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16/06/2018
The Pulse
The Pulse
Late on Thursday night the government got its way as legislators, by 40 to 20 votes, gave the green light to a border checkpoint that will see mainland laws enforced in the heart of Hong Kong at the West Kowloon Express Rail terminus. A variety of … let’s say “interesting” … tactics had been used including evicting legislators, refusing to let them attend the following meeting (in apparent contravention of Legco rules), capping debate time, and barring some lawmakers from speaking, But that’s far from the only controversy that infrastructural projects like the Express Rail Link, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, and the Sha Tin to Central Link have been facing. There’s also the issue of construction inadequacies, as in the case of Hong Kong’s most expensive internal rail project to date, the HK$97 billion 17-kilometre Sha Tin to Central Link. With us to discuss the issue is Miriam Lau, former chairman of Legco\'s Panel on Transport. Two years ago, the University of Hong Kong released the first comprehensive study on Hong Kong’s marine biodiversity. It revealed that 5,943 marine species have been found within an area of just about 1,651 square kilometres. That’s not a huge area, but it hosts more than a quarter of all the marine species recorded in China. We have more hard corals than the whole Caribbean Sea, and more mangrove tree species than East Africa. Despite that less than 2% of our marine area is designated as marine parks, and even that designation provides only limited protection. And one of the creatures at risk, thanks to encroachment on the sea and plastic pollution, is the Green Sea Turtle. Well, arguments over who has the biggest nuclear button, at least for now, on Tuesday, the U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un met in Singapore. The two leaders were all smiles, patting each other on the back while Mr Trump enjoined photographers to make them “look nice and handsome and thin.” They issued a statement that they plan to work towards the “denuclearisation” of Pyongyang, although no timetable was given. Meanwhile Mr Trump agreed to U.S-South Korea joint military exercises.
13/06/2018
The Works
The Works
"Cabinets of Curiosities”, also known as “Cabinets of Wonder” or “wonder-rooms” are encyclopaedic collections of objects, mostly from the natural world. They represent early attempts to collect and categorise objects as natural history, geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious, historical relics or artistic works. At the City U Exhibition Gallery until August as part of Le French May, “Cabinets of Curiosities - From the Natural Sciences to the Art of Nature”, showcases more than 200 such objects. Metalwork is an integral part of the life of American artist Richard Serra. His father worked as a pipe fitter in the shipbuilding industry. During his own college years, Serra worked in steel mills. His monumental steel sculptures impose a sense of space, time, process, weight and gravity. His drawings incorporate the same sense of materiality, process and notions of time, as you can see until the end of the month at the David Zwirner gallery, which is presenting a set of new Serra works for the first time in Hong Kong. Richard Serra, some of whose works we saw in part one, tends to take a minimalist approach to art rather than focusing on metaphors or symbolism. In contrast the works of his fellow American artist Philip Guston featured elements from Abstract Expressionism, figuration, forms and pictorial symbols. Until the end of July, Hauser & Wirth is exhibiting 50 of his paintings and drawings, created from 1950 to 1979 and curated by his daughter, Musa Mayer. Leonard Bernstein was a composer, conductor, educator, ambassador and pianist. He wrote symphonies, music for ballet, film, and theatre, choral works, operas, chamber music and pieces for the piano. His compositions vary from the classically oriented to such works as West Side Story, Peter Pan, On the Town, and On the Waterfront. This year is the 100th anniversary of his birth. Worldwide events to acknowledge the centennial began last year with more than 2,000 events on six continents. The Chinese University of Hong Kong Chorus has an upcoming all-Bernstein programme and they are here to tell us more.
09/06/2018
The Pulse
The Pulse
What any nation knows of its history is the result of a constant conflict between remembering, reassessing and forgetting. For governments determined to control perceptions of the past, intimidation, censorship and propaganda are their tools of choice. Oh, and there’s always the simple alternative of rewriting history. In mainland China, the official narrative explaining the Cultural Revolution has been periodically re-phrased and atrocities toned down. And Hong Kong is also seeing increasing attempts to ‘reinterpret’ recent Chinese history, particularly in school textbooks. And then there’s the thorny problem of what happened in 1989, so taboo on the mainland that around June 4th the internet search terms “today, “yesterday”, and “tomorrow” have been blocked, as has the character “zhan” (占) because it looks like a tank. Yet Hong Kong persists in remembering. With us in the studio is Joshua Wong, council member of the recently formed think tank “Dialogue China”. In the spring of 1989, writer and professor Liu Xiaobo was in New York. He returned to China after hearing about the growing protests for democracy and against corruption. Joining the students in protest, he went on hunger strike. Days after the crackdown, he was placed in a detention centre for almost 20 months. From then on he spent much of his life in and out of prison and was deprived of political rights. In 2010, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. At the ceremony he was represented by an empty chair, as he was still in jail, serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power”. He died of liver cancer on 13th July last year. Since then his widow, Liu Xia has been under de facto house arrest and is subject to constant surveillance. Last month, dozens of leading writers and artists took part in a campaign organised by Amnesty International and PEN calling for her release.
