In times of trouble will help you smile
Size may vary but always a BIG heart
Bo is happiness to a ridiculous degree
Original in heart, mind and soul
(Text by Sam Hepburn, samhepburn.com)
Working in the high-pressure world of advertising, Kamwei and Bo ‘met’ each other one evening in 2003. Home from yet another long day at work, he was zoned out and staring at the goldfish in his aquarium. As the odd little fish bobbed about their glass-walled liquid world, Kamwei had an epiphany.
“Goldfish are thought to have a three-second memory” recalls Kamwei. “They lead happy lives, eating, sleeping and playing with their friends. They are simple and live in harmony, in the moment, I suddenly knew I wanted to live like a goldfish because with their three-second memory, they forget about stress easily and become happy again.”
Beginning with sketches and drawings, Kamwei slowly brought Bo to life. During a sabbatical in 2007, he signed up for a ceramics-making course with an expert in Kuala Lumpur, where he discovered he was more adept at making clay Bos than pots and vases. By 2010, thanks to interest from his colleagues, he created and began retailing, the Bo&Friends Collection online and in specialist stores.
“I chose to name my goldfish ‘Bo’ because in Cantonese ‘bo’ means wide, broad or versatile. It also sounds like something round.” he explains.
Through the minimalist and peace-evoking character of Bo, Kamwei’s project aims to encourage and uplift people to become more optimistic about life. Bo only remembers the good things in life, like family, friends, nice weather and good times. Shouldn’t more people be like that? “The goldfish live in a small tank and they choose to be happy.” Kamwei reflects. “I’m not a super positive person so Bo reminds me to be happy and positive – it’s a good reminder for people.”
Today, in the retail world, you’ll find Bo in ceramics, posters, art prints, paintings, paper sculptures, t-shirts, tote bags and plush toys. After sitting down and chatting with Kamwei, you’ll soon recognize that there’s a bit of Bo in everyone.
Text by Szu Lee, extracted from the interview with Yawnn.com