background”, while the word “performance” eventually brings the scene of harvest into action. Therefore, boundless view is born between “non-action” and “action”. “Gold fills the pockets of the poor / The sun steams locusts into fertilizer / To fertilize all crops”. This poem entitled Fantasy reads like two antagonistic objects which are closely related to each other; this impossible relation attests the impracticability in Fantasy, as well as the worry when fantasy can not be realized. The Drum: “Is deafening when being played / And is a stool after the curtain falls”. A sharp contrast between the platform and behind-the-scenes thoroughly interprets the image of “drum”; mightiness perisists in the terse two lines. While The Rain: “Is sought after by the soil of drouth / While loathed by ladies of fashion”. A sharp constrast is made between the angle of “the soil” or “the farmer” and the angle of “the ladies”, and two different attitudes towards “the rain” are shown. In this “difference” contain the poet’s speculation, embarrassment, worry, and helplessness in life. History: “Is a note taken by people in power”. With only one line or seven characters, the poem is remarkably original and forceful, reaching the essence of “history”; here, a swift and violent force is picked up to get rid of all deceptive ornament in a split second, unfurling the naked inside without mercy.
2. Vacant and Dainty Artistic Conception
As a special text form, minipoems not only seek to find the exact word, but also try to represent the beautiful artistic conception in poetry — to find a pivot to burst the lucency of thought as much as possible; hence let fragrant poetic thought linger in concentrated narrow space, and the artistic conception presents itself in a few words. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s poetry creation is not limited to deep consideration and selection of poetic words, but he is constant in pursuit of artistic conception in poetry. “Take French leave / And leave ageing behind” (Days). The poet has personified “days”— they maybe like faeries sailing away and “taking French leave”, without leaving a single word. However, after their departure, time brings a great change to the world, which is an eyeful of agedness. This poem entitled Days has only two lines or nine characters, but it triggers off boundless poetic space, where readers are immersed in flimsy and ethereal flight of thoughts, shuttling between the past, the present, and the future, and a complicated and confusing illusory artistic conception hence continues and extends. Stars: “Are tiny / Yet eternal”. “Tiny” and “eternal” are, in a sense, opposing and contrastive, which fills the poem with tension. And the common image of “stars” is endowed with a profound meaning. While looking up the “stars”, the readers’ train of thought is roaming in the distant and ethereal artistic conception in poetry, while sighing with emotion and losing in metaphysical speculation. “Braves waves and billows / To charge ahead / Laden with hopes” (The Ship). This poem unfolds a spectacular view which is full of hope; it is an artistic conception which is spectacular and exquisite, and is an interpretation of “there will be a time of riding the wind and cleaving the waves, when I will sail a sail of clouds to cross the sea”.
3. Deep and Incisive Philosophy
Minipoems are undoubtedly the poetic art to catch inspiration and to present eternity through an instant, which agglomerates the poet’s wisdom, as well as the poet’s philosophical realization of the great nature, of daily life, and of human life. Minipoems by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, simple in language and profound in thought, are soaked with unique opinions about life, which further lead to deep and incisive philosophical speculation. “Whether or not a good poem / It is written by yourself” (Human Life). Here, “human life” is compared to a poem, which is written by no other than “yourself”, hence the quality of the poem is dertermined by “yourself”. Herein lies a strong consciousness between “selfhood” and “autonomy”. Life: “Shall be lived meaningful and plain / Not lived long and in vain”. In two simple lines, penetrating judgment is made clear; the meaning of life is interpreted thoroughly and plainly — “life” more needs width instead of length. “When fame and gain is valued weighty like a mountain / The valuer is as light as a feather” (Fame and Gain). Through contrasting “mountain” and “feather”, the poet’s careful consideration about attitude toward life is revealed. While valuing “fame and gain”, “the valuer” is already “as light as a feather”, and is vassal to “fame and gain”. The Fog: “Can cover up all things temporarily” is similar to Mai Mang’s Fog: “Can you cover up all things forever?” (published in Poetry Periodical, No. 10, 1979). The two minipoems are slightly different in diction but equally satisfactory in poetic effect — all things covering up truth are weak and temporary, and truth is going to reveal itself. Soul-stirring force is contained in simple words. “From the mouth of a gentleman is gold / From the mouth of a mean person is trash” (Promise). To examine “a gentleman” and “a mean person” in the light of such an invariable as “promise”, their differences are easily shown.
Minipoems by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat are freshly simple, finely conceived, and rich in content. Boundless poetry is contained in limited space; eternity is captured through an instant, and his unique and profound poetic space is accordingly exhibited. His minipoems leave much aftertaste to the reader.
(About the Authors: Fang Wei, doctor of literature at the Literature Department of Shandong Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, and specially-engaged researcher at Shandong Arts College.
Fan Xiaotang, female, master in modern and contemporary Chinese literature of Shandong Normal University)
Mimipoems by Chan Sirisuwat
(from Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat)
Are used by lovers for courtship
By friends to show friendship
And by corrupt officials for self-defense
The End of the Bank
The end of the sea is the bank
And the end of the bank
Is the joys and sorrows of human life
Slick and sly
But in a chafing dish
The fate of eels is the same with that of ginger and shallot
Insect Chirping in a Rainy Night
Some are singing loudly
Some are chirping feebly
But they all hush and hide at the sunrise
The lying corpses are insensitive
To your cursing and swearing at gravestones
So why not sing your favorite ditties
Are suffering and shedding tears
You sacrifice yourselves
To enlighten other people
Is indiscriminate in anchoring ships
In spite of different tonnages
20 tons or 200,000 tons
Head uplifted and tail wagging
The kite is arrogant and domineering
But its fate is in the hand of the kite-flyer
The Season of Bumper Fruitage
Greenery as the background
Various colors of red, yellow, green and white
Performance in the nude
I live by self-confidence instead of the dream
I tread on the earth
In no need of any dream
When into power to call black white who dares to deny it
But once out of power
Everybody says black is black white is white
With a protective shell you run amuck but do not tyrannize
Those who run amuck and tyrannize are
Nobody but human beings
Their anti-corrupt speech draws stormy applauses
Peacocks in the day
And fleas in the night
Gold fills the pockets of the poor
The sun steams locusts into fertilizer
To fertilize all crops
Braves waves and billows
To charge ahead
Laden with hopes
The Sand Beach (1)
Encloses the sea in silence
Braving the lashes and impingement of waves
It remains calm and unmoved
Whether or not a good poem
It is written by yourself
Shall be lived meaningful and plain
Not lived long and in vain
Fame and Gain
When fame and gain is valued weighty like a mountain
The valuer is as light as a feather
Discarded to the roadside
It will not be sweet-smelling after one hundred years
Is buried deep into the earth
And is going to see the light of day
Is sought after by the soil of drouth
While loathed by ladies of fashion
A locked door guards against theft
And a locked brain creates a puppet
Is a pile of dirt when overlooked
To rival in height please come hither
Responsible and self-disciplined
They never go beyond their boundary
The Sand Beach (2)
In spite of the powerful power of ocean waves
I still remain my very self
Crows heavenward while wearing a red crest
But will be killed as sacrificial offering when time matures
Give me a red spot
And you, a wound
Cannot be measured
But can be anatomized
From the mouth of a gentleman is gold
From the mouth of a mean person is trash
Is deafening when being played
And is a stool after the curtain falls
Take French leave
And leave ageing behind
Has recourse to the sun in darkness
And is shy to see sunshine in broad daylight
All depends on the wayfarer
Is firewood in the hands of a farmer
And becomes curio in the hands of an artist
Are bright and beautiful
But are done once soaked in water
In lashing against vices and evils
Is mightier than a bullet
Can only lock up bigotry
But fails to lock up the soul
The heredity of your gene
Is best liked by imbecile officials
Is to lick up vices and evils with the tongue
Can cover up all things temporarily
Sacrifices itself for the sake of the lookers
Is the result from losing light
Is a note taken by people in power
Is moved by other people
Is nowhere to be seen when light is turned off
Is merely a transitory spectacle
Rhythm of Life
— Reading The Song of Life by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat
By Zhang Yaxin
Poetry is the rhythm of life, which leaves sentimental notes for life. The song echoes between the sky and the earth, and mortal mettle persists.
The Song of Life by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is a poetry collection of importance. It is my feeling that his poem Confession seems to be the preface of the poetry collection The Song of Life. The lyricist seems to be talking about himself, but he is actually talking about the world and the lovely life. The poet is broad-minded. For example: “I love the sun / Which contributes light and heat to human beings / I love the ocean / Which has a great bosom and is surging with high-rising waves / And it is in no way selfish / I love the mountain / Which suggests the loftiness of virtues / And it does not bow to money and vanity”. This is the way the poet faces the world: he contains everything with his “love”; “the sun”, “the sea”, and “high mountains” constitute his personality. His selflessness leads to affection; brilliant splendor, wide waves, lofty spirits, all contribute to self-image. Therefore, the whole poetry collection seems like “a moral song”.
The poet has retained his picturesque years, which is a vivid portraiture of his tasting life, trecking in life, enjoying life, and struggling in life. Thus, the rhythm of life under his pen is as described in Human Life:
Human life is a poem
Full of vitality love joys
Each line is glittering with happiness
Each word shall be retained
Human life is like a flower
Which is gorgeous and brilliant when abloom
But it can sear and wither
Therefore it is valuable and priceless
The limitedness of time, the richness of life, and the charm glittering from the passions of life are so beautiful and touching that we can not help the momentary impulse to retain it. The world is enriched if we embrace the world; this is the “internalization” of the world, as well as the “objectivization” of personality.
Love of life, love of human life, then the years are like a song. Take Ode to the Root for example: “Buried deep into the earth / You provide water and nutrition to your trunk / You never show yourself / Nor fish for fame and compliments / Let alone leaving marks of your annual rings / Silently you dig into the depth of earth / While singing a song of devotion / With your own life”. It so happens that the “root” is the source of force! In the place where people can not see, “the root” nestles in the earth, while dedicating itself in silence; as Lao Tzu says: “a great sound is inaudible, and a great image is formless”. It leads to the realm of “action and inaction”. Here, loftiness in the poet’s mind is originally formless; owing to this, poetry is like running water: seemingly running deep, but it is eventually transformed into winds and rainbows, and it constitutes the root of life and the headspring of soul.
This is a spiritual grace, a lyrical tone, as well as the style of life. The pattern is like Wind Atop the Mountain, which is alone and detached: “wind atop the mountain / blows hither and thither / from south to north / under the sunshine / there is no block / it streams with white clouds in daytime / and it is amorous with the moon during nighttime / how free it is”. This style only belongs to the brave, and the key point lies in “the free way” of the lyricist. The “root” is in darkness, the “wind” is on high; in the void of the great air or in the place of sunshine, there exists an expedite realm. Then both the moon and the clouds are amorous, and a majestic tone pervades therein. The poet is good at revealing the lofty realm in lifestyle which is often neglected by people. As a result, both his overtness and covertness are thought-provoking, owing to their uniqueness.
All this can not dispense with his value of life. Take Calendar for example:
Crowded with record of human life
Torn away day after day
Time of life
Elapses from day to day
People are also following you
Toward dusk from day to day
I can not affix the torn page of calendar
I can not revert the flow of time
But I only wish to tear down the calendar slowly
To let time disappear gradually
To prolong life gradually
To push happiness to the extremity of life
The lyricist maintains his composure, but the alternation of the sun and the moon is the rhythm of life. To treasure life, we must start from treasuring time. The “slow” movement expresses the poet’s valuing and tasting of time, and it is the unexceptional helpless feeling for life — the finiteness of time in human life entails that human life is like water which runs never to return. Life is short and bitter; as philosophers say: existence and time are one.
To treasure life means to treasure all valuable things in life. At this point, An Old Walking Stick — In memory of Mother is a most touching poem, particularly the last stanza: “Mother O Mother / Your son is holding the old walking stick / As if holding your hands and again in your bosom / How can your son repay you / When flowers wither / And my life comes to its end / I will put this old walking stick / Beside me / When raging fire is flaming and burning / Let this old walking stick / Serve as my guide / To bring me back to your side / In order for me to nestle in your bosom / Forever like in my childhood”. Cherishing sentiment and profound literary thought; let poetry coexist with kindness and beauty! Touching feelings, through the image of “walking stick”, reveal the psychological status of “attachment” and “dependence” — it so happens that the “walking stick” not only accompanies the poet’s mother, but it also leaves the fingerprints. It is common practice for things to remind people of their users. In a sense, the image of Mother symbolizes the poet’s very source of life.
