Xing Ying (杏影)

by Goh, Yu Mei

Xing Ying (杏影) (b. 1911, China–d. 5 January 1967, Singapore), whose real name was Yang Fangjie (杨芳洁) and was also known as Yang Shoumo (杨守默), was a pioneer writer and editor of literary supplements.1 Besides “Xing Ying”, he also published under other pen names such as Gongsun Ze (公孙哲), Liqi (里奇) and Aiyusheng (爱欲生).2 His writings spanned a wide range of genres including poetry, literary criticism, novels and others.3 He was better known for his non-fiction prose (散文) and also for his guidance and encouragement of younger writers.4

Early life and education
At the age of 14, Xing Ying’s father, Yang Caoxian (杨草仙), brought him to Tokyo, Japan, where he completed his secondary and tertiary education.His father was a renowned calligrapher in cursive script (草书).6 Xing Ying stayed in Japan for about a decade and became proficient in Mandarin, English and Japanese.7

Career
In 1936, when Xing Ying was 25, he moved to Chongqing, China, and began publishing his articles and translations.8 In 1941, he relocated to India and became acquainted with other writers such as pioneer writer Li Rulin (李汝琳).By 1944, he was working with the Allied Forces as he was familiar with Japan, having stayed there for a period of time, and was fluent in the language. He also published non-fiction prose in Chinese newspapers in India then.10

After the war, Xing Ying moved from India to Singapore.11 It is not clear when he arrived in Singapore; a compilation of letters from Xing Ying states the year as 1946, while a 1968 article written in memory of him states that he came to Singapore shortly after the Japanese surrendered in September 1945. Besides him, several writers, whom he had befriended in India, such as Li Rulin, also relocated to Singapore after the war.12

In 1947, Xing Ying joined Nanyang Siang Pau newspaper as a translator,13 and two years later, while still working for Nanyang Siang Pau, he began teaching at the Chinese High School (now Hwa Chong Institution).14 For the first few years in Nanyang Siang Pau, he published his works in the literary supplements of Nanyang Siang Pau and in magazines such as Saturday Review (星期六周刊), Nanyang Weekly (南洋周刊) and The Ranks of Literature and Arts (文艺行列).15 Xing Ying commented in the postface of his book, Books and People (书与人; 1958), that he wrote quite a number of works from the second half of 1949 to around the end of 1954, as he had more time to read during that period.16

In 1954, he was asked to temporarily take over as the editor of Nanyang Siang Pau’s literary supplement.17 The literary supplement was renamed and published as Literary Wind (文风) on 18 January 1954.18 From 1954 until his passing in 1967, he was an editor of Nanyang Siang Pau’s supplements.

Accomplishments
Xing Ying is best known in Singapore’s Chinese literary circle as an editor of the literary supplements of newspapers. The literary supplements that he edited included Literary Wind (文风), New Sprouts (新苗), Nanyang Park (南洋公园) and Youth Literature and Arts (青年文艺).19 He exerted a huge influence on younger writers in the 1950s through his work on the literary supplements.20 He believed in publishing the works of these young writers, as long as they were of good quality, and he carefully reviewed each and every work received. For the pieces that were not that well written but had potential, he would edit and publish them. Even for works that were not selected, he still edited them and sometimes included his comments, before sending the edited draft back to the writer.21 He was also noted to have guided young writers in their reading and encouraged them to write more. Through these efforts, Xing Ying nurtured numerous young writers in the 1950s and ’60s, such as Li Xiang (李向) and Lin Zhen (林臻). Some writers commented that they had persisted in writing because of his guidance.22

In 1973, a book series entitled Literary Wind Series (文风丛书) was published to commemorate Xing Ying. It comprised works published in the literary supplements, Literary Wind (文风) and Youth Literature and Arts (青年文艺).23

Death
Xing Ying passed away on 5 January 1967 at the Singapore General Hospital.24 Before he was admitted to hospital, he had completed editing several issues of Youth Literature and Arts (青年文艺) and had sent them for typesetting. The publication of the supplement officially ceased on 6 February 1967, a month after his passing.25

Selected publications
1954: 《读书与写作》 (Reading and Writing)26
1958: 《趁年轻的时候》 (While You Are Still Young)27
1958: 《书与人》 (Books and People)28
1960: 《愚人的世纪》 (The Century of Fools)29
1961: 《想想写写》 (Random Thoughts and Writings)30



