Lunar New Year

Hong Kong leadership contenders take centre stage at Lunar New Year Fair

Games and quirky wares dominate Victoria Park event, alongside a miniature version of closed June 4 museum ‘to preserve the truth’

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 January, 2017, 8:09pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 January, 2017, 10:49pm

A museum dedicated to the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, which had to close last year, re-emerged at the Lunar New Year Fair in Victoria Park – albeit in a scaled-down version.

The small makeshift enclosure featuring colour-reversed photographic negatives of the event – that can be seen in regular colours through a smartphone camera – was one of many attractions with a political theme on display at the opening of the annual fair on Sunday.

“We are trying to preserve the historical truth,” said Albert Ho Chun-yan, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which ran the June 4 museum.

Youngspiration and HKNP barred from operating stalls at Hong Kong’s largest Lunar New Year fair

He said the alliance was still raising funds to acquire new premises. They were forced to move out of the Tsim Sha Tsui tower block last year after a protracted legal battle with its owners’ corporation.

Political parties and young vendors touted quirky wares at the fair, many featuring tongue-in-cheek references to the year of the rooster or current affairs.

Watch: Bernice Chan reports on the Lunar New Year market

The Democratic Party was selling a modified version of dice game “fish prawn crab”, with caricatures of the four candidates in the chief executive race – John Tsang Chun-wah, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Woo Kwok-hing and Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee – and possible runner Jasper Tsang Yok-sing.

A few stalls down, the League of Social Democrats sold cushions shaped like luncheon meat tins – a reference to former pro-Beijing lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing’s condemnation of legislative filibusters, which he once said wasted enough taxpayer dollars to buy thousands of cans of luncheon meat for the poor.

On the non-political front, Pokemon-themed plush toys and balloons, no doubt fuelled by last year’s hit mobile game Pokemon Go, were a common sight. And there were plenty of toys and dolls featuring characters from Disney and mobile messaging app Line, as well as various emoji emoticons.

Customs officers patrolling the stalls reminded vendors not to sell goods that infringed copyrights and to be cautious about authenticity and origin.

Vendor James Ling, a University of Hong Kong student, said business had been brisk but admitted most of his merchandise – including Pikachu balloons – were priced higher than last year as he had to purchase the licensing rights.

Many stalls were affected by a power outage that lasted for several hours.