Culture & Leisure

Culture & Leisure

Creative writing — not an art reserved for the privileged

As a foreign domestic helper in Hong Kong, Anni Juliana works in her employer's home six days a week up to 13 hours a day. On Sunday, her only day off, the 37 year old from North Sumatra in Indonesia spends this time on studying English and participating in creative writing. Ms. Juliana is one of the 369,651 foreign domestic workers in this city, around 41 percent of whom are Indonesian. She is also one of 10 whose work was featured in Java Tales and Voices, a creative writing magazine published last December by local charity TCK Learning Centre for Migrant Workers. "Back when I was in school in Indonesia, I always loved to write in English," said Ms. Juliana, sitting cross-legged on a lush carpet in TCK Learning Centre's study room, while her friends outside put on makeup and sequined dresses in preparation for their angklung traditional Indonesian music performance later that afternoon. "I had to go find work, but I still try my best to find these opportunities." Under the instruction of Becky Mitchell, their creative writing instructor, Java Tales and Voices was published as a compilation of creative works by migrant workers. A number of workshops around the city have also been encouraging foreign domestic workers and ethnic minorities to tell their stories and take pride in their culture through creative writing. In her personal memoir titled Rainbow, Ms. Juliana tells a poignant personal story of struggle and hope, about how she fought to keep her family afloat and give her three children a future. "Tick tock… Tick tock… Days, months, years go by, my kids growing up. Time moves so fast. No one can control or stop it, or even push the pause button. A million tears fall. A million prayers I send up to heaven …

Photo Essay

A taste of Central Asia culture

Central Asia has always played an important role in connecting the East and the West both during the Silk Road period and now by joining the One Belt One Road Initiative. Rich Turkic and Persian history and culture later affected by Soviet diversity are reflected in the wide variety of cuisine. The Central Asia Centre is a non-governmental organisation aiming to provide Hongkongers a chance to explore the history, culture, traditions and nature of Central Asia.  It has organised a cooking workshop to demonstrate Uzbek culinary art. The cooking class instructor from Uzbekistan, Ms. Munira, shows how to make golden-crispy buns with juicy meat — Uzbek samsa, which is a must-have on each table in her home country.  

Society & Politics

Art Review: The Stars Exhibition in Art Basel

This year, the 10th Chancery Lane Gallery especially displayed early artworks of a trio of avant-garde artists to commemorate the 40th anniversary of a historically important art event, which challenged official aesthetics and called for free artistic expression in the Post-Mao Era. Wandering at the colourful Art Basel, visitors could not help but slowed down their pace when a series of black and white photographic documentation came into sight. On an early morning in fall in 1979, the year after China initiated the economic reforms, a group of non-academy Chinese artists exhibited a total of 163 works with distinctive Modernist style and rebellious thoughts, displayed on the iron railings of The National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) after they were deprived the right to use an official exhibition space. Curators named exhibition with the word, Star, which means each star exists as an independent illuminator rather than the only illuminator during the Cultural Revolution when Mao Ze-dong was hailed as sun. This art exhibition without official permission gained huge supports from art students and famous artists at that time. On the following day of the opening, however, the police from the Dongcheng District of Beijing arrested two core curators, Huang Rui and Ma Deng-sheng, and acclaimed that The Star Exhibition affected the daily life of the masses and social order. After two months of demonstrations and negotiations, folk artists from The Stars Art Group eventually got legal permission to exhibit their artworks at the gallery of Beijing Artists Association, which attracted more than two hundred thousand audience. The second edition of The Stars Exhibition was successfully held in 1980, yet, it aroused the panic among senior figures of Chinese art field. An art exhibition jointly organized by Huang Rui, Ma Deng-sheng and Wang Ke-ping was banned due to the Anti-Spiritual-Pollution Campaign launched …

Photo Essay

Sevens' Week: Hong Kong Sevens takes off

Sevens' major sponsor Cathay Pacific started showcasing an array of rugby footballs in prints of Hong Kong signature items, such as crispy eggettes and neon street signs during a promotional event at Hysan Place in Causeway Bay last Friday. With less than a week left, the Sevens has been hyping up for the annual Hong Kong Rugby Sevens. Cathay Pacific is holding an exhibition of their featured collection for this year's event, the "Collectaballs". The "Collectaballs" are a series of ten rugby footballs decorated in prints of items that represent Hong Kong. Prints include Hong Kong's common household tile game Mahjong, blue and white prints on porcelain cups used in Hong Kong traditional restaurants, dragon dance costumes seen in Chinese New Year, sweet "pineapple" buns, Cheung Chau's "Ping On" buns, prints on nylon-canvas carrier bags, words in Chinese Kickass font created by Hong Kong designer kit Man and Cathay Pacific Airways' iconic sign can all been seen in ten rugby footballs shown at the shopping mall's entrance. Try out their interactive private preview of the games beside the iconic rugby footballs exhibit. The promotion will be last till April 7th at Hysan Place. Stay tuned to our coverage on other related events coming on the Sevens.

Culture & Leisure

Weekend Review: Contemporary art in the bloom in private

The 14th Asia Contemporary Art show Spring exhibition was held last weekend at Conrad Hotel in Admiralty. The Asia Contemporary Art Show offers art exhibitions two times per year, in spring and fall. It aims to support exhibitors all around the world, as well as providing a vibrant and diverse art experience for collectors and art buyers. This year, the show opens in a rather "private format" compared to other exhibitions happening. Over 2000 pieces of the most compelling contemporary art are on show, presented by 85 art galleries from over 20 countries of Asia and the rest of the world. The Show included original painting, limited editions, sculpture and photography. The majority of the works of art were from emerging and mid-career artists, with few pieces of those who had achieved recognition at auction and were held in private and public collections before. Prize draw and freebie like postcards were used to attract traffic by the art galleries, including Carré d’artistes, which created a new concept of public accessible painting and sculpture art gallery to break down the grid barriers of fine art.

