Folktales From Many Lands: reappropriating Hong Kong

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Folktales From Many Lands

On April 13th, when I was in Hong Kong, I had the chance to participate in Folktales from Many Lands, a story-telling experience spanning four different sites on the SAR’s territory. Two minibuses picked up participants at the Hung Hom railway station in TST and took them between the old HK airport (Kai Tak), Lok Fu park in Wong Tai Sin, Mount Davis on Hong Kong Island, and finally, the South Bay Beach on Hong Kong Island South.

This weekend, July 26-27, was held the event’s exhibition at KLUUBB, a tiny art space in Wan Chai where FfML is also headquartered. During the tour, the organizers handed out disposable cameras, and asked participants to photograph whatever they wanted along the tour of Hong Kong (in a sense, reappropriating it), record and tell their stories as discoveries are made.

>> Flickr set of FfML on April 13th, 2008

Folktales From Many Lands
This is the guitar belonging to Damon, aka kokdamon, the performer at the Mount Davis stop.

Brown Note Collective's Adam
Adam, from Brown Note Collective, who accompanied the group, providing a low-key soundtrack to the event.

Kodak!
Smile!

Kim-Wa Tsang - Folktales From Many Lands
Kim-Wa Tsang, performing at South Bay Beach.

I enjoyed FfML mostly because it allowed me to hang out at places I wouldn’t be going as a regular tourist. I am venturing the guess that the sites visited may be new even to the long-time Hong Kong residents in the group.

Another avowed goal of the event: promote the importance of open public spaces, as no special permission was asked at all to hold the activities at the different sites. In a city that lacks quality space for its citizens to thrive, open public space had become a issue (see Wikipedia) that dominated the media in the past few weeks in a row sparked when guards at Times Square (a popular commercial centre in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay area) attempted to stop people from lingering in the plaza outside it. Eventually, they changed the “do not linger” signs by “love the plants” ones.

Hong Kong is much more than the jungle-like landscape of the spires dominating its city centres: it is the green summit of Mount Davis, the beaches with somewhat-fine sand of South Bay, the deserted runways of the old Kai Tak airport.

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