Although the Fung Ping Shan Chinese Library is one of the most well known Chinese libraries in the world, very few people both in Hong Kong and abroad, know about the man who made this remarkable gift to The University of Hong Kong.
Rising from humble origins, Fung Ping Shan was a very successful businessman, community leader and philanthropist in Hong Kong in the late 19th century. The book, Fung Ping Shan – The Man, His Life and His Library, is based on Fung's own reflections about his life written in 1851 while he was travelling to visit the Great Exhibition in England. Its publication marks the 80th anniversary of the Library in 2012 and was included in The University of Hong Kong's centenary celebrations.
Cornelia (Nelly) Lichauco Fung is married to Kenneth Hing Cheung Fung, a grandson of Fung Ping Shan. Born and raised in the Philippines, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Wellesley College and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of London. Nelly has lived in Hong Kong since 1967 and has been involved in the city's community, cultural and educational life. She is a co-founder of the Chinese International School and the ISF Academy.
As an historian, Nelly has had a keen interest in family histories. She wrote Beneath the Banyan Tree, a book tracing back five generations of her family's Chinese, Hispanic and American origins within the context of the Philippine history. When she realized that there was no biography in English written about the late Fung Ping Shan, Nelly undertook a project together with Dr. Y.C. Wan, Deputy University Librarian at The University of Hong Kong, to produce this book about her husband's grandfather.