About the Foundation

If someone had told me that I would become the executive director of some foundation, my immediate response would have been that this someone didn’t know me at all. Executive director? For someone like me, who loves freedom too much and dislikes titles of any kind, it would be the last thing I ever wanted.

However, this May, I have entreated a group of friends to help me. Together, we founded the Hsiao Chin Foundation, and I became the executive director.

I have been working with Master Hsiao for the past three or four years. I consider myself lucky to have this opportunity. Master Hsiao has been living with his wife alone and moving between Taiwan and Milan after his only daughter passed away in an accident in 1989.

These years, every time he came back to Taiwan, he and my family, including my kids, are just like family members. Usually, I would drive him to my house in the morning, after which he would start working. We would have lunch together, followed by the most important “noon nap.” He would take a one-hour nap, and have some fruits, to begin his work in the afternoon. After dinner, I would drive him back to his place in Kaohsiung.

Sometimes he takes the afternoon off and goes out. He loves to watch cargo ships by the sea in Cijin, or simply enjoy the view of the sea and sunset. He also enjoys movies and ice cream in the local shopping mall. He especially adores the beach in Kenting. Resorts such as Chateau or Jing Guan are among his favorite places to stay. He would sit facing the sea and meditate.

Except for checking emails and sending replies, Master Hsiao keeps a very regular schedule every day. His mornings always begin with exercise, morning prayer and his specially-made, healthy breakfast. His persistence on painting is also part of his daily schedule. During these years, we have come to realize that an artist must continue to immerse himself in his art; it is a source of continual inspiration.

I consider myself truly lucky to be able to work alongside Master Hsiao and to learn from him. This is the best thing that has happened to me in this life. After the years I spent with him, I have come to know him as a wise and compassionate elder. There is great wisdom in everything he said: simple and unadorned as it seemed at first, yet always rewarding and inspiring as you ponder on it more and more.

This August, just a few days before he was scheduled to return to Milan, as we were having tea and a good chat, he suddenly said: “I have spent most of my life in solitude, never dreaming that I would suddenly have a home here these last few years.” Hearing him say so, immediately brought tears to my eyes. To me, he is sometimes like a gentle father, and sometimes like an innocent boy.

I am a total stranger in the art circle in Taiwan. People in the circle often wonder where I came from. Nevertheless, I believe that they should be grateful, whether they like me or not, for it is through me that we in Taiwan are blessed with the privilege to have Master Hsiao’s collection here, all the way from Milan.

It is my great responsibility to ensure that Master Hsiao lives a peaceful and healthy life, so it means that I have to arrange for special medical care if need be. My greatest reward would be to see him devoted to his art, free and contented.

August 2014 in Kaohsiung