Impressed by vast range of spiritual life in vibrant Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 July, 2015, 4:48pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 July, 2015, 4:48pm

I refer to Alex Lo's column ("Why Hong Kong localism has no future", June 30).

I don't know how one measures the "real moral, intellectual or spiritual substance" of a city and decides, with Lo, that a city "in reality" has none of these. Presumably it's only possible to make such a generalisation if one is not too concerned about what it means "in reality" or what evidence it is based on.

One source of evidence would be the cultural vibrancy that exists in a city. Hong Kong is not London or New York in terms of range of choice, but to use the old phrase, is our cultural/spiritual bottle "half empty or half full"? For Lo, obviously, it is half empty. For me and for many others whom I know, it is much more than half full. I spend some of my time in London and do not feel in any way deprived when I am in Hong Kong.

We can only be in one place at a time and Hong Kong offers many more cultural choices than most people have time and energy to enjoy.

As I came away from a beautiful concert in Mong Kok's All Saints' Cathedral last month, given by a new local choir Tallis Vocalis, of a work that I had heard many times on CD but never before had the opportunity to hear live (the Requiem by Victoria), I felt proud and privileged to be living in a city that, without boasting about it, can provide that kind of "real moral, intellectual and spiritual" experience.

It was not at all an isolated event. I'm not sure whether Lo counts imported artists such as Yuja Wang and Imogen Cooper (recently, all within a week) as contributing to "real spiritual substance". (The more times I repeat that phrase, the more I realise how vacuous it is.)

Even if he doesn't, unless he lives in a different city from me, he need not look far to see the vast range of spiritual life that is sustained here, often by amateurs and for no personal gain, but for great communal enrichment.

Perhaps Lo has spent so many words describing political extremists that he is about to adopt their extreme confrontational style.

I hope not, because much of what he says is very insightful and stimulating.

William Littlewood, Sha Tin