Can Hong Kong as a unique Chinese city make creativity bloom in West Kowloon?
I was impressed by Douglas Young’s column of September 5 (“Five ways Hong Kong can become Asia’s cultural hub”).
The essence of his article was that Hong Kong should “build towards a society where everyone can develop his or her own talent”. I was reminded of the remarks of former US president Ronald Reagan: “democracy is not a fragile flower; still it needs cultivating”.
In Hong Kong’s case, cultural creativity is a soft power which needs cultivating, and which can put the city on a par with London or New York. Hong Kong is unique among Chinese cities. The question is: how can we create an atmosphere conducive to such creativity? Historically, “a hundred flowers bloomed” in China during the Spring and Autumn Period. Before the Qin dynasty, the Chinese enjoyed freedom of thought, and a hundred schools of thought thrived. Then came the Qin emperor, who ordered most writings burned and kept a firm grip on subversive thought. In the Western Han dynasty, Confucianism became the state ideology, taking precedence over other schools of thought.
Watch: The evolution of the West Kowloon Cultural District
In his column, Young lists space, the creative mindset, patronage, the value system and taste as elements to consider in positioning Hong Kong as a cultural hub. I believe the cultivation of cultural creativity depends on a conducive atmosphere, and open-minded administrators in the West Kowloon Cultural District. If the administrators can’t think outside the box, cultural creativity may be hampered by red tape.
If Hong Kong can provide a conducive atmosphere and let everyone’s creativity shine through, the city will surely live up to its name as the “pearl of the Orient”, dazzling the world beyond 2047.
Lo Wai Kong, Yau Ma Tei