Hometown is similar to this, in which the poet thus says:
Hometown, O my hometown
The place where Mother was born
Even though Mother is no more
In spite of poverty of my hometown
My love is still deep
For the place where Mother was born
The poem is like a song; his love of Mother and his nostalgia all lead to the very source of life. His kind heart and his moral cultivation lend depth to his “love”. By and large, where do I come determines who I am. This root-finding thought is the best feeling in human kind — ethics and love of Mother leave a bone-deep impression upon consanguinity. The poet’s Looking Northward at the Divine Land also expresses his touching cultural spirit: “Looking northward at the Divine Land / In the remote place / It is season to transplant rice seedlings / The roamer is in expectation from night to night / When to return when to return / That is the place where my parents grow up / My homeland / Where there is the well from which I have drunk water / And there are my most endearing people” ……The lyricist thinks about his ancestors, and he is immersed in nostalgia; the water in the well, and the paddy in the field, all leave traces of an extending life! His nostalgia, in his family belonging, has already been converted into the eyes of expectation. Vagrancy brings about solicitude, and expectation comes from distance. Thus, poetry and inspiration surege naturally in the heart.
Likewise, the child’s birthday is the “future” which is correspondent with the “past”. In May the 17th, the poet sings with emotion: “the sun illuminates the road of future / the white clouds set up a bridge / the wind gently sweeps away dust along the road / to cover my proud son of Heaven / with fresh flowers / sailing hither from another world / May the 17th / a bright red rose / a riddle in life which is hard to guess” …the word “sailing” expresses his expectation, and life is beautiful. “Proud son of Heaven” connotes the poet’s longing for the “future”. The sunshine, white clouds, red flowers, light breeze, all decorate the road of life. “A riddle in life which is hard to guess”, therefore, is directed to the unknown “future”!
Through the rhythm of life, the theme of “love” is sung. In Love — the Only Eternity in Life, the lyricist tells his wife:
I clasp white clouds in my bosom
But they depart stealthily
I lock the sunshine in a box
But when night comes it is all darkness
O my dear
Only your love is eternal
Your love makes life substantial
Makes life full of vitality
Your love is forever forever in my heart
Your love is the only eternity in my life
Time flows on, and love is eternal. With love, people fear darkness no more. Under the sunshine of love, generation after generation of offspring carry forward the cause and forge ahead into the future. In this way, the loving heart can be passed down, and the history of human breings is inexhaustible. Therefore, for us, “love” is the symbol of “vitality”, is the source of life source, and is the sun shining on each heart, which brings inexhaustible energy to human spirit.
Love is the beginning of life, as well as the end of life. The poet says to “stars”: “why do you fix your stare on me / my youth is spent / my hair is gray / what is left / in only beautiful memory / do you know”. Yes, people all say bright eyes are like stars, but the poet here says stars are like eyes; here lies his originality. His diaglogue with stars thus begins: I may lose my youth, I may lose my black hair, but O, the “beautiful memory” still persists in the mind. All in all, with love we have dream; our life is not spent in vain so long as we own a beautiful past.
In Heartsongs, the poet says: “to put loving heart on the bosom / to press the bosom closely / to put songs into the pocket / to pinch the pocket closely / the road of life is remote / but it is in the blink of an eye // the world is originally beautiful / life is varied and colorful / do not forget / to print your footprints on the road you have covered / to write your memory on the paper / to bring love back”. The lyricist asks, through selection, to treasure all valuable things. By and large, the value lies actually in the process of life! Behind a string of footsteps, a wisp of song, a loving heart, and a page of diary, there are passions of life …Of course, this is a passage of words of critical importance; of course, it is a most important thing. Heartsongs is like aphorism in The Dream of Red Mansions: “do not lose and do not forget, and you enjoy eternal life and prosperity”. Then, Days of Love tells us:
Time goes by drop by drop
Love connects string by string
Under the night sky studded with stars
Love is transparent like water
In the ocean suring with undulating waves
Love is steadfast
In the secluded mountain
Love is firm and strong like a rock
Love extends along time
Extends and extends in life
The time experienced by human life is not merely “physical” time, but also “psychological” time and emotional time. It is “love” that turns time into song-like andante. And life has its own rhythm and the beat of “love”. Then, the poet, throughout his life, can dance in the starry sky, sing at the sea, and be incarnated in the great earth… The cadence in time is the nonstop heartsongs of the poet. Actually, what is lovable is valuable and imperishable! Another poem entitled Untitled seems to be the theme of the poetry collection: “Do not sing to the rock / Which does not appreciate your songs / Do not reach your hands for floating clouds / Which never collect anything for you / To experience mortal sweetness and bitterness / Use your taste / To perceive light and shade in the world / Use your heart / Wipe off your tears / Cast away your sorrows / In order for your songs / To reverberate across the world” — the purpose of poetry composition is not to cast pearls before swine, but to comprehend life, to feel heart with heart, to express one’s emotions, and to encourage people. The task of a poet is to give spiritualism to the world, to give true feelings to the earth, to give rhythm to the years, and to give songs to life…The artistic pursuit of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is to suffuse the world with justice, to fill heaven and earth with happiness, and to forever retain poetry!
Early spring, 2004
(About the author: Zhang Yaxin, vice director and researcher of the Literature Department of Shandong Provincial Academy of Social Sciences)
Life Contemplations and Social Sentiments
— Reading The Song of Life by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat
By Yuan Zhongyue
As for Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, I first know the person before I read his poems. On September 19, 2004, I attended the 1st International Forum of Celebrated Experts on Chinese Poetics which was held in Chongqing, and I shared the same room with Mr. Zhu Xianshu, who introduced me to Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. Whether at the meeting or during the tour, we three were always together and formed a good company. When I presented Mr. Chan my collection of criticisms Poetics of the Heart, he gave me his poetry collection entitled The Song of Life as a gift. I heard from Mr. Zhu that he started his literary career after abandoning his successful business at an advanced age; besides poems, he also wrote autobiography and short stories. He does this neither for fame nor for benefit, since he has already been detached from all this; he only wants to enrich his life in the vale of years. As he says in Confession, “The seeds of love are sown / In order for them to grow in fertile field / Sweet fruits are shared with others / In order for life to be more meaningful / A beautiful picture is unfolded / In order for human life to be more resplendent / As for the drifting clouds of fame and gain / Let them be gone with the wind”. During my contact with him, I realize that this is his very thought, which draws me to go on reading his poems. Is poetry the man himself? The answer is yes. Poems in the collection are divided into six parts, which actually are composed of two parts: the first part is his speculation about the meaning and value of life, which is abstracted by him from his gamut of experiences; the second part is agglomeration of love for the society and the universe, which originates from cares and concerns around him.
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s experience of life is closely related to time: time is limitless and life is finite; life continues in time and ends in time. Therefore, we shall first treasure time, so as to treasure life. The more we approach the termination of life, the more we sense it. The poet compares life to a poem, in which each word is important like a pearl, and “each word shall be retained”; again he compares life to a flower, which is to wither and sear sooner or later, “therefore it is valuable and priceless” (Human Life). Time goes by never to return, and he says to time: “And every inch of you I will gild / To fill in the latticework of my life / Which accompanies me to the ends of the earth” (Days). How to treasure life and time? It is not an empty word, but “to push happiness to the extremity of life” gradually through effective steps by steps. (Calendar)
This is the reason why, in poems, he eulogizes the tenacity of wild grasses, the pertinacity of mangrove, the dedication of pawpaw’s tree and root, as well as greatness of tiny creatures such as fireflies and frogs, etc. From these works, I can taste his life experience which is rich and tortuous, proud and painstaking. His autobiography Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars can be regarded as the best footnote to these poems. He holds in contempt the goldfish for people to view and the rainbow which is transitory. It is his belief that “the true meaning of life / lies in uprightness incorruptibility and dedication” (Warning to the World). He says “what I pursue is timeless light and heat” (The Rainbow). He thinks the way he does, and he writes the way he thinks; in spite of his carelessness of artistic form, his poems make delightful and truthful reading. The sweat and tears he shed during his struggling for existence and life are not superfluous for the success of his poetry.
Another moving part in Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s poems is remembrance for his mother, who has done so much for the family and her children but, when her children are grown and can ensure her a comfortable life, she leaves the world quietly. It is lamentable to think about the pains she has taken throughout her life. This anguishing feeling is expressed through each line and each word in six poems including Mother. The ticktack of the clock reminds him of his mother; the sparrows pecking freely at the food remind him of his mother; when he returns home, even a blade of grass, a tree, or a doorsill remind him of his mother. The poet’s missing for his mother is boundless. An Old Walking Stick is the most touching piece. The stick is left as a memorial by his mother when she returns to Hainan Island after staying for three months in Thailand. The poet places it beside his pillow, and from night to night when he examines it, it seems as if he were holding the hands of his mother, and he feels her tender warmth. At the end of the poem, the poet says that when he comes to the termination of his life, he is going to burn the stick into ashes: “Let this old walking stick / Serve as my guide / To bring me back to your side / In order for me to nestle in your bosom / Forever like in my childhood”. Thus he says to his mother. Writing here, I believe, the poet must be all tears, for I can not refrain from shedding tears now.
Love is the theme of this poetry collection. Besides love for Mother, family members, friends, he has love for his hometown, society, and nature. In Nostalgia, he imagines himself sitting atop a piece of cloud. While overlooking at each corner of the earth, he sees a patch of green field, and he knows that it is his motherland; he intends to “turn clouds into water / to rain back to my hometown”; the poet’s eagerness appears vividly between the lines. Some poems, for example, The Beggar, The Salt Buyer, The Flower Girl, etc., have expressed the poet’s concern for the weak: “when you raise high your goblet / please lower your head to look / at those who are poor and bullied” (The Beggar). The poet describes spring in not merely one poem, because spring lets people pick up again “a groundful of love / a groundful of fragrance / a groundful of hope” (Spring). He so dearly loves the bird. While feeding it oatmeal, he says to it: “please accept my kindness / the world is a big family” (The Bird). The ideal world in the heart of the poet is friendliness among people and friendliness between people and the great nature. “To replace war with peace / to replace enmity with tolerance / to replace antagonism with cooperation / how beautiful life is” (The Revelation of Football). Of course, the poet does not abandon himself to the reverie of Utopia; he ridicules his illusion that “someday I suddenly see / an earth which is as bright as a mirror” (Daydream). He curses man-made disasters such as wars and terrorism; he deprecates social evils such as wickedness, hypocrisy, avarice, and slavery; and he expresses his rage through poems: he is fiery and filled with indignation when he composes poems. He ascribes tribulations, evils, and fraud in the mortal world to “the bright sunshine / fails to shine in the beautiful mortal world” (Episode of Life). Here, the “sunshine” refers to justice, democracy, equality, and philanthropism, which entails each of us to do it bit by bit from day to day, to accumulate, and to “connect love a string after another string”; with perseverance, the “water-like transparent”, “constant”, and “rock-firm” “love” is sure to “extend and extend in life” along with the extension of time (Days of Love). When love expands and spreads, the sun is going to illuminate more and more places, and the world is going to turn more and more fair and bright. The poet is an idealist as well as a practicalist, and he is confident about the beautiful future of mankind.
This poetry collection is a manifesto of the poet’s attitude toward life. He attaches more importance to the content while not ignoring artistic form. The literary knowledge he accumulated from his childhood and his world experience throughout half a century contribute to his literary creation. When he writes, the poetic lines come beneath his pen, mixing his sweat and tears with the ink. His words of true feelings are more valuable than other artistic forms. Reading poems by him, you can not believe these lines are by a new hand in poetry who is in his advanced years. The author is adept in adoption of concrete things, which can be seen from the above-quoted lines. For example, through the doorsill where the poet nestles against the bosom of his mother and the walking stick which is used by his mother for many years, the author’s yearning and missing for his mother is expressed; when the poet attaches his thought to “wild grass”, “the bird”, “the goldfish”, and “the rainbow”, etc., the description or expression is more vivid. The poet either becomes excited at the sight of a view, and his feeling is blended into the view, or an idea or thought hits him at the sight of something, and his sentiment is expressed through the things. The conception accords with poetics. Of course, some poems are too direct, and some connotation is lost; some poems are somewhat coarse and want polishing up. Still, there is originality sometimes. For example, people tend to gasp in admiration before the immensity of the sea, but Mr. Chan Sirisuwat says, in The Sea, that the sea also has “an unsurmountable boundary”, “in spite of your grandeur / I will run a sail on your head / to come and go with great ease on your head”. If there is more such originality, his poems will be more excellent. With the passage of time, we believe the poet can make it.
