A desire to understand why it's an offence to burn the Hong Kong flag has secured Verdy Leung Wai-yee a place as a finalist in the Golden Horse Film Festival in Taipei. The multimedia lecturer, who teaches at the Polytechnic University and the Academy for Performing Arts, flies to Taiwan today for a screening of his film Burn Nation at the prestigious competition which ends on Tuesday. The film shows a flag burning over a background of icons such as pop group F4 and McDonald's, which he hopes will prompt Hong Kong people to think about their identities. 'I have seen people prosecuted for burning the SAR flag. I didn't, and I still don't, understand why burning the flag is unpatriotic and has to be an offence,' he said. Prompted by an urge to challenge the issue, Leung decided to make a film he could enter in last year's Hong Kong Independent Short Film Competition held by the Arts Centre. The film won a silver award, and nomination to the Taiwan competition. One of the conditions of the Hong Kong competition was that the film had to be short. And short it is. Leung's film is just two minutes' long. That was all the time he needed to illustrate his concept of Hong Kong's new identity. 'There are textbook definitions of what a nation is and what China is. But to me, the concept is so vague. It's never close to what the textbooks say. Chinese culture seems to be such a solid thing, but you never know exactly what it is,' he said. 'What is a nation? And why is burning flags a problem? What is patriotism? What is Hong Kong? Is Hong Kong only about big tycoons such as Li Ka-shing or McDonald's?' These are questions he intends raising in discussion groups after the public screening of Burn Nation in Taiwan. Leung thinks it will be interesting to bring up Taiwan's identity crisis when the cross-strait atmosphere is tenser than ever. 'Taiwan faces similar problems. What is China and how the Taiwanese see themselves? I am interested to know about that. I only want to stir up discussion,' he said. Burn Nation is competing for two awards: one judged by a jury of professional filmmakers and the other voted by audiences. The results of the competition will be announced on Tuesday. Leung said he was not going to Taiwan expecting to win. 'My aim in producing short films is to share my views and ideas with others,' he said. 'When I feel that there's a topic or a question that people need to look into, I will make a film and try to show it to as many people as possible, including my friends. It doesn't matter whether it is viewed 10 times or 1,000 times. I will try my best to make my opinions heard.'