You’d have thought that we’d have a break from the recent spate of celebrity deaths with the turn of the year, but it seems that that 2016 has claimed one last victim – Alfonso Wong Kar Hei, creator of the iconic Lao Fu Zi (老夫子, also known as Old Master Q) comic series passed away on 1 January 2017 from organ failure caused by old age.
Also known by his pen name Wong Chak (named after his son), Wong’s comics depicted the eponymous Lao Fu Zi character, an old chinese man dressed in traditional garb who often found himself caught up in absurd situations.
Inspired by Wong’s own life, his bold pen strokes and straightforward visual humour in Lao Fu Zi captured the zeitgeist of then British-ruled Hong Kong, lightheartedly poking fun at issues like the contrast between Chinese and western culture during this period. Wong’s ability to entertain with his pen made Lao Fu Zi one of the most long-lasting and beloved characters in Chinese comic history, entertaining generations of fans not just in Hong Kong, but also in Chinese communities around the world.
And we are are no exception – I’m sure his comics are a happy memory for many of us growing up in Singapore.
New Lao Fu Zi comics continue to be made even today under the company established by his son, Joseph Wong Chak, who was the first to take over the mantle of illustrator after his father’s retirement in the 80s. Check out www.oldmasterq.com if you’d like to find more Lao Fu Zi comics: the comics aren’t arranged in chronological order but the 1960 to 1980 ones by him are the ones I’d recommend.
For those of you who’ve never heard of him, here’s your chance; for those of you who have, what better way to remember him by?