Nostalgia the main focus at book fair

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 4:07am

Local identity and collective memories form the cornerstone of the upcoming Book Fair, with publishers releasing books on cha chaan teng, the culture of Yuen Long walled villages and now-closed amusement parks.

Veteran fashion designer William Tang Tat-chi, who grew up in New Territories, describes in Four Seasons in Yuen Long some of the more unusual traditions in walled villages - such as the making of baby mice wine.

"When we went uphill to pay tributes to ancestors on Ching Ming Festival, my mother would ask us to look under stones for baby mice," he recalled. "These mice were different from those living in the city centre as they ate plants instead of garbage."

He never tasted the wine, but said it was thought to be beneficial in pregnancy. Also in the book are stories behind feasts, and recipes for treats such as rice dumpling and Hakka tea cake.

Indigenous villagers had faced discrimination at work, he said, and had resorted to hiding their roots. "But I'm proud about it. We were poor, but had a happy childhood living in nature."

His publisher is Wan Li Book, which is also rolling out the tale of tea cafes or cha chaan teng run by Ngan Lung Restaurant. The company has 18 restaurants and bakeries under its brand. Recipes such as baked pork rice and fried noodles will be revealed.

Joint Publishing is riding the nostalgia wave, with the release a pop-up book on amusement parks of different eras, from the now-closed Ocean Park's Waterworld to Hong Kong Disneyland.

Bus fans will rejoice at a new book on the 80-year-old Kowloon Motor Bus. "The book will tell readers why the government abandoned a plan to build a tram line on Kowloon side in the 1920s," the publisher's manager Yuki Li Yuk-ki said.

Readers in search of something a little different might be interested in a two-volume book set describing Hong Kong's funeral scene. The books by three authors features interviews with veterans at funeral parlours, paper-offering shops, cemeteries and morgues.

Other works of note are parenting books from Enrich Publishing, by Eva Chan Sik-chee of the Parents Concern Group and sociologist Lui Tai-lok.

The book fair is at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from July 17 to 23.