For the love of art

Updated 2018-06-30 00:19:13

Sabrina Ho Chiu Yeng says that compared to Europe and the US, the Chinese auction industry is still at an early stage and has great potentials. [Provided to China Daily]

Daughter of Macao casino mogul is driven by her passion for culture and China's place in the world auction scene

You might expect there would be advantages in being a daughter of Macao casino magnate Stanley Ho — but whatever Sabrina Ho Chiu Yeng, 27, has achieved in career and business is largely down to her own efforts.

Clearly in evidence, as she makes her mark in Macao's auction and art scene, is the spirit of fair play and hard work instilled in her from a young age by her parents.

One early lesson about the importance of not taking privilege for granted was delivered by her mother. Ho had turned up late for her first day of work in the family business, and her mother publicly chastised her for tardiness and demanded she show more respect to her colleagues.

Ho's father was also a significant influence on her formative years.

A particularly deep memory from her childhood is of her "very busy father" as "he constantly had tons of work to deal with", she said. "My father has been my superman and was always emphasizing that nothing is impossible, and this has been motivating me ever since.

"I grew up under the spotlight of society due to the fame of my family and this motivates me to be better. The supervision of others has always been one of my best fortunes while I was growing up."

Another role model is former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher — the first woman to hold the highest office in the United Kingdom government.

"Margaret Thatcher has been my idol for the past few years. I was especially touched by her famous quote: 'Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny'," said Ho.

"The key to Thatcher's successful achievements in a male-dominated world were her persevering spirit and continuous pursuit of goals. She never surrendered easily.

"No matter how strong the opponents were, she had the power to handle it. These are the core values of Thatcher which earned her the ultimate respect from around the world — similar to my father who emphasizes 'nothing is impossible'."

Ho graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a bachelor's degree in 2013. She is driven, both personally and professionally, by a passion for the arts.

"My curiosity in this field has always been supported by the exploration of appreciation in beauty," she said.

"In my opinion, art from one era often lives through time, not dissimilar to the way we view history. Other than reading existing literature, the representation of reality from the past has often been importantly presented by art from their own eras."

Ho added that being professionally involved in the art scene has allowed her to "enable journeys to different times and maintain heritages".

Despite her well-connected background, Ho began in the lower echelons of the auction industry.

"So as to understand the global environment of auctioning, I began as a telephone operator for Poly Auction Beijing and worked my way up from the very foundation."

In 2015 she became director and CEO of Poly Auction Macau, and her life's work took off in earnest.

One of the goals of the State-owned auction house is the return of Chinese artworks that were spirited out of the country during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76).

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