Lam Woo

Master Builder, Revolutionary, and Philanthropist

Moira M. W. Chan-Yeung

The Chinese University Press

Lam Woo

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Pub Date: July 2017

ISBN: 9789629967840

216 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $49.00

Lam Woo

Master Builder, Revolutionary, and Philanthropist

Moira M. W. Chan-Yeung

The Chinese University Press

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This book focuses on Lam Woo, a highly successful Chinese building contractor whose company was based in Hong Kong at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is also about the marginal group of people he exemplifies, those who joined the Chinese diaspora because of poverty and political turmoil and were later driven back home because of discrimination and other difficulties. This book provides a window onto the socio-political conditions in Hong Kong leading up to the 1911 revolution that established the Republic of China and the following two decades. In studying Lam Woo's life and family, we catch a glimpse of the lives of a unique segment of the Hong Kong Chinese community—namely, the educated, westernized Chinese, mainly Christians, some of whom supported the revolution to overthrow the Qing dynasty.

Chan draws on rich archival sources and historical photographs to illustrate the life of a man who was a pioneer builder of majestic heritage buildings throughout Hong Kong such as St. Paul's Church, St. Paul's Coeducational College, the Diocesan Boys' School, and St. Stephen's College, all of which remain in use today. Lam Woo's efforts in rebuilding the port facilities and docks helped the colony's transformation into a glamorous international port. The book also discusses how Lam Woo's contributions to the building of roads and bridges linked different parts of the territory with mainland China. In the later part of the book, the author highlights how Lam Woo, a devout Anglican, contributed to the expansion of the Chinese Anglican Church community. As one of the founders of St. Paul's Church, he promoted the establishment of the Hong Kong YMCA, with its emphasis on character training in "the development of body, mind, and spirit" for young people. The book emphasizes that his most lasting legacy for Hong Kong and his native Guangzhou was through his philanthropic activities in education. Lam Woo supported education for girls and founded St. Paul's Girls' School, the forerunner of the notable St. Paul's Co-educational College, founded a primary and a secondary school in his native village, and donated extensively to Lingnan University.

About the Author

Moira M. W. Chan-Yeung is professor emeritus of medicine at the University of British Columbia and honorary professor of medicine at the University of Hong Kong.