The government's decision to pick out 480 items of intangible cultural heritage for protection has been welcomed by supporters of the various activities - but they say resources are needed for the listing to have an effect.
The long list includes everything from various branches of kung fu to local rituals and techniques for making delicacies such as salted fish, snake wine and milk tea. The city plans to hammer out measures to preserve the items before they are lost forever.
Ip Chun, the eldest son of legendary kung fu master Yip Man, welcomed the decision to recognise three types of wing chun - a type of kung fu - as part of the city's living heritage. They include Yip Man wing chun, the technique his father popularised.
"This is good news," the 90-year-old wing chun master and teacher said yesterday. "The government should do more by allocating resources to preserve the living heritages."
Ip applied to mainland authorities last year for Yip Man wing chun to be recognised as a piece of national intangible cultural heritage. It had already been recognised on a provincial level by Guangdong, he added.
Mok Pui Ling also welcomed the news. She has been advocating for years for the local technique for making milk tea to be recognised as intangible cultural heritage in Hong Kong and nationally.
"This is virtually a daily necessity in the city," said Mok, who runs Sing Kee, a tea café, or cha chaan teng, in Tai Po. "There are different styles of milk tea, but Hong Kong's is known for its silky nature and its unique blend of different tea leaves."
Dr Joseph Ting Sun-pao, a member of the committee advising the government on intangible cultural heritage, urged the government to draw up conservation plans, including designating funding and manpower to record the activities, to save disappearing heritage items on the list.
"They only have a handful of staff to cope with the issue," said Ting, a former chief curator at the Museum of History. "Expansion is necessary if they want to save this heritage in a timely way with detailed records."
However, undersecretary for home affairs Florence Hui Hiu-fai said the government had no plans to set up a designated fund as cash was available elsewhere.
"Cantonese opera now has its own development fund while other items can be financially supported by the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust," she said. "Several other items are promoted by some community funding and the Jockey Club Charities."