Hong Kong is uniquely positioned to preserve the intangible heritage of the Pearl River Delta because so many of China's skills and traditions were destroyed in the Cultural Revolution, says an author on the subject. But Roger Ho Yao-sheng says he hopes the government will act immediately before the remnants of Hong Kong's traditions go the same way. 'The Cultural Revolution destroyed much of the intangible heritage on the mainland,' he said. 'But Hong Kong has had more peace in the past few decades and many traditional practices have survived here.' He cites the Cheung Chau bun festival, the Da Chiu fire unicorn dance, and the 'beat evil' tradition in which elderly women beat up 'devil men' in effigy on behalf of clients wanting a good year. Unesco in 1982 set up a Committee of Experts on the Safeguarding of Folklore and created a special section dealing with non-tangible heritage, which includes songs, tales and other traditional practices. Their survival depends on the existence of a particular group of people and social environment. However, the Home Affairs Bureau's heritage policy consultation in February 2004 did not mention intangible heritage and the coming one is not expected to do so either. Mr Ho, a member of the Mid-Levels Concern Group, said that only a dozen old women knew how to perform the 'beat evil' rite - part of the celebration of the Feast of Excited Insects, or chingche, which literally means arousing from hibernation. Conservancy Association chairwoman Betty Ho Siu-fong said she was worried that the traditional skills of making flour dolls, writing faichun blessing posters for Lunar New Year and making paper-offering lanterns could disappear if the government did not take action to preserve the practices. 'Flour dolls don't make much money; fewer and fewer people know how to make them,' she said. Meanwhile, inspired by the world heritage status for Macau landmarks, a group of Macanese people are striving for global recognition of their Creole language, Patua, seeking to make it an intangible world heritage. Patua is a dying language spoken by a few hundred Macanese people - descendants from Macau-based intermarriage between Portuguese and Asians. It is a unique linguistic cocktail derived from medieval Portuguese, Malay, Sinhalese, Spanish and Cantonese. 'Patua's value lies in preserving our culture, customs and lifestyle,' said Jose Manuel Rodrigues, president of the Association for Promoting Macanese Education. Mr Rodrigues' association and several other Macanese groups are preparing an application for Patua to be considered as an intangible heritage.