Culture & Leisure

Art review: Inside Art Basel Hong Kong 2019

Take one day off busy work, and enjoy a chance to stroll the art world. The seventh edition of Art Basel Hong Kong launched on this Friday in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. 242 galleries from 35 countries participate in this annual art event, displaying a variety of contemporary art through the diverse mediums, including installation, paintings, sculptures, prints, photography, videos, and digital art.

Culture & Leisure

Beyond the flair of Hong Kong's streetwear

For student Nie Yu-heng, 20, his obsession with the world of streetwear all started with a simple scroll through Instagram. Famous celebrities like rapper Kanye West and fashion icon Virgil Abloh often appear in his Instagram feed. Baffled by how simple combinations of sneakers, sweatpants and logo tees could look so good, he decided to find out more. Today, Mr. Nie frequently queues up as early as 7am when brands like A Bathing Ape release designs he likes and collects. Streetwear, which started with skateboarders and surfers in the United States, is embraced by locals, with many stores here ranging from big labels like Off-White to entire shopping complexes dedicated to selling streetwear such as Trendy Zone in Mong Kok. Fashion conglomerate I.T that distributes European and Japanese street labels across Asia is also based in Hong Kong. Expensive streetwear fashion has surged in popularity in Hong Kong in recent years, particularly among young people who do not mind paying top dollar because they feel a connection with brands and regard them as an extension of their personality. "When I look at myself in the mirror every morning, I will always look lively in clothes that I like," said Mr. Nie. "It's not about how expensive or how rare my clothing is." Samantha Setokusumo, 18, a freshman at the Savannah College of Art and Design Hong Kong, said that her streetwear collection allows her to showcase herself, regardless of how unique her style may be. "Because my friends and I always like to joke about being 'hobo' or 'failing in life', we made that into a fashion statement," said Ms. Setokusumo. "It's just the freedom to express ourselves through streetwear." However, buying clothes and accessories from renowned streetwear brands is not cheap. Prices are inflated as soon as they hit …

Photo Essay

Weekend Review: Handwritten signboards reveal Hong Kong's culture and history

Two of our reporters joined traditional signboard calligrapher Lee Kin-ming on a tour to rediscover the hidden gems of Hong Kong on signboards along streets in San Po Kong.

Health & Environment

Weekend Review: Veganism struggles to grow in Hong Kong

People believe it costs more time and money to produce animal-free food and products in Hong Kong. Last weekend, PMQ Central held the first international trade fair and conference for vegan  living, VeggieWorld Hong Kong. And guests including nutritionists and company founders gave speeches inspire the Hong Kong community to live a vegan lifestyle. Vegan food has been the spotlight in the market. The first VeggieWorld Paris in 2016 attracted 6000 to 8000 visitors with the vegan products , such as superfoods, food supplements and meat and dairy alternatives. More than 50 vegan-friendly brands gathered in VeggieWorld Hong Kong to showcase visitors different types of vegan produce as alternatives for the regular ones like chips, chocolate, bread and cheese. Sarah, a foreigner who is living in Hong Kong, said she was glad to have discovered Mayse Artisan Bakery based in Tai Mei Tuk, a bread store which produces plant-based and gluten-free bread, because she has been suffering from gluten-intolerant.   She said despite the fact that the store is far for her, she is happy to start seeing vegan alternatives around because there had not been much choices in Hong Kong for her before.    Mikus, one of the owners of Mayse Artisan Baker, said although the ancient formula he uses to bake their gluten-free bread is successful, it takes them a maximum of  two days to produce a single loaf of bread. "Most of the bakeries nowadays use bleached flour and instant yeast to make bread faster for sales, but the outcome  is not good at all," said Mikus. Holding her new foldable recycle cup while strolling along stalls in the fair, visitor Jenn, who is not a vegetarian, dropped by briefly knowing there were recyclable cups, which she had "always wanted" on sale.   Though impressed by the creativity …

People

Weekend Review: Post 90s woman writes to break social stigma

Comprised of stories shared by 29 individuals from the post 90s, Choy Po-yin talked about her book, Salt To The Sea: Interviews of The Post 90s’ Generation, in a sharing event organised by the Art and Culture Outreach in Lok Sin Tong Wong Chung Ming Secondary last Saturday. "Apart from writing a novel, I hold talks to discuss the topic [labelling the post 90s in society] with the public to change people's perception of the post 90s" explained to Choy Po-yin, writer of the book, Salt To The Sea: Interviews of The Post 90s" Generation. "I can feel that I [as part of the post 90s] carry a lot of labels, so I want to clear all of them," she said. There is a phenomenon in society that the post 90s, who value their opinions and embrace diversity, "are always on the frontline," she added. More people [those of the post 90s] has already met their basic living needs, so they turned to focus on other concerns, said Jacob, born in 1992 and was reluctant to reveal their full name, said.   "The post 90's may be satisfied with their material lives but  it does not fulfill their spiritual desires, so they are stepping up to pursue something more valuable, such as equality and justice," said Kilo, another interviewee born in 1994. Author Ms. Choy said various banners seen in Hong Kong's large-scale socio-political movements on issues including climate change and civic engagement have been demonstrating a society they [the post 90s] desire.