Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Women’s club members blink eyes in disbelief but agree that indeed to see is to believe

By Nancy T. Lu
The members of the Taipei International Women’s Club blinked their eyes in disbelief once, twice and a third time.

Chen Forng-shean, Taiwan’s best-known miniaturist and the special guest at the January meeting of the TIWC, had brought to the American Club in China (ACC) three masterpieces in his personal collection.

Connie Pong, the TIWC president, brought around first Chen’s tiny tiger, which was barely visible to the naked eye. In fact, the resin sculpture created over a three-month period last year was placed on the eye of a sewing needle in a glass showcase for viewing up close through a built-in jeweler’s loupe or small magnifying glass. .

Chen had painstakingly come up with the black-striped Asian cat of incredibly small size in anticipation of the arrival of the Year of the Tiger. The laughing animal measured only 0.12 centimeter long, 0.06 centimeter wide and 0.1 centimeter high.

Chen also displayed his miniature depiction of Taipei Mucha Zoo’s panda attractions Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan. The lovable black-and-white bears were shown eating bamboo.

The third showcase containing very tiny watermelons on crawling vines likewise drew gasps of astonishment and marvel. The women’s club members heaped praises on Chen’s impressive feat in carving art pieces of very small size.

The fiftyish Chen’s excellent eyesight and great patience amazed the TIWC members in attendance. This professional engraver working for the government has lately been busy preparing the new currency bills to be launched and circulated as souvenirs in commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China on Taiwan next year.

Video film clips took the TIWC members present on a tour of Chen’s private museum in Xindian. How he worked on his miniature collection was likewise explained in one eye-opening film. Chen personally invited the TIWC members to visit his museum one weekend.

The time came for senior TIWC members Jane Lin, 90, Kay Chiang, 86, and Margie Ho, 82, to perform a Japanese folk dance. Suddenly the spotlight was on two octogenarians and a nonagenarian going through stylized paces.

Again, the spectators blinked their eyes in disbelief. Not many of those present could imagine themselves still dancing like the three senior citizens when already so advanced in years. The upbeat trio in Japanese costumes even gave dancing lessons on the spot. Everyone had fun swaying their arms and doing the Japanese dance steps by simply following the graceful performers on the stage.

Mayumi Hu, TIWC second vice president and program emcee of the day, gave a pictorial presentation of the December trip to Indonesia by the TIWC members led by Connie Pong. The participation in a fabulous Indonesian wedding in Jakarta was a memorable highlight of the tour organized by Lily Assana, officer in charge of hospitality. The group also saw the newly-unveiled statue of President Barack Obama as a little boy in the Jakarta neighborhood where little Barry studied many years ago. Obama is reportedly planning a visit to Indonesia in March.

Peckhee Lim, TIWC publicity officer, invited the club members to join the orange-picking activity at her farm in Hsinchu on January 30. She proved a revelation as calligrapher when she showed samples of her brushwork on red paper strips during the club meeting on Tuesday, January 19. She wanted to find out the members’ interest in bringing home her Lunar New Year couplets after a fun visit to her two-acre farm in the countryside not very far from Taipei.

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