Students put their money on Aesop's tortoise

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 January, 2011, 12:00am

Aesop's famous fable about the hare and tortoise is the source of ideas for one novelty stall among the hundreds at the annual Lunar New Year Fair in Victoria Park.

To celebrate the Year of the Rabbit, 23 students from Wah Yan College have designed two products that might have amused Aesop: cushions shaped like a tortoise shell and a one-metre-long carrot.

'In the famous tale for children, the tortoise beats the rabbit in the race. That's why we chose these designs,' student Justin Choi Sai-kit said.

The tortoise cushion has a 'hand-warming function', he said - namely, a pocket to comfort chilly hands during a cold winter's night.

This will be Choi's first time running a Lunar New Year stall. The students designed the products and dealt with the manufacturers themselves. 'I went to the factories on the mainland on my own. It was memorable,' he said.

Another stallholder, 22-year-old Alfred Yeung Chun-hung, will sell a 'three-in-one' deck of cards.

On one side the cards bear all the numbers and symbols of standard playing cards; but the other side carries the rules and images for the card game Uno.

And what about the third part of the 'three-in-one' offer? Each card also carries a sentence inscribed along the bottom. One, for example, says: 'If you give it a try, your chance of succeeding could be 10 per cent. But if you don't, your chances will be zero.'

The sentences are supposed to be answers to any questions a person may ask, Yeung said. 'People can ask any questions and get their answers by drawing one of the cards,' he said. A second-year student at HKU Space Community College, he will run the stall along with 30 friends.

Most of the answers are wise sayings and famous quotes, he said. Some encourage people to take action while others advise against it. Seven students spent a week designing the cards on a computer.

Prices have yet to be set, but the students have tried to keep costs down by collecting the products from the mainland on their own. The fair runs from January 28 to February 3.