Chapter 20 – Chen ManGuan
This short, chubby man in his forties, named Chen ManGuan, had a good meaning name but unfortunately, he had now hit a low point.
Chen ManGuan came from a family in the village and was poor in his early years.
Thus, he went to work in the city at the age of ten.
As a result, he was quickly promoted by his boss.
He was a righteous and enthusiastic person, and over time, he had built up a good network of connections.
In the early 1980s, the owner of the antique shop was fetched away by his children to settle in the United States and the shop was sold to someone else.
Chen ManGuan had the idea of going into business alone for a long time but he was a man of great loyalty and felt that his boss had been very kind to him so he insisted on staying in the shop.
Now that the boss had settled abroad, Chen ManGuan naturally had no obligation to stay which was why he resigned from the antique shop and started working alone.
Even after all these years in the antique shop and being taken care of by his boss, Chen ManGuan had not saved much money nor had the capital to open up his own antique shop.
He had no choice but to act as a runner, or middleman, in the antique market.
He introduced himself to buyers and sellers of antiques by offering a small fee for a deal.
With the contacts, he had accumulated over the years and his experiences with antiques, he did not expect to save up a generous fortune in just three years.
Since then, he had officially opened an antique shop in the city.
The business took off and Chen ManGuan soon became the vice-president of the East City Antique Merchants’Association.
He was a famous antique dealer in East City and even in the whole country.
The bigger the business, the more ambition he had.
Coupled with the flattery and admiration he had received over the years, Chen ManGuan’s mentality had gradually become a bit impetuous.
After 1992, when the country’s policy changed and began to develop its economy vigorously, several foreign friends came to the country to discuss investment.
Some of them became interested in local antiques but the state had very strict controls over the export of cultural relics, with strict declaration procedures, and even those old items with the historical value being declared were not allowed to be exported.
However, the rate of cultural relics in the overseas market was way higher than in the local market.
This was a piece of fat meat that Chen ManGuan wants to swallow all.
Thus, he had harboured an ill intention by doing the smuggling business.
Chen ManGuan was naturally cautious in this illegal business.
After doing it a few times in a row without any problems and having tasted the great sweetness of reward, Chen ManGuan was getting way bolder.
Three years ago, a batch of relics worth more than a billion dollars was shipped from the country to Vietnam.
The route that had been taken several times which was supposed to be safe and secure, met with a gunfighting incident.
Not only did the delivery man die but the relics were also broken into pieces.
Chen ManGuan lost his fortune in one fell swoop.
Luckily, he had been careful with his smuggling over the years.
Although he was subjected to some investigation, the matter did not slip through, saving him from a case of jail sentence.
Yet he was faced with a large sum of debt for compensation, he was in the position of borrowing money from wherever he could.
However, how could anyone lend him money at this point?
From a wealthy antique dealer known to everyone in the East City to a poor man.
His business associations began to avoid him for various reasons, and the city authorities even put on an official manner.
Even his relatives, who had benefited from him over the years, began to speak to him indifferently.
Chen ManGuan had experienced all these in the past three years, including sneering, ingrates, accusations, and the coldness from his relatives.
When his career hit a low point, only his wife, who had come through a difficult time with him, kept comforting him.
She even endured the accusations from her family and borrowed money for him to start over again, without complaining a single word.
Seeing his wife act out like this, Chen ManGuan was ashamed to think that over the years when he had become rich, he had treated her coldly and indifferent.
He had resented the fact that his wife was not pretty nor slim enough and she was not even well educated.
Plus, she knew nothing about antiques and they had no common language together.
Over the years, he had been out socialising and facing the seduction of beautiful young women.
Even though he had eventually restrained himself and not done anything wrong to his wife, it was also true that he had grown to see her lesser in his heart.
Ever since going through all the ups and downs in life and experiencing the warmth and coldness of relationships, Chen ManGuan thought through many things at once.
He didn’t say anything to his wife but made up his mind that once he became rich again, he promised to let his wife live the rest of her life in peace and happiness!
Afterward, Chen ManGuan began to visit the antique market again but his friends in the business avoided him.
Since his connections were now useless, he had no way to become a middleman again.
Therefore, he had focused on picking up leaks again as he had gained enough experience and skills over the years in the trade.
However, it was not easy for him to pick up leaks when everyone in the East City antique market knew him over the years.
Despite his fall from grace, he still had great spotting skills.
Thus, whenever he saw an object, the stall owner would always check it out a few times and ultimately find a reason to refuse the sale for the fear of missing out on some great fortune.
Later on, Chen ManGuan had no choice but to get some amateurs to help him buy those objects.
He was responsible for spotting the objects while they would do the trading.
It took him three years to make some money but it was not much.
All those money he made was off paying debts and till now he still hasn’t saved much.
On this day, he was wandering through the market as usual when the large blue and white plate on Zhao MingJun’s stall caught his attention.
There were no authoritative experts in identifying Yuan Qinghua in the country.
The main reason was that so few Yuan Qinghua had been unearthed so there was insufficient research on them.
Even if the genuine piece was right in front of the experts, no one would dare to make the final call unless they had discussed it intensely before passing the judgment.
As a result, Chen ManGuan was unsure of his skills but like usual, he didn’t show it and just left after a glance.
This time, Chen ManGuan, however, didn’t ask amateurs to help him buy it as he remembered someone.
This man was one of the leading collectors in Hong Kong, Mr.
Coinciding with the return of Hong Kong, Mr.
Li was invited to East City to restore a government kiln and several private kilns left behind in ancient times while investing in the ceramics industry.
Li BoYuan loved collecting porcelain, especially Qinghua kiln, and he even opened a private collection in Hong Kong dedicated to the Qinghua kiln he had acquired from overseas and in their country.
Thus, with his experiences and love for Qinghua kiln, he was an undoubtedly authoritative expert on the subject.
That large blue and white plate, which Chen ManGuan could not guarantee if it was genuine, and he was a little unconvinced with his luck so he played it up.
He decided to invite Li BoYuan to come and show him if the big plate was authentic while letting the people in the East City know that he, Chen ManGuan, still had a connection with the leading collector in Hong Kong.
Secondly, he had asked Old Mr.
Li to come with good intentions, so he could show him around the antique markets and perhaps introduced him to more connections in this regard.
In case the big plate was genuine, even though he would lose a fortune, he would still be considered a middleman by Old Mr.
Therefore, he would not lose out on the middleman fee while a favor was sold to Old Mr.
Chen ManGuan felt that this was a decision that would benefit him regardless of whether the item was genuine or not.
Thus, he approached the hotel where Old Mr.
Li was staying by stating that he had suspected a large plate to be Yuan Qinghua and asked Old Mr.
Li to help in authenticating.
Sure enough, once Li BoYuan heard of this, he agreed to go with him and both of them arrived at the antique market.
However, who would have thought that when Chen ManGuan was on the way to lead the respectful Li BoYuan over to Zhao MingJun’s stall, that big plate was gone!
(T/N: I had almost wanted to drop this series or went on a hiatus since I am too busy with so many stuffs that I don’t even have the time to properly translate….
*sob*… T-T …… Yet, I really really like this novel.
XD such dilemma… Oh well, I will continue trying to translate this when I got the time to do so.
Sorry for any readers who are waiting for this novel to update more frequently.
Also, if anyone want to take up this novel, please feel free to do so from chapter 1 since right now it is just until chapter 20.
Easy to overtake hahaha.
Double translators etc would be cool! So yea, that’s all for now … really really hope everything will settle down faster so that I can continuing translating.
Love ya all!)
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