Hero. Clown. Inevitable scapegoat. What role hasn’t Old Master Q played to bring on the laughs?
This Chinese New Year, fans of the 54-year-old comic character are in for a treat as Resorts World Genting brings the 54-year-old character to life at the Times Square stage in First World Plaza.
Starring alongside this quintessential common man will be his faithful sidekicks, Big Potato and Ms Linda Chen, the hero’s on-off love interest.
Just a few steps away is a large booth built to resemble a Hong Kong alley where fans can get merchandise and go on a selfie spree with interactive art.
During a launch to announce the event, the artist Joseph Wong Chak said fans would be in for a good time.
Regarded as an icon to the Chinese, Old Master Q or Lao Fu Tze is an anomaly. He has no superpowers. His kung fu skills are, at best, so-so.
Yet, he has managed to remain relevant to two generations of comic fans.
So, does credit go to branding and marketing?
“I don’t know. I never thought about doing an analysis on why children and people like my comics. I only love to draw and make people laugh,” said Wong.
What do we know of this character?
“He is about everything that we enjoy,” smiled Wong in reference to the character’s penchant for designer brands and fast cars.
“Ask him to play a chef in a famous restaurant and he’ll do it. Tomorrow, he can be a beggar on a street playing an instrument. No problem. But he carries cultural baggage from the way he looks and dresses, so he does represent something.
“So, occasionally, he might refer to a famous historical figure, but in the same breath he’d say he has no time to dwell in the past because he’s got to go shop for a new Louis Vuitton suit for an evening appointment. That’s him,” laughed Wong.
Self-restraint has also contributed to making this character lovable.
“In all my time with this character, never has he said anything along the lines of ‘I don’t like you’. This is a virtue of the Chinese people. We don’t say things like that directly,” said Wong
Just like the average man on the street, he is also influenced by things that get people excited.
When the Italians opened a pizza restaurant in Hong Kong, he also wanted to have a taste of it. To flesh out the idea, Wong had his hero going to the moon to meet the Moon Goddess, where he successfully convinced her to deliver pizza instead of mooncakes during Mid Autumn festival!
Our comic hero may look and act like a klutz. But he is in fact a ladies’ man. Throughout his lifetime, he has had 12 girlfriends drawn into his storylines.
“He treats women like goddesses. He’s the type who kneels down to propose,” said Wong.
But the artist has always protected his pet subject from life’s greater complications – by keeping him single.
In one strip when his proposal was finally accepted by Ms Chen, the sense of elation was so intense that it made him forget about the lady altogether.
The question of whether Old Master Q will carry on into the third generation elicits a hopeful “yes” from Wong.
“It would be like what Disney has done with Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. When the younger people come in to join the creative team, then the influence will become greater,” he said.
Old Master Q performances will show at First World Plaza, Resorts World Genting from Feb 6 to 29. Showtimes are at noon, 5.30pm and 8pm.
For details, call 03-2718 1118.