The World of Suzie Wong

written by Richard Mason 1957

Hollywood Version directed by Richard Quine,

starring Nancy Kwan, William Holden, Sylvia Syms.

In 1957, Richard Mason wrote "The World of Suzie Wong", about an young aspiring English artist who falls in a passionate love with a beautiful Chinese prositute. It became the third and most successful of his novels and sold million copies throughtout the world.

In 1956, Richard Mason stepped off the Star Ferry at Wan Chai looking for inspiration for a novel and booked a room at accommodation recommended by his friend. The hotel was located at the harbour-fronted Luk Kwok Hotel, which was then popular pick-up place used by prositutes.

According to Guy Haydon, who wrote Foreword for The World of Suzie Wong, Luk Kwok Hotel was one of the Wan Chai waterfront's tallest buildings then, at the towering height of six storeys. It was a perfect model for Richard Mason's Nam Kok hotel, a popular pick-up brothel used by Suzie and her bar girlfriends. The building itself survived until the 1980s. The hotel remains today in name only. Today on Gloucester Road site where Robert Lomax once wooed Suzie, stands a sprawling marbled construction indistinguishable from dozens of others of its kind.

in Mason's story, among those bar girls, they maligned and competed each other to get the status of a "respectable girl". They were proud to have a book that should highlight their kind. In those days of innocence and taboos concerning sex and prostitution, the book was a revelation and immense hit, not just in Hong Kong but around the world.

Mason's story also depicts a racial tension between westerners and Chinese and a strong struggle of elite and poor. In his book, Suzie wears a western dress to lift up her status. Suzie fears accepting Robert's proposal of marriage due to her class of prostitute, a bottom class in the society then.

Richard Mason's story was so popular then, and was followed by a successful stage play that ran for two years on Broadway. In 1960, Paramount released a film version, starring William Holden as Robert Lomax and Nancy Kwan as Suzie.

Since then, Nancy Kwan, an Eurasian Hong Kong girl, became a star in Hollywood. She is a gift to the Hollywood. Recently, Hollywood honored her and her contributions. As Nancy kwan acted so real and so true, a character of Suzie Wong helped bring Hong Kong before the world's gaze, and played a part in the popular recognition of the territory - and in that way made a contribution to its development. Since "The World of Suzie Wong", Hollywood had not used any Chinese stars until "The Last Emperor", played by John Lone and cast of several other Chinese actors and actresses.

Nancy Kwan