Jack Yan
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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006.



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16.01.2010

The “other” Tsang Tsou Choi biography

I can’t find much by way of biography for artist Tsang Tsou Choi (曾灶財), the self-titled ‘King of Kowloon’ (九龍皇帝), but the following gives a good summary about how most feel about him:

   Since his death, some of his work has been destroyed by the Hong Kong authorities, though others have been preserved. (Initially, the government promised to preserve Tsang’s work, but I’m sure Beijing would frown upon even an artist claiming that he was the rightful ruler of the territory.)
   What is interesting, and not found readily online, was Tsang’s claim to an imperial bloodline. If you follow the story, as told decades ago in a newspaper there, he said he was playing as a child in a royal courtyard, and found himself going through a portal, and meeting monks on the other side. They told him that it was a miracle that he had made it through there, as mere mortals generally could not. Eventually, he was given directions to return, but wound up penniless in Hong Kong. When turning back, the monastery had disappeared.
   The original story was told with a great deal of clarity (or embellishment).
   Many people dismissed the story as apocryphal or, worse, that of a crackpot, especially in an age when Tsang’s work was considered more a nuisance than art.
   What do you reckon? Did Tsang have a Bermuda Triangle–Life on Mars moment, or was he a bit loopy? (The official story sees him coming out of Guangdong as a teenager to join his uncle in Hong Kong, which is far more likely.)

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Filed under: culture, Hong Kong, media—Jack Yan @ 06.06

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