Ho Kom-tong, a well known businessman and philanthropist of his time (1866-1950), built an Edwardian style mansion for his family in Central, Hong Kong. It was named after its master and called Kom Tong Hall. The mansion changed hands twice, the second time it was home to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When the Church wanted to sell the land, the Government of Hong Kong stepped in, bought the place and restored the house to its original glory.
In China, Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) is known as the father of the nation. A doctor by profession, he dedicated all his time and energy to convert China into a Republic and save it from the Qing Dynasty and its lethargic attitude towards development and modernisation. The revolutionary Dr. Sun was the first provisional head of the Republic of China and leader of the Nationalistic Party of China. His political philosophy known as the ‘Three Principles of the People’ is of importance even today and included in Political Science text books even here in India.
Even though the two men were contemporaries, their paths did not really cross nor did the two men have any direct personal connection. That said, Dr. Sun knew and met Ho Kom-tong’s brother, Sir Robert Ho Tung and his son Ho Sai Kim who was the Chairman of the University of Hong Kong.
So that’s how and why the Government of Hong Kong decided to house a museum in this beautiful mansion dedicated to the man revered by many around the world.
The Sun Yat-sen museum with its exhibits, audio-visuals and artefacts, lays bare the life and work of the great man and explains his work towards making China a republic. I must admit, I did not know much about the man or his work so it was great to have been able to visit the museum.
The two-storey mansion is so beautiful that it is difficult to focus on the exhibits related to Dr. Sun! A short video explains the history of the mansion and the restoration work that was undertaken. The baroque-rococco influence can be seen in the architecture. The staircase is majestic, the stained glass windows exquisite. The grand hall in white and gold transports you straight to Europe!
All in all, I am so glad we went to see the mansion and the museum!