Mr Ngai Hong: What I learned about craftsmanship 倪匡:我學到的匠人精神

When I heard of the news of the passing of Mr Ngai Hong (aka Ni Kuang), the first thought ran through my mind was that he had wished for a painless death. I wasn’t sure if he left the humanly world in his slumber. Having watched these two episodes of Whirling Clouds Valley hosted by Chip Tsao and Alex Pao, only did I learn that Mr Ngai gave up his cancer treatment in 2019, and that he was troubled by leg pain in the past few years.

Firstly, I should make it clear that I wasn’t a super fan of Mr Ngai Hong’s works. And rarely did I read his works repeatedly. Imagination is always what I admire about his sci-fi fictions. Imagination is also my pastime. And in recent years I am increasingly convinced that the events of extraterrestials visiting planet Earth will be exposed. Questions as to whether some civilisations existed before ours, whether a good number of intelligent civilisations exists ‘out there’—I believe will be answered, it is just that whether or not humankind is willing to accept and recognise what actually happened.

His staunch love for freedom is also admirable; he despises politics of calling deer a horse. This is absolutely right, otherwise you wouldn’t see people and money trying to flee territories self-proclaiming to be democratic.

Endurance of writing is what I always want to learn. Mr Ngai said that when he was working at home, he was writing longhand immediately after picking up his writing papers. Having written a section of story for serial publication on Chinese-language newspapers in Hong Kong, he carried on with another story for another serial publication.

I am not a good story writer, but I have achieved the target of translating for long hours. I always translate different documents during morning, afternoon and night time. From Chinese into English or English into Chinese, I am able to switch between the languages without confusion–all thanks to the education I received at Chinese and English departments of NTNU. Also, my endurance to work long hours when I am inundated by translation and copyediting work, was kind of inspired by Mr Ngai’s work attitude.

His freestyle attitude in life is also respectable. Whenever he talked about freedom, his ideas reminded me of the works of Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi. On another note, he was recognised for having influenced and nurtured a good reading habit among his fans.

I wish the blue-blooded man a happy journey in another planet to continue telling sci-fi stories, while I keep dreaming about Changing Head in slumbers.