Book Panel Event Roundup

Book Panel Event Roundup

Hong Kong Sacred Spaces has a great time listening to Dr. Wessie Ling and fellow paneling unpack the complex topic of fashion in the Chinese context.

The upcoming “Fashion in Multiple Chinas” covers various topics on the theme of Chinese Fashion in the “transglobal” space.  The contributors all come at the subject from different perspectives but this volume is destined to be on the bookshelf of many who are interested in the sprawling topic.

 

Hong Kong Sacred Spaces had a wonderful time yesterday at #cp in #miraplaceone to listen to an insightful panel…

Posted by Hong Kong Sacred Spaces on Thursday, 17 May 2018

The book will be available from Amazon.com at the end of May 2018

 

 

A Visit to the Ko Shan Cantonese Opera Theatre / 高山劇場 with Hong Kong Sacred Spaces

A Visit to the Ko Shan Cantonese Opera Theatre / 高山劇場 with Hong Kong Sacred Spaces

I’ve been trying to learn about Cantonese Opera / 粵劇 ever since I moved to Hong Kong. Of all the artistic endeavors that are unique to South China, none evokes such a strong opinion. Cantonese Opera is often overshadowed by its aristocratic Beijing /京剧 cousin or the “Grande Dame” of Chinese Opera Kunqu 崑曲.  Cantonese Opera with its fantastical makeup and acrobatics can seem to some garish and unrefined. Yet what is less controversial about it is its importance to Cantonese Society itself. It is the glue that connects the past to modern life. It does this through festivals, in theatres performances, on late night television and over the crackle of an old speaker during a lonely late-night taxi ride through Wan Chai. The lamentations of the Faa Daan / 花旦 (young female character) and the fierce roar of the Mou Sang / 武生 (warrior) are, I’m told, the heart and soul of Guangdong.

The Ko Shan Theatre and the New Wing Cantonese Opera Education and Information Centre remains one of this City’s premier Cantonese Opera performance spaces.

If you’re in Hong Kong why not come along with Hong Kong Sacred Spaces on Saturday 12 May 2018 at 1:45 PM in the afternoon for a FREE English tour of the Ko Shan Theatre and the Centre. You’ll surely learn more about Cantonese Opera and who knows, you might even (heaven forbid) catch the Opera Bug!

There are several buses that stop along both Chatham and Ko Shan Roads running parallel to the Ko Shan Theatre. Please check specific bus schedules for details: 5, 5A, 5P, 11, 14, 26, 28, 93K, 101, 107, 108, 111, 116, A22 and 28MS. We’ll meet at the park directly in front of the theatre.

-Photo from the Ko Shan Website.

Chasing the Ghost of Suzie Wong Event Followup

One-sheet movie poster from “The World of Suzie Wong”

The image of Suzie Wong on the Fragrant “Star” Ferry in her long elegant cheongsam / 長衫 is one of the most iconic images of mid-twentieth century Hong Kong.  It is also one of the most troubling. For everything about Suzie and her “world” is false, conjured up by Richard Mason, a British RAF intelligence officer turned writer, living in Hong Kong in the 1950s.  And yet the book that was written (and the movie made) about her refuses to leave us. She’s stuck somehow in our collective consciousness.  Is Suzie an empowered young woman or is she a hapless victim? Is she an example of plucky Cold War Hong Kong or a shameful reminder of the poverty and turmoil of its past.  The debate, I’m sure, will rage on (and on) but in the meantime, I think it’s helpful to visit the places that represent Suzie. The Fenwick Pier, Spring Garden Lane / 春園街, Luk Kwok Hotel 六國飯店 and other locations in and around Wan Chai that can help us to dissect the myth and come to terms with why Suzie is still with us today. Perhaps in walking the same Wan Chai streets, we’ll find what it is about her and her story that we love or love to hate so much.

 

Publicity Photo from WSW featuring Nancy Kwan

On April 21, 2018, Hong Kong Sacred Spaces Society hosted a community walking tour were Society Members joined in a conversation about Suzie and the Wan Chai she would have inhabited.

Our walk started in the new Harcourt Garden behind Police Headquarters on Arsenal Street.  We walked East towards Fenwick to the site of the former Fenwick Pier Boat Landing, across Hennessey and then over the Pacific Place 3 ending on Star Street.  We then walked across Sau Wa Fong / 秀華坊 Street to Ship Street then heading down to Queen’s Road East stopping at the Hung Shing Temple / 洪聖古廟 and continuing on to Stone Nulla Lane.  After a brief look at the restored Blue House and the Old Wan Chai Market, we headed down Wan Chai Road then Cross Street over to Spring Garden Lane.  Finally, we used the Wan Chai MTR Station Pedestrian Flyover to walk to Connaught Road to the Luk Kok Hotel where we ended our day.