January 13, 2005
(About the author: Yuan Zhongyue is professor of Shandong Normal University, Jinan, Shandong Province)
Stepping on the Andante of Confucian Rhyme
— Comment on Hope by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat
By Fang Wei
Holding Hope by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat in my hands, I am immediately attracted by the lush green and the simple and elegant cover of the book: a flock of seagulls are soaring between the azure sea and the blue sky. Set off by the bright crimson sun, their nimble posture brings vitality and expectation. Does this symbolize Mr. Chan’s tireless pursuit in the realm of life and the literary world?
At the age of 65, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat abandoned business for literature, and he abandoned himself to literary creation. Up to now, he has published many collections of poems. Hope includes his recently written poems, prose, short stories, and lectures; it is a work of profound significance, since it is the distillation of his life and thought through so many years. Reading it, we can easily feel Mr. Chan’s rich Confucianism, true personality, and pure style of poetry.
Many pieces in Hope are imbued with element of traditional Chinese culture. It is hard to imagine a Thai-Chinese who has been engaged in business for so many years can so thoroughly comprehend the pith of traditional Chinese culture, which fills us with affection and admiration. One of the thought categories in traditional Chinese culture is “benevolence”, which is the ultimate goal of human beings. In a sense, Hope is an encyclopaedia about “humanity” and “benevolence”. As Mr. Chan points out, the purpose behind his first published autobiography and collection of poems is to requite the nursing and fostering by his mother, hence the opening group of poems are in memory of his mother. In these four poems, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat respectively adopts the images of an walking stick, the doorsill, the sparrow, and a rainy night for association of ideas and retrospection, through which missing and yearning for his mother is thoroughly expressed. In the prose entitled Deity Worship, he specially mentions: “to worship one’s parents is to remember one’s parents, is to be thankful to them for their birth, fostering, raising and instruction, is remembrance, is not to forget one’s origin, and is penance for, if any, mistake of running against filial piety.” He regards filial piety as the root for personal cultivation and the basis for human love, and he goes further to interpret Confucian view on filial piety. As a successful businessman, Mr. Chan realizes through his own life experience: a wise businessman is one who is principled and has a loving heart, who stands to sense, who is easy of approach, and who contains himself. Mr. Chan appreciates the businessman he came across On the Plane, because he is modest, diligent, and he shows solicitude for the workers. In three pieces on money, he expresses his attitude toward money from the angle of dialectics: without money there is no way out, but with money not every way is out. Money is like water, which can float a ship as well as keel a ship. This is in line with the teaching of Confucius: “a noble person makes money out of the right way.” This is also the way of business for Mr. Chan Sirisuwat.
In I Write My Own Poems, Mr. Chan says: “at the age of 65, I summarize my life: shall I struggle for money all my life? ” Striving and struggling in the business circle for many years, he sees through various people and values friendship more, hence he pursues a spiritual realm of peace and harmony. He likes the famous poet William Marr, who is detached from fame and wealth and who stands aloof from the worldly affairs; he adores the Canadian poetess Lisa Carducci who has the noble virtue of selfless devotion; and he yearns towards the frame of mind which is indifferent to fame or benefit and the ideal life of returning to nature. Thoughts on the Beach of Pattaya, a group of poems, express Mr. Chan’s easeful mind when he is in harmony with the great nature. Hope, a piece of prose, describes the joy and sense of achievement brought to him through labor. Mr. Chan’s ideal in life is described in a poem entitled Life: “Shall be lived meaningful and plain / Not lived long and in vain…If fame and gain weighs like a mountain / You will be light like a feather…In case of a life with a withering heart / It is the most lamentable.” Power, wealth, and fame are outward and obvious, but with them one is not necessarily happy in his heart. It requires other attainments to enjoy a sound sleep and a good life. This Mr. Chan knows well, and he abandoned business for literature in his advanced years, to be steeped in literary creation. This makes his life more substantial and colorful, since his writing is completely faithful to his heart, and it is an outpouring of true feelings, which can bring about positive aesthetic taste and spiritual joviality. This philosophy of optimism is tinctured with detachment, and it is the life idea after contemplation, through which can get to know Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s noble and pure realm of thought and his Confucianism.
At the same time, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat carries through the abstract “benevolence” and “etiquette” into daily life and moral human relations. While remaining modest and courteous, he does not forget to examine those things which do not agree with the rites and etiquettes. Such a viewpoint is valued by him: “if a person is not trustworthy, he can achieve nothing.” He believes it is self-cultivation and virtue for a person not to take credit to himself and to be modest and faithful. In many of his works, Mr. Chan expresses his views through inverse examples. Even if it is criticism, he examines it with dispassionate attitude. In a piece of prose entitled More Than Disrespect, he points out: “disrespect means failure of personality.” Three Dishes expresses his worry about waste of food in traditional Chinese food culture. In Waxwork, differences in the light of personality and attainment is made clear through “overbearingness” and “peace of mind”. Appointment with the Leader, a short story, castigates the bruteness and shamelessness of corrupt officials in a jocular tone. The Witch Doctor sees through while jeering the deception of an empiric. In You Know Who I Am, a self-conceited, overbearing official is satirized. These people, including high officials and commonalities, unexceptionally betray their shortcomings or limitations in spite of their differences. Mr. Chan shows great concern for them, and on them he pins his great expectation and ardent hope for personality improvement and social ideal.
Furthermore, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat attaches great importance to family, since in his heart, family is the bridge to connect love and the ligament to connect warmth. It Is All Told by the Woman, a short story, tells the warmth and joy of love through some episodes of life. Under the Moon describes for us an old couple who are attached to each other. Inseparable Companion describes the happy late years of Abe and his wife. Family is a group of mimipoems, in which common images such as steps, sunshine, and iron balustrade are utilized to express quite a number of original thinking modes. In addition to praising love, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat also values the influence of family education. In Talking about Life with William Marr, he says: “my purpose is to set myself an example to my children for them not to forget their origin, and for them to form the habit of independence.” Under his education and instruction, his youngest son and daughter have formed the good habit of diligence and thrift.
The words used in Hope are simple and fluent, which unconsciously submerge us into his frame of mind which is likewise pure and clear. Poems by him are simple and plain, refined and rotund. Childhood reveals the poet’s longing for childlikeness, and it is also Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s natural pouring of heart. Human Life, in a few words, provides the reader with mottos of life. The Swallow on the Electrical Wire Pole doubly alludes to natural and social objects. In his prose, antitheses, examples, and commentary are used for lyrical expression, and the style is frank and sincere, which reflects Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s personal charm. It is also the creative inheritance and development of Confucian culture. His ministories are fluent and afford much for thought, and his short stories pay attention to the effect of drama and comedy. His lectures are simple and touching, from which we can feel optimism of the wise and resolution of the courageous. It is a common saying that to achieve something, we must first make something of ourselves. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s Hope is a painstaking work instructing us how to make something of ourselves, through which we come to appreciate the gentlemanship and the perfect spiritual kernel of a Confucian businessman. Today when economy, science and technology are developing rapidly, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat can creatively absorb Confucianism and put it into practice to his advantage throughout life, which is quite thought-provoking. Stepping on the andante of “Confucian rhyme”, Hope has cast the ridge of Chinese spirit with transcendent tolerance, profound thought, and elegant style of writing, while bringing an eternal force: hope.
(About the author: Fang Wei, doctor of the Literature Department of Shandong Social Sciences Academy; he is now doing postdoctoral study at Huazhong Normal University)
Writing Is Responsibility for the World
By Liang Xiaomei
I have met Mr. Chan Sirisuwat twice. The first time is at the 1st International Forum of Celebrated Experts on Chinese Poetics which was held in 2004 in Chongqing, and our association stops when group photo is taken and our name cards are exchanged: the title on his name card leads me to regard him as a Thai friend who enters the poetry circle from the circle of business, and we have intermittent contact through e-mails. Our second meeting is at the 19th World Congress of Poets which was held in Tai’an beneath Mt. Tai; this time I am as much impressed by his brilliant appearance in spite of his advanced age as by his collection of poems entitled Days of Love — Selected Verses of Chan Sirisuwat. Through the latter in particular, I see another way of his association with the world — the art of poetry.
After making his acquaintance, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat often posts his works to me with honestness. Before Days of Love, I have already read two collections of poems by him: The Song of Life and The Quiet Chaophraya River, as well as his autobiography Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars and his novels such as Old Man Gao and The Witch Doctor, etc. He is quite modest with me, and I “give directions” to him. Besides discussing poetry composition, I suggest that he write more prose and short stories, owing to his age, or rather owing to his rich life experience. At that time I subconsciously felt that poetry was no more suitable for him, but his perseverance in it through many years finally vetoed my assumption, and I am touched by his poetry in persistent life. For a time his writing status greatly interests me: neither to exist in writing, nor to write in existence. Entering his poetry means to approach the poet’s soul. Our acquaintance eventually develops into friendship: what Mr. Chan Sirisuwat intends to express within and without his poetry is the qualifications and the charm of a mature man. Such a man should have an ideal, have his own career, and should have a loving heart. Poetry composition is his responsibility for the world out of love. A successful businessman is creating materials for the world, while a diligent poet is producing spiritual pearls for the world. He is hence reserved and noble.
Instead of a boisterous talker, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat chooses poetry to express the rising wind and scudding clouds in his heart. Mr. Wu Qiao, a critic during the Ming Dynasty, says in Fireside Talk About Poetry: “The meaning is like corn. Prose is like cooking meals, while poetry is like brewing wine.” Poetry is the most exquisite literary form to reflect life; it gains by brevity and depth. A responsible pen is full of wisdom and feelings. From the content of poems, or from poetry experience, the elements in his poems can be appreciated. His world of poetry presents itself as a plural time and space: ode to life, days of love, strolling on Bangkok streets, within and without the church, character sketch, green odes, and life features, etc. The poet’s experience of life is an aesthetic experience, maily an experience of feelings. Though it also contains cognition and thought, experience of feelings is more subjective than other experiences. The experienced social life, refracted by the poet’s perception, the smearing of feelings, the perfusion of mind, and the filtration of reason, is transformed from external life into internal psychological reality.
The poet is the finder and the creator of beauty. “Between azure sky and white clouds / Between forest and high mountain / Between gravels and roots of trees / Between river water and tussocks / In search of” (Search); “Strolling on the top of Mt. Doi Dong / I part the thin fog and clouds with my two hands / …/ Taking a deep breath of the nectar-like air / While gently moving feet / Treading on the carpet woven with something like feathers” (On Mt. Doi Dong); the scenery changes with each step, which is bewitching. The son of nature lingers in The Wild Grass, The Mangrove, Pawpaw Trees, and Mango Trees, and he reads their frame of mind: “Buried deep into the earth / You provide water and nutrition to your trunk / You never show yourself / Nor fish for fame and compliments / Let alone leaving marks of your annual rings / Silently you dig into the depth of earth / While singing a song of devotion / With your own life” (Ode to the Root). The poet’s feelings are contained in the scenery and objects, which are enlivened under his poetic pen.
The poet has a philanthropic heart. He is not a religious follower, but he identifies with thanksgiving, and he is therefore compassionate. He can not forget his mother: “At my bedside / A walking stick accompanies me from night to night / An old walking stick / Accompanies me from night to night / It brings me unfading memory / From day to day —” (An Old Walking Stick — In Memory of Mother); “The high doorsill / Witnesses my childhood / Mother is sitting on it / To sew trousers with open crotch for me” (The Doorsill). Besides, the naivete in The Little Sparrow, the rotund Toll, and the lingering sentiments in Yearning, they touch the reader not by the so-called technique, but by true details. He is also thinking fondly of his love: “I clasp white clouds in my bosom / But they depart stealthily / I lock the sunshine in a box / But when night comes it is all darkness / …/ Your love is the only eternity in my life (Love — the Only Eternity in Life). In addition, in poems such as When We Were Still Young, Stars, and Midnight Thinking, we can hear the poet’s unadorned frank words to his eternal love. He also cherishes friendship, “comb-like beard / represents the long road in your life / the wrinkles on your forehead / record the depth of your years / your crown of gray hairs / can never conceal your bitterness and isolation in life / perhaps you are tired of the world / you are groping for the destination of your life” (Seeing American Poet Wayne Off ). Through a profile after another profile abundant and profound friendship is expressed. In poetic form he expresses his plaint for The Arctic Fox and Little Black Donkey, as well as commiseration for the weak, while calling for harmonious coexistence between animals and human beings. Above kith and kin, love, and friendship, there is still nostalgia. On a long-term basis Mr. Chan Sirisuwat lives abroad, but from time to time he casts his soulful eyes towards his motherland; the land of China is the place where the poet’s spirit is tied. Poems like Looking Northward at the Divine Land often unfold the noble pain of “nostalgia” which requires distance. “Sitting atop a piece of cloud / overlooking each corner of the earth / a patch of green field in the distance / trees reaching the sky and flowers carpeting the ground / I find footprints of the dragon / that is my motherland where I was born / I turn clouds into rain / to rain into my hometown” (Nostalgia). This love is deep and lasting. The sentiment contained in poetry is aesthetic sentiment, which is different from daily casual sentiment. It is a sentimental form or formal sentiment. In the cadence and rhythm of his poetry, we feel the palpitation of his poetic heart and hear whispers of his poetic soul.
