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He Will Carry You

He will carry you. Acrylic on canvas. 120 by 90 cm.

What do you see? I asked one of my clients. A “xích lô”, she replied.

“Xích lô” was invented by a French gentleman from Charente in 1939 and brought to Vietnam. Initially, it was designed with 3 wheels and pulled by people; the Chinese version of a rickshaw (三轮车). Later it was developed to be paddle by humans. That’s why, in some areas, it's called “人力车” meaning “human powered vehicle”.

A Chinese nursery rhyme sings in my mind. I remember singing it when I was a child, whenever a trishaw passed by. It goes like this:

三轮车 跑得快 Trishaw Trishaw, It runs so fast. 上面坐个老太太 On it sits an old lady. 要五毛 给一块. Costs 50 cents but she pays a dollar. 你说奇怪不奇怪. Do you think it's strange or not?

Below is a youtube video of the Chinese nursery rhyme.

What do you see? I asked one of my clients. A “xích lô”, she replied.

What does “xích lô” bring to mind?” I continued to probe.

Hannah (not her real name) recalled sitting on a xích lô. She remembered how her whole family would hop onto the xích lô. Though happy that she was being “carried” from one place to another place, Hannah also recalled feelings of sadness.

“I feel sad that someone has to suffer for my comfort.” Hannah pondered with a sense of remorse. The thought that “someone must suffer for another” is demeaning. Popular though “xích lô” was, one could not deny that it involves a livelihood and is degrading to a human being.

Today, the trishaw trade has evolved into a tourist's attraction in many parts of Asia. Humanity is an expert in creating a disguise when reality is too hard to confront.

What do you see? What thoughts come to mind? How does it make you feel? What are you going to do about the thoughts and feelings this painting evokes?

A friend visited me and saw this picture displayed as the centrepiece along the corridor. As usual, I asked, “What do you see?” She replied, “I see a church. I see a cross. I see lights.”

What does the cross bring to mind? How does the symbol of the cross and “xích lô” have in common?

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Susan Seow
Susan Seow
Oct 28, 2023

I see God. I see His light and comfort that shines on all who can see and receive Him.


Beautiful painting and reflection

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