Need a Plumber?

In Hong Kong, like in many Asian cities, it’s common for contractors to advertise their services through graffiti. Forget Google — to find an electrician, a plumber or a cement specialist, just walk down the street and look at the phone numbers scrawled on utility boxes with magic marker or stencilled on walls with spray paint.

One plumber rises above the rest. Throughout Hong Kong, often in very unexpected places, you will encounter the same telephone number and neatly-written inscription: Tong Kui Jo Hau — “Unclogs drains, repairs pipes” — followed by a signature, Kui Wong, that translates roughly as “The King of Plumbing.”

Who is this king plumber who paints on walls with such care and patience? Does he carry a can of paint when he gets called out for a job, just in case he stumbles across a particularly enticing wall? I’m not sure I want to find out — it would spoil the romance of drainage royalty decorating the city under cover of night.

This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Thursday August 12 2010at 03:08 am , filed under Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Public Space, Society and Culture and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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