The Chinese like to boast of their four inventions that contributed to world civilisation: the compass, paper, gunpowder and printing. But technological advances in the West and even in Japan have surpassed China in making improvements to these Chinese inventions.

The Chinese have forgotten their most important invention that no other cultures, except Japan and some neighbouring regions, have ever dreamed of copying. This is the written Chinese script — the Chinese characters — and its most unique vertical text direction.

The Chinese nowadays always say they want to glorify their own traditional culture. At the same time, alas, they have dumped the most unique vertical text direction of their written or printed script. And they are still talking about preserving their traditions. Are they or we lying to themselves or ourselves?


中國文字自甲骨文初創至二十世紀,三千三四百年間,皆以直書左行為正宗,此世上無雙之書寫印刷形式,廣被所及, 東鄰日本、韓國及亞洲部分文化體系,莫不接受如儀。

在社會秩序、識字率、科技、產品質素等各項,中國與日本差距尚遠, 而日本對直書左行文字模式之尊重與執著,未嘗因時代進程而稍減, 此從其學校課本、書籍、報紙、書法,所有文字媒體上,可得明證。

回觀我國,直書中文已呈苟延殘喘之局,一面屢屢標榜發揚文化,一面將華夏文化最精要獨特之文字模式視同敝屣, 吾人非自欺乎?

直書左行之中文,有礙進步乎?有助進步乎?我國日本相較,或有啟示。


From the Gardener Louis Chor in Canada, January 2008. Revised October 2012.