Original owner: unknown gambler who lost the watch to Sung Poon Yee.
Sung or Uncle Spoony as he was known by his family was a coal miner who lived in the hill village of Shantang which is about 200km east of Beijing. Spoony worked hard in the lower levels of the Quigong Coal Mine and laboured at the rock face for ten hours each day. The only joy he had in life was his old dog Lee Ping Houn and gambling. He was a very expert Mahjong player and it wasn't often that he would find anyone to wager anything of value. One day during a break while the lower two levels of the mine were being pumped free of water(there had been a breach into an old abandoned shaft and a flood had ensued(fortunately, only 28 miners had died this time); he managed to engage one of the visiting hydraulics engineers into a friendly game. Before the evening was done, Spoony was the proud owner of a fine new wristwatch!
Well, it wasn't in the stars for him to relish his new found prize for too long; he lost it to his father, Ping Hui Low during the weekend ritual Mahjong game at the patriarchs humble home. Spoony's brother Jing Hua was also in the game but he only lost his shirt to his father's superior play. Jing's young son had a birthday coming up and he wanted to give the boy something special for his 12th birthday but didn't have enough spare money for proper gifts(they should always be given in even numbers ;>)). After thinking about it for awhile, he asked his brother what he should do and Spoony, still smarting from his loss, turned to his father and said 'Father, it would be the greatest gift if you would allow Jing to tell his boy that when you die, this fine wrist watch will become his!'. Ping, believing he would live to a ripe old age, decided to call Spoony's bluff and so it was that the watch would pass on to Jing's son, Poh Choon Low.
It wasn't really all that long before the old man, who had also spent his life in the coal mines, died from the lung disease, brucilosis. So it was that Poh became the proud owner of his grandfather's/uncle's/some unknown gambler's watch. Poh had just turned 22 years of age when his grandfather passed away. He had spent his entire life in the small village and the last 6 years working in the Quigong Coal Mine like the other men in his family. Poh was not content to moulder away in his village with the gloomy prospect of dieing at a young age from coal dust poisoning. On his 23rd birthday, he had decided to make a trip to the big city and see for himself what the world had to offer besides a hole in the ground. The trip to Beijing was a hard ride in a crowded smoking old bus over poorly maintained roads and Poh's mother Vivian(go figure); who had insisted on making the journey with him; spent the entire trip complaining about the wrinkled old man with one eye who kept looking at her. Alas, the old man wasn't really looking at her; he had died several hours earlier and had simply remained in the same position.
Once they reached the big city, they discovered it was celebrating something and there were millions of people in town. This was very confusing for the pair as they had never been more than walking distance form their quiet, small, uncrowded village. They spent the first day seeing all the sites they could and were constantly amazed at all the wondeful things they saw in the shops. That first night, Poh was so filled with awe and hope that he vowed he would not go back to the mines(he couldn't have known how true that was to become). In the morning he and Vivian headed into the center of the big city to see the main square where all parades and official gatherings were held. Vivian wanted to look in more clothing stores and Poh had tired of that so he headed off in another direction and wandered around filling his eyes and ears with the sights and sounds until he grew hungry. Thinking his mother would be angry if he didn't take her to lunch, he headed of in the direction he had last seen her go. As it turned out, this was a special day...there seemed to be a parade of some sort in the middle of Tinman Square.
Not wanting to have to wait for a long parade of military vehicles to pass, Poh hurried across the square trying to pass over before his way became blocked. He should have walked a little faster because he wasn't even half way across when he came face to face with a tank! Not knowing which way the tank would turn, Poh raised his hands which had shopping bags in them and waved at the driver trying to indicate which way he wanted to go. While he was waving his arms around, he managed to get a look at the face of the tank driver...it was his old elemantary school pal, Goh Tao Wah. Thinking he should say hello, he stepped closer to the tank and Goh recognizing his old friend stopped the lumbering machine. By now, the parade had come to a halt and the policemen in charge of crowd control came running to grab Poh, who was having a nice chat with his old friend. The policemen were not in a good mood and quickly hustled Poh away as he was telling Goh to say hi to his sister for him.
Poh never saw the mine again, never saw his mother again, never saw much of anything for several days in fact. He had been thrown into a dingy room in the local constabulary on the skirts of Tinman Square and then been ignored for two days; in the pitch dark. When an official finally came, he was told that he was an enemy of the state and would spend the rest of his life in prison. Being from the small village and not a very world wise young man, Poh had no idea what had happened or what the problem was. Little did he know, he had stumbled into the middle of one of the world's most visible human rights protests. What he viewed as a chance meeting with an old friend was considered as a violation against the state.
Poh spent the next few weeks in a detention cell awaiting his final destination in a prison for political prisoners. Shortly before he was to be sent to the prison, a special deal was struck with the Canadian government whereby China would release political prisoners of the recent protests to immigrate to Canada. Poh was on the list.
His passage to his new country was swift; the Chinese authorities couldn't be rid of all those trouble makers fast enough.
In his new country, Poh learned English, was sent to technical school where he took up electronics and became a happy member of the community he lived in. With his new skills, Poh set up a small computer store that soon grew enough that he had to hire several employees.
He was never able to make contact with his family but remembered them on special occasions. The only thing he had managed to bring with him, besides the cloths he wore, was his grandfather's wrist watch...his last link with the country he was born in; China.
Poh's son runs a business selling ancient Chinese coins, curios and occasionally Chinese watches. Poh decided that a Seiko GS was more befitting his new status and gave the old Zuan Shi to his son to auction off on eBay...thus breaking his last ties with his motherland.
I bought that watch and got a great story with it! :>)