Boxing Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 March, 2008, 12:00am

Globalisation is a large, complicated issue which is hard to explain in a few sentences. But 61 senior secondary school students are taking up the challenge of showing how globalisation changes us - and they're doing it in a 2.25 cubic metre box.

The students are taking part in 'The Glocalization Project: Attain Global Culture, Retain Local Feature', a secondary school educational campaign which addresses globalisation and its local effects.

The project is organised by the Chinese University branch of the international student organisation Aiesec. It is supported by the Society for Community Organisation (Soco) and local art body 1a space.

The students, divided into teams, need to use the boxes to express their views of local culture.

'People always say globalisation changes the world. They usually focus on social enterprises or corporate responsibilities. But they are too far away for secondary school students to relate to,' said Aiesec branch vice-president Brian Yeung Lap-ming.

Local culture, however, is part of the students' daily life.

The project includes a series of educational activities to arouse students' interest in local culture. The participants went on a field trip to Sham Shui Po in February to observe the characteristics of the neighbourhood and the impact of globalisation on the area.

Later the students met local concept artist Luke Ching Chin-wai, who demonstrated how globalisation standardises everyday life. To show them how times have changed, he wore flip flops to a local mall, garnering strange looks from shoppers as people these days consider them unsuitable footwear.

On another day, the participants learned to re-package traditional businesses and practices by imitating the experiences of global brand names such as Starbucks and Body Shop. They also attended workshops provided by 1a space at Cattle Depot Art Village.

Li Wai-yu and her teammates from Jockey Club Ti-I College (pictured above) picked up a cultural symbol representing the working class - white canvas shoes.

'Back in the days when society was not affluent, and not many people could afford brand name products, they wore white canvas shoes,' said the 18-year-old student, adding the shoes had helped people overcome many difficulties on the path of life. 'It reminds me of Hong Kong's spirit.'

Stella Fung Yee-quang of Holy Trinity College studied a traditional flower-banner maker in Sham Shui Po, and how the industry has been replaced by neon billboards.

'Globalisation brings modernity, yet it wipes out local features and makes everything the same,' she said.

Candy Chan Siu-hang, 20, one of the Aiesec branch organisers, said: 'Globalisation and localisation are not mutually exclusive. Hong Kong people blindly accept globalisation without thinking. Most do not bother if a new shopping mall appears in their neighbourhood. They just accept the change.'

The students' work will be on display at Olympic City II on April 13