Stretch your imagination • share your dreams

photo hereA lively samba performance and enthusiastic applause from the audience punctuated the opening of the first public forum for the West Kowloon Cultural District’s (WKCD) Stage 1 Public Engagement Exercise, held at Y-Square in Chai Wan on 8 October 2009. Six young talents from the percussion group Four Gig Heads were the guest performers at the event, and they also delivered an energetic Chinese drum performance for the over 300 student and teacher participants near the end.

The Honourable Henry Tang, Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and Chairman of the WKCD Authority Board, flanked by a number of Board members and Consultation Panel members, officiated the forum. “The WKCD is a blank sheet of paper. We need to engage the community, especially the younger generations, to ‘stretch your imagination’ and ‘share your dreams’ with us on how to plan this very important cultural project for Hong Kong,” Mr Tang highlighted during his opening remarks. He also encouraged students to be as creative as possible in coming up with suggestions. “‘Dare to dream’ should be the spirit!” he said.


photo hereDuring a discussion with Mr. Tang onstage, Mr Perry So, the Assistant Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, shared the story of his career path in music. He thanked his parents for giving him the opportunity to pursue his aspirations. Commenting on Mr. So’s story, Mr Tang said that it was very important for parents to allow young people the freedom and space to explore the art forms they enjoy. “Not everyone will become a musician or a painter,” Mr. Tang said. “But learning to appreciate arts brings lifelong benefits to an individual’s personal development. And ‘audience-building’ is one of the key components that will go hand-in-hand with the WKCD’s infrastructural development.”


photo hereAnother highlight of the Opening Forum was the breakout session, where smaller groups of students gathered to deliberate on five different questions regarding the WKCD’s planning and development. Some of the key sentiments expressed were that, apart from iconic buildings and master art pieces, the WKCD should also champion Hong Kong’s distinct local culture. Also, many out-of-the box ideas were presented, such as a graffiti wall, a flea market for local artists, and Hong Kong-style milk tea and egg tarts. There was even a suggestion for rickshaw rides to help visitors commute within the WKCD’s 40-hectare site.


photo hereWrapping up the Opening Forum, Professor Stephen Cheung, Chairman of the Consultation Panel of the WKCD Authority, said he was very impressed by the ingenious ideas of the participants and looked forward to receiving more views from the community during the three-month public engagement period starting from 8 October 2009.

An audio recording of the Opening Forum and highlights of the students’ views communicated during the breakout sessions have been uploaded to the WKCD Authority website (www.wkcda.hk).


Student Interviews

photo here“I am glad to have been able to share my views on this multifunctional cultural district. Originally I thought it would be just another typical seminar. But the Chief Secretary for Administration was quite different from his usual appearances on television and at the Legislative Council. His speech warmed up the atmosphere for discussion. I also like very much his idea of wearing shorts to perform classical music. A very interesting idea.”

Nicolle Sin, Chinese Foundation Secondary School, F7

photo here“Originally, I did not think there would be anything too interesting. But after listening to the viewpoints of the Chief Secretary for Administration and others, I think this forum was definitely worth attending. I am glad I came.

Mr Henry Tang promised that the WKCD would have restaurants to sell Hong Kong-style milk tea and egg tarts. I hope it really comes true! The WKCD should include things that have unique Hong Kong characteristics and be a place where East meets West.”

Yvette Tam, Heung To Middle School, F.4