Political drama sequels and reruns aplenty at this year's Book Fair

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2012, 12:00am

The city's political battles will reverberate at this year's Book Fair, when publishers release more books on current affairs than in previous years, written by both those in government and their critics.

Jimmy Pang Chi-ming, owner of publishing house Sub-Culture, even goes so far as to say that he expects 'this year's Book Fair to be the most political that the public has ever seen.

'There has never been a year when the chief executive election has been in the same year as the Legislative Council election. In addition, mainland China will also have a change in leadership. The books we are launching at the fair have very timely topics.'

One such book is Heng's Heartfelt Ties to his Country by Lau Sze-hong, about 10 secondary school pupils who went on national education tours to the mainland but returned believing that the purpose of the exercise was 'brainwashing.'

'There was no way we could have predicted that the topic of the national education curriculum would be so controversial right now. We decided at the last minute to print 3,000 copies instead of 2,000.'

Another book that Pang expects to be popular is Hong Kong Education is Dying - a compilation of viewpoints by academics, professors and secondary school teachers on the current state of the education sector.

Up Publications will release Rather Have One's Head Cut Than Turning Back, a memoir of June 4 activist Li Wangyang , who died suspiciously last month. Through photographs and poems, the book illustrates Hongkongers' respect for the man. All revenue will go to Li's sister.

To celebrate its centenary, Chung Hwa Book will publish more Hong Kong-themed books this year, the publisher's deputy manager of marketing department Ivy Wu said.

While the government is yet to decide whether to declare Ho Tung Gardens a monument, two academics have written a book which considers the villa's historical value.

'Apart from its architectural value, Ho Tung Gardens witnessed the historic events in Hong Kong. Ho Tung insisted on building the villa at The Peak, an area which used to be exclusive to Westerners, because of a plague at that time,' Wu quoted from the book.

Another timely book is one looking at the impact of judicial reviews on society, a controversial topic after a 66-year-old woman applied for a review of the environmental impact assessment for the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

Forty-two Leung Chun-ying supporters, including his wife, Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee, and executive councillors Barry Cheung Chun-yuen and Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, have co-written Zero Distance to CY, a book to be published by Crystal Window Books, a sister company of Ming Pao Publications.

With the Legco election looming, several lawmakers are using the Book Fair to promote their platforms. At least eight incumbent lawmakers launched new books, touching on a wide range of issues from politics to personal growth to language usage.

Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, who will be contesting one of the five news seats in the functional constituency for district councils, has published a selection of articles reviewing his failed campaign this year to be chosen as chief executive.

Civic Party legislator Tanya Chan and Beijing loyalist Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun - vying for second terms representing Hong Kong Island and Kowloon West constituencies respectively - describe their personal side in new books.

Others to have written books include New People's Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, Legco president Tsang Yok-sing, pan- democrat Leung Yiu-chung and education sector lawmaker Cheung Man-kwong.