The poet is a wise man. In some parts under the titles of “Song of Life”, “Features of Life”, and “Gleanings from the Sea of Poetry”, there is criticism and philosophy. It is not contradictory for the poet to adore beauty and to describe ugliness; the key lies in how to provide it with aesthetic value through artistic disposal and aesthetic negation, instead of exhibition of ugliness. In real life, the poet must be a sober man, who is conscious of the inequality and irrationality of the society. Rage is the rebounding of conscience; the poet’s most powerful weapon is his pen, and his effective way is to satirize in poems. He has written some social poems, namely, some social criticisms in the form of poetry. For example: “without the church / the cannon roars / the soul and body of people are parted / they are all tears and blood / O lord / let the killers / go to pray on the battlefield / to ascend to heaven together with deceased souls” (Within and Without the Church). “Human civilization is being challenged / marker of the century has been attacked / the 110-storied building has fallen down / the foam of world peace is broken / the devil is going to rewrite human history” (New York World Trade Center Has Fallen Down). Other poems such as Volga Boatman, Dialogue Between the Crow and the Goldfish, and Realistic Painting of Life, etc., fully embody the poet’s sense of mission and the critical function of poetry. Philosophical poems are the poet’s realization of life, which are mostly minipoems. “To forget it / what presses on the mind is merely air / to think about it / even the air can suffocate people” (Grief). “Deceives temporarily” (The Fog). “Self-sacrifice for other people” (The Mirror). “Diary written by those in power” (History). “Moves involuntarily” (The Chessman), and so on and so forth. From objects or things to human feelings, the minipoems are witty and interesting, which shows that the poet is a close observer of life.
What is noteworthy is several of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s collections of poems are Chinese-English versions. The translators are Bei Ta and Sun Jicheng, two young poets-scholars in contemporary China, and the proofreader is Mr. Tu An, a distinguished translator-poet in China, and Mr. William Marr, a famous artist-poet in America; the covers and illustrations of the books are by Mr. Chan’s youngest son and daughter, which show their rare talent. Poetry translation has been the focus in the translation circle, and the translators of the book adopt both domestication and foreignization. From the angle of poetry promulgation, their strategy of domestication is to use brief, neat, and fluent translated language, so as to maximally lessen the strangeness of the source language, and to cater to the aesthetic psychology of the reader in translated language; domestication is conducive to boosting the cultural identity of the weak nation, and is also beneficial to the healthy development of Chinese and trans-cultural communication and promulgation. On the other hand, moderate foreignization is conducive to the expressiveness of Chinese, while engendering strangeness to the reader of translated language and satisfying their psychological expectation for appreciation of alienness. We are fortunate to read successful translated versions through adopting appropriate translation strategies.
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s poetry world is blending of feelings and reason. What touches us lies not only in his ability to create new poetic forms, but also in his passionate devotion to life and his strong sense of responsibility which are conveyed through massive content and force of agglomeration. At present, Chinese poetry has the deflection of rejecting reason, ideal, and pursuit, and the author more than often adopts the stance of automatically giving up reason while wilfully ridiculing the ideal. For any artist or artistic form, connotation and conscience should go before any technique; Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s writing is simple and honest. He is not a professional poet, nor is he a scholar, but he is a pure-hearted singer. The uniqueness in his poetry is not brought about by rhetorics or technique, but by the true breath of life, by his irreplaceable personal experience, which is natural.
Poetry composition is the life style of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat; it acts on the society, and it more acts on his own soul and life, which is so enviable, and is the status which numberless people yearn to approach but fail to do so. For him, poetry composition is a way of soul atonement, is interpretation of life, and is responsibility for the world born out of love. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, a contemplator along the Chaophraya River, goes along with love. The encyclopedical love has illumined the poet for over 70 summers, “let love be like the Milky Way in the universe / to exist forever in the horizon …/ let love be forever brilliant and resplendent / to shine on the existing life from moment to moment” (Days of Love). This is Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s manifesto of love, and he is sculpturing life in the time of love.
The 2nd International Forum of Celebrated Experts on Chinese Poetics is again to be held in Chongqing in September of this year, and it is expected that Mr. Chan Sirisuwat could again come from the bank of Chaophraya River to the side of Jialing River, with the same mien and demeanour, or, with more elegant mien and demeanour, to have a more beautiful meeting with the world, not without a strong sense of poetry.
(About the author: Liang Xiaomei, L.D., vice director of New Chinese Poetry Research Institute, Southwest University)
His Affection Water Flows Clear and Clean
— Preface to The Quiet Chaophraya River
By Zhang Tongwu
In spring my old friend Zhu Xianshu has told me that he has known a Thai Chinese poet, Chan Sirisuwat, whose life has been a legend indeed. When he was young, he entered the business field with his own courage and insight and experienced his ups and downs and finally established himself as a successful businessman in Thailand with his own hard working, smart design and sharp choice. During the golden autumn, Chan Surisrwat has been invited by Beijing Municipal Government. Arranged by Zhu Xianshu, I have met Chan Sirisuwat at the night of National Day. Though he has been in his seventies, he looks still energetic and healthy and talks in a modest and honest way, his black hair giver us an image of a young man with his youthful spirits which has given us a surprising impression of a man in his seventies. While talking, I could feel easily his poetic mind, his frankness, modesty, his honesty and naturalness. I could not find any arrogance in such a successful man and any snobbery in such a famous businessman. You will trust him unconsciously and become friends without without concerning the age differences.
In this world, Chan Sirisuwat has not been obsessed with his material pursuits and he has retreated from his business world at the age of 65 and entrusted his wife to manage his business when it reached its prosperity. He himself began to read and write with great concentration at his quiet home. He got published his first autobiographical book Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars as one of Oversea Chinese Elites Series, which was published by China Overseas Chinese Press in 2001. The book’s title has been inscribed by Wang Guangying, vice president of Chinese Congress. He has also published more novels and poems in magazines and newspapers inside and outside Thailand. In 2002, he published his poems collection Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat (Chinese-English ) and in 2003, published another poems collection Song of Myself (Chinese-English). In 2002, he has also established a cultural magazine, Hainanese (Hainanren) which aims at introducing his hometown Hainan and bringing Hainan to the world. This magazine is distributed free of charge which shows his genuine love and contribution to his own hometown. His devotion to his home country and elegant attitude of life has justified his personality as a passionate poet.
Mr. Chan has been prolific indeed and now he has selected his own poems during the past two years for publication which is entitled as The Quiet Chaophraya River. It is my honor to write a preface for the new collection under his invitation. Looking at his collection, I seem to enjoy myself with the beautiful views of Chaophraya River: its quiet green water, the slow moving of boat oars on the river. All these familiar views recalled my happy memories of my visit to Thailand with my wife two years ago. That day we rowed our boat on Chaophraya River and enjoyed the magnificent sceneries of Royal Palace on the shore: its special style of royal architecture reveals its noble and elegance and also reflects the strong sense of religion; its Pattaya sand beach and blue sea, historical remarks of its Bridge of the River Kwai, all showed another style of life and sceneries. First I thought I could see these beautiful memories in his new collection of The Quiet Chaophraya River, but I found out there are no desriptions about the beautiful river and particular Thailand dancing. But in his new collection I found another water in the book, it is Chan’s affection water that flows clean and clear…just like the water in the Chaophraya River…the former stores up Chan’s experiences of his life and contains contains his profound philosophical concern, and reflects his sharp eloquence.
In this collection, The Quiet Chaophraya River, the more inspiring poems are about human relationship, friendship, love for his relatives and home country. In his poem of Memories of My Mother, we can see how gentle and how accurate he describes his love and memory of his mother:
Your picture has been put on the wall
In silence I look at you in the picture every morning
Praying for you
Wish you peace and safe only
Your love has been buried deeply at the bottom of my heart
Your love has made me full of power and energy in my life
I have weaved a long carpet
With my poetic words
I have spilled it with my miss of you
And made it ready for your return
Praying you could come back
But I always feel disappointed in my prayers
In his another poem of Missing at the Midnight, he cherishes the tender lover between mother and son which can not be separated from the author until the end of his life:
Strolling along the seashore
Looking afar at the waves rolling
I listen attentively to howls of the sea
And hear no echoes in my expectation
Ah, my dearest mother
Where are you now?
While he shows his devotion and admiration for his own home country, he is also proud of its prosperity together with millions of overseas Chinese, because the more prosperous the home land grows, the prouder they feel. In his poem of The Source of Power, he reveals the common feeling of all oversea Chinese:
Bless and light up all things in the earth
Let the flower of life in blossom
Thou, my home country
The great source of power
In my heart we are closely connected
Let our kinship continue
Generation after generation
In his works, he is not focusing on his nostalgia but calls on self-reliance and struggling spirits. He praises the noble personality and dreams of the world of freedom. In his poem of In the Gale and Storm, he describes the vivid picture of a pedal man in storm:
The sky had become cloudy
And lost its directions
A pedal man bent himself forward
In the street and
With difficulty he rode his four-wheel wagon sheltered by rain-cover
His legs were madly pedaled
Against the pouring storm
Against the 10-grade gale
Moved forward one step and back two steps
He never gave up and struggled forwards in the gale
If they sail before the wind
They would have an easy life but so short and mean
If they sail against the wind bravely
They would gain more in this life
He also depicts strength of seagulls and gentleness of sheep and the beauty of nightingale and criticizes ruthlessly all greed, all vanity, all swindles and robbery, all obscurity and distortion in this world, which justifies his own personality of justice and consciousness as a sensitive poet. His words about the boatman along the Volga River pierce the sky:
Boatmen sing it loudly
Their stirs the pierces the sky
And stirs the waves in people’s hearts
And treads all rugged paths in the world
On the other hand he sings easily butterfly’s flying in his words of happiness:
You dress in various colors, flying from heaven
Dancing elegantly in high spirit
What interesting thing has made you so happy?
What power has made you forget your past?
What target has guided you to the future?
The poet also suggests the butterfly returns to Nature and enjoys the limited life of freedom. He often prays peace in his works, but the reality is full of blending of evil and purity. In his poem, Inside and Outside of A Church, we can feel the author’s own deep worry at the bottom of his heart, amrita to nutrient his consciousness and his concern about the everlasting tree of poetry.
Putting the palms together
Facing god solemnly
They low their head and look at their feet
They whispers their prayers
Their voice is soft and pure-hearted
They confess to god
Praying god save people in the world
And help them go to heaven in afterlife
Mr. Chan has established his own writing style of simplicity and plainness. He is good at expressing his own feeling about life, value orientation and aesthetic judgment; sometimes he also uses descriptive words expressing his feeling in On the Doi Dong Mountains:
Strolling on the top of Dio Dong Mountains
I poke the flimsy cloud and mist with two hands
The large blue sky covers the whole ground
Fresh flowers cast by the fairy ladies
Float about in the sky one by one
The green woods dance along the mountains
The small stream winds its way down
A colored bridge to the haven
From the above lines we understand the poet himself has been free from secular life and pursued a simple and easy life. Being a poet, Mr. Chan should pay more attention to refining his design and freshening his image and extracting his words. If so done, his words will be more touching. I expect he will produce more poems as colorful as butterfly and as beautiful as clouds floating in the sky.
It should be mentioned here that Mr. Chan has two lovely children who have received strict family education. His daughter and son follow their father’s steps and have done a good job in their studies. They have special talents in drawing pictures. In 1997, during the International Competition of Chinese Painting to Welcome Hong Kong Return to China run by over 30 painting associations. The 9-year-old daughter Duangthip Sirisuwat and the 7-year-old son Thanapol Sirisuwat have won the silver medals. At the same year, his daughter and son have won silver prizes too at Sun Bin Cup of International Painting Competition. The cover and illustrations of this book have been drawn by these two talented children which surely make the book more perfect and also tell their inheritance of Chinese tradition culture.
