In tune with village life

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 September, 2011, 12:00am


Two Young Post junior reporters joined the first phase of an art project called 'Songs of Rural Hong Kong and Storytellers'.

The programme is organised by HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity. It encourages students to reflect on their relationship with rural living, urban development, land use and nature.

Tara Lee and Jonathan Wong Chun-him did just that. Here, they report on their experience of the workshops and field trips.

We first joined a series of talks and workshops where we learned about life in Hong Kong's last few farming communities and fishing villages.

We learned that the agricultural and fishery industries are in decline in Hong Kong partly because few young people are interested in working in such fields. Yet despite the appeals of rural lifestyles and festivals, it is important that we don't romanticise village life.

Life in rural places can be tough and people's relationship with nature is not always as harmonious as we would like to imagine.

Three workshops were aimed at helping students learn how to represent the life of rural people accurately.

We chose to join the video workshop. We practised operating a camcorder and editing footage, and were trained on ways to record everyday scenes in memorable ways.

We also learned to use lighting to give texture to scenes. And we learned how to focus on important details in an unfamiliar environment. Experimenting with such effects was great fun.

We set out to visit the farming village of Nam Chung and the fishing village of Tap Mun.

In Nam Chung, we spent long hours walking under the blazing sun, but it was well worth it. We saw scenic fields, grassy hills and remote beaches - sights you might not immediately associate with Hong Kong.

The villagers were very friendly, and helped us understand their lifestyles.

During our second trip, we headed to Grass Island, or Tap Mun. We interviewed some elderly people about life in the past. We also asked them about their beliefs and customs.

We used up the entire three hours of memory in our camera. The island also provided us with marvellous sea views.

Hong Kong is known as a bustling city of soaring skyscrapers and bright neon lights. It wasn't until we joined this programme that we realised there are still some hidden treasures in Hong Kong.

Over the coming months, we will create artworks about village life as we saw it. Our works will be displayed at HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity in January 2012