Route:
Original Royal Naval Canteen from Historic Postcard.
  • The Fenwick Pier Area (Former Servicemen’s Guides Association, Fleet Arcade, and Site of China Fleet Club, Hong Kong) The landing site for almost all American serviceman in Wan Chai during the Vietnam War Era.  A gateway of sorts controlled by the US Military Police (MPs) who would regularly patrol the area’s most notorious bars.  Primary Theme: SOFA ( Status of Force Agreement) and the lesser known VFA (Visiting Force Agreement).  Secondary Theme: PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Ship Street /船街 and surrounding area.  One of the first commercial warehouse districts in Hong Kong which consequently has one of the first Red Light Districts in the Late Nineteenth Century Hong.  The area lost out to the emergent Taikoo in present-day Causeway Bay.
  • Hung Shing Temple /洪聖古廟  Hung Shing  / 洪聖 was a Tang Dynasty Official who’s Queen’s Road East Temple runs along Wan Chai’s ancient shoreline.
Historical postcard of original Spring Garden Lane along Praya or Waterfront.
Historic snapshot of the so-called “Big Numbered” brothels that lined Spring Garden Lane prior to and after the Pacific War.
  • Spring Garden Lane /春園街 and Old Wan Chai Wet Market / 灣仔街市  This is an important stop in the imaginary world of Suzie Wong as this is the site of the Nam Kwok Hotel where the protagonist artist Robert Lomax played by William Holden lives and works.
  • Luk Kwok Hotel 六國飯店 (Currently Gloucester Luk Kwok Hotel) The actual site (not building) where Richard Mason author of “The World of Suzie Wong” worked during his stay here in Hong Kong.  Nothing like the fictional hotel, the current iteration has a Suzie shrine that we’ll all get to see.

Homework:
One-sheet for “To Whom It May Concern”
Yes, that’s right homework.  I really feel that if you don’t AT LEAST watch the original movie “The World of Suzie Wong” you’re not going to get the most out of this event.  There are many ways both legal and illegal to watch the film. I’ll leave it to you. However, here’s a link to amazon.com’s streaming service where you can watch it for a couple of bucks.  While you’re at it you can read the book on the Kindle platform.
by Sheridan Prasso
Once you’re done with that you can check out fellow Hong Kong Sacred Spaces member Sheridan Prasso’s “Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, and Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient”  An excellent primer of this sprawling topic.  I also strongly recommend the autobiographical documentary “To Whom it May Concern: Ka Shen’s Journey”. A film highlighting Nancy Kwan’s important role in Cinema in general and Hong Kong Cinema specifically as one of the first popular biracial actresses working in Hollywood.
For a more local perspective on the Suzie Wong myth, I can recommend the hard to find “My Name Ain’t Suzie 花街時代 ” (trailer here) directed by Angela Chan 陳安琪.  Intense, and a little sad “My Name Ain’t Suzie” is a nice comparison to WSW.
If you’re more of a literary type you can compare “A Many Splendored Thing” written by Han Suyin / 韓素音 and the Hollywood movie with a slightly different title again starring William Holden from 1955. The film also stars (jarringly) Jennifer Jones in Yellow Face. It won an Academy Award for Best Picture among other things and if you watch “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” FIRST, you’ll see just how refreshing Nancy Kwan’s “Suzie” really is.
Attend talk “Buddhism and Human Rights: An Alliance of Shared Ethics”

Attend talk “Buddhism and Human Rights: An Alliance of Shared Ethics”

Buddhist Door

 

We’ll attend a talk titled “Buddhism and Human Rights: An Alliance of Shared Ethics” by Raymond Lam, Senior Writer for Buddhist Door, one of the most prestigious English language portals for Buddhism based right here in Hong Kong. This is the SECOND time we’ve heard Raymond talk about Buddhism, a topic that he is eminently qualified to speak about. This event is co-hosted by our friends at UUHK, the Hong Kong branch of the worldwide organization: Unitarian Universalist and International Association for Religious Freedom HK.

Human rights depend on axiomatic statements that take for granted the inherent worth of the human being. A Buddhist purist might call the notion of inherent human rights a dogma – a benevolent dogma, but a dogma nevertheless. After all, as there is no self and no permanence, how real is any kind of inherent right? Nevertheless, across Asia throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Buddhist nationalists allied the philosophy human rights with Buddhist principles in their ideological attack on European colonialism. In today’s uncertain world, where human rights are still taken for granted yet violated continuously, what does Buddhist philosophy have to say about the idea of natural rights? Raymond Lam is a Buddhist in the Chinese tradition and Senior Writer at Buddhistdoor Global (www.buddhistdoor.net). As a journalist of religion, he regularly reports and opines about religion and society, culture, and politics.

