Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Be Strong, Be Gentle.

Art doll/photo : Rose Keemun by Wilma Simmons
Quote by Han Suyin 
I love this saying, by Han Suyin . It probably sums up her life as much as any of her writings.
Han Suyin, 1916-2012 ( Elizabeth Comber ) physician and author, had a Chinese - Flemish background. She is best known for her  strongly autobiographical fiction with a bi cultural setting , a clash of  values, traditions and ideas.  Her novels were  A Many Splendoured Thing, My House has Two Doors, and The  Crippled Tree. 
Younger  Han Suyin
Xiangwei, her editor writes: 
In the 1970s and 1980s, Han Suyin was frequently mentioned in the news in China. At least one hundred million people were aware of who she was. Before I become the editor of her books, her name only meant to me as a political figure. Every person of my age knew she was the biographer of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. But the publication of 'A Many-Splendored Thing' presented a rather different personality in her. She was such a sensitive person with great literary talent. I admired her for the depth of her thoughts in dealing with her relationship."
The eliciting descriptions of the tender hearts, chivalrous spirits, the infinitely affectionate relationship and the beautiful scenes on the hillside overlooking the Victoria Harbor have attracted many readers around the world, and made it into a successful Hollywood hit  from http://english.cri.cn/8706/2012/11/13/2241s732425.htm

 And probably this short article written after her death reinforces Han Suyin's  strong-gentle approach to life.... here's an extract...

Han Suyin defiantly straddled two worlds decades before multiculturalism became fashionable.
"We must carry ourselves with colossal assurance and say, 'Look at us, the Eurasians!' " the half-Chinese, half-Belgian physician and author whose career swept across continents and historic upheavals wrote in "A Many-Splendoured Thing," the 1952 novel that made her an international celebrity.


PS And here's an Australian connection.Han Suyin's second  husband , Leon Comber, author, multi-liguist and highly respected literary consultant and editor, was appointed Honorary Research Fellow at Monash University in 1991. They had been divorced since 1958.