Some­thing to write home about

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - YOUTH - By DENG ZHANGYU

When Chen Hong re­fused her col­leagues’ in­vi­ta­tion for a party af­ter work, ex­plain­ing that she had a cal­lig­ra­phy class to at­tend, her col­leagues were sur­prised and wanted to know why she was learn­ing the an­cient writ­ing style.

Wear­ing ripped jeans, her hair dyed light yel­low, the 23-year-old ac­coun­tant, who works in Bei­jing, says she re­newed her child­hood in­ter­est in cal­lig­ra­phy six months ago.

“I spend an hour or two on cal­lig­ra­phy af­ter work at home to calm my­self and cul­ti­vate my mind,” says Chen, who also loves play­ing video games, go­ing to karaoke bars and shop­ping with friends.

Back then, she thought it was bor­ing but now she says she finds it in­ter­est­ing.

“The world runs so fast. I try to slow down with cal­lig­ra­phy,” she says.

Chen, who was forced to learn cal­lig­ra­phy from her fa­ther when she was a lit­tle girl, is one of an in­creas­ing num­ber of Chi­nese peo­ple who are turn­ing to tra­di­tional cul­ture in pur­suit of spir­i­tual peace and en­joy­ment in re­cent years.

Ma Di, a man­ager in a real es­tate com­pany in Bei­jing, says that his life­style changed since he em­braced cal­lig­ra­phy one year ago.

The 34-year-old goes to the gym reg­u­larly and likes to play snooker in his spare time. How­ever, he says he likes the seren­ity he feels when do­ing cal­lig­ra­phy.

“I think cal­lig­ra­phy is a good way for me to calm down af­ter a day’s work,” ex­plains Ma of his rea­son to learn this art which many of his friends think is for old peo­ple.

“Be­fore I learned cal­lig­ra­phy, I knew lit­tle about our cul­ture and his­tory,” says Ma, adding he plans to spend more time learn­ing about Chi­nese cul­ture, as prac­tic­ing cal­lig­ra­phy sparked a strong in­ter­est in it.

To get into the spirit of it, he wears a tra­di­tional cos­tume at home, and he has set up a sep­a­rate area with tradi-

The world runs so fast. I try to slow down with cal­lig­ra­phy.” Chen Hong, 23, who prac­tices tra­di­tional Chi­nese cal­lig­ra­phy as a main hobby to achieve a serene mood in the hus­tle and bus­tle of the mod­ern world.

tional Chi­nese wood fur­ni­ture where he drinks tea in­stead of cof­fee.

Li Xiaoya, CEO of Hanx­i­ang, a cal­lig­ra­phy train­ing com­pany in Bei­jing, says the num­ber of adults learn­ing cal­lig­ra­phy is in­creas­ing.

Women who learn cal­lig­ra­phy are of­ten 20 to 30, while the men are more than 40 years old, says Li. “They all want to cul­ti­vate their minds through cal­lig­ra­phy,” she says.

Li Xiaoyang, a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cer in Bei­jing, paid about 7,000 yuan ($1,032) for a year­long cal­lig­ra­phy course.

The 31-year-old mother of a 4-year-old boy usu­ally spends some time writ­ing cal­lig­ra­phy af­ter play­ing the drum with her son. She also likes yoga and run­ning, which are pop­u­lar among moth­ers of her age in China.

Un­like some moth­ers who spent time do­ing on­line shop­ping and watch­ing TV dra­mas, Li Xiaoyang says she likes to sit down read­ing books. But re­cently, she has taken to cal­lig­ra­phy.

“I thought it was just an­other kind of hand­writ­ing, but the more I prac­tice, the more I re­al­ize it is much more than that,” she says.

She says cal­lig­ra­phy needs a good knowl­edge in lit­er­a­ture, his­tory and phi­los­o­phy to get some achieve­ment in it.

“It’s a life­time’s prac­tice,” Li Xiaoyang says.

When she posts her cal­lig­ra­phy work on so­cial me­dia, she re­ceives lots of likes and much praise for how grace­ful the char­ac­ters look. “I now want to ex­plore more Chi­nese cul­ture,” she says.

NA JIA / FOR CHINA DAILY

An in­creas­ing num­ber of adults are tak­ing to Chi­nese cal­lig­ra­phy to cul­ti­vate their minds.

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