 

The talk will be held at 11 Mong Kok Road, 10/F, Mong Kok

Phoenix Reborn: Chu Jades Excavated from Hubei Exhibit Event Roundup

Phoenix Reborn: Chu Jades Excavated from Hubei Exhibit Event Roundup

Phoenix Reborn: Chu Jades Excavated from Hubei

From those of you who did not get a chance to come with Hong Kong Sacred Spaces on our visit to Chinese University of Hong Kong‘s (CUHK) Art Museum to see the Phoenix Reborn Exhibit I’ve assembled a roundup post that includes some of the public materials published by the Museum as well as photos from Sacred Spaces members through the visit.  The exhibit itself was jointly presented with the Hubei Provincial Museum in Hubei, China and includes dozens of exquisite pieces of jade found at various archeological sites there dated to the Western Zhou Period (1046 to 771 BC/E).  You can also check out the Sacred Spaces Digital Libary with more specific information.  Click here for details.

If are in Hong Kong before the exhibition closes on February 25, 2018, I wholeheartedly recommend traveling to the CUHK campus, visiting the museum and viewing these beautiful pieces up close.

Heidi our superb guide

Sacred Spaces photos courtesy Jean Sicard 

Hong Kong Food Culture Series – Wetlands in Four Seasons – Winter Walking Tour

Hong Kong Food Culture Series – Wetlands in Four Seasons – Winter Walking Tour

For those of you who don’t know there are several ongoing initiatives here at Hong Kong Sacred Spaces. One of these initiatives is to delve into the research around Hong Kong Wetlands and Food Culture. Think of all the yummy oyster sauces and dried shrimp pastes that we have here and you’ll get the idea of how important these coastal areas are. Most of this research was provided (very generously) by Professor Sydney Cheung, an Anthropologist from Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and a local expert on Hong Kong Wetland Culture, who literally wrote the book (actually several) on the subject. Part of what he passed on to us is a series of walks that he and his students developed to allow Hong Kongers to enjoy the fertile northern wetlands from the perspective of the four seasons. These wetlands are now mostly a source of leisure but for generations, they were a source of food and shelter and their maintenance an important part of everyday life. As a “first-step” in this engagement, we’ll start off the New Year right with a local walk which we’ll uncreatively call: Winter that will get us up to Yuen Long and start to explore the region. We’ll specifically keep an eye on seasonal details and try to document the changes that we see. I’m also working with Prof. Cheung to develop events specifically around Soy Fermentation and Oyster Farming so they’ll be lots to look forward to. Spring, Summer, and Autumn will be scheduled in the weeks and months ahead. I’ve created a bilingual resource page for you all to peruse at your leisure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong Food Culture Series – Winter Wetlands Walk

Wetlands Walk – Winter

For those of you who don’t know there are several ongoing initiatives here at Hong Kong Sacred Spaces. One of these initiatives is to delve more deeply into Hong Kong Food Culture.  Because much of our food comes from the marshy wetlands on the very Northern edge of the Territory it makes sense to get out and explore this region.  Think of all the yummy oysters and dried shrimps that we have here in Hong Kong and you’ll get a sense of how important these coastal areas are. Hong Kong Sacred Spaces has been planning a series of events to help people learn about our wetlands and the bounty that they provide. This series will include an array of events including walks, workshops, and tours all highlighting various aspects of this very important part of the Hong Kong foodways scene.  Most of the research for this Series has been generously provided by Professor Sidney Cheung from the Anthropology Department at Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and a local expert on the subject who literally wrote the book (actually several) on local foodways. Part of what he passed on to us is a series of seasonal walks that he and his students developed to help Hong Kongers enjoy the fertile northern wetlands from the perspective of the four seasons.

 

As a “first-step” in this engagement, we’ll start off the New Year right with a walk we’ll rather uncreatively call: Wetlands Walk – Winter that will get us up to Yuen Long 元朗 to explore a part of the wetlands area.

 

We’ll specifically keep an eye out for seasonal details documenting the changes that we see.  Spring, Summer, and Autumn have been scheduled or will be scheduled in the coming weeks and months.  I’m also working with Prof. Cheung to develop events specifically around topics like Soy cultivation and use as well as Oyster Farming so they’ll be lots to look forward to in the future.

The Winter walk will take place on January 6, 2018.  The group will gather at the Yuen Long MTR Station on the West Rail Line 西鐵綫.  Please click here for details.

Hong Kong Sacred Spaces visits Eric Fok’s art exhibit titled “Far East Chronicle”

Karin Weber Gallery
Far East Chronicle by Eric Fok

Please read the review of Eric’s Art Book published in 2016 by Wendi Song from the October 2016 edition of the Lifestyle Magazine Macau Closer

The book is available from Join Publishing (HK).

