Too much paperwork blamed for resignation

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 March, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 March, 1994, 12:00am

THE panel paving the way for the Provisional Arts Development Council has been hit by a resignation just four months after its inception.

Richard Tsang Yip-fat, head of RTHK Radio 4 and an arts community representative on the working group, blamed inefficiency and slow decision-making for his resignation.

He said the working group had come up with nothing except an abundance of paperwork in its first few months.

''There is too much paper work in each meeting, which is largely cosmetic,'' he said.

Meetings were restricted by procedures and members could not share their opinions freely, creating misunderstandings.

His criticisms were backed by another group member, drama director Danny Yung, who said many issues still needed to be settled and members were bombarded with piles of paper.

The 17-strong panel, established in October, took over the role of the former Council for the Performing Arts and is preparing for the establishment of the Provisional Arts Development Council next month.

The Arts Development Council, its statutory body, will be set up in April next year.

Mr Tsang said the provisional council was supposed to be independent, and queried why the working group had to go to the Recreation and Culture Branch for funds if that was to be the case.

The group would subsidise a wider range of arts activities than the former Council of the Performing Arts, yet the Government had failed to substantially increase the working group's funds.

The allocation of $40 million to the working group for 1994/95 represented no real increase from last year's $37 million for the Council for the Performing Arts, he said.

Mr Tsang said the two municipal councils were able to generate a stable income from rates, but the arts council - which also intended to improve the quality of life of the community - did not have a stable source of income.

However, the group's vice-chairman, legislator Christine Loh Kung-wai, rejected Mr Tsang's criticisms, saying the council was only an advisory body to the Governor and could not make decisions.

''The Arts Development Council can't replace the Recreation and Culture Branch,'' she said.

''They [the arts community] are suspicious of the government structure and they do not understand the constitutional framework of the Government.'' Ms Loh dismissed a suggestion by Mr Tsang that the responsibility for arts activities be clearly defined between the Arts Development Council and the municipal councils to avoid overlapping.

Two municipal councillors would sit on the Arts Development Council, she said, and this would help co-ordinate activities.

As for the composition of the Arts Development Council, Ms Loh said an elected body would be impossible unless the arts communities sorted out a unified method of election.

''The best way possible at this moment is nomination,'' she said.

Different disciplines would nominate a candidate and the working group would submit the list to be appointed by the Governor, Ms Loh said.

Oscar Ho, exhibition chief of the Hong Kong Arts Centre, has been appointed to replace Mr Tsang.