Sexy manga comics keep fair organisers on their toes, as Ah Bun's new book inspires
Vivienne Chow, Kobi Chan and Adrian Wan
Not only lightly clad pseudo-models have been pushing publishing boundaries at the Hong Kong Book Fair.
A Taiwanese exhibitor has been caught displaying sexually explicit manga and anime accessories.
Candy House Comic, in Hall 3 of the Convention and Exhibition Centre, was selling a comic featuring a gay sex act. The stall also featured posters, banners and large cushion covers depicting cartoon images of curvaceous girls, some shedding school uniforms and others getting up to all manner of sexual antics, all discreetly posed of course.
The racy images drew visitors' attention, with some giving an embarrassed smile and some middle-aged males happily snapping photos.
But not all were happy.
'These things should be placed inside the booth and the exhibitor should not use these objects to attract customers,' student Danny Dan, 19, said.
'I don't approve of them because they are close to porn, just like those models' photo albums,' his girlfriend, Sara So, said. 'Besides, this is supposed to be a book fair, not a comics fair.'
'Wow! That's disgusting!' student Kelvin Ngan, 14, said, pointing to an image of a naked girl. 'There's too much flesh.'
But the store's manager, Ho Kuo-yuan, denied the racy manga came from his booth. He said the sexually stimulating accessories at his booth were used for promotional purposes only and he had had no problems with fairs in Taiwan and Singapore.
'Those items are the products related to the books we sell,' he said. 'They are used to attract people to our booth. I don't think they are porn. We do not sell porn items. I oppose selling porn items.'
Nevertheless, the more provocative images were removed in the afternoon after the stall was haunted by the media.
Under existing classification rules, some of the images could have been categorised as indecent or obscene.
Fair organiser the Trade Development Council said staff had inspected the booth and the suspect comics could no longer be seen.
A council spokesman said Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority staff patrolled the site and found nothing that would violate the law.
Meanwhile, discussing his new book at the book fair yesterday, quadriplegic Tang Siu-pun, better known as Ah Bun, said he wanted to inspire fearlessness among young people.
Sitting with guests, he told the audience why he wrote the book entitled Everyone Fails Once, and shared his insights into failure.
Joseph Sung Jao-yiu, head of Shaw College at Chinese University of Hong Kong, said he had realised Mr Tang wanted to be a teacher after reading his first book and invited him to talk to his medical students. This had not only given Mr Tang a taste of being a teacher but also inspired his students.
Mr Tang said it made him realise he was not 'completely useless'.
Mr Tang has been living in Queen Mary Hospital for 18 years since injuring his spine in 1991 but is moving to his own home soon. He published his first book, I Want Euthanasia, in 2007.
His second book, in which he interviews well-known people about their personal failures, was launched this month.