THE CITY AND THE PARADISE

Artist Eric Fok has just launched his first book: Paradise When Antique Maps Meet Modern Cities

Jointly published by Join Publishing (H.K.) Co., Ltd and local magazine NEW GEN. Monthly, with publishing funds partly provided by the Macau Culture Bureau, local Macau artist Eric Fok’s new book, Paradise: When Antique Maps Meet Modern Cities, has just been launched and is now on sale in Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Published in Chinese and English, with a first print of 1,400 copies, the new book features 60 selected pieces from over 200 pieces in Eric’s Paradise series, that he been working on since 2012.  Included in the book is a print of  his first-sale Paradise No.15Paradise No.11 and No.16  which were selected for the 50thBologna Illustrators Exhibition; the awarded piece Paradise No.20 of the Portuguese Orient Foundation; and the work Heung San O Lee Ba which he specially created for the 5th Macau Literary Festival based on the Festival’s theme: “Tang Xianzu in Macau”.

Eric has been using ancient western map styles to discuss the problems and issues that come along with the development of modern cities. On specially made brown drawing paper, Eric uses needle lines to depict the past and present of Macau, as well as some other post-colonial cities like Hong Kong and Singapore, and Taipei.

Like many local schools, Eric’s school didn’t really teach Macau history. His own interest in Macau’s history was trigged in 2012 when the gaming industry was booming and Cotai was full of construction sites. On one occasion Eric found an old map of Macau and noticed the coastline had changed a lot. It was quite a shock to him. Therefore, with many questions, he started to read relevant books, watch films, and go to libraries; he even tried reading Portuguese references, in order to search for the past of Macau.

“The city has been decaying and developing in turns; to review its history is also a rethink,” says Eric.

Eric then started to draw his own observations and thoughts about the city. Some of his works show an old map of Macau occupied by crowded casino shuttle buses, big casino buildings standing in the centre of the city two or three hundred years ago, a group of early Portuguese explorers from 1513 chasing after a taxi refusing to take passengers, or trying to get on a crowded bus…

In his Paradise series, Eric not only draws about Macau but also of some European cities from the Age of Discovery and other post-colonial cities. In doing so, the artist hopes to find some answers to his questions about Macau and to understand the development of other cities.

Also featured in his new book is a scroll named Paradise: Hong Kong. In this painting, Eric depicts when British merchant ships landed in Hong Kong over a hundred years ago, together with the present-day modern buildings alongside the Victoria Harbour. And if you look closely, you can see many tents on the bridge with journalists taking photos – a familiar scene of the protest movement that happened to the city two years ago.

“I wanted to draw about Hong Kong’s past and present, to examine the opinions about the Umbrella Revolution; it was a very important historical event,” Eric explains. “I was looking for solutions when I started to draw. I read each city’s developing stories; some teach you about the experiences, some teach you lessons. However, gradually I realized not everything is that simple and easy to change, especially when you do care about the city,” Eric comments emotionally.

“What can we do? What can we change? ” Eric writes in his book’s preface. “I confess that I do not have the courage to step up and protest, but perhaps I can record my thoughts and questions for this society and generation with my technical pen at best.”

Paradise: When Antique Maps Meet Modern Cities by Eric Fok

Text from From Karin Weber website…

Karin Weber Gallery is pleased to present artist Eric Fok’s debut solo exhibition in Hong Kong during the Hong Kong Art Week.

Following the tremendous success of his joint exhibition in our gallery last year, Eric returns to Hong Kong with exquisitely crafted works made on fine paper, wood and leather.  Delving into his own imagination, fantasies, knowledge of world history, antique maps and legends and careful observation of cityscapes, Fok converts the gallery into his personal library.  An eclectic collection of maps, records and objects are presented which chronicle the evolvement of cities following the Age of Exploration, postcolonial phenomenon and impact of migration of population in the Hong Kong context.

Maps existed before written words. Eric’s ‘maps’ have the capability to open worlds of reality and imagination.  They evoke hopes and fears.  They also pose graphic challenges as Eric strenuously draws on a very small scale, which entails formidable difficulty.

‘Wunderkammer’, ‘golden era’, ‘heritage’ and ‘paradise’ are the keywords of his eagerly awaited solo exhibition in Hong Kong.

About the Artist:

Eric Fok (b. 1990) graduated from the Macao Polytechnic Institute and currently lives and works in Macao and Taipei. Eric has taken part in many exhibitions in Macao, Taiwan, China, Portugal and Spain. His works form part of several prestigious public collections including the Macau Government Headquarters (Governor’s Palace), Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macau S.A.R., Oriental Foundation, Macau Museum of Art, The Orient Museum (Portugal), University Museum and Art Gallery (HKU), and private collections in Hong Kong, Macau, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Italy, USA and United Kingdom.

Karin Weber Gallery