The podcast renaissance has reached Hong Kong: eight to entertain and educate you this summer
From a look back at Hong Kong’s celebrated heritage to the ups and downs of local soccer to everything you need to know about the city’s food, we have you covered on the podcasts that are worth listening to
It’s been about 15 years since podcasts officially entered our collective lexicon, changing the way we consume information and entertainment.
Spurred on by the likes of the American-produced “Serial” non-fiction investigative series in 2014 – arguably still the most famous broadcast of its kind ever produced – podcasts have recently undergone a renaissance as they spread their reach into everything and anything that is either informative or even, at times, inane.
The podcasting landscape in Hong Kong is ever-evolving and reflects its unique culture – and obsessions. Here are eight local podcasts that continue to capture the imagination.
Hong Kong Heritage
The team at RTHK (podcast.rthk.hk) have worked overtime with their podcasts, which dig deep into daily life in the city, but former SCMP journalist Annemarie Evans’ revelations about our oft-neglected heritage – and the people who helped forge it – are consistently the strongest content the public broadcaster produces. Through interviews with historians and authors, and those who have helped chart the city’s course, Evans really brings the past alive.
It’s all about the story – and the way it’s told. Ordinary Hongkongers are tutored by a non-profit group (www.hongkongstories.com) in various methods of storytelling – and then appear before a live audience to have their tales recorded. There’s a commonality between them, too, as they reflect on life, on family and on everyday struggles (such as dealing with the effects of a mother’s harsh words). But they are all (like the tellers) distinctly individual, and work because they are so real.
Better in Bed
Sex educator Sara Tang (sarasense.com) and co-host Jye Smith are on a mission to educate a city that tends collectively to lean towards the conservative when it comes to matters of sex – in the public sphere at least. They both have an obsession with surveys, facts and figures that lends weight to the fun stuff they discuss – which includes not just the physical way to do things right (or better, for some) but delves at length into what goes on (or should) in the old brain box when we’re going at it.
Hong Kong Soccer
Hats off to James Legge and Tobias Zuser (www.offside.hk), who have committed themselves to the ins and outs of a soccer league that has definitely seen better days. The pair have day jobs, too, so the effort is even more impressive.
Despite the questionable quality on the pitch and dubious machinations off the pitch, the HKFA has soldiered on – and fans have remained faithful. The Offside crew’s knowledge of – and passion for – what’s going on in and around it gives us hope for local football’s future.
Hong Kong Writers Circle
The remit is to promote (and encourage) local writers, but the Hong Kong Writers Circle (www.hkwriterscircle.com) does a wealth of work inspiring those who have the talent, or even wish they did. Hence these interviews with those who have seen and done it all – and written successfully about it – and a few with those who have just started out on their literary paths.
No Jacket Potato Required
Local lads about town Abid Rahman and Ben McCarthy are relative newcomers to the game, but their format gets stronger with each broadcast. The pair serve up an eclectic mix of (semi) serious discussions about current food and film options in the city, broken up by a segment that has the pair trying to solve the mysteries of the universe that is equal parts deep and delirious. Somehow, it all works, too.
East Screen West Screen
There’s an argument that Hong Kong cinema is the city’s greatest gift to the world, and cinema junkies Paul Fox and Kevin Ma won’t dispute that claim. The Kong Cast (kong-cast.com) team’s enthusiasm for film – even when they don’t particularly like something – is infectious and draws on an impressive depth of knowledge. We get a look at what’s new, and what’s in the works, in Hong Kong (via Ma) and beyond (via Fox), as well as guest spots from industry players.
Eat Drink Asia
The SCMP continues to expand its own stable of podcasts, and these informative and often irreverent chats between staff Bernice Chan and Alkira Reinfrank tap in to Hongkongers’ obsession with all things to do with food, and drink. Bravely, the pair step up to the many challenges the city’s cuisine scene offers – and they aren’t afraid to get out there and tuck in. All for our benefit, of course.