One of my father’s senior classmates, Huang Shien Shen.
I always kinda joke about how much I love his wife when we met for the first time. I have never been so spoiled, looked after and sincerely adored in all my life, but I’ll get to that later.
The reason we were in Malaysia was for a bigger reason.
A reason far greater than I would ever come to understand for many, many years to come.
This particular year Mom and Dad said we were taking a trip around the world.
This is what they had done for their honeymoon and now that they had kids, they wanted to take us.
As small children, I was around 11, all I thought was, “I am thrilled that I won’t have to make my bed, because we will be staying in hotels for 3 months”.
My parents never elaborated beyond saying this.
Although I do remember dad have serious conversations and more frequent visits with his teacher’s wife Mrs. Cheng Man Ching, and her daughter, my Aunt Marina.
But it was also normal for us to spend time with them, because they were family and Aunt Marina had twin girls who were my age and I always understood that they were cousins.
Basically, Mr. & Mrs. CMC were dad’s parents, because dad’s parents were both deceased, this made them my Grandparents and Mr. & Mrs. CMC were respected as my Father’s parents because Prof. CMC was my Father’s Teacher. The Teacher, the Highest Honor of Chinese Culture, This is why they are Honored as Parents. Another perfect example of how and why American Culture disagrees with my Internal System.
William CC Chen, The Baby Master of his Classmate’s Generation, The quiet one.
Turns out these more frequent meeting where I remember the adults sitting over tea, Mrs. CMC more talkative, but I could tell upset, but somehow also comforted when confiding in dad and her daughter, was about another student of The Professor’s spreading rumors and lies about having all The Professor’s secrets and spoiling Mrs. CMC with jewelry and looking after her.
These were insane lies of bizarre magnitudes which finally, after making their way back to Mrs. CMC were taking it’s toll on her.
Again, this American way of selling out for attention had tarnished our families way of life.
The Solution, an Old School Challenge, from the core of what Martial Arts Integrity, Honor and Dignity are about.
This Challenge was made by my Father and these talks with the Mrs. Cheng and Aunt Marina were the catalyst for it all.
This was how you Defend you Families Honor, when Honor is Defaced.
I still thought it was just a trip for hotel stays, no bed making and fun in the pool.
Mom and Dad were very careful not to expose their kids to what was happening around them.
This wasn’t a challenge that would be held to Modern American Standards.
This was a challenge to be held at Singapore’s Unveiling of their new National Coliseum.
This was a fight and later, when my parents had to let the kids in on it, the fear my mother expressed was that it would result in someones death.
So, begins the trip.
It was magnificent on so many levels, but in ways I can only appreciate now.
Your life is just your life as a kids, you don’t understand the magnitude of anything because your norm is just what is happening day to day. No matter what anyone else’s life is like, you only know your life and that’s your normal.
I remember stepping off planes and there always being a contingency of people that would greet us with cameras and microphones and energies that ranged from controlled frenzy to less controlled frenzy. I think this was also during a time period where the press respected the fact that this was also about a family and that there were children present.
I thought all these people were friends and relatives I had yet to meet and some of them were and it wasn’t always blood that would bind us, it was something far greater, it was old school Martial Arts Honor.
This is what makes this story the most unconventional of love stories and this is what love, family and honor are truly all about.
It is a life experience birthed from the core of human souls, connecting human souls, heart to heart.
Often times dad would go one way and they would take us another way, usually to the hotel where I couldn’t wait to see the pool, order room service or raid an exquisite Asian Buffet… You don’t know food until you’ve been to a buffet in Asia and its like a Disney Land for Food, created by Unicorns, for making people feel more magical.
We land in Malaysia and I see this guy Dressed in a White Traditional Attire. Hands folded, with his disciples behind him, it was such a crazy visual, that to this day I remember the power in the feeling of that moment like it was yesterday.
More than anything, I remember this Man, so Powerful, not Arrogant, Powerful.
