Acting method in handover madness

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 March, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 March, 1997, 12:00am

Hong Kong's best-known artistic jailbird used a goalpost as a perch, councillors adorned themselves with shredded cloth, and a formerly disgraced Miss Asia Pageant candidate spontaneously decorated other people's artworks.

The opening of the Hong Kong Artists' A Better Tomorrow: Elephant and Mouse art installation at Mongkok's McPherson Recreation Ground yesterday morning was a finely judged exercise in holiday madness.

As independent legislator Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien, Education Department principal inspector Yeung Wai-fung, Urban Councillor Ringo Chiang Sai-cheong and others handed out awards, a disc jockey played loud drumbeats and the chorus of Cliff Richard's Congratulations.

Later, in a gentle parody of a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the VIPs were asked to cut raffia cords on which multi-coloured rosettes had been tied haphazardly.

The artists expressed complex feelings about the handover through the use of elephant-and-mouse imagery. (The elephant is so much bigger than a mouse, but it can also be afraid of it.) An anti-hero of the show was Pun Sing-lui, who first came to international notice when he covered himself and a statue of Queen Victoria in red paint.

Pun, who has since served a jail term for defacing public property, had plans to erect a giant red construction made of wood and cloth, 'another Victoria', he said. But he became more engrossed in doing a tightrope act along the cross-bar of a goalpost.

Meanwhile Rita Lau Yuet-ho - disqualified from ATV's Miss Asia Pageant last autumn when topless photographs of her were published in a Chinese-language newspaper - started decorating Pun's half-finished artwork with ribbons she had picked up from the ground.