Revamped married quarters could boost flagging arts scene

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 March, 2009, 12:00am

There has been some debate in news reports and in these columns about the renewal of old buildings.

The government policy towards old buildings is based on the principles of redevelopment, revitalisation, rehabilitation and preservation. Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan has put forward suggestions for the former police married quarters in Hollywood Road ('Creative industries hub eyed for former police married quarters', March 23).

These buildings are an integral part of our culture.

What we do with them will have an impact on the whole area.

The entire complex, including the married quarters, Central Police Station and the old Victoria Prison, is an important part of our colonial past.

We would be losing some of that history if we demolished the married quarters.

Revitalising them is clearly the best choice for Hong Kong.

If Mrs Lau's idea of offering 'artistic and cultural ingredients' comes to fruition, this will help with the development of the arts. Hong Kong has always been seen as a desert when it comes to the arts.

We do not have a vibrant creative industry. This may seem strange given that so many talented Hongkongers have shown themselves to be innovative and capable of taking the initiative.

Many have achieved international success.

However, lack of money and inadequate space have made it difficult for young artists to develop their careers.

If the married quarters can be made available so they can showcase their talent they will not have to worry so much about finding the money to mount an exhibition.

I also applaud plans to turn the Blue House in Wan Chai into a museum which would focus on the area's history.

It started out as a hospital and thanks to revitalisation will have a new lease of life.

What we are seeing is a perfect combination, preserving part of our past and using it to contribute positively to Hong Kong's artistic future.

Teresa Shum Wai-yi, Tuen Mun