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Father’s letter

Posted July. 13, 2022 08:03,   

Updated July. 13, 2022 08:03


“Son, I have mistreated you. I will forever be sorry to you,” Chinese translator Fu Lei wrote to his pianist son, Fu Ts’ong. This letter was written on the day after his son went to Beijing to prepare for studying abroad in Poland.

Fu Lei was a strict father who felt such a guilt. He controlled everything of his son, even table manner. Fu Lei’s parenting style became stricter when he discovered in his young son musical talent and started training his son at home. Since he was 10 years old, Fu Ts’ong started to learn how to play the piano from Italian pianist Mario Falchi, who served conductor of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Fu Ts’ong won the third prize at the 5th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition when he was 21 years old and went to Poland. Fu Lei sent hundreds of letters to his son to emphasize the importance of humility. “When everything goes well, you need to be cautious, fearful, and vigilant, as though you were in deep waters and as though you set foot on the ice.” Fu Lei’s harshness came from his belief that a person can become a man of great capacity when he is polished and refined. Thanks to discipline of his father, Fu Ts’ong became a pianist with a good character.

However, the era did not allow Fu Lei to keep on being a good father. The turbulent political climate of China labeled Fu Lei, who was not only a good father but also a great intellectual and translator, as a rightist. During the Cultural Revolution, Fu Lei was humiliated by the Red Guards, having his house searched for three consecutive days. During the house search, a mirror engraved with Chiang Kai-sheck’s face was found out, which was entrusted by his aunt. Fu Lei was accused as a reactionist. Instead of defending himself, Fu Lei hung himself with his wife at the age of 58. The Red Guards took away parents from a child and an intellectual of the time from China.

“Letters from Shanghai,” a collection of Fu Lei’s letters, which was published in Korea in 2001 by the Mineum Publishing Company, is what is left to testify how dignified intellectual he was. Fu Lei said he mistreated his son, but the letters show that he was a big-hearted, generous, and kind father.