Friday, November 2, 2012

My Indonesian maid's Golden Turtle

My family's current Indonesian maid joined our family two years ago, a cheerful lady now and a great helper. She was skinny, timid, unable to stand erect and always feeling cold (therefore have to wear a cap to keep warm during sleep even in Summer). I bet those who haven't seen her for two years can't recognize her now always smiling face. Her headscarf is the only head-wear she needs, and she only needs it on Sunday, her leave day. For one thing, unlike her previous employer, my wife has been keeping her well-fed.

She is an inquisitive person, like enjoy watching us do chi-kung and tai-chi. At first I didn't realize it, but about a year ago, my wife found out that she would practice zhan zhuang in the morning before we woke up. We encouraged her to do it in front of us, and noticed that she had adapted the stance, in particular her hand positions, to cure her particular back and shoulder problem. "No wonder you're standing more upright now". "Sir and madam, I've cured my back pain, and I'm now working on my shoulders, which is really difficult" She said in a naive voice, as-a-matter-of-factly, without realizing that she is a modern day junior version of the famous Yang-style grandmaster Yang LuChan (楊露禪) (Master Yang story can be ready HERE).

Later days, I gave her a few more advice here and there, now and then, not at all organized (to begin with I'm not a structural teacher, with a fixed curriculum). She progressed fast. Her father got a stroke, and a few months ago, I saw her speaking Indonesian on the phone seriously and with hand stretching out like doing zhan zhuang. I was curious. She confessed that she was teaching her father zhan zhuang over the phone!

Recently I taught her (my version of) Golden Turtle and she was thrilled and she loved it! Perhaps she will spread the practice to her home town one day.

Indonesian maids in Hong Kong


  1. Philosophy practiced is the goal of learning. - Thoreau

  2. Indeed, the greatest practitioners begin with the simplest of mind. Philosophy practiced rather than studied!


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