The Heritage Detective series gave teams of students the chance to explore their surrounds, connect with the city's history and write about it. We received some excellent pieces of work from the 44 teams that entered the competition.
Entries ranged from multimedia projects to articles and video clips. They covered a wide variety of subjects - from the history of schools to distant villages in the New Territories. By chance, two schools interviewed the same Uncle Man at Kowloon Walled City.
Here are some remarkable extracts:
Sun Fong Chung Primary School's team, History Boys, did a great job on Story of Lam Tsuen and the Wishing Tree with extensive photos and nice details. Their project included an interview with a villager. They also provided some interesting pictures of the wishing trees and explained how the trees have been rehabilitated after suffering damage.
The Hong Kong Inspectors from Victoria Shanghai Academy came up with the great idea of interviewing three generations of people from the same family. It gave their story special resonance. They took the time to engage the reader, rather than just settle for the routine 'he said/she said' kind of quotes. Kudos to them!
Sparks team from Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School did a great job capturing the essence of Tang and Yu Kiu Ancestral Halls. Their submission had loads of wonderful pictures, but no direct storyline. As a result, it worked better online than in print. Yet it is clear team members put a lot of thought and effort into their submission.
A few teams did composites about life as a youngster 'back then'. Retro team from Sha Tin Government Secondary School spoke to Chan Yi-mui, who had lived on Lantau as a child. 'It was a time when Tarzan was very popular among teenagers,' she said. 'We loved playing with vines. Children queued up to play on the swings made of vines. We had so much fun then,' Chan said.
Teens also enjoyed plucking wild fruits. 'We knew how to differentiate poisonous wild fruits from edible ones,' Chan explained. Young people back then also liked rope skipping and playing hopscotch. 'Sadly not many teens nowadays know how to play them,' Chan said. 'They just play video games and miss out on so many fun outdoor games.'
Summer saw teens flocking to beaches to frolic in the water, create sandcastles and have barbecues. They competed for the title of fastest swimmer, best sandcastle builder and greatest barbecue chef.
There was a special event: teens sneaked away from home at night and jumped into the sea to catch fish and crabs with their bare hands. 'That was marvellous!' Chan recalled. 'I doubt many young people know how to catch fish even with gear, let alone with their bare hands.'
STFA Tam Pak Yu College's A1 Is Great team did a project similar to Retro's on childhood fun in earlier days. They spoke to two retired teachers about their happiest childhood memories. They took an excellent picture of one teacher shooting a catapult (below).
St Mark's School's Generation X team took some wonderfully moody photos of David Ho Wing-kong, a fisherman. They spoke to him about how hard it is to keep the family fishing business alive in such a modern city.
Three teams came up with good stories from Kowloon Walled City Park. The N Generation team of Pooi To Middle School obviously took time to fashion a good story.
The team Loyalty from Holy Carpenter Secondary School chose to focus on a narrative with some exciting anecdotes. Lost Pearl from Buddhist Wong Wan Tin College did a great job interviewing Uncle Chan. They also had an interesting interview with someone who worked with drug addicts in the area.
Buddhist Wong Wan Ting College's Heritage team told a very touching story of two friends - Amy Wong Yut-ying and Kate Lam Yi-ki - in Tai Po who once buried a time capsule as a memento to their friendship. Unfortunately, they lost contact and the Tai Po Railway Museum was later built on the very spot. Wong said she often visits the museum on the off chance she might bump into Lam.
Wa Ying College's History Lovers hiked around Tai O looking for good stories. Their chance encounter with a shopkeeper (above) made for an entertaining read. The Vintage team of Good Hope School also went to Tai O. 'With few farms on the island in the past, we seldom had meat, only seafood. We jumped with joy when Mother brought home some meat,' Law Mei-ho, a 74-year-old grandmother, told them.
Many of the teams tackled the exercise as if it were a school project, which does not really fit into print style and delivery. There were some good ones, nevertheless. Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School's Free Boy team explored Lee Theatre. They had some nice pictures for illustration.