Sustainable Future, Hong Kong Tales
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Issue: #024 - 23 January 2016
The Diarist's Note

 

The Diarist’s Note returns after a year of absence.  Urban Diary spent plenty of time working outside the digital realm, meeting audience and readers we were previously unable to reach.  

In short, we had a fruitful 2015. 

Five of the documentaries we made were screened in London in May last year, under the invitation of the Chinese Visual Arts Festival.  They are: The Fishermen’s Discourse, 30 House and the Hungry Ghost Festival, Tales of Sham Shui Po, Lai Sun Store and A Tale of Two Generations.  There was a post-screening discussion, where the audience surprised us by showing how well-informed they were, though geographically far away from Hong Kong, of the latest development of this city.  We had an in-depth and thought-provoking discussion on urban issues in Hong Kong and in London. 

If the title of the last film, A Tale of Two Generations, sounds unfamiliar, it is because it’s not up on our website yet.

But you will be able to watch it now.  In the January edition of Urban Diary, we will share with you this documentary, made by award-winning independent director Lam Sum.  Set in the once bustling Shek Kip Mei Market, our latest documentary narrates the story of a fishmonger Lai Shui-kee and his son Lai Kwong-yip.  It is a continuation of The Fishermen’s Discourse.  After having a glimpse of the livelihood of the fishermen, we try to understand the world of the fishmongers.  Spatially speaking, it is a continuation of Lai Sun Store and Tales of Sham Shui Po, showcasing the community and cityscape that saw the birth of public housing in this city.  

Lam is an old friend of Urban Diary.  He directed the poetic and meaningful Grown in Hong Kong for us.   

Going side-by-side withthe documentary is the written narrative of the fishmonger and his son.  These Chinese stories were composed by Debby Cheng, a well-known young writer.  The beautiful English text is the work of Wayne Yeung, an MPhil graduate from the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Hong Kong.   As usual, we have portraits prepared by our adorable photographer Tai Ngai-lung.

Returning to our work of reaching out to the community, in September, we published a bilingual book also entitled Urban Diary.  Featuring the stories of 18 unsung heroes ofsustainable living, our book is available in all major bookstores across Hong Kong,printed on recycled paper. 

We organised a series of activities so that our readers were able to meet some of our heroes, face-to-face.   We went to various book talks organised by the University of Hong Kong, Lingnan University, Shue Yan University, Kowloon City Book Fair, etc.    Urban Diary received encouraging book reviews, and has been included in Urban Lab's "2015 Booklist on Urban Studies".  The reviews could be found in an array of publications, from literature magazine, cultural pages to sports and lifestyle magazines. 

Before closing this edition’s note, may we wish you a very happy and fruitful 2016.

Best,
Chloe Lai