Author
Goh Yu Mei



References
1.《杏影先生信抄》[Letters by Xing Ying]. (1995). 新加坡:仙人掌出版社, p. 66. (Call no.: Chinese RCLOS C816.3 XY); 王连美、赖燕鸿、林臻主编 [Wang, L. M., Lai, Y. H., & Lin, Z. (Eds).]. (2009). 《杏影:他不会寂寞》[Xing Ying: Literary pioneer of Singapore]. 新加坡:新加坡国家图书馆, p. 8. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.08 XIN)
2. 王连美、赖燕鸿、林臻主编 [Wang, L. M., Lai, Y. H., & Lin, Z. (Eds).]. (2009). 《杏影:他不会寂寞》[Xing Ying: Literary pioneer of Singapore]. 新加坡:新加坡国家图书馆, p. 8. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.08 XIN)
3. 王连美、赖燕鸿、林臻主编 [Wang, L. M., Lai, Y. H., & Lin, Z. (Eds).]. (2009). 《杏影:他不会寂寞》[Xing Ying: Literary pioneer of Singapore]. 新加坡:新加坡国家图书馆, p. 123. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.08 XIN)
4. 南大中国文学研究会座谈 史无前例由三位马华作家珠江马华文艺的发展路向 主席李光华申述座谈会之目的对马来亚新文化主流之一加深认识 李汝琳、苗秀、韦晕讲词各有偏重 [Nanyang University Chinese Literature Studies Club Seminar first of its kind – three Malayan Chinese writers talk about the direction of the development of Malayan art. Chairman Li Guanghua spoke on the objective of the seminar – to gain a better understanding of an aspect of the new mainstream culture. The talks by Li Rulin, Miao Xiu and Wei Yun each has a different focus.] (1960, August 20). 《南洋商报》, p. 5; 高杏 [Gao Xing]. (1982, February 19). 杏影印象 [Impressions of Xing Ying]. 《南洋商报》, p. 35. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. 王连美、赖燕鸿、林臻主编 [Wang, L. M., Lai, Y. H., & Lin, Z. (Eds).]. (2009). 《杏影:他不会寂寞》[Xing Ying: Literary pioneer of Singapore]. 新加坡:新加坡国家图书馆, p. 8. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.08 XIN)
6. 连士升 [Lian, S. S.] (1950, November 27). 杨翁草仙书法展览会 [Mr Yang Caoxian’s calligraphy exhibition]. 《南洋商报》, p. 4; 百一十二龄人瑞杨草仙书展今开幕 墨宝一百余点由汤氏主持典礼 假座中华总商会内一连展览六天 [Calligraphy exhibition by 112-year-old Yang Caoxian opens today. More than 100 exhibits, the exhibition was opened by Mr Thomson, Head of Public Relations department. The exhibition will be on exhibit for six days at Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce.] (1950, November 25). 《南洋商报》, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. 《杏影先生信抄》[Letters by Xing Ying]. (1995). 新加坡:仙人掌出版社, p. 67. (Call no.: Chinese RCLOS C816.3 XY); 李汝琳 [Li, R. L.]. (1995). 忆故人 [Remembering my friend]. In 骆明主编 [Luo Ming (Ed.)]. 《杏影研究专集》[Studies on Xing Ying]. 新加坡:新加坡文艺协会, p. 38. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.092 XYY)
8. 《杏影先生信抄》[Letters by Xing Ying]. (1995). 新加坡:仙人掌出版社, pp. 68–69. (Call no.: Chinese RCLOS C816.3 XY)
9. 《杏影先生信抄》[Letters by Xing Ying]. (1995). 新加坡:仙人掌出版社, p. 69. (Call no.: Chinese RCLOS C816.3 XY); 李汝琳 [Li, R. L.]. (1995). 忆故人 [Remembering my friend]. In 骆明主编 [Luo Ming (Ed.)]. 《杏影研究专集》 [Studies on Xing Ying]. 新加坡:新加坡文艺协会, p. 38. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.092 XYY)
10. 李汝琳 [Li, R. L.]. (1995). 回忆杨守默 [Yang Shoumo as I remember]. In 骆明主编 [Luo Ming (Ed.)]. 《杏影研究专集》[Studies on Xing Ying]. 新加坡:新加坡文艺协会, pp. 10–11. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.092 XYY)
11. 《杏影先生信抄》 [Letters by Xing Ying]. (1995). 新加坡:仙人掌出版社, pp. 71–72. (Call no.: Chinese RCLOS C816.3 XY)
12. 《杏影先生信抄》 [Letters by Xing Ying]. (1995). 新加坡:仙人掌出版社, pp. 71–72. (Call no.: Chinese RCLOS C816.3 XY); 李汝琳 [Li, R. L.]. (1995). 回忆杨守默 [Yang Shoumo as I remember]. In 骆明主编 [Luo Ming (Ed.)]. 《杏影研究专集》 [Studies on Xing Ying]. 新加坡:新加坡文艺协会, p. 11. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.092 XYY)
13. 《杏影先生信抄》[Letters by Xing Ying]. (1995). 新加坡:仙人掌出版社, p. 72. (Call no.: Chinese RCLOS C816.3 XY)
