Forget carnivals and sports, new book proves culture in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district is all about the people

District council compiles a book filled with profiles of local characters

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 March, 2017, 8:03am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 March, 2017, 8:03am

Wan Chai should preserve its “diverse, creative and inclusive” character against a fast changing society, its district councillor has urged.

Yolanda Ng Yuen-ting, an elected member of Wan Chai District Council since 2008, has opted for a different strategy to preserve and upgrade the area’s cultural significance.

“Instead of the usual carnivals and sporting events, we want to address the higher cultural needs that befit Wan Chai as a culturally vibrant district,” Ng said on Thursday.

Funding of $800,000 for arts and cultural activities was provided by the government to the district in 2015, and has allowed Ng as chairperson of Wan Chai’s cultural and leisure services committee to move forward with a series of projects.

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“We put together some innovative programmes and invited all interested parties around town to apply through open bidding,” she said.

One of the completed projects was Tales of Wan Chai: A Cultural Chronicle, a book in Chinese and English filled with 20 profiles of personalities living and working in the district.

“We use a broad definition for culture so that it covers everyday living. With that, we included a fisherman in Causeway Bay, a busker singing at Time Square piazza and the founder of a private museum, just to name a few,” Chloe Lai Wing-sze, the book’s editor, said.

“We also wanted to highlight the continuity of culture in many different ways, such as a cinema that has been conserved through a church,” she added.

In addition to the $100,000 project, which took six months to compile, the council hosted writing workshops to improve peoples’ appreciation for literary work.

“When I held the book in my hand, I was grateful for all the hearts and minds behind it, which can never be measured in monetary terms,” Ng said.

The district councillor has been in the news lately for openly apologising to angry bus drivers who held her responsible for stricter police enforcement on bus stop parking.

“I learned from the incident that one has to be persistent, but at the same time embrace different opinions. I think that’s also a Wan Chai attribute.”