Video: Hong Kong's ultimate umbrella man
A simple everyday item like an umbrella may seem like a trifle to most people. But not to Ho Hung-hei. The venerable 88-year-old has been repairing and making umbrellas since 1947. Unlike today’s age of mass production, an umbrella was considered a luxury item in the 1950s. Now, people can afford to buy one the moment it starts raining and never use it again. Despite the rarity of his profession, Mr Ho still commands a loyal customer base around the world.
Mr Ho began a career as an accountant but later followed in his sister’s footsteps in the umbrella business. In 1994, he held a Guinness World Record for having made the most expensive umbrella, valued at £167 (HK1,900). He calls it the ‘Priceless Umbrella’ as he cannot reproduce the umbrella even if he wanted to. He has donated it to the Hong Kong Museum of History.
Although Mr Ho is a hard worker and the signs on his stall say he opens at 11am, it’s most likely he’ll be late. From Monday to Saturday he travels from far away Sham Shui Po and slowly makes his way to the top of Peel Street, a long steep road. Click the video to see what happened when CNNGo visited Mr Ho on one of his typical days at work.
Ho Hei Kee 何希記, 74 Peel Street. 27784306. Open Monday-Saturday 11am-4pm