Tributes paid to 'Uncle Six', the symbol of a generation

Hordes converge on Shaw Brothers Studios to remember man who was all things to all people

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 January, 2014, 12:38pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 January, 2014, 4:31am

Sir Run Run Shaw meant many things to many people, judging from the accolades that flowed in yesterday at a public memorial service in tribute to him.

His passion for show business and for charity was oft-cited, but one visitor, former TVB general manager Stephen Chan Chi-wan, spoke instead of Shaw's humour and the impeccable suits the man always showed up in at executive meetings.

"Sometimes when our discussion had run on for too long, he would ask 'are we done?' because he wanted to take a stroll and have tea," Chan recalled. "I miss him very much."

From the luminaries of the city to the man in the street, hordes of people converged on Shaw Brothers Studios in Tseung Kwan O to remember the man who was in equal measure the father of the local film industry, founder of TVB, a generous philanthropist and a champion of science and education.

Shanghai-born Shaw died at his Hong Kong home on January 7 at the age of 107. He is survived by two sons and two daughters - Vee-ming, Harold, Dorothy and Violet - and by his second wife, Mona Fong Yat-wah, whom he married in 1997. The family did not give the cause of death.

The memorial was held in a brightly decorated hall themed in gold and pink. Earlier, guests had been asked not to wear sombre clothes or black ties, or to send wreaths or bouquets.

The family had said Shaw preferred a simple lifestyle. "It is hoped that friends of Mr Shaw will gather, not in grief, to commemorate him and his achievements," TVB said earlier.

Executive Council convenor Lam Woon-kwong, Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man, and director of the central government's liaison office Zhang Xiaoming were among the guests at the service.

Actor Anthony Wong Chau-sang said Shaw's death marked the end of an era during which Hong Kong was crowned "Hollywood of the East".

"Hong Kong could become Hollywood of the East mostly because of 'Uncle Six'," Wong said, using the industry's affectionate term for Shaw. "Very few people can be called [the symbol] of a generation, but Uncle Six could."

Actor-director Eric Tsang Chi-wai said the man of charity never asked for anything in return.

"He made huge contributions to the charity sector," Tsang said. "He was a person well worth the respect of people."

Zhuo Zhongyi, 67, flew from Sichuan to Shenzhen on Thursday and crossed the border the next day to attend the memorial. Born in Shanghai, Zhuo said his father used to live in the same community as Shaw.

He met Shaw in 1991 when he joined The Shaw Foundation as a volunteer for university projects in Sichuan. He brought images of him working with Shaw to give to Fong. "Mr Shaw told me one should work more and talk less," Zhuo said. "He was my benefactor, my mentor."

Cheung Sam, a bus driver for Shaw Brothers from the 1960s to the 1980s, said that at times, Shaw took a ride with him.

The tycoon would usually ask his personal driver for 20 HK cents to take a Star Ferry from Kowloon to the Mandarin Hotel in Central for afternoon tea, Cheung recalled. "He didn't need to take any money with him," he said. "Everyone knew him."


Watch: Stephen Chan Chi-wan pays tribute to Run Run Shaw at memorial service