The South China Morning Post's opinion pages recently published a thought-provoking piece by Going Out contributor Hamish McKenzie in which he argued our city is pretty much a cultural desert.
He blamed Confucianism (which stresses obedience), our education system (which focuses on rote learning) and the free market (which emphasises generating wealth) for leaving arts and culture little room to thrive.
Despite this, McKenzie reached an interesting conclusion - and one Going Out agrees with: ultimately, this doesn't matter, as Hong Kong still has so much to recommend it. More importantly, he acknowledged the small communities who work hard to bring us some good live music, some great art, some excellent films and some beautiful stage shows.
With this in mind, The Buzz would this week like to celebrate some of these small communities that bring entertainment and culture to our city, often in the face of public indifference and often without much concern for making a quick buck.
For starters, Hong Kong has produced some first-class urban artists - just check out the work around Causeway Bay and Central. If you missed the 'Brick The Wall' exhibition by local duo Start From Zero which wound up at Central's Ufo Gallery last week, there's still time to catch the 'Primary' exhibition by the Graphic Airlines collective which finishes on November 17 at Above Second Gallery in Sai Ying Pun.
Designer Michael Lau is widely credited as the founder of the urban vinyl style in the designer toy movement, and his limited-edition figurines often fetch ridiculous prices on international auction websites. Starting on November 16 at Times Square, Lau will display his latest collection until December 26, plus a selection of his earlier works until December 31 (see event preview on back page).
Hong Kong's independent music scene has also produced quality acts in recent years. Last weekend, indie-folk act Noughts and Exes launched their second album, The Start of Us, at a well-received show at Hidden Agenda Live House in Kwun Tong. Now, the duo Of Moths and Stars, are about to release their debut EP, Polyphonic Rust, at Backstage Live in Central on December 10, then at the Venetian Macao casino on December 17. The EP was recorded in London with producer Adam Lunn, who's worked with The Magic Numbers and Jamie T.
Hong Kong's home-grown performing arts talent is also well represented at the moment. The Hong Kong Repertory Theatre is presenting Raymond To Kwok-wai's play Love You Forever - about an unlikely romance between an elderly man and his maid - at City Hall until November 20. And acclaimed local playwright and producer Elton Lau's latest production, Roommate, which explores women's attitudes to beauty, is on show at the Arts Centre until November 14.
Finally, here are two locally made movies that Going Out highly recommends. Lover's Discourse, a collection of six stories, starring Eason Chan Yik-shun and Karena Lam Ka-yan, will screen at Broadway Cinematheque on November 14. On November 23, the Grand Cinema will screen Kit Hui's film Fog, which stars Terence Yin as a young man suffering amnesia.
We may not have the arts, music and culture of New York and London, but Going Out still urges you to enjoy what's made in Hong Kong.