Tattoo parlour the one thing Ricky Lo wouldn’t want to part with
Ricky Lo arrived in Hong Kong from China 50 years ago. He opened the Ricky and Pinky Tattoo Studio in 1975, and has been working his art on everyone from triad thugs to daring bankers ever since.
Originally published: August 12, 2001, Sunday Magazine
Where are you most likely to be at 10am on a Sunday? At home sleeping. At weekends I don’t go to sleep until 3am so I wake up late and then go out for tea. I start work around noon.
Where are you most likely to be at 10pm on a Friday? Working. I work every day for most of the day. I’m always here at the studio.
Where do you live? Wan Chai.
Where do you go to escape in Hong Kong? There aren’t many special places to go in Hong Kong. I go to the horse races sometimes. Nothing particularly excites me at my age. I might head to Macau for the weekend, or up to the mainland if I have more time.
Whom in Hong Kong do you most admire? No one stands out much. Hong Kong people are all the same, we all just want the same basic things. I don’t think anyone is outstanding, it’s all about securing a decent lifestyle and making as much money as you can. It’s not a matter of admiration or idolatry, there’s no need for any of that.
Whom do you least admire? No one in particular. I say live and let live. There’s no point in judging others. It’s enough that people just concentrate on leading their own lives.
What has been your most frightening experience? About 10 years ago some burglars broke into the shop. They were violent and one of them stabbed me with a knife. I still have the scar here on my left forearm. But really, why should there be anything to be scared of? If you don’t harm anyone, you shouldn’t need to worry. If someone starts some trouble, then call the police.
What do you love most about Hong Kong after you’ve been away? Hong Kong is the best place to live. Everything’s so convenient and accessible. You can go anywhere, buy anything, and do anything you want without having to depend on anyone. Besides, I’m Chinese. You must always live at home, and be with your own kind in a Chinese city.
What do you hate about Hong Kong after you’ve been away? You’re always hot and sweaty whenever you go out, the air is horrible, and there are too many people.
What was your childhood dream? When you have less opportunity to study and learn, you don’t have the freedom to dream big dreams. Hong Kong people just want the basics. I wanted to make money of course, find a good wife, lead a secure life. You can’t be too idealistic. There’s no point having far-fetched dreams.
What do you want to be reincarnated as? Are you kidding me? What kind of question is that? If you’re healthy and living, why would you sit around thinking about this kind of stuff? Next question please.
What do you own that you could never part with? This business. I built it up from scratch. I’ll work here for the rest of my life if I can.
What inspires you? I admire a job well done.
When was the last time you cried? People cry when they’re sad. There’s nothing more to say.
What are your plans? To continue working here. Of course I hope that the economy will improve and my business will prosper and return to the old days when there were lots of customers. But it’s most important just to be able to keep the store open.
Any words of wisdom? For Hong Kong people, things are very simple. Make money, nothing else matters.