Dr. DARREN CHUA

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28May

2019

Kintsugi and what it means for me

The traditional Japanese art of “kintsugi” (golden joinery or golden repair) uses a precious metal – liquid gold, liquid silver or lacquer dusted with powdered gold – to bring together the pieces of a broken pottery item and at the same time enhance the broken areas. You see, when a bowl, teapot or precious vase falls and breaks into pieces, we naturally throw them away, regretfully. Yet, in “kintsugu”, it tells us that these is another way. Rather then throwing away what is broken, we can lovingly mend it back and in so doing, enhance the value of the broken vessel. The art of “kintsugi” consists in joining the broken fragments and giving them a new and more refined aspect. Every repaired piece is unique, because of the randomness with which ceramics shatters; and the irregular patterns, which are formed, are, subsequently, enhanced with the use of golden dust and increasing its value and beauty.

Behind this art of kintsugi is the Japanese philosophy of “wabi sabi” that, basically, embraces the notion that there is beauty in imperfection, impermanence and incomplete.

Perhaps it is this philosophy of wabi sabi and art of kintsugi that help in building up the resilience of this nation.

The art of kintsugi technique suggests many things. For one, we should not throw “away” broken areas in and of our life. When an life starts to break due to unforeseen circumstances, it does not mean that it is no more useful and useless. Its breakages can become valuable. We should and can “repair” our life because sometimes in doing so, we obtain much more value out of life.

This is the essence of resilience. Each of us should look for a way to cope with traumatic events with positivity, learn from negative experiences, take the best from them and understand that it is exactly these experiences that will make each person unique and precious and empowered!

 

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