Rocking out to girl power
Barry C Chung
It's easy to sing praises about cosmopolitan cities like Hong Kong, where everyone - both men and women - enjoy a standard of living and freedoms that those in many countries can only dream of. Such inequality struck a chord with keyboardist Jimmy Fung Hing-chung of the two-piece band ISoFeel, which has joined a global charity to raise awareness about women's rights through an upcoming concert.
'In Hong Kong, women are usually seen as equal to or even stronger [than men],' Fung says. 'In the Middle East and even in some Eastern cultures like Korea, Japan and China, women are often seen as second [to men].'
Fung and many other local musicians have teamed up with British children's charity Plan for a show tomorrow to promote Because I Am a Girl (BIAAG), a campaign pushing for equal rights between boys and girls.
Plan, which has a branch in Hong Kong, runs development programmes, sponsorship and fund-raisers for the disenfranchised around the world.
Inequality is rife, for instance, girls in developing countries have lesser access to basic resources, and they are three times more likely to suffer from malnutrition than boys.
According to 'The State of the World's Girls' report published by Plan last year, an estimated 75 million girls do not attend primary school or lower secondary school.
This is largely because girls are expected to do domestic chores and are sometimes seen as 'less worthy investments' than sons.
'I think Hong Kong people need to know about these issues,' says IsoFeel's lead singer and guitarist, Lolo Lo Chuk-kwan.
'There are a lot of things happening outside of Hong Kong that we don't know about. So this [concert] can [teach us] more about these issues,' she says.
Tomorrow's event - sort of a variety show - will also feature the five-member all-girl group Dovey, musical duo A-dAY and a special performance by the German Swiss International School's Big Band.
A number of BIAAG ambassadors will also speak about their experiences helping out with development projects across Asia.
ISoFeel, which will be accompanied by a 10-piece orchestra, has four songs planned for the concert, including Sunflower, which they will sing for the first time.
'The lyrics talk about being brave and facing difficult situations ... which makes it very meaningful for the show. That's one of the reasons we chose it,' Lo says.
ISoFeel, formed in 2008 and named after the 'isolated feeling' some friends felt after listening to their songs, has not shied away from tackling social issues like gender inequality.
'We care very much about social problems in Hong Kong,' explains Fung. 'Beseiged City is a song I wrote that talks about those buildings ... [that] block the air flow and increase pollution. Also, the song talks about the government and how it always gets rid of old heritage buildings.'
Plan's Because I Am A Girl Charity Show begins at 7pm tomorrow at HK Jockey Club Amphitheatre, HKAPA. Tickets are available at HK Ticketing