Raising the status of Chow Yun Fat

He is one of my favorite actors, so I was pleased to read this:

Chow Yun Fat plans to give his entire net worth of $714m to charity.

As reported by Jayne Stars, Hong Kong movie legend Chow Yun Fat will give his entire net worth of $5.6 billion HKD ($714m USD) to charity.

Despite his gargantuan wealth, Fat remains rather frugal. Only spending $800 HKD ($1o2 USD) per month, Fat is often seen taking public transport and doing charity work.

He used his first Nokia phone for over 17 years, only switching to a smartphone two years ago. Fat is known for shopping at discount stores. “I don’t wear clothes for other people. As long as I think it’s comfortable, then it’s good enough for me,” he said.

Fat often spends his free time hiking and jogging, instead of splashing out.

Here is the full story, via the excellent Benjamin Copan.  And if you don’t know his performances in The Killer, a John Woo film, now is the time to check it out.


I saw this a day or two ago. I am also very impressed. This shows very good spiritual values.

Right out of Bulletproof Monk.

His publicist presumably designed this to sound impressive. This is just a Chinese celebrity profile. Crouching Tiger Beat.

OK that was funny at the end. Well played.

But seriously Chow is awesome. Very cool dude.

"I favor a culture where a social norm of high productivity and voluntary frugality is promoted." - Things I imagine Tyler would say

So in other words, 16th and 17th century Calvinist Holland. My father often talked of them. The productivity was off the charts, the savings were great, and tulip prices...don't get me started on Tulip prices.

Isn't Tyler Cowen a Dutch name?

I'm a Taiwanese-American who grew up in a conservative evangelical church. I have to say that the fusion of "traditional Asian values" with Protestantism has a lot going for it, although it certainly has its moral blind spots as well...

Re: Tyler, I believe he once mentioned in an interview that his family is of Irish ancestry? Per Wikipedia, Cowen is an Irish surname!

As someone who also grew up evangelical, Pat Robertson's endorsement of the Saudi journalist murder is proof that when I left it was for the better.

Evangelicalism is not monolithic.

Pat Robertson represents a strain of evangelicalism that is highly visible in the mainstream media but is actually considered fairly fringe and distasteful to many practicing evangelicals.

Unfortunately though these groups are a minority in terms of percentage, they still make up a substantial number because the a small percentage of a large number is a not-so-small number.

I'm only impressed since it's a Chinese doing this. My uncharitable questions: does he have kids? cousins? Brothers and sisters? I bet they are pissed!

Bonus trivia: Jamal Khashoggi was tortured before being dismembered says the audio tape, and dismembered while alive...ouch!

Well, as you noted earlier, it is economic growth that reduces poverty, not redistribution. I think it would be better if he had invested his money wisely. How about building affordable housing, or a low cost medical clinic? It is possible to do well and do good at the same time.

wouldn't net worth of 7oo,ooo,ooo
suggest he did invest wisely?

I would think so, that it is actually hard to put money away such that it is truly unproductive.

Hoarding 700 million in cash might have the social benefit of being anti-inflationary!

Why stop now?

Yes, and I'd be interested to learn more about his strategies as the article doesn't elaborate and I'm surprised he is worth that much. Impressive stuff.

Not only that, but the fact that we don't even know which charity he is talking about should make a difference right? If he wants to save Pandas or something like that, then it is just silly and wasteful. If he wants to help prevent malaria then it is good. Mood affiliation anyone?

Does the money go to the pandas?

Maybe I am overly philosophical about the generality of spending in the market, but it seems that people with a Libertarian tilt are getting an odd religion about it.

Is spending in the market bad when it is done for altruism? Are Porsches better than pandas?

I bet the pandas don't think so...

+1 Buddhist answer

Libertarians took anti-virtue signaling to extremes. If you blow a wad of cash on a new Tesla, you score Libertarians points, which oddly is a form of virtue signaling. But if you donate that same cash to the flood victims in Indonesia, their eyeballs roll up their sockets, because charity is seen as a sin and they must brandish their social signals by mocking it. Virtue signaling for me but not for thee.

You might be right. But the reaction is well deserved. The left has taken virtue-signaling to silly levels. I mean, there's got to be a rational distinction between good philanthropic spending and bad. This is actually rampant in tech companies. Just the other day, a friend told me that his very large and wealthy employer took his whole team on an activity where they created toys for dogs to be donated to animal shelters. Seriously, if you think that is where we should be spending our time and money you need to go out more.

You're both right. Anti-virtue signalling is as much or more signalling than the people actually being virtuous. And some charitable endeavors are stupid. Maybe we could tone down both.

Hand making toys for shelter dogs is pretty stupid, but my comment about spending in the market really referred to the upstream suppliers for such things. I'm sure many working-class jobs provided the infrastructure for that stupidity.

Just as while you might not be sympathetic to pandas, you should be sympathetic to the ranger (bamboo farmer?) who is making a buck.

you say -libertarians see charity as a sin
where did you get that idea?
mebbe your thinking of librarians

Many of us have the experience of giving a couple bucks for this for that and being told by Libertarians that it was "pure virtue signaling. "

Maybe because you announced your couple of bucks donation to a libertarian group???

its an ayn rand thing. her ideas really corrupted classical liberalism into the modern libertarianism of today. she didn't use the language of social status but rather morality as in "all collectivism is evil" to make her point.

