Floating book fair heading city's way

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 September, 2007, 12:00am

The world's oldest ocean-going passenger ship will be making its eighth and possibly last visit to the city next week for a month-long stay to showcase the world's largest floating book fair.

The Doulos will be berthed at Ocean Terminal from Tuesday after a two-month stay at four ports in South Korea. During its visit, the Doulos fair will offer more than 6,000 books, including cookery, sports and education and children's favourites.

The floating book fair, which was last in Hong Kong in 2000, has visited more than 100 countries and attracted more than 20 million visitors since 1978.

The Doulos' project co-ordinator, Stefanie Schlotze, said the ship's call was expected to cost HK$1 million but it was hoped the sale of the books would cover much of the cost.

The ship's 320 self-sponsoring volunteers from more than 50 nations do community service at each port. It visited Sri Lanka a year after the 2004 tsunami, and its volunteers worked with locals to rebuild facilities including playgrounds.

Local volunteer Maggie Law Man-yin joined the ship for two years when she was 28. She had worked in hotel management but was originally designated as a dishwasher.

'In the beginning, I was sceptical,' Ms Law said. 'But I saw some 18-year-olds who had not even studied at university but were so capable in organising events, managing people and did things much better than I probably would have done.'

The Doulos will be open most days from September 11 to October 7.