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Woon Swee Oan (born Woon Liang Giok in 1954), also known as Wen Rui'an, is a Hong Kong-based Malaysian Chinese poet and writer of wuxia novels. Some of his best known works include Jingyan Yi Qiang, Buyi Shenxiang, and Si Da Ming Bu, which have been adapted into television series The Four and Face to Fate, and the film The Four, among others.

Woon Swee Oan
Woon Swee Oan
Woon Swee Oan
Born Woon Liang Giok
1954 (age 63–64)
Bidor Town, Batang Padang District, Perak State, Federation of Malaya
Occupation Writer, poet
Language Chinese
Nationality Malaysian
Alma mater National Taiwan University
Genre Wuxia
Notable works Jingyan Yi Qiang
Buyi Shenxiang
Si Da Ming Bu
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 溫瑞安
Simplified Chinese 温瑞安
Woon Liang Giok (birth name)
Traditional Chinese 溫涼玉
Simplified Chinese 温凉玉


Woon was born in Bidor Town, Batang Padang District, Perak State, Malaya in 1954 in a Hakka family with ancestry from Mei County, Guangdong Province, China. In 1959, at a young age, he started reading from his family's collection of books and wrote his first short story. In 1961, he started attending primary school, and was accompanied by his elder sister because he was shy and afraid. However, soon after entering school, he became very active and outspoken in class, and was selected as the model student of the year in 1963. Throughout his years in primary to senior high school, Woon published articles in various magazines and defeated an opponent a year older than him in a debating competition when he was in secondary two. He also wrote a romantic novel titled Ouran (偶然; By Coincidence).

Between 1971 and 1972, Woon studied psychoanalysis and aesthetics. During this time, he met Fang E'zhen (方娥真), who became his partner for 16 years. He also started writing for various Taiwanese magazines and published his debut wuxia novel in the Hong Kong magazine Wuxia Chunqiu (武俠春秋). In 1973, he established a poetry society and published his first novel in the series Si Da Ming Bu (四大名捕; The Four Great Constables). At the end of the year, he travelled to Taiwan to further his studies at the National Taiwan University.

In 1976, Woon and Fang E'zhen established the Shenzhou Poetry Society (神州詩社) in Taiwan. However, not long later, they were accused of "promoting communism" by the Taiwanese government and detained for three months; the society was disbanded. They were sent back to Malaysia later, but were subsequently forced to move to Hong Kong due to the Malaysian government's strong stance against communism.

In 1981, after moving to Hong Kong, Woon published the wuxia novel series Shenzhou Qixia (神州奇俠; Hero of Shenzhou) in the newspaper Ming Pao. In the second half of 1983, ATV recruited Woon to be one of their writers. In the same year, Woon's works were published by Bok Yik (博益), a sub-company under TVB. His wuxia novels were later re-released by a Taiwanese publisher, Wansheng (萬盛). Woon's novel series Si Da Ming Bu and Buyi Shenxiang (布衣神相) were also adapted by ATV into television series.

In 1988, Taiwan's CTV released a television series based on Woon's novel series Si Da Ming Bu. Woon also wrote wuxia serials in the Taiwanese newspapers China Times and United Daily News. At the end of the year, Woon started his own magazine company in Hong Kong to promote his "new school" of wuxia stories. From 1990 to 1998, Woon ventured into the mainland Chinese market and spent most of his time in China. His most recent works such as Da Laohu (打老虎), Bu Laoshu (捕老鼠) and Yuanhou Yue (猿猴月) were published by Crown House Publishing (皇冠出版社) in Hong Kong.

List of worksEdit

External linksEdit

  • Wen Ruian
  • – An English Wuxia Portal, focus on discussion forum, the most complete list of Woon Swee Oan's novels in English (work in progress).