Greg Lance – Watkins
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THERE are no words to do justice to David Tang, and as I write I can imagine him scoffing, correcting my grammar and blasting me with a one-liner to well and truly put me in my place. Always keeping us on our toes, one step ahead and ready at the drop of a hat to say something shocking at the top of his booming voice, outrageous enough to reduce a room full of his esteemed guests to a quivering mass of raucous laughter. Among countless other attributes, we loved him for his ruthless sense of humour – if you told him you’d lost 10 pounds, he would look you calmly in the eye and say, “What, sterling?” then chuckle with his familiar grin and happy snort. He was certainly the funniest, most intelligent and supremely generous friend any of us will ever have.
This week we lost one of the greats. A wit like no other, a philanthropist and businessman who could outdo us all, whether quoting Plato, playing a piano concerto with elegance and showmanship, or retelling one of the world’s naughtiest jokes in Chinese. On arriving at China Tang one Sunday evening for a late dinner, my husband Ceawlin and I happened upon David, who invited us to join his table, full of familiar faces. A few moments later, Tom Jones stood up and serenaded us all with his rendition of “Kiss”, to the delight of everyone.
David was a maker of magic, literally and figuratively. I remember an afternoon at his and his wife Lucy’s idyllic coastal country house in Sai Kung, Hong Kong, and no matter how hard David tried, one of his old classic card tricks kept failing to work. This enraged him beyond belief, but made the day even more entertaining.
Edward Tang, David’s son, and I met on our first day at UCL, and stuck together for our three-year History of Art course. We have remained firm friends ever since. Ed is godfather to our son John, and I have always adored him, but never have I been prouder of him or loved him more than I do now. This after all is not only a tribute to David, but also to his wonderful family, who have doted on him, held his hand and comforted him up to his last breath. Lucy has been his rock, and was the blood in his veins. Stoical to the last, she has faithfully supported David and calmly kept on top of everything, whilst navigating an emotional rollercoaster too terrible to imagine. The support, too, of David’s beloved and talented daughter Victoria has been unparalleled, with her husband Chris and beautiful baby Rocco alongside, providing the tenderness and companionship any of us would wish for during our last moments in this life.
The light that shone from David inspired us all, and can never be extinguished. I can think of no one else who has brought such immeasurable joy to so many of our lives, with the driving force of a Superman and the energy of 50. Even when his health began to fade, his mind remained robust to the very last. The China Exchange, an ideas space that David founded as a “dynamic centre of excellence in Chinatown”, will continue to host varied and thought-provoking events, just as he intended. At his farewell party, the many embraces of his cherished friends will be the lasting symbol of the adoration and admiration we feel for him – an irreplaceable soul. We will celebrate him, treasure our precious memories of him and keep him with us in our hearts forever.
If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….ARCHIVEMEDICAL LINKSCANCER LINKSHOT LINKS< in the Sidebar.
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