|Master: Calligrapher Mai Tro (right) seen after writing a Chinese script for a customer. — VNS Photo Van Dat
HCM CITY (VNS) — Visitors to Ong Do (Confucian teacher) road along the HCM City Youth Cultural House are familiar with the image of an elderly man in traditional long dress writing calligraphy sentences surrounded by young colleagues.
At 86, Mai Tro, owner of a carpenter workshop in HCM City, said he has rarely felt tired during the six previous festival seasons as the "calligraphy road" has been organised for 10 years every Lunar New Year.
Tro said he was willing to sit in the hot and humid weather to simply enjoy the animated atmosphere of the days approaching Tet and the enthusiasm of his young colleagues, who sometimes call him grandfather or great-grandfather.
"I learned how to write Chinese calligraphy when I was 10 years old. I've been writing calligraphy sentences for more than 70 years. Initially, someone in my neighbourhood who had just built new houses asked me for a few blessings," said Tro, adding that he has been writing sentences at the road for six years.
Tro is not sure how long he will be able to show up at the calligraphy road, but promises to do it until he can walk and write.
"Fortunately, my hand doesn't shake. Staying at home, I am bored," said the father of eight children. "Unfortunately, none of my children wants to follow my career."
The native of Quang Nam moved to HCM City in the 1980s and now lives in Tan Phu District. Sometimes, people come to his house to ask for calligraphy, but there have been fewer people. — VNS