14. 杏影 (Xing Ying). (2004). 《愚人的世纪》. 新加坡:青年书局, p. 19. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C818.2 X); 王连美、赖燕鸿、林臻主编 [Wang, L. M., Lai, Y. H., & Lin, Z. (Eds).]. (2009). 《杏影:他不会寂寞》[Xing Ying: Literary pioneer of Singapore]. 新加坡:新加坡国家图书馆, p. 8. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.08 XIN)
15. 《杏影先生信抄》[Letters by Xing Ying]. (1995). 新加坡:仙人掌出版社, p. 72. (Call no.: Chinese RCLOS C816.3 XY)
16. 王连美、赖燕鸿、林臻主编 [Wang, L. M., Lai, Y. H., & Lin, Z. (Eds).]. (2009). 《杏影:他不会寂寞》[Xing Ying: Literary pioneer of Singapore]. 新加坡:新加坡国家图书馆, p. 157. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.08 XIN)
17. 《南大中文学会主办新闻问题讲座》 [Talk on journalism organised by Chinese society, Nanyang University] [Microfilm: NL3060]. (1960, October 27). 《星洲日报》, p. 8; 杏影 (Xing Ying). (1954, January 18). 《作为解释》 [As an explanation]. 《南洋商报》, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; 钟文灵 [Zhong, W. L.]. (1995). 杏影与《文风》副刊 [Xing Ying and the newspaper supplement, Literary Wind]. In 骆明主编 [Luo Ming (Ed.)]. 《杏影研究专集》[Studies on Xing Ying]. 新加坡:新加坡文艺协会, p. 93. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.092 XYY)
18. 杏影 [Xing Ying]. (1954, January 18). 《作为解释》 [As an explanation].《南洋商报》, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. English titles are author’s translations. 王连美、赖燕鸿、林臻主编 [Wang, L. M., Lai, Y. H., & Lin, Z. (Eds).]. (2009). 《杏影:他不会寂寞》[Xing Ying: Literary pioneer of Singapore]. 新加坡:新加坡国家图书馆, p. 8. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.08 XIN)
20. 马夫之 [Ma, F. Z.]. (1995). 论杏影 [On Xing Ying]. In 骆明主编 [Luo Ming (Ed.)]. 《杏影研究专集》[Studies on Xing Ying]. 新加坡:新加坡文艺协会, pp. 49, 51. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.092 XYY)
21. 谢克 [Xie Ke]. (1983, January 24). 编者与文艺—在“国际华文文艺营“的发言 [Editor and literature – speech delivered on “International Chinese Literature Camp”]. 《南洋商报》, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Lye, S. C. (2004, March 10). Oral history interview with Yap Koon Chan @ Luo Ming [Transcript of recording no. 002802/106/42, pp. 494, 496]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/; 吴岸 [Wu An]. (1982, September 13). 永远的纪念 [An eternal commemoration]. 《南洋商报》, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. 李向 [Li Xiang]. (1973, January 1). 《查米》编后记 [Editorial afterword of Chami]. 《南洋商报》, p. 70. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. 王连美、赖燕鸿、林臻主编 [Wang, L. M., Lai, Y. H., & Lin, Z. (Eds).]. (2009). 《杏影:他不会寂寞》[Xing Ying: Literary pioneer of Singapore]. 新加坡:新加坡国家图书馆, p. 8. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.08 XIN)
25. 李向 [Li Xiang]. (1995). 给朋友的几封信 [A few letters to friends]. In 骆明主编 [Luo Ming (Ed.)]. 《杏影研究专集》[Studies on Xing Ying]. 新加坡:新加坡文艺协会, p. 82. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C810.092 XYY)
26. 杨守默 [Yang, S. M.]. (1954). 《读书与写作》 [Reading and writing]. 新加坡:南洋报社. (Call no.: Chinese RCLOS C814.3 YSM)
27. 杏影 [Xing Ying). (1958). 《趁年轻的时候》[While you are still young]. 新加坡:青年书局. (Call no.: Chinese RCLOS C814.3 XY)
28. 杏影 [Xing Ying]. (1958). 《书与人》[Books and people]. 新加坡:青年书局. (Call no.: Chinese RSING C814.3 HY)
29. 杏影 [Xing Ying]. (1961). 《愚人的世纪》[The century of fools]. 新加坡:青年书局. (Call no.: Chinese RCLOS C814.3 HY)
30. 杏影 [Xing Ying]. (1961). 《想想写写》[Random thoughts and writings]. 新加坡:青年书局. (Call no.: Chinese RCLOS C818 HY)



The information in this article is valid as at October 2020 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

 

Subject
Chinese writers
Authors, Chinese--Singapore
Xing, Ying, 1912-1967

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