Wedding belles need to be told
Bridal salon operator Cheung Yum-tin, 54, is crossing his fingers that a Hong Kong Tourist Association proposal to promote the territory as a sightseeing-cum-honeymoon spot can go ahead. His shop, Wing Lung Embroidery Company, has been selling Chinese bridal dresses for more than three decades and is now one of only a handful of its kind.
Mr Cheung, of Mongkok, admits it is a declining business but expects the promotion plan to give it a boost.
What's on your mind? It will be good news if the tourist association's plan materialises. I always think that the Government should do something to help our industry. It is an important part of Chinese tradition.
Some girls think wearing traditional bridal dress is not in fashion, but that's not true. Even a Western wedding gown is something inherited from long, long ago. Ceremonial dresses are not fashionable but they trace a profound history.
It is very funny that today's girls only like traditional things from the West.
What would you like the Government or tourist association to do to help your industry? The business is slipping and there are now only about 10 to 20 bridal dress shops in Mongkok. During the 1960s and 1970s, there were up to 30 shops along a section of Shanghai Street. Understandably, we can't ask the Government to subsidise us. But if it can arouse young people's interest, or change their attitude towards wearing a Chinese wedding gown, the entire industry will benefit. I believe the association's campaign should focus more on the Chinese wedding ceremony that developed over thousands of years.
Does competition become less sharp when so many shops have been forced out of the business? Competition becomes keener, certainly, from those Western wedding salons. So we have to diversify. My shop opened a small section of Western gowns several years ago and we also sell blankets and other gifts as well.
What do you think about the future of your industry? I am not altogether pessimistic. While there are Chinese on this earth, there will be a demand for Chinese bridal dresses. We Chinese will not let our traditions die.