Many of us probably have a hobby, something that keeps us motivated and inspired about life. But it’s not often that someone takes a hobby to the next level, by making a living out of it.
Su Zi Sing is a young collector and trader of Chinese antiques. Learning about the history of these antiques has become a way of life for him, and he’s still ever so passionate about it.
His story all started when he was just a 14-year-old boy. His dad was in this trade as well, so he was exposed to the rich antiquity of Chinese art at a young age. Zi Sing managed to sell a thousand dollar bronze Guan Yin sculpture to a foreigner when he was just hanging around his dad’s store.
That must have been a pretty big deal for a 14-year-old, right? I was only selling spinning erasers for 20 cents when I was a kid.
Since then, his interest in this hobby was elevated. He started talking to other people who were more knowledgeable and experienced in this industry; and many of them were a lot older than he was. It’s rare to see someone of his age so passionate about these Chinese antiques.
Zi Sing said that he loves the intricacies and story behind every piece of antique. A figure of a Buddha made in the 50s will have a significant contrast to one crafted in the 70s or 80s; perhaps not to the untrained eye, but to him, it’s a world of difference.
Examining the antiques is like flipping through a history book for Zi Sing; he learned so much about the history of China and the Cultural Revolution through this hobby, and the local art pieces taught him about Singapore’s past as well.
Not to mention, some of the antiques can fetch quite a hefty price. Although the price depends on a variety of factors, there’s a still a strong monetary value in certain pieces. Some can be sold for upwards of 30 to 40 thousand dollars.
These days though, he’s more into Chinese paintings. He started to collect paintings three years ago, but now he’s trying to take it up a notch by learning how to paint.
He has only been painting for about six months, but he seemed quite educated on the aspects of Chinese painting already. I guess the knowledge just runs in his family.
Out of the vast collection in his house, his favourite is a calligraphy piece by Pan Shou.
Pan Shou was a famed and respected Chinese calligrapher. He moved to Singapore when he was 19 and became a founding member of the old Nanyang University. Zi Sing is a fan of his work, and so the calligraphy was hung high on a wall in the living room.
Seeing as how there aren’t many 20-something-year-olds interested in Chinese antiques, it’s impressive that Zi Sing is so passionate about it. These days, local Chinese students appear to be uninterested in their culture. In fact, some may even detest it and prefer to adopt the Western culture.
He said that he hopes to get more people of his age group to get into the whole Chinese culture, and learn how to appreciate it. That’s a commendable vision, one that stays true to his roots.
It’s nice to see that there’s a millennial out there who embraces the tradition and culture of his lineage, amongst all the noise from the Kardashians and whatnot. But of course, nobody can force a hobby on you.
What I’m saying is, try not to lose touch with your traditions, because it’s hard to gain it back once it’s lost.
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