The King of Kowloon

My last entry was a commentary of sorts, about companies advertising on pirated DVDs in Vietnam, as an unethical trend and to continue along the line of commentary about design in society. I wanted to write another blog that wasn’t about me or my designs. In 1991 I visited Hong Kong for the first time, on a stop over, during a family trip, I don’t remember if we were returning to Australia or traveling through to England. I remember we stayed on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong, and when we traveled to the Island side of Hong Kong we would catch the ferry from the star ferry pier from Tsim Sha Tsui.

Star Ferry Pier Kowloon

Star Ferry Pier Kowloon

This is the first time I saw the calligraphy of Tsang Tsou Choi [曾灶財] who was affectionately know as the King of Kowloon, His calligraphy can be seen all over Kowloon still to this day, I found out recently he passed away in 2007, after accidentally after reading a blog I found while image searching on google.
He always claimed that his ancestors owned the Kowloon peninsula in his calligraphy he would list his family tree, and names of emperors and exclaim “Down with the Queen of England” he had also made complaints as well, that supposedly the government made gross misappropriation of his land, and demanded the government pay him land taxes, even if the claims were a little bit  inconsistent He wasn’t always attacking the queen of England, he also talked about Patriotic movements, glorifying martyrs, heroes, rebels and his estranged wife and children, creating a very public diary of his life, for those that made the time to read his writings.

King of Kowloon

A photo from a recent exhibition of The King of Kowloons caligraphy

often at times he was considered crazy, as he would scrawl his writings all over Kowloon, lamp posts, walls, the occasional car and many other public areas, I read, even when he was put into a nursing home, he would scrawl his calligraphy all over curtains, cups, mugs and any other inanimate objects.

King of Kowloon

an illustration dedicated to the King of Kowloon

He was quoted in Colours Magazine as saying “I am not an artist — I am simply the King.”

King of Kowloon

A photo of Tsang Tsou Choi writing caligraphy at the star ferry pier

King of Kowloon Caligraphy

Caligraphy by Tsang Tsuo Choi aka The King of Kowloon

King of Kowloon

The King of Kowloon's Caligraphy on a Car

 

References:
Memories of the King of Kowloon
CNN Go: Tsang Tsou-Choi: King of Kowloon, crazy old man and pioneer of Hong Kong Street Art
King of Kowloon Wiki

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2 Comments

Filed under Blogging

2 responses to “The King of Kowloon

  1. G.O.M

    Interesting – perhaps some of his inscriptions should have heritage orders!

    • Well, there are only 4 preserved “pieces” of his left in Hong Kong, and one of his works was sold, for 22,000 USD I have to double check that price. But in the end his family was ashamed by his writings, and I guess it must have been a bit sad for him.

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