His presence was like nothing I ever had experience or would experience again, but he wasn’t intimidating or scary, he felt safe, calm, dignified and solid.
He was the kind of person you knew you could trust blindly and fortunately or unfortunately, these were the quality of people my father would introduce to our life as the norm, which is perhaps why I can’t shake the Childlike Trust I give to people today.
No matter how many times I am proved people can’t be trusted, I just want to give them that belief and trust. I have seen the magnitude, beauty, goddness and power of people to be able to do the right thing that I always have that hope. I truly believe that if people were fully aware of how great they are capable of being, that they would choose to be that great. Perhaps its my inner child that believes in the best of everyone, hoping that my belief will help them self believe.
Sometimes we all just need that one unexpected to believe in us, so that we can believe in ourselves.
In this moment, I believed more than I could understand or comprehend at my young age, but I knew this man, Huang Shien Shen was family, without a doubt, I just wasn’t sure if was gonna be another Grandfather or Uncle and after his wife got her hands on me, I thought that maybe these people weren’t even human, they were like Angels in Human forms that just wanted to make my family happy.
Huang Shien Shen stood at the airport with this army of his disciples around him.
His look was so incredible, but when his and dad’s eyes met, that was when I remember turning to look at my father to try and understand what was going on.
I now understand the nature of he visit was because of very serious “business’, but the meeting again of brothers was a deep love and respect that triumphed all business.
I was amazing to witness this kind of Honor first hand.
We immediately were ushered into cars and my next memory lands us in a restaurant, where our entourage basically took up this whole entire restaurant.
I wasn’t feeling good and Grandmaster Huang noticed. I could tell he was watching me and he finally said something to dad and dad asked me what was wrong, it was my ears.
Grandmaster Huang was also a Chinese Medicine Doctor, following in his teachers, footsteps, The Prof.
Do you know why Professor Cheng Man Ching didn’t allow people to call him Master? He valued being educated and Traditional Martial Artists usually lacked formal schooling. He always placed emphasis on developing all skills, which is why he is the Master of 5 and why my father also studied Economics at the University of Hawaii and then eventually continuing those studies at NYU.
GM Huang checked me out and basically just said I needed rest, he threw something together that I think I drank and I was fine. All the airplane travel and the pressure changes were a bit stressful on my little body.
Next we were taken shopping, it was for the women and the men hung back, discussing their plans as crowds parted like the red sea for us and the department stores cleared every area we were in so we wouldn’t be disturbed.
This was when I fell in love with Mrs. Huang.
Everything I looked at, everything I touched ended up in shopping bags that the accompanying disciples would hold.
It took a moment for us to catch on.
Dad said something to mom, mom then told me to stop touching things cause will keep buying it for us. This made ZERO sense to me, I wanted to run through the place touching everything, lol!!! This is what I thought for a second in my mind, but the integrity and dignity I was raised with and the demonstration of real old school respect had its influence on me and I was careful not to raise my eyes to high to glance at much and I kept my hands to myself.
I did see a bit of the Press Conference and it just looked like people asking Martial Arts questions the way they normally ask dad at things we go to in America.
The only difference, none of it was in english and my dad’s style of talking had changed. There was something smoother, smokier and gangster like about it and GM Huang was his complete ally.
This tour continued on and years later I would meet the father of a friend I knew from the NYC Nightlife scene.
This guy’s father is a judge in Singapore and head of the Pugilist Society.
It turns out, he was involved with the planning of my father’s fight in Singapore all those years ago too.
Small crazy world, huh?
So, the fight never happened, the guy my father had challenged did so much running at the mouth, he ran his way all the way to Australia, but my memories of GM Huang only grew stronger with the years.
To this day, he is the one name my father will mention when he is teaching where there is always a childlike dance in his eyes triggered by the memories of this incredible Tai Chi Brother of his, I definitely share in those sentiments.