We must not lose sight of need to preserve unique traditions

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 February, 2010, 12:00am

In Hong Kong it is not difficult to find art forms and traditions which are part of our intangible cultural heritage.

They are precious because they reflect the unique culture and lifestyle of the city and its people.

They should be preserved, but are in danger of disappearing, because people are so preoccupied with economic development.

I believe that dai pai dong and the Cheung Chau Bun Festival should join a list of the city's intangible cultural heritage.

Dai pai dong are part of our culinary history. They are a completely different dining experience compared with today's modern restaurants.

People sit on fold-up tables and chairs next to the open-air food stalls.

There is no air conditioning and it is untidy, but the food is often delicious and different and there is a great atmosphere.

They form part of the collective memory of Hong Kong people. However, there are only 28 licensed dai pai dong left. Therefore, we should take action to preserve them.

I also think the Cheung Chau (or Jiao) Festival is an important part of our intangible cultural heritage.

It is now a showcase for traditional Chinese culture and an important boost for the economy as many local people and tourists flock to the island to see the festival.

Finally, I would like to see Cantonese herbal tea - also known as 24 flavours - added to the intangible heritage list.

This bitter-tasting tea is made up of 24 different herbs. People drink it all the year round in order to stay healthy.

The herbal tea stalls are popular with Hong Kong people and are another unique part of our culture.

I hope that this list of our intangible cultural heritage can lead to people having a greater awareness of the need to preserve these traditions. It can also attract more tourists to the city.

Kolie Lam, Ngau Chi Wan