Written on October 10, 2003，Beijing
（Tr. Bei Da & Sun Jicheng）
(About the author: Zhang Tongwu, researcher of China Writers’ Association and secretary-general of Inernational Association of Poets of Chinese)
Intellective Rays of Light
— Appreciation of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s Minipoems
By Fan Xiaotang
Minipoems form a fair landscape in the realm of poetry, and they add resplendent rays to the art of poetry by their unique conciseness, vividness, and wit. Boundless poetic connotation is contained in finite poetic space. They are spurting of inspiration in a split second, in which the poet’s laborious polishing and sublimation of feeling are shown, hence a soul-stirring vigour is exhibited.
Minipoems by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat are not only achievements in overseas forum of poetry, but also achievements in Chinese poetry, particularly Chinese minipoems. The principle of his works is naturalness and simplicity, and his style is maturity, profundity, and wittiness. Reading minipoems by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is like floating on a long river of wisdom, where waves of wisdom are churning and surging: a spectacular scene. Mr. Chan’s minipoems are good at implying abstention of feelings and philosophy of wisdom in bold and unconstrained style of writing. He focuses on the world with profound and penetrating eyes, plus his ingenious conception and refined language, he has constructed a philosophical space for contemplation. I am going to examine minipoems by Mr. Chan.
As an art to present eternity through an instant, minipoems require the poet to catch agglomerated wisdom in an instant, to refract the poet’s philosophical contemplation about the great nature, daily life, and human life. Mr. Chan’s minipoems express profound things in a simple way, and he interprets his unique view on life with his own poems, hence profound and penetrating philosophical contemplations. During the process of facing life and probing into humanity, the poet digs deep to express his mature feelings in terse lines.
Sweet talk and honeyed words
Mannered and respectful
The listener is allured and attracted
Only three lines with twelve characters, yet a hypocritical face is delineated before the reader, and the essence of “hypocrisy” is incisively and vividly shown, wherein the poet’s penetrating insight into world things and familiarity with social ways are revealed.
Glory and greatness is packed with paper
In the furnace
All turns into a wisp of smoke
Actually, “swanking” can “turn into a wisp of smoke”; when the so-called glory and the so-called greatness are wrapped in the paper of “swanking”, they can only turn into ahses in the furnace of reality. The poet writes in Lies:
Their spreading entails no money
Paying out of blind faith is not worthwhile
Actually, people in daily life have to deal with lies from time to time. Those who spread lies can easily plunge the world into chaos, and the blindfolded are to suffer great losses. In simple and plain language, the poet makes a contrast between “entails no money” and “not worthwhile”. The essence of lies is unveiled in merely two lines.
What finally remains is nobody
but the very self
The poet also acutely anatomizes the subject of “self”. If self-centered, what finally remains in the world is nobody but the very self. This is exhortation and warning for those “self-centered” people, as well as self-reflection. Mr. Chan Sirisuwat infuses philosophy into his minipoems during metaphysical contemplation about daily life and human life. While interpreting abstract objects such as “self”, “swanking”, and “hypocrisy”, Mr. Chan also, in daily trivial life, extends his sensitive poetic feeler into each corner and detail, hence his unique metaphysical contemplation.
Is going to thaw no matter how hard and solid
— The Ice Block
When water freezes into ice, it is hard. However, it is going to thaw no matter how hard and solid it is. Hard and solid is its appearance, interiorly it is water forever.
Makes the field dried up
But hope remais
— The Field Dried Up
When there is drought and no rain for quite a long time, the earth loses nurture of water, and there are dried ditches and rivers. The field is all desolation. However, the poet tells us that in spite of all this, “hope remains”. Maybe there is such drought in the field of human life; but we shall remember that rainwater is in store, that hope is always in place of despair. He thus writes in The Merry-Go-Round:
For amusement when going round and round
Becomes waster when digressed
The merry-go-round is sweet memory of the childhood. On the horseback, children are drunken with convivial flight. However, the merry-go-round has to be fixed onto the track to be sported; once digressed, it becomes waster. The tragedy of the merry-go-round lies, perhaps, in its dependence on other objects.
Through bondage of days and nights
It finally breaks the urn
To fill the air with fragrance
— The Vegetable
The poem draws the outline process of vegetable pickling. It is pithy and concise, suggesting the proverb of “the fragrance of plum blossoms comes after bitterness”.
The finiteness of minipoems entails that the poet must exhibit infiniteness in limited space, while projecting concentrated inspiration and wisdom to his pen. And it demands the poet’s original conception in order to present perfect poetic language and massive poetic thought in such finitude. While displaying their fantastic rays of wisdom and philosophy, minipoems by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat are neatly constructing ingenious poetic space, just like a lightsome butterfly freely flying in the kingdom of poetry where winding paths lead to quiet seclusion, and readers are entertained.
It rains gold into the pockets of the poor
The sunshine braises grasshoppers
Into fertilizer for crops
This poem entitled Reverie reads like two antagonistic objects which are closely related to each other; this impossible relation attests the impracticability in Reverie, as well as the worry when reverie can not be realized. Leaves reads like this:
Are lovely green
When clinging to twigs and branches
Are trodden and trampled
When fallen to the ground
In four lines or sixteen characters the poet has made a vivid contrast between green leaves and withered leaves, through which two different status are described. Sharp contrast and vivid generalization add to the internal tension and readability of the poem.
Takes time away
This is the poet’s unique interpretation of “the clock”. By “take away” and “leaving”, the static clock turns dynamic, or it is personified: it is the messenger of time. While the innocence of “the clock” is described, the callosity of “time” is also implied.
The sun and the moon chase after each other
Where is the end?
The poet describes sunrise and sunset and moonrise and moonset as an endless pursuit. Such interpretation of “expectation” is naturally tinctured with a bit melancholy and helplessness.
After reading minipoems by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, we are lost in contemplation, while being encompassed with a breath of naturalness and simplicity. This is no other than Mr. Chan’s constant writing style. In his poems, we read refinement, instead of contentiousness; we read vitality, instead of oppression; we read wisdom, instead of moralism. Between the lines, what we can feel is the thinking of the wise. Here, the beauty of philosophy shines upon the mind of readers.
(About the author: Fan Xiaotang, master in modern and contemporary Chinese literature of Shandong Normal University)
Part II Criticism by Overseas Writers
Philosophy Implied in Ode to Life
— Reading group poems by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat
[Thailand] Lin Mu
Reading poems by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is like bathing in spring green with willows and red with flowers, swimming in the ocean of life surging with waves, and strolling in implicit and meaningful physolophy of life; as if twittering of sping birds is heard, as if swish-swash of waves is heard, like footfalls of physolophy are strolling on the square of life. And we are full of hope for life, full of enterprising spirit for human life, while embracing sincerity and love in life.
As a poet, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat sees through mortal things and changes with optimism, sings the eternity of life with positive spirit; just like it is spring after winter, and there is budding after withering and falling. Those who are enterprising will leave an undying spirit.
Therefore, poems by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat are full of striving and struggling in life, full of optimistic pursuit of life. Reading his poems, we are given a hope for life, a spur for life, pursuit of love, and ode to everything on earth.
The spiritual source of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s poetic creation is inseparable to his struggling life, since the source of poetic creation is the poet’s life experiences. Only those who are faithful to life and see through life can produce touching pieces. The immortality of poems by famous Chinese poets from a dynasty to another dynasty lies in their faithfulness to their life and to their times. Therefore, as a contemporary poet, we should also be faithful to life, so as to reveal contemporary phenomenon and to reflect people’s life and social reality.
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat includes 11 poems in Group Poems on Life, each with its own content and meaning, just like various flowers in the garden: different in colors, different in postures, different in fragrances. They all vividly describe philosophy in life and details in life, while catching the flashy thoughts, all of which contribute to the artistic realm of poetry.
The poet compares human life to a poem, a flower:
Human life is a poem
Full of vitality love joys
Each line is glittering with happiness
Each word shall be retained
Human life is like a flower
Which is gorgeous and brilliant when abloom
But it can sear and wither
Therefore it is valuable and priceless
Yes, human life is like a poem, which we shall appreciate so as to retain beautiful words and artistic conception. Human life is like a flower, and we shall lose no time in enjoying fragrance and colors of the flowers, lest they sear and wither.
What is life
Life is an arena
Lower their heads to duck and dodge
Only the strong
Can step on the arena to challenge
Who can defeat me
Yes, human life is like an arena. Only when you overcome the antagonist (various difficulties) can you win. Otherwise, you can only lower your head to admit failure.
In Time of Love, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat emphasizes the value of time: each minute and each second shall be treasured. At the same time, he vividly eulogizes the purity and resplendence of love, which exist between heaven and earth like the universe and the Milky Way. He says in the poem:
Let love beam and blink in the horizon
Forever like the Milky Way in the universe
Let love be brilliant and resplendent
To enlighten each minute and each second of human life
An Old Walking Stick — In memory of Mother is a touching poem. In narrative form and through an old walking stick of Mother, the son’s missing and love for his mother is expressed. The poet describes his endless missing and boundless love for his mother through vivid and feelingful lines, while Chinese thought of filial piety is also expressed. The last stanza of the poem reads thus:
When flowers wither
And my life comes to its end
I will put this old walking stick
When raging fire is flaming and burning
Let this old walking stick
Serve as my guide
To bring me back to your side
In order for me to nestle in your bosom
Forever like in my childhood
How vivid and soulful it is! The lines describe the missing and yearning of a son for his mother.
The target is ahead
Whoosh an arrow is shot
Which does not swerve
Nor does it return
Do not mind the distinction of roadside grasses
Nor analyze the tone of insects outside the hole
The target is ahead
The arrow shall be shot ahead
Whoosh an arrow is shot
The arrow shot never returns
This poem expresses the poet’s determination and strong will in pursuit of career and ideal in life. Through the philosophy of arrow shooting, the poet reveals truth and pursuit of things: one shall not shilly-shally, and shall not be influenced by other things or other ideas, but one should take his courage in both hands to pursue his target and ideal; “do not mind the distinction of roadside grasses, nor analyze the tone of insects outside the hole.”
In Revelation of the Football, the poet pays, through football, a tribute to peace in poetic language and artistic conception, which shows the poet’s lofty wish for universal peace.
“O my people / Please take the globe as a football / Please substitute war with peace / Hate with tolerance / Confrontation with cooperation”
The poet’s wish and hope is praiseworthy. Some people do it in accordance with the poet’s wish: they treat people with peace, tolerance, and cooperation, in oder for them to enjoy joy and happiness, for them to have living space…
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat’s art of poetry is characterized by definitude in conception, connotion in content, simple and easy to understand, resonant rhythm and vernacularism. Reading Mr. Chan’s poems is like drinking a cup of strong tea: after fragrance on the tip of tongue, endless aftertaste remains in the throat. And it is like taking a philosophical lesson.
April 21, 2007 Bangkok
(About the author: Lin Mu, Thai poet, writer, critic and translator)
[Israel] Luiza CAROL
POT-POURRI OF POEM
(Thoughts about “Selected Poems Of Chan Sirisuwat”
This book impresses me like a pot-pourri of precious flowers that retain for ever the scent of fresh feelings and thoughts of long ago. The poet Chan Sirisuwat has been praised as “King of pot-pourri”, while his book may be considered a “book of pot-pourri” .
Most of Chan Sirisuwat’s poems deal with objects, plants, animals or landscapes to whom the author bestow a special meaning, as if projecting them in the mirror of his soul.
In the poem “An Old Walking Stick”, his departed mother's walking stick becomes the symbol of the everlasting bond between mother and son. The poet imagines himself dead, with this stick by his side, joining his beloved mother in the afterworld as if beginning a new childhood:
“Let this old walking stick
Serve as my guide
To bring me back to your side
In order for me to nestle in your bosom
Forever like in my childhood”
Another poem, called “Ode To The Root”, seems equally dedicated to his mother. The unselfish love that the root offers to the branches seems to speak of the devotion of a mother:
“But who has ever noticed you
And your selfless dedication to the world?
