Testimonies of Martial Arts Novelist Jin Yong’s Christian Friends, Liang Yusheng and Ni Kuang
By Ruth Wang, November 05, 2018 11:11 AM
Legendary martial arts novelist Jin Yong - the pen name of Louis Cha - died on October 30, 2018 at the age of 94.
Regarding wuxia novels, Cha's two famous peers and friends, Liang Yusheng and Ni Kuang, also achieved the master's level in this genre. Liang pioneered a new school of martial arts fiction and Ni's works were richly imaginative.
However, the public generally is unaware that they both became Christians in their senior years.
Born in Guangxi in 1924, Liang, whose real name was Chen Wentong, was listed, along with Jin Yong and Gu Long, as a master of the wuxia novel. Having written over 30 novels, he produced many fictional characters like Zhang Danfeng, a swordsman, and the White Hair Devil Lady.
In 1994 when he migrated to Sydney, the 70-year-old Liang was baptised there. His conversion to Christianity was related to an unexpected diagnosis of cancer. The writer recalled that his Christian wife prayed at home that his doctor would give him a smile. The prayer was answered when he was met by his doctor with a smile. He then joined a church and started to study the Bible. Shortly afterwards, he prayed to accept Jesus.
It was said that two books were put on his nightstand--a beat-up copy of Note Selections and Tang Poetry and the Bible. However, he first had contact with Christianity at an early age.
When Liang was 17 or 18, because of World War II at the time, a famous historian and pastor named Jian Youwen took refuge in his house. Liang became Jian's student. As a Christian, Jian often talked about the Bible with him. During the Cultural Revolution, Liang complained to Jian about the cultural circles in Hong Kong that were divided into leftists and rightists. The latter told him to read Romans 7:18-24 and these verses planted a seed of faith inside him.
Jin Yong once asked Liang whether he believed in Buddhism or Taoism, but Liang said that he was a Christian. Jin asked again, "But since you are so fascinated with traditional culture, why do you believe in a western faith that is far different from Chinese culture?"
Liang answered, "Let me give you an example. Is it not surprising that Gautama Buddha who was born a prince, saw much and had many things to play with abandoned everything? Was Laozi or Li Er, a librarian who had read numerous books throughout his life, able to understand the true meaning of life? Jesus, the son of a carpenter, never went to school, just walked within a radius of tens plus miles, and preached no more than three years, but so many people in the world believe in his teachings. Do you agree that he was a holy person?"
On Jan. 22, 2009, Liang died of an illness in Australia, aged 84. His Christian funeral was very low-key.
Born in 1935, Ni, who was one of the four talents of Hong Kong (the others were Jin Yong, Cai Lan, and Huang Zhan), won the Hong Kong Film Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. His iconic wuxia novel Six-fingered Strings Demon was famous for its strange twists of imagination. He wrote some part of the original newspaper serialization of Jin Yong's Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils while Jin was on vacation in the West.
Ni was best known for his science fiction series that was written beginning in 1962 under the pen name "Wesley" and depicted the evil nature of human beings - something that the Bible also speaks of when it says that "all have sinned". However, Ni's novels also contained the emotional element of "love".
In an interview, the writer said that the name "Wesley" was borrowed from the placename "Wesley Village" in Hong Kong in remembrance of John Wesley, a theologian in the 18th century and one of the founders of Methodism. Ni gained fame and fortune from his writing, but also developed some bad habits such as smoking, drinking, and an obsession with money.
On Easter in 1986, he was baptized in a church in Taipei (at the time he still affirmed that God was foreign to him). His conversion was due to rehabilitation from alcohol addiction after a pastor had prayed for him. Thanks to his Christian faith, he has gradually overcame his negative habits. In recent years, he has given his testimony in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Ni confessed that he thought of jumping to his death before becoming a Christian because he was unhappy and could not see the meaning of life. One day, he suddenly received a long letter and some Christian material from a woman named Liang Shangyuan from the Chinese Culture University, but he took no interest in them. Nonetheless, Liang continued to send him more information. Later he began to look at these letters and papers. Regarding them as reasonable, he was able to untie his emotional entanglements.
Reviewing his past, Ni said that he didn't do anything wrong, but felt he didn't treat his wife well enough. He hoped to spend more time with her. In 2004, he announced quiting writing, adding that he couldn't write anymore because he had run out of "quotas".
- Translated by Karen Luo
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