This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925.
Honorable Robert H. Kotewall (Lo Kuk-wo) M.L.C., J.P., was born in 1880. He entered the Hongkong Government Service as fourth clerk of the Police Department, in 1896, after competitive examination; and, in January 1916, he became first clerk of the Colonial Secretary’s office. In 1913, he acted, for ten months, as first clerk of the Magistracy,—a post usually held by men with legal training. This appointment was regarded, in the service, as a special recognition of Mr. Kotewall’s exceptional ability. He was at the same time made a Justice of the Peace, an appointment never before, nor since, given to a Chinese civil servant of Hongkong. While in the Colonial Secretariat, he earned the reputation of being an authority on budget preparation,—which work elicited the commendation of the Secretary of State for the Colony, on more than one occasion.
Mr. Kotewall resigned the Civil Service, in 1916, to start business. He was officially thanked by the government for his “extremely efficient and trustworthy services to the government of Hongkong, and for his ability and unselfish devotion to duty.” His colleagues presented him with a silver tea service, and a congratulatory embroidered scroll.
Within seven years and a half after he left the government service, Mr. Kotewall achieved the distinction of becoming one of the two Chinese representatives on the Legislative Council of Hongkong. He has won praise from all classes for his untiring efforts in behalf of the community.
Mr. Kotewall is a member of the Public Works Committee, the Authorized Architects Committee, the District Watchmen’s Committee, (Advisory Board to Secretary of Chinese Affairs), the Advisory board of the Tung Wah Hospital, the Public Dispensaries Committee, and the Po Leung-Kuk (Society for protection of women and children). In 1923, he served on a commission of three to report on the housing question; and he is now working hard with some friends for the establishment of an industrial school for the education of the children of the por. He has served as Chairman of the Committee for the rebuilding of St. Paul’s Girls’ School. He is also a member of the Court and Council of the Hongkong University,—in which he takes a deep interest, especially in the student life thereof; and he has acted on several occasions as an honorary examiner, in Chinese, to that institution. He is a permanent examiner, in an honorary capcity, to the Chinese Language School of the Hongkong General Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Kotewall is President of the Hongkong University Football Club, and Honorary President of the South China Athletic Association, Hongkong. He is also Honorary Advisor to the Ministry of Commerce and Agriculture, in Peking. Commercially, Mr. Kotewall is on the General and Executive Committees of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce; having until a year ago, been for six years in charge of the English Department of that institution. He is Principal of R.H. Kotewall and Co., Importers, Exporters, and General Merchants; Director of the Kwangtung Ice Co., Ltd.: permanent Director and Secretary of Chinese Estates, Ltd.; Manager of the People’s Savings Corporation, Ltd.; Director of Shiu On Wing and Co., Ltd. (Finance and Land Investment); and Director of the Hongkong Development, Building and Savings Society, Ltd.
Mr. Kotewalls’ recreation is reading. He is reputed to be the possessor of one of the finest private collections of Chinese and English books in Hongkong. His writings include “Forestry,” and “Government in its Relation to National Welfare,” which were written both in English and Chinese. In 1921, he wrote and personally produced a play, “Uncle Kin,” in aid of charity, which was a great success. He also adapted a play, “The Maid of the Hills,” from an old Chinese play, which he produced in honor of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales during the latter’s visit to Hongkong, in 1922. Mr. Kotewall is a member of the Chinese Club, and the Chinese Merchants Club.
A.R. Burt, J.B. Powell and Carl Crow, editors, Biographies of Prominent Chinese (Shanghai: Biographical Publishing Company Inc., c.1925). 80.