Buried underneath, you are a hero nameless and voiceless”
“The Glowworm” seems the metaphoric portrait of a happy artist, enjoying freedom of creativity. Here is the Glowworm’s monologue:
“Don’t hold me in contempt due to my tininess
My light can penetrate darkness
Don’t underestimate my energy
I can fly in high sky”
And here is another metaphorical portrait of an artist, this time an unhappy one, who complaints about his lack of freedom. This time, we can hear the Peacock’s monologue:
“My beauty incurs my harm
And deprives me of my freedom
I would rather become a crow which escapes people’s attention
So as to fly heavenward with my ugliness
To soar in high sky and return to nature”
In “Portrait Of Life”, the author achieves a complex fable with six animal characters plus a chorus of sparrows. In the end of this small comedy, we can see the date and… the key of the allegory: “May 11, 2003, a polling day in Bangkok”. So the six solo protagonists embody different types of political speakers, each of them reciting his own monologue, after being introduced to the reader by means of a few would-be “stage directions”. Here are some examples of the most amusing “stage-directions ” in this Lilliputian satirical comedy:
“The cockroach takes the lead to speak while flapping its wings”
“The lizard makes its voice downward from the ceiling”
“The mosquito is humming madly”
“The boa creeps here stealthily
The other creatures are overawed at its sight
Only the tortoise holds its ground
It dreads nothing and is self-poised”
And here is the mosquito's vivid monologue, which I find most amusing and ironical, because it is made up only of demagogical clichés:
“This is a world of freedom you impinge on human rights
You are flagrant and even death cannot atone for your offence
You shall be accused on courtroom of the world”
The sparrows are embodying heedless children, as well as human beings with a detached poetical mind, far from the corrupted world of politics:
“A flock of sparrows are hopping on the treetop
In spells after spells of spring breeze and flowery fragrance
Singing leisurely dancing festively
While crooning longs and shorts of love”
In many poems, landscapes become pretexts for expressing love or nostalgia. Some poems depict different realistic aspects from various travels, like interesting pages of a travel diary. One of the most beautiful landscape poems seems to me “On Mt. Doi Dong”. This is the only place where I could spot a hint to a supernatural element (the presence of fairies) in the otherwise utterly realistic descriptions of landscapes. The author uses this device only metaphorically, to suggest the mysterious atmosphere of the mountain:
“Strolling on the top of Mt. Doi Dong
I part the thin fog and clouds with my two hands
A piece of azure sky has covered the great earth
Flowers upon flowers sprinkled by fairies
Are floating and dancing in the air”
The poem ends in the same tonality, somehow trying to transcend realism:
“Oh it is no mortal world
But the Xanadu
Of which people are dreaming day and night”
Sometimes, the traveling experience makes the poet write verses of acute irony against selfishness and hypocrisy, like in “The Five-Star Hotel”:
“Go to enjoy in a five-star hotel
But the total income of a laborer in a year
Is inadequate for the stay of a single day”
The book ends with the poem “Thoughts On A Tour To Kunming”, where the poet expresses his deep worry concerning the young people who seem to have lost the noble ideals of their ancestors:
“O my young men
Is it that your time is utterly worthless
Is it that your life is merely flowing water and floating clouds
Is it that your future is vague and vain
Is it that you have no position in the world
Is it that you are superfluous on this globe
Where does you future lie
What hope do you bring to the country”
With these words that make us think about our responsibilities in this world, I finish my comments and wish to the reader a pleasant reading.
（About the author: Luiza CAROL, a famous poetess and critic in contemporary Israel.）
“A CROWN OF HARMONY WITH NATURE AND MANKIND”
—Selected Poems of CHAN SIRISUWAT
The book “Selected Poems ” signed by CHAN SIRISUWAT presents a cycle of poems which shares seven chapters: poems, two Group Poems, Chinese sonnets, Minipoems, Prose poetry and Traveling & Recalling . This way, the reader is invited to join the author’s spiritual being, which vibrates after every contact with the living world, the vegetation and animals and moreover he shows with his poetical palette remote lands, places where he left his footprints: Paris, New York, Hamburg and more…
The table of subjects, which one appears beyond his poetical feather is also miscellaneous and multilateral.
I want to remind just a few: Nature. Urban Culture. Family, History in a word the life, with its plenty and splendours.
Chan Sirisuwat personifies all the natural phenomena: the clouds, the rain, the sea, the wind, the deluge, the fog…
“Dark clouds as its backup force
The lightning is domineering
And has frightened rats and the like into their holes
When the lightning to lord it over the earth
The fog is scornful while perking up its head
And is snickering”
…the sky, the earth, the volcanos…
“Covered with green trees and red flowers
Millenarianism presents itself
Everything is latent
On the verge of eruption
The Heaven and the Earth are upside down
Even corpses are hard to come by”
…the horizon, the rainbow, the time…
“All the colors of the rainbow
Are hanging beyond the horizon
Which constitute beauty itself
You are an attention-getter
Which can hardly go through the test of time
You are a flash in the pan”
The poet is expressing his gentle friendship for all the beings in the kingdom of wilderness, especially the birds which are his heralds for another realms. He is underlining the wild creatures’ role of witnesses and partners of feelings in a wide gamut:
“Is soaring beneath the clouds
To listen to the howling of the sea
Is gliding over the sea
To appreciate the dancing of clouds
But it never flies beyond the clouds
To dangle after vanity”
The link between author’s preoccupations and the tones he uses in lyrics is made due to the slowly fluence towards the poems which have the subjects like smiles, dusk, shadow, all spoken within the register, as in the poem “ode to the root”:
“The birds have nestling nests in branches above you
Worms and termites make a home in your body
Fowls and animals shelter themselves under the tree
And people enjoy the cool in the shade
While appreciating flowers and fruits on the tree
But who has ever noticed you
And your selfless dedication the world
Buried underneath you are a hero nameless and voice-less”
Chan Sirisuwat entrusts the world with his experiences full of resonances of traditional space.
His own poetry, at this level means a call to arms in the defence of mankind’s greatest ideals, an exquisite speech about lucidity and wisdom.
Without to waste technical poetry means or figures of speech, he is very successful with the simple delivery of thoughts, moods, hopes, which are easy announced by words:
“To perceive light and shade in the world
Use your heart
Wipe off your tears
Cast away your sorrows
In order for your songs
To reverberate across the world”
I want also to remark the everlasting connection between man and Nature with its seasons which become symphonies of the human life. Also, the poet’s pacifism and the desire to harmonize his soul with the Universe’s Great Tide of Energy, with the stars, for the recall of love which ennobles us for eternity:
“I would like to join the stars
And to follow the Jade Rabbit
So as, to detach myself from the world of worries
What I am seeking after
Is constant love and tranquility in the world” (MY WISH)
Brasov, Middle of November 2007
（About the author:NADIA-CELLA POP, a famous poetess and translator in contemporary Romania. Professor Honoris Causa and Laureate of SANKT LUKAS ACADEMY, DEUTSCHLAND.）
[Austria] Kurt F. Svatek
Selected Poems of CHAN SIRISUWAT
Chan Sirisuwat is both, a distinguished entrepreneur, as well as the most famous poet-writer of Chinese in contemporary Thailand. Born in the Province of Hainan, he lived later on in Hong Kong and the most time of his life in Thailand where he become a very successful businessman and a famous writer of poems and novels publishing in Chinese, English and Thai.
He believes that the duty of a writer is to carry forward justice, to disseminate truth, to faithfully record history, and to steer people onto the right road, that the duty of a writer is to expose darkness and corruption, to castigate evils, so as to purify the society from a new angle and to promote the advancement of human civilization. Going through his book the critic can say that his poems mirror his thesis excellent.
The book is structured in 6 parts: Poems, Group Poems, Chinese Sonnets, Minipoems, Prose-Poetry and Travelling & Recalling.
Under the “Poems” especially touching is “An Old Walking Stick” in memory of Chan Sirisuwat’s mother.
…In my babyhood
Mother feeds me with her breast
In my childhood
Mother raises me with her sweat…
…But when my career reaches its most pleasant stage
Mother O dear Mother
you go away in silence…
The Group Poems are poems on human life, poems on the great nature, poems on the streets of Bangkok, and poems on the family.
…Human life is a poem…
…Each word shall be retained..
…Going up the steps
What is in expectation
The Chinese Sonnets are poems of love, beautiful and deep.
…O day after day
In my life
You appear only to disappear
The birds have returned to their nests and the night is deep
When bedlamp is turned on
What I see is all your photos
(Endless Is The Night)
The Minipoems remember sometimes on aphorisms. In any case are they little poetic arrows hitting the target.
Whether or not a good poem
It is written by yourself
The end of the sea is the bank
And the end of the bank
Is the joys and sorrows of human life
(The End Of The Bank)
In part 6 the author shows us different cities and countries all over the world, from Rome, London and Paris to New York, from Tokyo to Kuwait, and from Phuket to Kunming. But he gives not only a description of them, he gives in reality a description of people living there and describes the soul of some places in the world.
It seems the poems of this book are plain and simple a summing-up of a man’s life and a reflection of his mind. And when the title of the Postscript chapter is: I Shall Not Live In Vain, so one thing is sure: A man who writes such poems never is living in vain. The beauty and lucidity of the poems teach us to think for ourselves, to come out in favour of light, wisdom, peace, humanity, truth, happiness, universal brotherhood, glory, devotion, wealth and love, and to come out against darkness, inhumanity, egoism, selfishness, ugliness, coldness, illness and jealousy.
Dr. B. Majumdar says, that every poet carries a potential blue lotus of countless petals within his heart. Day after day a heavenly light falls on it and the petals unfold one after another. When it blooms completely, it changes its colour from early blue to divine pink. Then he becomes a real poet with the golden light of truth. Chan Sirisuwat is such a poet, undoubtedly blessed with that celestial light.
（About the author: Kurt F. Svatek, a famous poete and critic in contemporary Austria .）
[Greece] Zacharoula GAITANAKI
“SELECTED POEMS OF CHAN SIRISUWAT”
“Across streets and into lanes
in search of a passenger
the taxi is like a cock seeking after worms.
It is on the sunning
it is on the looking.
The driver’s wife and children are waiting to be fad
when he goes out early and returns home late.”
（“TAXI” p. 109）
Dr. CHAN SIRISUWAT is a famous poet – writer of Chinese in contemporary Thailand. This book is a great success. His poetry is inspired by God and a godsend gift to the readers. The clearness of his thought, the clarity of expression give an excellent “Portrait of Life”. The Poet is very sensitive when he writes for his mother (“An Old Walking Stick”, p. 21 - 23).
Even “The earthworm has something to say” in his poetry. The poet is “a hero in the real sense” and says in the poem “MY WISH” (p. 33): “The night sky is serene and still / only the eyes of night accompany the moon.” At night time “I would like to join the stars”.
His great culture is manifest in his poetry. He’s a philosopher of life: “The end of the sea is the bank / and the end of the bank / is the joys and sorrows of human life” (“THE END OF THE BANK”, p. 171). “Shall be lived meaningful and plain / not lived long and in vain” (“LIFE”, p. 187).
I underlined his “Minipoems” – all are excellent. I praise specially the poems: “The dream” (p. 179), “The Power” (p. 181), “The Ship” (p. 185), “Human Life” (p. 187), “Promise” (p. 199 ) , “Stars” (p. 203), “Paper Flowers” (p. 207). “The Fog” (p. 211), “The Mirror” (p. 213), “Dusk” (p. 213), “History” and “Chessman” (p. 125).
“SELECTED POEMS OF CHAN SIRISUWAT” is an important work of Literature. One of the most significant messages send his verses: “No contest and contention. / No battles and wars. / Only peace and harmony reign.” (“MY WISH”, p. 33)
This is a hopeful wish. We were hoping for peace and a better world. Can poetry help us? YES. Because poet’s pen “Is lashing against vices and evils / in mightier than a bullet”. It’s a practicable idea. If we try, we can change the world and our lives.
Dr. Giorgos I. Botis supports : “Poetry unite us”. Mr. Stathis Grivas think that “Poetry is light”. Yes, poetry is our hope, a great blessing for everybody.
Dr. SIRISUWAT writes in Postscript of his book: “I SHALL NOT LIVE IN VAIN”. Life is a gift. Untiring hard workers of their art, poets try to give to all of us the esthetical pleasure and to realize the verse of C. Cavafis: “Maybe, and the poet didn’t live aimlessly”.
(*) C. Cavafis, Stathis Grivas and Giorgos Botis are Greek poets.
（About the author: Zacharoula GAITANAKI, a famous poetess and translator in contemporary Greece）
[Australia] Georgia Xenophou
Selected poems of Chan Sirisuwat, translated by Zhang Zhizhong
Chan Sirisuwat’s profile as an entrepreneur and his beginnings with such meagre means, due to political poverty, suggests a man with great ability to rise into a competitive world, but never to be corrupt or thoughtless. His talent in poetry would have come as a surprise in today’s materialistic world if I had missed his large postscript. He had the fortune of the nurturing of a wise grandmother and the experiences in his life. When his wealthy family fled their country of Hainan Island, due to Japanese occupation and had to live in poverty in the country side, where the fortunate association with a neighbour, in the suburbs of Chikan, a scholar who made available useful reading material, which benefited the gifted boy and contributed in a positive way to his upbringing and values.
