Ying Wa College 200 Anniversary 承英華之傳統,振大漢之天聲 翻譯 英譯 英華書院 Translation - Vincent's Calligraphy

Go to content

Main menu:

Shoulder and Live the Age-old Tradition of Ying Wa;
Proclaim and Reinvigorate the Heavenly Might of the Great Han
28  X  88cm (2)
Reserved. Not available in Shop
Written in celebration of Ying Wa College's Bicentennial Anniversary

Shoulder and Live the Age-old Tradition of Ying Wa;
Proclaim and Reinvigorate the Heavenly Might of the Great Han
28 X 88cm (2) in Standard Script (楷書)

Historical Information
Ying Wa College (or Anglo-Chinese College, 英華書院) was established in 1818 and founded by the venerable Rev. Robert Morrison (1782-1834) with a mission to facilitate "the reciprocal cultivation of English and Chinese literature and the diffusion of Christianity”(1).  Founder Rev. Robert Morrison was the chief engineer in the first translation of the full Christian Bible into Chinese(2), while subsequent principals of the College such as sinologist Rev. James Legge (1815-1897) had translated many Chinese classics into English such as Confucian Analects (《論語》) and The Great Learning (《大學》).  Ying Wa College currently resides in Hong Kong and carries the motto "Steadfast Faith, Beneficent Deeds" (篤信善行), which is coherent with Robert Morrsion's founding vision for the school.

The calligraphy presented above is a Chinese couplet verse that first appeared in the Ying Wa College School Magazine (英華校刊) in 1968.  It was introduced by Dr. Chan Yiu-nam (陳耀南) along with other Chinese Language teachers to remind students of the founding mission and spirit of Ying Wa College during an era where traditional Chinese culture was being challenged in Mainland China (See Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976)(3,4).  The latter phrase of the verse, "Proclaim and Reinvigorate the Heavenly Might of the Great Han" (振大漢之天聲) was extracted from the words by the renowned historian Ban Gu (班固 AD 32–92) in describing General Dou Xian's (竇憲, ?-AD92) magnificent victory over Xiongnu (匈奴) in AD 89 during the Eastern Han Dynasty:

"下以安固後嗣,恢拓境宇,振大漢之天聲。" (《後漢書》卷二十三 竇融列傳, 5)

Note that "the Heavenly Might of the Great Han" (振大漢之天聲) should be interpreted as, in our context, "the Glorious might of the traditional Han Chinese culture", not "the Overwhelming military might of the Han Dynasty" as trumpeted in the original text by Ban Gu.

This couplet verse currently appears in some official Ying Wa College materials such as award certificates (6), and is widely used as a school slogan by Ying Wa alumni and current students (7,8).  
Text Interpretation
Shoulder and Live the Age-old Tradition of Ying Wa;
Proclaim and Reinvigorate the Heavenly Might of the Great Han
(interpreted by KS Vincent Poon, June 16, 2017)

Personal Comments
a) "Shoulder and Live the Tradition of Ying Wa" (英華之傳統)
The school motto "Steadfast Faith, Beneficent Deeds" (篤信善行) succinctly summarizes the tradition of Ying Wa: live the Christian faith (信) and act (行) with a benevolent character while learning from the East and the West.  It is evident then that Rev. Robert Morrison focuses on first and foremost character education before academic and extracurricular achievements.  

In terms of character education, Christianity and traditional Confucianism both expect students to protect the weak, to help the poor, to act with justice, to have mercy on those who are in need, to be benevolent to one another, and to not be obsessed with materialistic pursuits:

"...And the king (Jesus) will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’" (Matthew 25:31-46)
"The feeling of commiseration is innate to all human beings." ("惻隱之心,人皆有之 ",《孟子·告子上》. 9)

"For all the law is fulfilled in one word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Galatians 5:14)
"Fan Chi asked about benevolence. The Master said, "It is to love all men." ("樊遲問仁。子曰:「愛人。」",《論語·顏淵》. 10)

"You cannot serve God and mammon (materialistic wealth)." (Matthew 6:24)
"Riches and honors acquired by unrighteousness, are to me as a floating cloud." ("不義而富且貴,於我如浮雲", 《論語·述而》. 11)

Learning good moral values of the East and the West is only the beginning in shouldering the Ying Wa tradition; to act accordingly to these beliefs is the ultimate key to living the Ying Wa tradition.  Indeed, faith without deeds is empty; learning without applying is meaningless.

b) "Proclaim and Reinvigorate the Heavenly Might of the Great Han" (大漢之天聲)
As mentioned earlier, Han (漢) in this context refers to traditional Chinese culture (中華文化). Therefore, the entire phrase here should be interpreted as "Proclaim and Reinvigorate the Heavenly Might of the traditional Chinese culture".

To proclaim and revitalize traditional Chinese culture, a student must first obviously learn what constitutes traditional Chinese culture and become a bona fide Chinese. But how does one become a bona fide Chinese? Some scholars contend that respecting traditional Chinese culture and observing Chinese moral norms (such as following the Confucian virtues of Benevolence 仁, Righteousness 義, Rite 禮 , Knowledge 智, and Integrity 信 ) are key prerequisites for identifying oneself as a Chinese.  Specifically, this school of thought believes that if a person does not respect and has no passion towards traditional Chinese culture, then that person cannot be identified as a Chinese even if that person is of Chinese descent (see 錢穆《民族與文化》,12).  Hence, an educated bona fide Chinese should "possess a warm enthusiasm and a sincere admiration towards the history of Chinese (political and cultural) past" ("尤必附隨一種對其本國已往歷史之溫情與敬意", 見 錢穆 《國史大綱》前言, 13, interpreted by KS Vincent Poon).

c) Concluding remarks
In today's fast-paced, materialistic and results-driven world, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a school to focus on developing good moral values, tolerance, and open-mindedness among her students.  As a graduate of Ying Wa College, I am extremely grateful for my alma mater to have provided an open, free, calm and diverse learning environment so that my peers and I could engage all sorts of knowledge and interests from the East and West beyond the standard curriculum.  I believe this wonderful atmosphere had ultimately widened our views of the world and deepened our understanding and reconciliation of the moral values cherished among different cultures, both of which greatly aided us in finding our own true purposes in life.

May the Almighty Lord watch over Ying Wa so that "Steadfast faith, Beneficent Deeds" (篤信善行) lives on in the hearts of Ying Wa Boys for generations to come!

KS Vincent Poon (class of 1996)
July 1, 2017

© 2013-2018 www.vincentpoon.com all rights reserved
Copyright 2013-2018. All rights reserved. www.vincentpoon.com
Back to content | Back to main menu