Prominent figures pay last respects to writer Louis Cha

Mr Louis Cha Leung Yung, better known by his pen name, Jin Yong, died in Hong Kong on Oct 30 at the age of 94. Leading figures from the arts, business and political worlds attended his wake, while those who sent wreaths included Chinese President Xi
Mr Louis Cha Leung Yung, better known by his pen name, Jin Yong, died in Hong Kong on Oct 30 at the age of 94. Leading figures from the arts, business and political worlds attended his wake, while those who sent wreaths included Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
A paper plane is among the offerings to be burnt at Mr Louis Cha's funeral in Hong Kong today.
A paper plane is among the offerings to be burnt at Mr Louis Cha's funeral in Hong Kong today. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

A veritable Who's Who of Hong Kong's arts, business and political figures turned up to bid adieu to one of the most prolific Chinese writers of all time, Mr Louis Cha Leung Yung, better known by his pen name, Jin Yong.

Following a long illness, Mr Cha died at the age of 94 on Oct 30 at the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital surrounded by family.

Yesterday, family and friends streamed into the Hong Kong Funeral Parlour in North Point on the last day of the private wake, before the funeral today.

Some 150 to 200 journalists and TV crew gathered by the road just outside the building.

Numerous white flower wreaths adorned the building's interior and lined its exterior. Those displayed prominently in the parlour on one side were from members of the Chinese government, including President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Vice-Premier Han Zheng, who is also in-charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs, and former premier Zhu Rongji. On the other side were wreaths from members of the Hong Kong government, including Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah, Financial Secretary Paul Chan and Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung.

Inside the parlour filled with lilies, there was the Chinese phrase "Yi Lan Zhong Sheng" or "a bird's eye view of everyone" above Mr Cha's photo. It was written by food critic Chua Lam.

Flanking the photo was a couplet woven from the first word of the title of the books penned by Mr Cha.

Among those from the literary scene who turned up to pay their last respects to the late newsman and writer was the novelist Ni Kuang.

Representatives from the business, political and entertainment worlds who turned up included Hong Kong lawmaker Regina Ip, famed Chinese opera actress Bak Sheut-sin, popular Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming, and acclaimed film directors Johnnie To and Ann Hui.

Alibaba's co-founder Jack Ma was also there.

Mr Cha was born in 1924 in the southern Chinese province of Zhejiang and moved to Hong Kong in 1948. He wrote his first novel in 1955; it became an instant hit with Chinese readers, who were drawn to his works because of his vivid portrayals of characters, pugilistic codes and filial piety.

In 1959, he set up the Hong Kong paper, Ming Pao Daily News. Together with Axe Brand Universal Oil founder Leung Yun Chee, he also set up Shin Min Daily News, which was first published in Singapore on March 18, 1967.

Mr Chaeventually wrote 14 more swashbuckling gongfu fantasies before putting his pen down in 1972. More than 300 million copies of his works have been sold globally.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2018, with the headline Prominent figures pay last respects to writer Louis Cha. Subscribe