Cheng Chek Chee Gathering

I have been in Hong Kong for a HUMUNGOUS family reunion. A few of my uncles (I have a lot) decided to announce a gathering for the relatives from around the world to mark the 30th anniversary  of my grandfather’s death and so this past weekend has been a glorious time catching up with relatives, many of whom I have not seen for quite a number of years. One of my aunts mentioned that she hasn’t seen me since I was this high – signalling her waist! That same aunt was very impressed with my hair and also wanted to chat about how much work it takes to maintain!

But first thing Saturday was brunch with my lovely friend Mio Debnam (RA for SCBWI Hong Kong) at Maxim’s Palace (just as well Mio arrived early … packed out it soon became) where we discussed all things SCBWI and eBooks. Of course food … well needless to say that was delectable! More please! Then it was a little shopping expedition before preparing for the night’s gathering at the Happy Valley Racecourse where we gathered in one of the function rooms.

An overflowing tree of Cheng’s and their husbands and wives and associated offspring gathered to celebrate the glorious life that was Cheng Chek Chee – my grandfather. This photo of me standing next to my grandfather’s portrait was taken in the board room in Hong Kong.



Tales were told by the older generation (my uncles and aunts) of my grandfather’s early years in old China, the growth of the family, the expansion of the family company, his wonderful public relations skills and a whole lot more. An example of his PR skills was that on acquiring the rights to scuttle a P&O liner, The Arundel Castle, my grandfather decided to invite a horde of local Hong Kong dignitaries to the event where they were all invited to take souvenirs – the chronometers, captain’s arm chair, steering wheel, sterling silver cutleries, crockeries, etc. Read more about this. We also found out that my grandfather was thrown into jail for a night. Stunning photos were on display too that one of my cousins unearthed. I am totally amazed at my grandfather and his brothers and all that they did creating Chiap Hua! And if you use Circulon cookware then thank my uncle.

And this is a photo we were all so proud of seeing … my grandfather (second from right) and his three brothers. This was shown full size on a wall and was the backdrop for most of the ‘family’ photos that were taken.

Four Brothers

Four Brothers

Of course for me it was exceptionally special as many of the aunts and uncles have lived in the house in Alt Street where I spent many of my growing and formative years – the house near the inspiration for my picture book Sounds Spooky. My grandfather sent many of the family to the house, as a place in Australia where the extended family could call home. That was quite out there in the middle of last century! And after no one else needed it, my father bought it. Had he not done that then Sounds Spooky would never have eventuated! And it has been very interesting — I have been hearing tales of parties and a little noisy activity that might have gone on that might have been a little worrisome for the neighbours … or not! Some of those relatives left books behind too – engineering and manufacturing books … not my type of reading material at all … and I did ask them if they wanted them returned. Other beautiful tales of children carried in baskets across mountains, of my grandfather being jailed, of family living, and of course my grandfather receiving his Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and his clothing – he was a proud Chinese man wearing his traditionally sewn Chinese robes – cheongsam.

Wonderful too, to catch up with my cousins and their families. And I also uncovered more information about my Chinese name and the way it is formed – only another cousin and myself (the first two grandsons) have a special part of the name. The night also very quickly became one of photographic opportunity with family members in various generation gathering to be photographed in front of the larger than life portraits of the four brothers. Just exquisite.

So – that’s a quickie on our Saturday gathering … but there is more to tell of this lightning trip in Hong Kong.


2 Responses to Cheng Chek Chee Gathering

  1. Wow! Lucky lucky you…so when do we get the picture book story of Cheng Chek Chee?

    teresafannin June 30, 2013 at 12:12 am Reply
    • how did you guess I was pondering this …..

      Chris Cheng June 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm Reply

Leave a comment