Chan Sirisuwat’s love of reading made a thoughtful person with insight and the gift to observe. One might find his poems personal, but they are full of good thoughts and wisdom. The simple titles contain a universal meaning and depth, with sparkles of wisdom; and although they reflect on everyday themes, they show the poets great humanity.
Page 19. In his poem “My Struggling,” looking on a photograph of his youth, he concludes by stating “My mind is free from contamination”/…I fix my gaze /At the height of human stage /Instead of fooling away my life /All I bosom is hope-and strength.
Page 21. “An Old Walking Stick” A poem that should be read and be a lesson to many people who have not given their mothers the attention deserved. A tribute with the poignant lines on page 23, “…O dear mother / You go away in silence /Before my obligation / Is repaid /You left me in silence for aye” He is concluding “Let this old walking stick / Serve as my guide / To bring me back to your side / In order for me to nestle in your bosom / Forever like in my childhood”.
Page 61. “Untitled” A wise advice regarding associations with people. Lines 1-2 / Do not sing to the rock / Which doesn’t appreciate your songs. / …Line 8 / Use your heart / wipe off your tears / Cast away your sorrows / In order for your songs / To reverberate across the world”. And this points out one has to face the world with wisdom and courage.
Page 111. “The Roadside Shop” In this small poem the poet emphasises the multinational overtaking of the world’s market. “In order to do shopping in a quiet place / Just go into the roadside shop” and there he sees the shop owner waiting at the door “for remnant guests” from the supermarket, because the multinationals have swallowed the small business.
Page 125. “The Swallow on the Electric Wire Pole” This is a subtle poem, using the swallow to emphasise the inequalities of the world. Worth reading, as he concludes in the last two lines. “If there is neither contention nor collision /The world will be paradise”.
Page 223. “I Stroll Along the Bumpy Road of Human Life -To greet the new year of 2007”. The poets wonderful thoughts, at 76, in his long journey of a bumpy road, as he admits. Yet, he admires the beauty of nature around him. In the last lines of the poem he doesn’t fail to accept that man can not escape death and declares, “The ocean is large, but larger is my heart. / With fair and square, I embrace the whole world.”
And Indeed he embraced the world: The illustrations and photographs of his travels enhance the quality of his book. His venture with three Hong Kong dollars to create a fortune, and foremost to remain uncorrupted. To use part of his fortune for the benefit of others, makes him a great benefactor in many, many areas.
Then the seeds of his talent flourished in the garden of literary works and poetry. He is also so rightly emphatic that “a writer has to carry forward justice, to disseminate truth, to faithfully record history and to steer people onto the right road…” He also acknowledges his translator Dr. Zhang Zhizhong, Dr. Zhang Zhi, and other important people who contributed to this book, saying, “In addition to individual efforts, the fruits and achievements of one’s labour cannot dispense without the help and assistance of his friends. One cannot brave the world single-handedly. This is also a wisdom I gained through my human experiences”.
And indeed anyone of us can benefit from life’s experiences. In conclusion, I couldn’s find better words to pay tribute to a great person, for his courage, his goodness and achievements. May the Universal Holly Being grant him many more years of literary and benevolent accomplishments.
（About the author: Georgia Xenophou, a famous poetess，critic and translator in contemporary Australia.）
OPEN MIND, HUMANITY and COSMIC LOVE
“Loving the Universe and being loved by it, the man blessed in everything”
—Swami Nirmalananda, Indian sage and networker
In occasion of extraordinary poetry-book SELECTED POEMS of Chan Sirisuwat, I can say first at all that I’m glad to have to meet an simple, life and unaffected poetry story on opposite side of world, so far from here but so near in my mind too.
As a witness and an accomplice of social and other stormy changes, under the pendulum of fear of technological + technical revolution and a stubborn fight of the enlightened part of the world for maintaining of ecological balance, dized by lingvistic, audio-visual and rest sensations and hyper-production of so-called everyday culture fakes, the landing into New Human Era of trans-hastory and beginning of Global Human world (Un us Mundus ) seems to our poet Chan Siriswat hardly accessible. With a stronghold in Old Age, the Age of neurotic urban zoos and general struggle for prestige-social and material prestige above all-the idea on human, open World, universal spiritual organization and development of creative individuality and sense will be brought to life with great difficulty.
The poet also feel how the radically-exstatical vertical of so-called New Human Era is opposed to the conservatively-statical horizontal of the Old Age, with historical heritage of powerfull and pompous factors of the so-called New World Order, with immensely fat layer of superstitions and taboos. In a description of the Life/ World today, with all attributes that make him what it is or just with indications of all that could create him (World without boundaries, human gene, the end of history, natural balance and beaty of natural phenomens) many interpreters of Unus Mundusommit one not orious thing that the world does and will keeping on doing a long time divided: the wealth and power against the poverty and powerlessness. But not our poet Chan Sirisuwat who has hard experiences in his life too.
It should be noted that the wealth and power of a small part of the world is in huge disproportion to the poverty and powerlessness of another large part of the world and, of course, at his disadvantage. And although the quickening of history and thusly visible Fukujama’s thesis on the coming of history’s end more than anyone else noted by neohumanists, so although the leaping evolution is in question, the future of Mankind is quite uncertain.
In his essay “Feed the world ” Andreas Banasky says: “He who in course of one supper eats a montly budget for a family of six in so-caalled third world, salutes the worst nincompoops one state can give licence to.”
But what of a person, what about poet as Chan Sirisuwat is, what of the enlightened individual in future, what of openness of human being and his open connsiousness in a “natural world without strivings” and in a world of “violence state, institutions, laws and religions”? Will the pompous roar of the farse spiritual“elites”, the current civilisational fatigue of the global informational network, under the patronage of world’s persons in power and/or reversedly understood Spirit of the Times (L’esprit du temps ) as a basic determinant of the spiritual culture (not rarely as it’s demon) absorb the voice of the individual=of the poet? Perhaps Erich Fromm was the only one to pose a real question-to have or to be?
TO BE!… As poet Chan Sirisuwat feels the life, the time…and probably the future of global sense.
（About the author: Dobrica-Dob Kamperelic, a famous poete，critic and translator in contemporary Serbia.）
Set Oneself an Example to Others
— An Interview with Mr. Chan Sirisuwat
By Lisa Carducci [Canada]
Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is a Chinese living in Thailand. His Chinese surname (Chan) becomes his name in Thai, and his Thai surname (Sirisuwat) is from that of his wife.
In September, 2005, at the World Congress of Poets held in Tai’an, Shandong, I made acquaintance with Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. From then on, we often exchange books and keep in correspondence; we visit each other, and our friendship develops.
Could you say something about your struggling and life experience, and the reason why you settle down in Thailand?
My struggling and life experience is detailed in my autobiography Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars. I came to Hong Kong with only three Hong Kong dollars. In Hong Kong, a highly developed society, I could only be employed by the private company, since I lack capital and higher education or special techniques. After spending 12 years in Hong Kong, I emigrated, for personal development, to Thailand which was then still economically backward and socially unstable, to be employed as manager of a plywood factory run by a friend. After three years diligence, I saved 160 thousand baht and resigned to establish my own Prosper Co., Ltd. by renting a small room on the second floor from my cousin. At the beginning there were only two persons in the company: my secretary and me. In ten years the company developed into eight solely-invested companies and joint ventures; one of the solely-invested companies is engaged in producing natural pot-pourris; in another ten years, my natural pot-pourris are exported to 43 countries across the world, for which I was honored as King of Pot-pourri of Thailand. Later at the age of 65, I handed all the business under the care of my wife, to abandon business for literature. Since then, I publish one or two books in each year, and I become a poet and writer.
I was born in 1931 in Wenchang County which is to the northeast of Hainan Island. Wenchang County (now Wenchang City) is “a county of culture” and “a county of overseas Chinese”, which has fostered a host of high officials and celebrities for the country. About two-thirds of the population (over 1.2 million) of Wenchang spread over 50 countries and areas across the world, and many of them live in Thailand. My grandfather came to Thailand when he was young, and my parents were married in Thailand who, obeying my grandfather’s precept that “eggs can not be placed in one bascket”, went back to Haikou City of Hainan Island to do business. And I was born in Hainan, the third generation of overseas Chinese in Thailand. For me, there are more family members in Thailand than those in Hainan, therefore I choose Thailand to settle down.
How did you spend your childhood? What influence did your family exert on you?
My father ran a rice grinding mill in Haikou City which is about 70 kilometers away from my hometown. He loves my grandmother and often visits her. My mother does farming from day to day in the countryside, and I was brought up by my grandmother.
My grandmother is kind and charitable, and she loves our family members and the villagers. Since my family was well off, my grandmother often relieve poor people in the neigthborhood with money or material things, hence she is honored as a “Living Buddha”. I have been a naughty boy in my childhood, but my grandmother never beats or curses me. And she often instructs me through telling me stories. What is unforgettable to me is on a hot day with a fiery sun above in the sky, my grandmother tells the family members not to go afield to do farm work, and I am in pants and nestling against the bosom of my grandmother. While fanning with her left hand, she points her right hand at a buffalo tethered under a big tree in front of the gate: “you shall exert yourself in reading and learning, otherwise your future is like this buffalo!” Her earnest indoctrination contributes to my habit: I can fast for twenty-four hours, but I can not dispense with reading for a single day.
When I was 15 years old, I suddenly felt exhausted one day, so much so that I did not feel like eating. I told my parents that I wanted to have a good rest, but I remained wide awake throughout the night. But the next morning I felt myself again. Just then my family members told me the news that my grandmother passed away.
How many brothers and sisters do you have? What is your educational background?
I have six brothers and sisters, and I am the second one according to our dates of birth. In 1939 when Hainan Island was occupied by Japanese soldiers, my parents exiled with us brothers to Kwangchowan which was then the French Concession (changed into Zhanjiang City after liberation). Our family was in great straits, and my brothers were all unable to go to school. Owing to my diligence in study, my father spared no efforts to support me through my education. At 15 I enrolled in Qiongya Normal Collge, which was founded in 1705. I lived in the campus, and we ten classmates shared the same big bed. Without wardrobe, we have to put our clothes and articles under our respective pillow; in the evening we light kerosene lamp to do our assignments. Here I spent my three years of junior high school, after which the family was no more able to support me, and I changed to study at an accounting school where the expense was low. For the first term my grade was excellent; for the second term I was exempt from a year’s tuition. After I entered the society, I worked at day and studied English at a night school. I mainly acquire my knowledge through assiduous self-study.
That epoch is quite satisfactory …after that, you begin your work?
My life unfolds itself when I came to Hong Kong with three Hong Kong dollars. If a person does not experience hardships and tribulations, he will never taste success. Initially I worked as purchaser for a shoes factory in Hong Kong, then I worked as cashier, warehouse keeper, and director of goods delivery department.
Why do you give up flourishing Hong Kong and emigrate to Thailand which is economically backward and socially unstable?
I do not rest content with the economic prosperity and social stability of Hong Kong. I gave up Hong Kong to go to Thailand which was then economically backward and socially unstable for personal development and ideal. At that time my family and friends did not support me; they favored Hong Kong where there is prosperity and opportunity. But after deep consideration, I still believe only in backward areas there is competition and room for development. Therefore, in 1975, I decided to emigrate to a brand-new world: Thailand.
In 1979, I established Prosper Co., Ltd., which is an important milestone in my life.
You have successfully developed Prosper into eight companies, which is not by chance. What do you believe is the reason behind your success?
The reason behind my success, I believe, lies in my determination and comprehensive plan, or more in my business morality, or good will. The agriculture of Thailand has great potential for development, and the natural conditions there are also very good, which offers a good chance for exporting farm produce. Lacking capital at the beginning, I adopt the business strategy of doing business which receives little attention and needs small capital. I seek after small profit and attach importance to my credit standing, and my business develops. In ten years my small company of two persons and one room develops into eight solely-invested companies and joint ventures.
Business moraliy plays an important role behind my success, which is indispensable to my honestness, diligence, punctuality, efficiency, faithfulness, assiduous study, and enterprising spirit when I was an employee.
What is your scope of business at the beginning?
