‘Mr Rubbish’: Kite Flier, Art Collector

Ben Ruhe
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Chan Fo Kwong, of Hong Kong, has organized several associations of which he is the chairman. They are devoted to chess; the lute; Bor-Yea Buddhism; antique watches and clocks; calligraphy and painting; pot plants and gardening; research on antiques; and, most charmingly, the Hong Kong International Deserving Genius Association. Not a one has a single member other than Chan. “I feel upset whenever I think about it,” he says.

His ninth and last association, set up in opposition to an existing kite group in Hong Kong, is the Hong Kong International Kite Association. It does have members, 80 of them.

Managing director of a retail import store now run by his first and fourth sons, Chan in retirement is curator of what he calls the Chan Fo Kwong Museum, his own apartment stuffed with his personal collection. Imperial decrees, dragon robes, royal calligraphy and paintings, antique watches and clocks, snuff bottles, stamps, banknotes, coins, precious stones, badges, and swords-----these and much more crowd the 12-room apartment. The museum, now 15 years old, can be viewed by appointment.

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