"Death hangs over thee: whilst yet thou livest, whilst thou mayest, be good!" - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

You can't take it with you. The question now is which "charity", or if he really wants to do some good he administers his contribution to posterity and humanity himself.

I call BS on his only spending $102 per month. That wouldn't even get you a decent cardboard box in Hong Kong.

Maybe he owns his building.

Hong Kong has property taxes. He still has utilities. He also has a cell phone. He takes public transit. That stuff ain't free. It's great that he's frugal. I just don't think he's living on $3/day ($4/day if you do the PPP conversion).

Reading that I had simply assumed that the number referenced was his non-housing expenses. Which is totally believable: if the guy had the same Nokia flip phone for a decade, I doubt he now has much more than a barebones cell phone plan. If he doesn't care about food (we know he doesn't care about clothes), takes public transit, uses a library... it's really not that hard to live absurdly cheap if you don't care about stuff, and the experiences you care about are free. Jogging, parks, etc. are all free... and I suspect he can see most films he wants to see without paying for them.

You are thinking of fancy cardbox.

Maybe he's incorporated and incurs all of his other expenses through his company.

And hey, guess what, he and his wife run a charity!

I wonder if that one will get any of his money.

And at that point he's just spending the same money from a different account.

LOL this clown, even charity is a liberal plot. Also he doesn't understand what helping even is.

Well the Clintons had a charity.

By the transitive property of being an idiot, that makes charity bad.

Stop making fun of me! It is not nice! I'm gonna tell mommy

If, as we're learning, economic growth does more to pull people out of poverty than charity, then it would seem that he would want to invest it in productive enterprises instead if pissing it away.

It seems that a wealthy person could invest his fortune and still live frugally, though he might not get as many pats on the head from his peers.

There are many other ways to give besides poverty alleviation: medical research, child protective services, animal and environmental conservation, housing for the homeless. But I see nothing wrong with buying very poor people shoes and food.

Fat Gor ("big bro Fat") not Fat, if one is to use his first name in referring to him. Chow, of course, is the last name.

Why should anyone care if some else is going to give away all of his money -- unless they will receive it?

Someone certainly doesn't wanna get Fan Bingbinged!

Yeah, given that in the past year or so the Communist Party has cracked down on celebrities for having ostentatious wealth (a misdirection of their 'anti-corruption campaign'), one has to wonder how much of this decision was voluntary and how much was 'suggested', either directly by the CCP or indirectly by the unfriendly environment in China these days.

Nobody seems to mention this when talking about this news, though.

Fat Gor is from HK, not mainland China - he visited Occupy Central and responded to reporters' questions about the potential for that action to affect his presence in mainland Chinese media by saying "It's okay, I already have enough money".

We can wonder briefly at the number of American multi-millionaire celebrity populists who will be inspired to shed their celebrity fortunes out of a deep-seated "love of humanity".

(Despite the best efforts of a German shepherd while I was young, I retain all fingers on both hands: were I missing a finger, I would use that one to count the full total resulting from my surmise above.)

Bruce Springsteen is worth about as much as Mitt Romney: no one expects Romney to shed his fortune, but anyone expecting Springsteen to shed his probably entertains ideas of celebrity wealth management and philanthropic zeal not shared by celebrities in any field (music, sports, film, tech, academia, journalism).

Mitt Romney is Mormon, so I fully expect that he give away his wealth or he will be seen as a hypocrite. Donald Trump is a celebrity populist but I don't him to give away his fortune, or pay his own taxes for that matter

He's excellent at all sorts of roles---thrillers, romance, comedy, etc. One of the most charismatic actors. (Also very polite in person, answered a question my wife asked him.)

"Chow Yun Fat plans to give his entire net worth of $714m to charity."

A laudable act.

"I'll just make less then."

--Chow Yun Fat, when asked how he felt about mainland China blacklisting him for supporting democracy protests.

Everything I've read about Chow reveals him as a total bad ass. This post and your quote are examples.

Following in the footsteps of Carnegie and Mellon.

A few years ago the local TV station was doing a report on fresh vs. frozen chicken, walking around the wet market doing interviews. They stumbled across Fat Gor and interviewed him, asking him the same question.

Spoiler alert: he's okay with frozen chicken.


Also, after Typhoon Hato last year, he was spotted cleaning up branches in the road (not outside his house).


Also, he's always down for a selfie.

HK people love him. And they hate the most famous HKer in the West, Jackie Chan, who is a grade A piece of shit.

I call total bs on the $714m. This is ridiculous. Tom Cruise is only worth $550m. Unless Fat invested in Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba when they were first starting, I don't believe it. I expect this is an error in converting the USD to HKG, which is at 7.84, currently. The "journalist", who probably took a two week course after flunking out of interpretative dance, didn't know that HKD meant Hong Kong Dollars, and USD meant United States Dollars. An easy mistake, for a five year old orangutan.

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