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Calligrapher, writer receive national cultural awards

2012/04/22 18:07:41

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) Taiwanese calligrapher Tong Yang-tze and writer Lin Wen-yueh, who have dedicated their lives to promoting Chinese calligraphy and literature, have received the country's highest honor awarded to artists.

Tong said Saturday at the National Cultural Awards ceremony in Taipei that the passing on of culture requires the efforts of a whole nation and not just one person.

The 70-year-old expressed her belief that Chinese characters are being forgotten by the younger generation and are being replaced by English. "Is Western civilization better than that of the East?" she asked.

She urged the government not to neglect calligraphy education in schools and encouraged young people to read, write and practice calligraphy more.

Tong, whose works are characterized by their large and bold strokes, is known for reaching across boundaries and combining calligraphy with different forms of art such as music and graphic design, to give the ancient art a modern look.

Meanwhile, Lin, 79, a prominent prose writer, said she has developed a habit of writing down every moment because of her forgetful nature.

"Ten years later when I look back, I often discover that words have enriched my life," she said.

Lin's prose is known for its lyric mood, soft narrative and sober portrayal of topics such as food, friends and the joys of life. She is also noted for her scholarly writings and her translation of Japanese literature into Chinese.

Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said at the award ceremony that although time and values have changed, the two recipients have not changed their devotion to their work, maintaining a spirit she said allows culture "to walk deep and far."

The National Cultural Awards, established in 1981 and distributed every year, is the oldest and the only government-organized honor that recognizes lifetime achievements of artists from different fields.

Recipients of the award also receive a NT$1 million (US$33,909) cash prize.

(By Christie Chen)