S’porean Tai Chi master Foo Shang Wee passes away aged 72

Condolences to Foo and his family.

Lean Jinghui | September 15, 2022, 04:42 PM

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Singaporean Tai Chi master Foo Shang Wee has passed away, aged 72.

According to Shinmin Daily News (Shin Min), the unexpected passing happened last Saturday, Sep. 10, after Foo had completed a performance.

Fainted while resting

Foo's son told Shin Min that from what he understands, his father had taken part in a Tai Chi performance on the same day, and returned to his seat to rest.

However, as he was standing up, Foo suddenly fainted and lost consciousness.

Those beside Foo attempted to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for him, but he never regained consciousness.

In response to Shin Min's queries, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) confirmed that they received a call for assistance at the Singapore Sports Hub at about 1:10pm on Sep. 10.

Foo was later conveyed to Tan Tock Seng hospital for medical assistance.

Sudden passing

Following the unexpected news, Foo's son shared that he and other family members had immediately rushed to the hospital, but Foo had, unfortunately, already passed on.

The family did not manage to see Foo "for one last time", his son added.

Foo's son shared that while his father was of old age and had high blood pressure, he had been "very healthy" and exercised twice daily.

He was also a Tai Chi instructor and master.

As a result, the family was shocked by Foo's sudden passing.

His son added in memory of his father:

"Since we were young, my sister and I learnt Tai Chi from my dad, but we never displayed a knack for it, and eventually stopped learning. Our father [Foo] never once forced us to learn Tai Chi from him, and continued to give us a lot of care and love throughout the years. We miss him a lot."

Foo is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

Outpouring of condolences from students

Many of Foo's students shared their condolences on Facebook as well, lauding Foo's contributions to the local Tai Chi scene.

One tribute also shared Foo's "last performance" on Sep. 10 before he passed on, and expressed shock and sadness over the unexpected event. The post read:

"I began learning the Chen-style of Tai Chi from teacher [Foo] in 1993. [...] He was the teacher that enlightened me. I would not be where I am today without him, and will continue to spread word and knowledge of Chinese martial arts.

Thank you!

Teacher, rest in peace."

Speaking to Shin Min, Foo's son added that his father had dedicated his entire life to propagating the martial arts, inspiring others, and often ran free Tai Chi lessons for the community.

"We are very touched that a lot of his students came to his funeral to pay their respects. It also speaks to his contributions to Singapore's wushu scene, and we are very proud of his generous spirit."

According to Chinese website Taijigen, Foo first learnt wushu from his uncle, before specialising in Tai Chi, the usage of wushu weapons, and "push hands" (also known as "tuishou").

He later became the apprentice of a renowned Tai Chi master in China, and became the "20th-generation successor" of the Chen-style of Tai Chi, which is believed to be the original form of Tai Chi.

Top images via Jennifer Lee Facebook and Shinmin Daily News Facebook