Aug 16, 2012|
HK Magazine: How many military items have you collected?
Thomas Chan: Over a thousand, perhaps? I collect mainly American military uniforms, badges, swords, medals and other accessories. I also have recruitment letters and the mini booklets used to give soldiers information about the foreign countries they were going to be stationed at – but the information’s usually wrong. The collection is big enough to occupy one-third of my living room.
HK: Does your family complain?
TC: My father used to bug me about spending money on all these things, but I persevered and after 20 years, he finally stopped nagging me. This is my glorious moment of victory. And I am proud of it.
HK: Why don’t you join the army?
TC: I tried to join the Royal Hong Kong Regiments but considering my stamina and the fact that I am shortsighted, I decided it wasn’t the smartest move. The troops were dissolved after 1997 anyway.
HK: You formed a group called the Regimentals Association. What do you guys do?
TC: We share information about where to locate military items. We also go to war games and occasional barbecues wearing our collections. But the latter activity has since been aborted since we found it too freaking hot in the uniforms.
HK: Do you feel like a militant wearing those uniforms?
TC: Yes, I do. I admire their spirit of unity, absolute conformity and discipline. It makes me think of those soldiers – what their lives were like on the battlefield.
HK: Do you have “go-out” military jackets?
TC: Yes I do. I wear them on important occasions, like weddings or banquets. It adds to my personal charisma.
HK: Do you have anything with blood on it?
TC: I have a bloodstained uniform in my collection. The stain is around the knee. From my own blood splatter analysis, my guess is that it was someone else’s blood or the person hurt himself and smeared blood over his knees.
HK: Besides the “history is made up of wars” clichés, what do you learn from wars?
TC: First, information is everything. Countries invent all kinds of coding and decoding systems, and send double agents to obtain information and leak out false information to enemy countries. Second, be aggressive.
HK: How would you apply these strategies to the real world?
TC: Winning a woman’s heart follows the same principle. I am not a talkative person so I need to obtain a lot of information from people around her, like her hobbies, so that I can build a rapport with her by studying her aggressively. I could also deceive her into believing that we have something in common.
Visit Thomas Chan’s website www.regimentals.org