Life during the 1932

Posted: October 17th, 2013

March 20, 2012


Life during the 1932

There was a small industrial area in the northern part of Hong Kong, where different products were made, ranging from furniture and household goods to ceramic dishware. Many of the factory employees were paid monthly, and the average full time working wage was about twelve hundred Hong Kong Dollars a month, which was equivalent to about two hundred US dollars. One of the factories in the industrial area was Hing Inc., which made bamboo furniture. It was owned by my grandfather’s family for thirty years. Although all the family members worked together in the factory, they did not make a lot of profit. My grandpa at that time was a young man living with his parents, nine brothers, two sisters, and three of his grandparents. They all worked in the factory, and each of them was assigned a particular task everyday.

My grandpa, Donald Kwok, was twenty-one years old, and he was attending college at the time. He did not like the science and mathematics classes, and this discouraged him, because the subjects did not help him in his career. He was discouraged when, as he was doing his homework one night, he was unable to solve a geometry problem. The problems he was solving were not relevant to his career He realized that he could manage without going to college, and he opted to take over the family business. He talked to his father about it, and his father encouraged him to think about the decision he was making. He was however convinced, and he told his father that it would not be worth to waste four years in college. He reasoned that he would instead use that time to work in Hing Inc, and he would be instrumental in improving the family business. My grandpa knew the family business well, and he could see its future. The other members of the family did not share his confidence, and they thought that the business was headed for bankruptcy. My grandpa managed to convince his father into running the family business. Although he agreed, he did not believe that there would be any changes in the business fortunes. He did not think that his son would make any difference in the company/

My grandfather dropped out of college in March 1932, and he took over the family business the same day. He was interested in expanding the business beyond China, and for the first couple of months he met with international buyers. He created business networks with foreign business people. He was aware of the high income and the interests that the foreigners had on unique products. This worked to his advantage, as he was able to increase the number of buyers in the factory. After my grandfather took over the business, the number of buyers increased from ten to thirty, and most of them were international buyers. My grandfather worked hard to ensure that the business was successful. He did most of the work alone, such as financing, trading, looking for the buyers, and even shipping the merchandise. He did not have any time for leisure, and he had little time for personal affairs. He even worked on his birthday, making sure that the merchandise, which had been ordered by a London buyer was in excellent condition before it, could be shipped off to London.

Within a short time, my grandfather started seeing the fruits of his success. After five months, Hing Inc Company had made six times more profit than they had before. Donald put so much effort to make the company’s reputation higher. He helped to raise the family income, and this improved their standard of living. They were able to afford good food, and they ate rice and eggs everyday for their dinner. They could even afford to eat out, something that they did not use to do. My grandfather was able to remodel the factory, and the workers wore good clothes. My grandpa was especially fascinated of American culture, to the extent that he encouraged his siblings to dress like the Americans. All his siblings worked in the factory, and they wore formal business attire. The men wore suits, and the women wore blouses, pencil skirts and panty hose. This was different from the prevailing Chinese culture at the time

My grandpa bought his first car in the summer of that year. He bought a German car using the money he had earned working at the factory. It was a prestige to own a car in Hong Kong at the time. My grandpa’s family had four cars, and they were considered wealthy. He had improved the company so much that they forgot what was like to live as a low-income family. His whole family was proud of him and with all the time and effort he put, he help run the company for the next twenty years, until my dad took over.


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