Although Shiu Ying is often mentioned as the wife and partner of Chiu Kow, little is known about her person. Her life, however, according to what we know, was very moving. She was a great master of Hung Gar, acupuncturist, doctor, mother, benefactor and lived through several wars almost on the side.
Shiu Ying (Wong Shiu Ying, also Wong Sou Nang) was born in 1904 in a village in San Hui. Her family practiced Mok Gar Kung Fu and Shiu Ying was also trained in it. She grew up to be a strong fighter and good doctor.
Wedding with Chiu Kow
In 1923 Shiu married Ying Chiu Kow. At the young age of nineteen, she was already the doctor and acupuncturist of the village. The connection between the two kung-fu practitioners was not based on infatuation, but was rather rationally made. At that time it was not common for women to know how to fight. Kung Fu was a man’s business and defensive women were anything but highly regarded. For Shiu Ying and Chiu Kow, however, it was precisely these shared passions – kung fu and medicine – that provided the basis they needed. After the wedding, the young couple moved to Chiu Kow’s home village in Samkong district. Shiu Ying became a mother three times during this time. Chiu ‘William’ Kam Fung was born in 1927, Chiu Kim Ching in 1929, and Shiu Ying had a daughter named Chiu Lai Fong, whose exact year of birth I could not find out.
In the late 1920s, in the early years of the Chinese Civil War (1927-1949), Chiu Kow and Shiu Ying and their families were threatened by Communists. They wanted to take away their property or even kill them. They decided to flee. Probably in 1930, the couple moved to Hong Kong, where Chiu Wai was born on October 10. Always anxious to improve their skills, Shiu Ying and her husband Chiu Kow entered the school of Lam Sai Wing ( Lam Sai Wing Kwok Sutt Sair ). There they studied under their instructor and elder kung fu brother Tang Hin Choi. But due to their rapid progress and hard work they aroused the interest of Lam Sai Wing himself. Lam Sai Wing himself taught the determined couple more and more personally.
Chiu Kow was an extremely active person, who was actively supported by Shiu Ying. She taught in the school he opened, worked in his practice as a doctor and performed kung fu demonstrations together with him. It was from these people that the conviction of the people that she would have been superior to him originated: In the demonstrations, the fights always ended with her victory.
Shiu Ying was often challenged in the markets despite or because of this. She always kept the upper hand. It is reported that she, the doctor trained as an acupuncturist from childhood on, unerringly used pressure points and was thus able to bring even much stronger opponents to their knees. This technique is called ‘Diem Yuet’.
2nd World War
In 1941 the Chius Kong left Kong because of the war and moved to Canton. They traveled a lot, while Chiu Kow and Shiu Ying together with their children educated the people in many villages in Kung Fu. They also worked again as doctors. They were generally welcome in their actions and were welcome guests. This almost romantic sounding episode took place in a time marked by chaos, death and suffering. Not only did China wage war against Japan, but also against itself. In this turbulent period Shiu Ying became pregnant again and gave birth to her youngest and last son, Chiu Chi Ling, on January 20, 1943.
Back to Hong Kong
As a warm-hearted and compassionate person, Shiu Ying attached great importance to charitable activities. She treated patients who could not raise the money, often for free, and supported fundraising for Leung Guk Orphanage, Tung Wah Hospital, Gong Wah Hospital and many others. These collections in turn often consisted of kung fu demonstrations.
Old age and death
Together with her husband, Shiu Ying supervised the education of the students until old age. She also taught the last style heir, Grand Master Martin Sewer.
Shiu Ying was healthy until the end of her life. But as her death approached, she slept more and more her days until she finally did not wake up. She died as a highly respected woman on January 30, 2002 at the age of nearly 98 years.
All photos are taken from the ‘Chiu Kow Memorial Book’ with the permission of the author, Grand Master Martin Sewer.