At the beginning I deal in exportation of water snake skin: the farmers catch water snakes to feed ducks, and I collect waste snake skin to be exported to Hong Kong for processing of straps and leather shoes, which are goods in vogue. The ox horns are discarded by the slaughterhouse which I collect and process for exportation to Japan and Taiwan as seals and sculptures. The sacks factory produce sacks as well as scraps of flax as waste; I collect the flax to clean, process, and compress before being exported to Australia for carpet mat and raw materials of heat insulation. I start my businss from the three wasters. Later Hong Kong lacks supply of vegetables and fruits, and I daily airlift them to make profit. Besides, I dry lotus flowers to sell them to German and America for making food pigmentation and series products of pot-pourris; I sell Chinese craftworks to America; I sell Chinese Western medicine to Germany; I export rubber to China, while importing paraffin and chemical materials from China; and I am general agent for Canadian POWER UP lubricant, etc. So I am good at “hodgepodge” of items.
What is your biggest challenge and regret?
I never encounter any unsurmountable difficulty, nor do I regret for anything I have done or not have done.
The key point in success lies in people-orientedness and kindness toward staff members, who are all like brothers and sisters. The company is a big family; only when you come to understand them and help them, will they go all out to work for the company. And the company is going to develop quickly.
Specifically, how do you set yourself an example to others?
Born into a traditional Chinese family, I am influenced by Confucian culture as a matter of course, including values such as personal development, benevolence, and family order, etc. In my home, I do housework like my wife and children do. We are all equal and nobody lord it over the others.
I live a regular life: I do not drink and I gave up smoking in my youth. I employ no driver, and I do not have night life. I attach importance to health care, or “cultivation of mind and morality”.
In 1998, we know from the TV that China is plagued with a big disaster of flood. I ask my children: “If we were victims of the flood, and we are bereft of our house and wealth, what can we do?” And each of us donates money, the total of which I double or triple before remitting to the disaster area for relief. Through this the children are educated.
Once I bought a lot of food and books as donation for an orphanage, and the staff members in my company and my children participated in the distribution. I believe this is also a kind of education.
When my family members and I paid a visit to the former residence of Song Qing Ling in my hometown, I noticed the entrance is simply made of bamboos. Back to Bangkok, I mobilized people to donate Rmb 200 thousand to rebuild the gate.
Though I am not a Buddhist, I much respect Buddhism. I live by the creed of “good will be rewarded with good, and evil with evil; if the reward is not forthcoming, it is because the time has not yet come; when the time comes, one will get one’s due reward.” In 1993, I invited university professors from Beijing to build a statue of Sakyamuni with the height of 16 meters and a Thai temple atop Copper Drum Ridge in Wenchang, Hainan, which is a laborious work of three years, to be open to all visitors free of charge, in order to promote the development of tourism in Hainan, and to commemorate my mother.
Through all this, my children know that wealth not merely is embodied in material things, but also in spiritual realm.
I have noticed that your mother plays an important role your poems and prose.
I love and respect my mother so much; she bears me, raises me, and instructs me, and on me she pins her hope. Each morning and each evening, I will come to the door to look at her picture on the wall while crossing my fingers, in order for her smile to remain forever.
Does the government recognize your contribution to the society?
I make my contribution not out of fame, and I care nothing about honors in each field.
Now you are 74, have you been writing in the past?
No, at the age of 65 I resigned from my business for literary creation. That means my pen has been disused for 40 years before I restart to write. My children illustrate my books with their drawings.
（About the author: Lisa Carducci, a famous authoress and scholar in contemporary Canada .）
A Chronological List of Events and Literary Creation by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat
1931 On November 3, he was born in Houliang Village of Gongpo Town (now under jurisdiction of Baoluo Town), Wenchang County , Guangdong Province of P.R.China. He is the third generation of an overseas Chinese family in Thailand.
1939 Hainan Island was occupied by Japs, and his parents fled with the whole family to the French Concession of Kwangchowan (in 1949 changed into Zhanjiang City), and he began his schooling.
1945 He returned to his hometown of Hainan after Japs surrendered, and he furthered his study at Hainan Teachers’ School.
1948 He graduated from Hainan Teachers’ School.
1949 He graduated from Practical Senior Accountants’ School, and began to do business work.
1962 He went to Hongkong by train via Luohu, pocketing only three Hongkong dollars.
There he successively worked as buyer for a factory, accountant for a company, keeper for a warehouse, and director for goods delivery, etc.
1975 He left Hong Kong for Thailand, and was engaged as manager of a plywood factory.
1979 He resigned the post of manager of a plywood factory and, with his saved 160,000 baht and by borrowing a small room on the second floor under the name of one of his cousins, he founded Prosper Co.，Ltd., which dealt with exportation and had only two workers at the beginning.
1987 He began to have a five-storeyed official building under his own name, and the company developed quickly. In five years, the company has expanded fourfold: large warehouses and processing plants are established. Between 1999 and 2004, the Packing Department of the company has expanded into a five-storeyed building which occupies 23,641 square meters.
1988 He shared Thai Rubber Co., Ltd. by investment, and began to plant rubber trees at Chanthaburi.
1989 He founded Double South Chemical (Thailand) Co., Ltd. by joint venture with Guangdong Chemicals Imports and Exports Company,
1990 He founded Hua Hai Company Limited by joint venture with the Provincial Government of Hainan.
1991 He established Power Up Lubricants (Thailand) Co., Ltd. by his sole investment, which is the only general agent in Thailand for Canadian Power Up Lubricants.
1992 He established Peninsula Pattaya Co., Ltd. by joint venture in Pattaya, a famous place of resort in Thailand, which is devoted to food service.
1993 He founded Hainan Nantai Industry Co., Ltd. by his sole investment in Hainan, P. R. China and, he bought land atop Tonggu Ridge of Wenchang, Hainan Province, while inviting university professors from Beijing to build Buddhist Glory Over Copper Drum Ridge in imitation of the Buddhist Temple in Thailand, which is a laborious work of three years, in order to commemorate his mother and to promote the development of tourism in Hainan. The Buddhist Glory Over Copper Drum Ridge is open to visitors free of charge.
He shared Prosperity Holdings (H.K.) Limited and Hainan Branch of China Building Materials Company by founding Hainan Hongjian Real Estate Development Co., Ltd., and he built a 16-storeyed Honghai Mansion in Haidian Island of Haikou City, Hainan Province.
1994 In collaboration with Prosperity Holdings (H.K.) Limited, overseas Chinese in Brunei, and officials of Asian-Pacific Organization of the United Nations, he shared Guilinyang State Farm in Hainan by investment. The farm provided 2,000 mu of land, by overseas capital, Thai Flower—Fruit Garden is built. The item was highly prized by China Construction Department for its originality in China; Mr. Ye Rutang, vice minister of China Construction Department, has inscribed “Thai Flower—Fruit Garden”. The first-phase project lasted for over one year and more than 14 million Rmb yuan was invested, but due to the unsettled land dissension between the government and farmers, the project fell through.
1996 He transferred all his enterprises to the care of his wife, and he devoted himself to literary creation.
1998 He was awarded the prize of “Exemplary Overseas Chinese” by Hainan Provincial People’s Government.
1999 My Road, his maiden work, was published respectively in Chinese and Thai.
2000 He was awarded the Excellent Prize for exported products of Thailand by the Thai Government, and he was reputed as King of Pot-pourris in Thailand.
2001 He published his autobiography entitled Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars. The title was written by Mr. Wang Guangying, and it was published in China by Beijing Overseas Chinese Publishing House as one of the series books entitled Books by Overseas Chinese Elites.
2002 His Chinese-English version of Selected Verses by Chan Sirisuwat was published by The Milky Way Publishing Co., and it was listed as one of the “The World Contemporary Poetry Series”.
He founded Chinese World Publishing Limited by his sole investment in Hongkong, and under it Chinese World Publish House was established, which published the first issue of the magazine entitled Hainanese with 5, 000 copies, and they were given free of charge to the 3, 000 representatives who participated the World Sodality for Overseas Chinese from Hainan which was held in Bangkok, as well as to some organizations and individuals in Hainan.
2003 He published his Chinese-English version of The Song of Life and the Chinese-English version of Braving The World With Three Hong Kong Dollars.
2004 He published his Chinese-English version of poetry collection entitled The Quiet Chaophraya River, besides publishing in collaboration with his two children in their teens the Chinese-English version of illustrated corpus entitled Homeland in Dream.
He participated in the 1st International Forum of Celebrated Experts on Chinese Poetics which was held at Southwest Normal University (now Southwest University) in Chongqing.
He was interviewed by the Column of “Overseas Chinese” of China Beijing TV Station and, was invited to deliver a speech at College of Foreign Languages of Peking University entitled “Braving the World with Three Hongkong Dollars — Human Career and Human Life”.
2005 His Chinese-English version of poetry collection entitled Days of Loves was published for communication at the 2005 International Congress of Cultures held beneath Mt. Tai and the 19th World Congress of Poets, and he was awarded the prize of “World Poet Award” by the 19th World Congress of Poets.
2006 He published his corpus entitled Hope (including poems, essays, short stories, and speeches).
He was awarded the prize of “Overseas Chinese Who Loves Hainan” by the People’s Government of Hainan Province.
He participated in the 11th International Poets Pen Club Congress which was held in Guangzhou (Huangpu).
Nine of his minipoems were included in the French collection of poems entitled Perles de Poesie, and his poems were placed at the beginning of the book, which collects poems by 82 world-famous poets from different countries.
2007 He published his Chinese-English version of poetry collection entitled Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat ，his corpus entitled The Season Fragrant with Durians (including poems, prose, and short stories) and 108 Selected Versets.
He was conferred with honorary doctoral degree in literature by the International Poetry Translation and Research Centre (IPTRC), and was chosen as candidate for the winner of Nobel Prize in Literature for 2008.
On June 17th, 2007, JUDY.D. CHEUNG, secretary-general, and BENJAMIN R. YUZON, chairman of United Poets Laureate International in the United States of America, signed and conferred a certificate and medal on him, “in recognition and appreciation of Excellence in Poetry for World Brotherhood and Peace” by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat.
He was awarded “International Letters-Arts Prize” by International Society of Greek Writers & Arts.
About the Translator
Zhang Zhizhong（1966—）is a famous literary translator in contemporary China, as well as a poet and scholar. His ancestral place is Boai County of Henan Province. He successively obtained a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Zhengzhou University, a master’s degree in English and American literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, and a doctor’s degree in translation studies from Nankai University. Presently he is doing his postdoctoral study in poetic translation at Henan University. He is professor of English at Zhongyuan University of Technology, leader in academic research, and vice dean of the Foreign Languages Department. Meanwhile, he is a guest editor of The World Poets Quarterly and vice-chairman of The International Poetry Translation & Research Centre. Before teaching at university, he has ever been a middle school teacher, a translator, and an editor. He has done a huge amount of translation, including more than 50 classic American films (English-Chinese), the 84 episodes of TV play The Romance of Three Kingdoms and the film of The Tale of Sister Liu (Chinese-English), etc. Until now, he has published 22 books (7 in collaboration with others), 43 academic papers, and more than 1,500 translated poems/articles. Besides, he is beginning to publish his own poems. In October, 2003, he received second-grade scholarship from Nankai University; in November, 2003, he obtained Excellence Award in the 15th National Translation (Chinese-English) Competition for Youth Sponsored by Han Suyin; in December, 2005, he was entitled as the best international translator for 2005; in November, 2006, he won the Prize for Distinguished Translator in the 2nd World Poetry Prizes Sponsored by Dr. Choi Laisheung, and in March, 2007, he was entitled as the academic leader for 2006 by Henan Provincial Educational Bureau.
About the Proofreader
Aaron Antonio Vessup, a famous poet and photographer in contemporary USA. Born in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A published his first award-winning poem “The Myna Bird ” with the California Chaperalle of Poet’s Society, Since that time he has won many oral performance awards. Performed on Television in several international countries, and published works in various language magazines. His poems have appeared in France-L’Iris; China-The World Poets Quarterly. Mexico-Nuevo; and several English publications. He is a life-time member of The World Congress of Poets, The International Poetry Society; and Contributing Member to The American Poetry Society. Now living in P. R.China. Aaron’s book publications include: Songs for Confucius [Chinese-English], Themes Form Libido; Mud Notes Singing; Two-Swords, One Heart [Spanish-English], and Selected Verses [Chinese-English]. Available soon is Making Cultural Adjustments: Dialogue to Harmony, a Chinese-English collection of international essays, published by New Star Press. As an avid reader, world traveler, and freelance photographer, his works are featured in various current periodicals.