Remark on transliterations

In transcribing the Chinese words in this text I tried to use the international accepted standard of Hanyu Pinyin. In some cases this was not possible because I didn't have an original Chinese text. Many times I tried to give both the Pinyin version, which uses standard Chinese as a basis, as well as a transcription of a Chinese dialect in inverse. Sometimes only the dialect version is given, due the reasons I mentioned earlier. Usually a dialect from Fujian (Hokkian), Guandong (Canton) or in a Kejia (Hakka) dialect.

Venerable Gao Can can be transliterated in many different ways, in different Chinese dialects. Mainly in a dialect from Fujian (Hokkian), Guandong (Canton) or in Kejia (Hakka) dialect.

The most frequent transcriptions are: Sek Koh Sam and Sik Koe Chum. Other spellings that I encountered were:

Ven Ko Cham;
Seh Koh Sam;
Sik Koe Chum;
Ke Chum;
Shi Gao Sen;
Koh Sun;
Koh San;
Sik Ko Sum;
Sek Koh Sum;
Sik Gau Sum;
Shi Gaocan.

Shi Gao Can, however, was his full Buddhist name pronounced in Mandarin, the standard Chinese dialect and transliterated using the Hanyu Pinyin system. One last problem is that the last character of his name "Can" can also be pronounced as "Shen" and "Cen', and some seem to prefer that spelling/pronounciation.

Why 'Sao Lim' and not 'Shaolin'?

This is not important. Sao Lim is just the way many Chinese in Malaysia would transcribe the characters 'ÉÙ' and ' ÁÖ'. Only in mainland China the Hanyu Pinyin transcription system is widely accepted; a Chinese from the mainland would write 'Shaolin' (or Shao Lin; a space between the two syllables is acceptable). The transcription 'Shaolin' is also best known in Western countries, but in South East Asian countries many variations exist. Sometimes caused by different linguistically backgrounds (different dialects) or by using non-standard transcription systems (often based on the language of the country's former colonial ruler).
A few examples:

'Shaolin'; most widely accepted. Standard Mandarin written using Hanyu Pinyin.
'Shao Lin'; standard Mandarin written using Hanyu Pinyin.
'Sao Lim'; used in Malaysia. Based on a dialect from Fujian province.
'Shao Lim'; used in Malaysia.
'Seow Lim'; seen in Malaysia and also in Singapore. Maybe a Hakka or Teow Chew dialect (South China)?
'Siao Lin'; seen in Singapore.
'Siau Lim'; seen in Singapore.
'Siauw Lim'; from Indonesia.
'Siu Lam'; used in Hong Kong. Cantonese dialect
'Sjao Lin': used in Indonesia. Dutch pronunciation.
('Shorin'; Japanese)

Another thing is that the name 'Shaolin' nowadays is more or less a synonym for the modern, acrobatic Wu Shu styles coming from mainland China. One can safely say that a school using a transcription different from 'Shaolin' is NOT a modern Wu Shu style, but most likely a traditional style preserved in overseas Chinese communities and saved from the Cultural Revolution and reform of martial arts in mainland China. It goes only one way though; the other way around, everything 'Shaolin' is modern Wushu is of course not always true!


In constructing this site I used many different recourses. Most important are the many different web sites providing information on Shi Gao Can, including websites with forums. I especially used the submissions by 'Shaolin Master' Sek Jan Leng (Kung Fu Magazine Forum) I Besides the web sites I also consulted both Master Jurg Zieglers Shaolin Lohan Kung Fu Books, Master P'ng Chye Khim's Lohan Kung Fu book and Master Quek Heng Choon's Shaolin book. (Thanks to 'Nono' Ji Hongyan, Splindar Tian, Huaqian Cong and 'Jeffery' Huo Jian for translating the Chinese texts.) I also consulted different people from all over the world; Master Jurg Ziegler, C.Tan, E.J. Oskam, Marc Grunberg, Eric Ling (Ling Hwee Kok), Richard Jean-Philippe, Dirom Jeremey, Wong Wong Songkiat, Rene Scharff, Master Ong Ming Thong, Kayes and Pei at PenangTalk.Com, the Singapore Seow Tin San Athletic Association (HQ (Yort Yap)), Nick Hurst and many people who chose to remain anonymous. Special thanks to Gary O'Sullivan, Tan Chin Hock, Bryan Gan and Gary Kong (may he rest in peace).

A big thanks to all of them. Do you have additional information for me, wish to correct me, ask me questions, give comment? Please do so.

Please also remember that there some persons and/or organizations who do not wish to be affiliated with this website, but do teach the genuine Shaolin arts of Shi Gao Can. Not featuring on this site doesn't mean they are 'frauds' or 'not recognized' in any way !!!

This is a non-commercial web site. All the pictures on this web site come from my personal collection or from internet sites freely available to everyone. The pictures from the latter category are mainly used to make a link to the web site from which the picture originates. I used these pictures under the assumption of non objection as they are freely available to everyone, other pics used with permission. However if you feel that I used one or more pictures unrightfully please let me know and I will remove them promptly.
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