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Edward Lam Yik-wah

Dora Chan

Born and raised in Hong Kong, the enfant terrible choreographer-director set up the avant-garde group Zuni Icosahedron with choreographer Danny Yeung, before establishing the Edward Lam Dance Theatre in 1993. The company will be presenting a series of four plays called What Is A Youth? from September 14-26 at the Arts Centre. He has been curator of Hong Kong's lesbian and gay film festival since it started in 1989.

Where are you most likely to be at 10am on a Sunday? The same place I am at 10am every other day of the week, at Sun Cheung Hing cafe in Happy Valley for a Chinese-style breakfast of egg and ham toasted sandwich (no butter), a bowl of macaroni soup with shredded ham, and an iced lemon tea with a little syrup.

Where are you most likely to be at 10pm on a Friday? Rehearsing in a studio. But if I had a lover, we'd wander around town to get food or watch a film, but you'd never find me in Lan Kwai Fong, SoHo, Tsim Sha Tsui or karaoke bars because I hate crowds.

Where do you live? I live in Happy Valley. It's like a little village: you can bump into friends, walk around in your slippers and make friends with waiters and supermarket cashiers. It reminds me of London's West Hampstead, where I once lived [he was in London from 1990-93].

Where do you go to escape in Hong Kong? The Morrison Hill Public Swimming Pool in Wan Chai. I try to go when the pool has very little traffic, in early afternoon or half an hour before closing. I love the feeling of swimming in a big pool alone, it reminds me of a Krzysztof Kieslowski film set in Eastern Europe.

Where do you go for dim sum? My current favourite is the student canteen at the University of Science and Technology in Sai Kung. The food is good and costs hardly anything.

Where does everyone know your name? At two local cafe-cum-restaurants in Causeway Bay: Tsui Wah, near the President Theatre, and Sun Chiu Kee opposite Lee Gardens. Both are popular meeting places for theatre people. They are open until 4am, and are great places for grabbing a bite and discussing ideas till late.

What memberships do you have? I'm a member of the Composers and Authors' Society of Hong Kong, that's about it. I was a member of Tom Turk's gym but cancelled my membership two years ago. The narcissistic atmosphere was making me feel ridiculous.

Whom in Hong Kong do you most admire? Anna Wu Hung-yuk, the chairwoman of the Equal Opportunities Council. I have always admired her fair attitudes and outspokenness. I least admire the Hong Kong Government, whose work during the past two years has exposed its numerous weaknesses: it's defensive, closed and has no clear vision or direction. It can't even decide whether Hong Kong should be an independent and cosmopolitan city or just another Chinese city, like Shanghai or Beijing.

What makes you sweat? The increasing lack of choice. Because of the short-term attitudes of Hong Kong people, who rarely do things that have little immediate return, the market for things such as art and culture is fast collapsing.

Where did you spend your last birthday? I didn't arrange to do anything special and nothing much happened, apart from getting a surprise phone call from my former boyfriend, whom I had not spoken to since we split three months ago. We had a lovely chat, and then a row. It was sad, especially because last year he turned up on my doorstep with a cake.

When did you last cross the harbour? Every now and then when I go over to the Sino Centre on Nathan Road, or around Mongkok, to get second-hand CDs and new VCDs.

What do you love about Hong Kong after you've been away? The language. I love talking in Hong Kong Cantonese, it's so intimate. I also love the feedback from friends and the audience at my performances. And I miss the people here who care about the same things as me.

What do you hate about Hong Kong after you've been away? There are so many things. Basically a place is made up of the people who use and support it, so I'll focus on what I dislike about people here. They are mostly single-minded, unimaginative, oppressive and ignorant, yet they're proud of their inability to think. 'Don't ask, just do it!' is their attitude.

What is the most overrated thing about Hong Kong? The saying that Hong Kong people, through hard work, can overcome everything. This expression held true during the 1950s and '60s but people who grew up in the '80s and '90s no longer behave like that: all they care about is play, play and play.

Who do you tip? Nearly all taxi drivers tip themselves automatically anyway. But I'll still give them extra money if I really appreciated their service.

Have you ever been refused entry to anywhere in Hong Kong? I came close to it when I walked into the Grand Hyatt's Tiffin Lounge in trainers. But because I was with several local celebrities, they let me in.

If you had to come up with an ad for the Hong Kong Tourist Authority campaign, what words and images would you pick? I hope that, one day, Hong Kong can be advertised as a gathering point for artists, performers and writers. But until then I find it hard to come up with anything good. Whenever a friend from overseas asks me about Hong Kong, I discourage them from coming. I hope to move back to London one day.