Thursday, November 1, 2018

In Commemoration of Jin Yong

Jin Yong (aka Louis Cha), the larger-than-life literary inventor of the “rivers and lakes” universe (江湖), my all-time favorite author and idol, and beloved novelist of the Chinese cultural world, passed away two days ago at the age of 94. His mesmerizing martial arts and chivalry novels were an integral part of my growing up. My summer holidays in the primary school years were spent either burying my head in rented paper editions of his novels, or dueling with my cousins with makeshift swords in games of acting out those stories. He has been and will always be my hero.

Perhaps one person is better placed than I to pay proper tribute to my hero. He is the one who translated the late Mr. Cha’s first novel The Book and the Sword (the translated version was published in 2004 by Oxford University Press) and he is Graham Earnshaw. He has just written an article in the SCMP explaining his approach to the translation and reminiscing his exchanges with the iconic novelist. He made this trenchant remark: “The integration of Chinese culture into world culture is very important, and it will eventually happen. When it does, Mr. Cha’s stories and characters will be an important part of it.” I cannot but agree with him.

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