To most adults, toys are just things for children to play with. However, they mean a lot more in the eyes of Douglas Mok, Portfolio Manager of Link Property Management Services Limited, who regards toy collecting not only as a hobby, but also as an art form.
As a leading toy connoisseur with one of the largest toy collections in Hong Kong, Douglas is familiar with a wealth of anime characters, as well as different ways of assembling, playing and decorating anime figures and toys. His love affair with toys began when he was exposed to the popular Japanese anime series Gundam, Kamen Rider and Ultraman in primary school some 20 years ago. In the intervening years, Douglas has been busy collecting all kinds of toys, from large anime figures up to 1 metre high to small toys like gachapons.
“After you’ve devoted so much time and effort to a single pursuit, it almost becomes an art,” Douglas believes. He cites assembling figures as an example, as the process is similar to crafting sculptures, requiring the patience and creativity of an artist. When Douglas wants to create figures with personal characteristics and themes, he not only follows the guidelines in manuals with the precision of an engineer, but he also taps into his artistic abilities by using different painting techniques, forming various figure combinations and applying special background settings. “That’s why assembling a figure with individual characteristics often takes months or even years. Since my property management work occupies a lot of my time these days, I play with finished products more now,” says Douglas.
Although Douglas sees toy collection as a kind of art, he never obsessively collects specific toy series. Instead, he goes with the flow and broadens the scope of his toy collection gradually. More importantly, Douglas never forgets why he started the journey – to experience the uninhibited joy that toys bring. “Playing with toys should be for fun,” he emphasises. “It’s a relaxing way to de-stress, and it should add colour to everyday life.” Therefore, he strongly believes that there is no point to obsess over particular toy models or series, which can lead to stress.
Douglas’s hobby has enabled him to give back a little, too. Recently, he and some colleagues at Link hosted a figurine workshop in the community for students of different ages and economic backgrounds, enabling them to feel the fun of playing with toys while also helping them sharpen their logical reasoning skills.
In his spare time, Douglas take photos of his toys and writes blog posts to share his thoughts with other toy enthusiasts. He even published a book about toys a few years ago. Apart from that, Douglas remains committed to spreading the joy brought by toys by occasionally donating pieces of his toy collection to charity sales.
Nickname: Douglas M Saint (DMS) / Dak Gor
Years in collecting toys: 26 years
Size of toy collection: over 100,000 pieces
Favourite anime characters: Gundam, Kamen Rider and Ultraman
Awards received: Champion in “Fatal Fury” (Hong Kong region), quarter-finalist in “Street Fighter Alpha 3” (Hong Kong region)
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