Dream come true
The Straits Times
| Aug 31, 2006
By: Kristina Tom, Arts
It¡¯s never too late to pursue one¡¯s dreams. In former MP and businessman
Peh Chin Hua¡¯s case, it¡¯s his love for poetry HIS childhood dream
was to become an artist, but businessman and former Member of Parliament
Peh Chin Hua, 57, was never allowed to pursue it.
¡°Almost every year I received the gold medal
in art,¡± he says proudly of his days at The Chinese High. He was
a talented student under the tutelage of the late renowned Singapore
artists Chen Chong Swee and Chen Wen Hsi. But as the eldest son
of 11 children, he felt obligated to carry on the family business:
a bookshop in Havelock Road that has since become Shing Lee Publishers.
But now, with the release of his first book,
Love, A More Beautiful Life, Mr Peh is able to realise a bit of
his old dream. It features not only his writing, but also an array
of photographs and Chinese watercolour paintings, almost all of
them his work.
The collection of 58 Chinese love poems is a
nod to his 58th birthday in November this year.
He started writing poems in 1995 as a way to
pass the time during overseas trips to China and America. Most businessmen
would prefer to frequent bars or karaoke lounges, but Mr Peh would
retire to his hotel room to work on his poems and drawings.
The first poem he wrote was titled A Beautiful
Secret, which is included in the book. It is about a person¡¯s love
for a budding flower, but the speaker is unable to find the words
to articulate his feelings.
It mirrors Mr Peh¡¯s feelings towards modern Chinese
poetry. He says he has always enjoyed it, but that it is hard to
express why he finds it endearing.
The former editor and current group managing
director of the Shing Lee Group ¨C which, among other things, publishes
academic materials ¨C uses simple Chinese in his poems to encourage
young people to learn and speak the language.
The books, including a CD of 17 songs with lyrics
based on the poems, will sell for $20 each. All proceeds go to the
Renci Hospital and Medical Centre, where Mr Peh is an adviser.
The book launch at the National Library this
Saturday features a performance by Tibetan singers Wujie Zhelang
and Xuena Zhuoma (below), who recorded the CD.
The launch also kick-starts a three-day exhibition
of Mr Peh¡¯s writing, painting and photography.
While some of the poems were inspired by his
wife of 36 years, Madam Maureen Tan, Mr Peh says the poems are meant
for all the people and places that have brought love into his life.
These include his three children and three
He says: ¡°The poems are for people I love, and
who have loved me.¡±
Love, A More Beautiful Life will be launched
at 1.30pm on Saturday at the National Library. It will be available
for $20 without GST at major bookstores.
The exhibition runs from Saturday till Monday
at the National Library.