Chew Wee Kai

Chew Wee Kai

Director, Hua Language Centre

Chew Wee Kai is the director of Hua Language Centre. He was formerly a specialist inspector for Chinese Language at the Ministry of Education as well as a journalist.
A calligrapher at his stall in Chinatown, Singapore. (SPH Media)

What's in a Chinese name?

Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai notes that names carry everything from culture to history, values and identity — and even the trend of the time. So, what’s in a name? Plenty.
Nan Hwa Girls' High at its former campus at Adis Road. (Nan Hua High School website)

How Singapore’s Chinese-medium schools showcase pride and dreams through anthems

Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai gives his thoughts on school songs of Chinese-medium schools, and the ideologies and values they embody.
Boats in Cheung Chau, Hong Kong, 2018. (Photo: Candice Chan)

The forgotten memories of those who returned to China after WWII

Post World War II, in the 1950s and 60s, some Chinese returned to China full of hope for new beginnings. When people are young, they are full of dreams, but all too often not all plans and aspirations can be fulfilled in real life, muses Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai. The important thing is to keep moving forward from the struggles of those times, even if it means to erase them from memory.
Chinese singer Dao Lang's song Luocha Haishi (罗刹海市, Rakshasa Sea City) has recently gone viral. (Internet)

Why a 'nonsense song' is all the rage in China

Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai gives his take on nonsense songs, from children’s rhymes to the latest viral hit in China — Luocha Haishi by Dao Lang. At first glance, these ditties seem to indulge one’s imaginations, but on closer inspection, they offer commentaries on the world.
Decades ago, printings were made through making etchings on wax paper.

Etching the turbulence of youth on wax paper: A former journalist remembers

Unless one is of a certain age today, one would probably not have etched wax paper or made printings from them. Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai recalls the days of painstakingly preparing sheets of wax paper full of the memories of youth.
The writer's set of the Nine Volumes.

The book box: A cultural journey from Geylang to China and back

An evening musing over an old wooden box of books prompted Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai to embark on a personal journey of discovery into the history and legacy of the book box.
Old newspapers scattered on the street. (Shutterstock)

The second life of yesterday's papers

Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai thinks fondly of old newspapers and the purpose they served in the past and still serve in the present. From spreading the news of the day to being used as decorations and even polishing glass, their role is humble no doubt, but always useful.
Everything is a blur and makes no sense... (Photo: Candice Chan)

When these eyes of mine can no longer read

Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai ruminates on ageing and what goes on inside and out as one inevitably moves into the twilight of life, not least the obvious signs of failing eyesight. Where once it was a joy to read The Water Margin and The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, now the spirit is willing but the eyes are weak.
Nantah's first graduation ceremony, 1960. (SPH Media)

Memories of graduating in a tent at Nanyang University

Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai thinks back to the first time he attended a university graduation — in a tent. However, the solemnity of the event still shone through, in a fitting tribute to the effort of the graduates, as well as the travails of that storied university called Nanyang University (Nantah), and all that it came to represent.