A Heritage Of Craftsmanship: The Story Of ONEHANDMADE

British Customs talks to Queen Houng about his upbringing

ONEHANDMADE
Queen with his two brothers and parents in Taiwan in 1989British Customs

Queen Houng of ONEHANDMADE is recognized across the world as a master of his craft. His metal shaping and unique sense of style combine masterfully in each of his custom motorcycles, which has gained him international acclaim. But he attributes his inspiration for his relentless pursuit of quality craftsmanship to his father, who is a master of Aikido and electroplating. Read Queen and his father's story in their own words here about their lifelong dedication to their respective crafts, struggling and overcoming together the loss of the use of Queen's right arm after his accident, and the unbreakable bond they share as father and son.

The Son’s Words

My father has always been a hard working person. He had a career as a master electroplater, a craft which requires an immense amount of technique and skill.

I remember when I was young, my father cleared a room in the house to be his laboratory. The lab became me and my brother’s secret place. I even begged my father to hand over this room to me.

I didn’t fully understand what my father did then. So it wasn’t until I grew older that I understood he was a master in the industry. He invented many techniques and plating chemicals, and few others in the industry could match his level of skill. He placed a high value on the quality of his products, which strongly influenced my attitude towards my own work.

I’m just like my father. We both dedicate our lives to our jobs and our interests. We started as apprentices, moved away from our hometown to pursue our craft, and still never stop learning in our professions. And we both hold on tight to our careers.

I’ve always known that my father has been passionate about martial arts. It takes years of practicing to reach a higher level in martial arts. However, my father never gives up on this pursuit.

ONEHANDMADE
Queen and his father in 1990British Customs

He became a master in a kind of martial arts named Aikido, and has students from all over the country and different backgrounds. He hopes that one of us, his three sons, can inherit his skill. But to be frank, Aikido was never a cool thing to me. Even though no one in our family was willing to learn Aikido from our father, our parents still respected what we wanted to do.

Thinking back on it, maybe the point of learning Aikido wasn’t about becoming a master like our father. What I think he really hoped was that we could gain knowledge and learn manners from studying the martial art.

Most parents in traditional families in Taiwan are prone to intervening in their kids’ life. Luckily, I’ve never fallen into this kind of situation because my parents are really open minded. Unless I’m doing wrong, they never stop me from what I want to do.

Making trouble during our teenage years seems to be unavoidable. When I was a youngster, I did a lot of crazy things. I remember how I burned the curtain in my classroom, and I was even taken to the police station on my 18th birthday for riding without a license, while my family was home preparing my birthday cake.

In the past, those who were interested in motorbikes were labeled as members of biker gangs, which is negative in our society. So when I made up my mind to choose customizing bikes as my career, I kept it as a secret for fear that my parents would be upset with me. However, they respected my decision and supported everything that I was doing. They came to every competition and exhibition that I participated in. They may not understand my job, and they knew that I had an unstable income, but they never asked me to give it up.

Life wasn’t easy for me after the accident, and my family was the main reason why I held onto customizing bikes: they were always proud of me. I became stronger because of their support and the experience.

This is a change for me to recall my memories and my life when I was young. My headstrong and boorish attitude bothered my parents, but they never gave up on me. I appreciate them for that, and I’m also proud of them. I hold myself to be a parent like them.

ONEHANDMADE
Queen's father in his Aikido studioBritish Customs

The Father’s Words

Seeing Queen’s accomplishments so far, and seeing how well they have been received by others, we are proud to be his parents. He reminds me of my own business: how much I care about quality and fair profit. I never compromise on my work. And that’s why I was never a rich man.

I have retired from my electroplating job, but I still hold onto my passion for Aikido and teaching.

Queen is the second eldest child in the family. He is a strong and thoughtful kid. However, studying was hard for him because of his ADHD. He paid attention to drawing pictures of vehicles instead. But to be frank, he was quite clever in drawing.

He dreamed of becoming a racer since he was in high school. He saved every penny to buy the equipment he needed for a big race when he heard one was going to be in the area. He was so excited about the competition until he found out that the whole thing was a scam.

He started working in a bike shop after graduating because of his interest in cars. He worked twelve hours a day and got paid 3,000 NT dollars ($94 USD) per month. It wasn’t easy for him. I was sad but also gratified to see him working so hard.

He started his own business after being released from the army following a bike accident that left his right arm unusable after his arm’s nerve plexus was severed. He was trying to dodge a reversing truck, but he was still hit. It still breaks my heart seeing his arm the way it is. And I have no idea what life is going to bring us next. However, I am sure that as long as he’s working on what he loves, that’s the greatest happiness.

ONEHANDMADE
Queen's father in his Aikido studioBritish Customs

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