Chow Ping-tong

Work supervisor II, Art Museum 35-year award

The long ties between Chow Ping-tong and CUHK began on a very personal note—for the sake of getting married. At the time, his girlfriend’s father did not take a favourable view of his work as a security guard at the Hong Kong Polytechnic, and Chow, spotting an advertisement in Sing Pao Daily News for a technician at the CUHK Art Museum, felt the job provided better career prospects. He was already a skilful handyman, having followed his elder brother around helping with renovation projects during his teenage years. After landing the role, he tied the knot and raised a family, all supported by his employment with the University.

To this day, Chow remains at the museum, working in the venue and facilities team. The job is in charge of exhibition installation, arranging for the moving and setting up of large artworks, shifting the showcases, and ensuring the galleries’ lighting and air-conditioning systems work well. The team share a strong bond, he says.

“We eat and banter with one another, and sometimes we do fight over work matters, but we would then set the record straight and let things go. Of course, we apologise for whatever we have done wrong.”

Chow speaks well of his museum co-workers. A number of young people have joined in recent years, he says, transforming a workplace that used to comprise mainly senior experts who were in their 40s and 50s. The trend heralds what Chow describes as new momentum. “They’re energetic and full of new ideas while being meticulous at work. They’ve made me feel young again.”

Apart from the youngsters, Chow is also impressed by the management team’s wisdom, humility and love for the museum. After the once-in-a-century storm in September last year, all senior figures of the museum flocked back once the roads were cleared, scooping water from the flooded West Wing galleries. “It was very moving,” he says.

The forthright and cheerful work supervisor turns sober at the recollection of indelible memories at CUHK. He misses colleagues who have died, among them Professor Xu Xiaodong, the museum’s associate director who tragically passed away earlier this year. “She was an extremely kind and tender lady, invariably seeing the best in people,” Chow says. “In 2007, we were busy moving our office and book storage. She asked me not to bury myself in work, saying it was important to make time for family.”

By Amy Li
Photos by Keith Hiro


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