06/06/2018
The Works
The Works
In today’s show: two graduation exhibitions, one from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the other from Hong Kong Baptist University. Every year, a new crop of young artists graduates. It’s never easy to make a living and a reputation as an artist, but the signs are that for women it’s even harder. It’s no secret that while more men than women study the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math, women predominate in social studies and liberal arts courses. In Hong Kong, four out of every five visual art students are female. Yet only around one in every five will go on to have a solo show in local galleries or museums. Many local university students are either in the middle of, or have just completed, examinations and final projects and theses. For those who study visual art, it’s time to show their work in the annual graduation shows. Among those shows is the graduation exhibition of Hong Kong Baptist University’s Academy of Visual Arts. It includes works by 110 graduates, the academy’s 11th cohort of students, displayed in a variety of locations across the Kai Tak campus. A moment ago we looked at works by graduates from the Baptist University’s Academy of Visual Arts. The Chinese University of Hong Kong was the first tertiary institute to offer visual arts education in Hong Kong. It focuses on creativity, studio practice, and the history of visual arts. Titled “Forever young forever weeping” this year’s graduation exhibition includes works from 29 graduates, many of whom confront tough issues and explore the values of art. The Hong Kong Ballet has a new artistic director this season. Septime Webre has joined the company after 17 years at the Washington Ballet. Blending classics with contemporary pieces, the company opened its new season with “Alice in the Wonderland”, following up with a new take on “Giselle” and “The Great Gatsby”. Just last week, it put on a triple bill of works by three of today’s most influential choreographers, one of them an original rock ballet that uses 12 songs by The Beatles.
02/06/2018
The Pulse
The Pulse
Photography in Hong Kong courts or court buildings is prohibited. It’s an offence carrying fines, and in more serious cases, a jail sentence. The long trial of defendants accused of participating in the Mong Kok unrest of 2016 has already seen two suspicious cases of courtroom photography earlier this year. Two weeks ago, the court received an anonymous email containing photos of jury members. A few days after that, as the same trial continued, a mainland woman was found taking photos on her mobile phone. Her defence is interesting, she claims “Jesus says I’m innocent.” And it isn’t just mainlanders who’ve breached this law. The former president of the Hong Kong Law Society Junius Ho took a “selfie” inside the High Court and uploaded it to social media in 2016. A police investigation was launched but the case was dropped on advice from the Department of Justice. And while we’re on the topic of the Hong Kong Law Society, on Thursday evening the more than 10,000 strong organisation elected new council members. One of them is law academic Eric Cheung. Last month, the Hong Kong Journalists Association released its annual press freedom survey. It says the Hong Kong Press Freedom Index has dropped to a new low of 47.1 on a scale of 100. 70% of journalists surveyed said that press freedom has deteriorated compared to a year ago. Both the public and journalists see pressure from the Central Government as a major factor. This year’s Reporters Without Borders’s World Press Freedom Index also said that the Chinese model of state-controlled news and information is being copied in other Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Myanmar is also down six places compared to last year. It ranks 137th in the list. Reporters Without Borders says that the government led by Aung San Suu Kyi has lost all credibility in terms of defending the media. Early this month, we spoke to Sonny Swe, co-founder of the Myanmar Times. Established in 2000, it is the oldest privately-owned English-language newspaper in the country. This year’s Reporters Without Borders’s World Press Freedom Index also said that the Chinese model of state-controlled news and information is being copied in other Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Myanmar is also down six places compared to last year. It ranks 137th in the list. Reporters Without Borders says that the government led by Aung San Suu Kyi has lost all credibility in terms of defending the media. Early this month, we spoke to Sonny Swe, co-founder of the Myanmar Times. Established in 2000, it is the oldest privately-owned English-language newspaper in the country.
13/06/2018
The Works
The Works
"Cabinets of Curiosities”, also known as “Cabinets of Wonder” or “wonder-rooms” are encyclopaedic collections of objects, mostly from the natural world. They represent early attempts to collect and categorise objects as natural history, geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious, historical relics or artistic works. At the City U Exhibition Gallery until August as part of Le French May, “Cabinets of Curiosities - From the Natural Sciences to the Art of Nature”, showcases more than 200 such objects. Metalwork is an integral part of the life of American artist Richard Serra. His father worked as a pipe fitter in the shipbuilding industry. During his own college years, Serra worked in steel mills. His monumental steel sculptures impose a sense of space, time, process, weight and gravity. His drawings incorporate the same sense of materiality, process and notions of time, as you can see until the end of the month at the David Zwirner gallery, which is presenting a set of new Serra works for the first time in Hong Kong. Richard Serra, some of whose works we saw in part one, tends to take a minimalist approach to art rather than focusing on metaphors or symbolism. In contrast the works of his fellow American artist Philip Guston featured elements from Abstract Expressionism, figuration, forms and pictorial symbols. Until the end of July, Hauser & Wirth is exhibiting 50 of his paintings and drawings, created from 1950 to 1979 and curated by his daughter, Musa Mayer. Leonard Bernstein was a composer, conductor, educator, ambassador and pianist. He wrote symphonies, music for ballet, film, and theatre, choral works, operas, chamber music and pieces for the piano. His compositions vary from the classically oriented to such works as West Side Story, Peter Pan, On the Town, and On the Waterfront. This year is the 100th anniversary of his birth. Worldwide events to acknowledge the centennial began last year with more than 2,000 events on six continents. The Chinese University of Hong Kong Chorus has an upcoming all-Bernstein programme and they are here to tell us more.
11/08/2017
Hong Kong My Home II
Hong Kong My Home II
It’s not easy for people in foreign land to adapt to a different culture. Three husbands from the West left home for Hong Kong because of their wives, which sounds as romantic as in love films. After the romance is gone, however, there are a lot of problems to be dealt with in the reality of married life. Is “love” the solution for these three inter-racial marriages? Twenty odd years ago, John, a British native, met Persis in his home country, who was travelling there. They married and moved to Hong Kong, and till now they have been living here together for 25 years. Now John can speak fluent Cantonese, and is teaching Linguistics in a university. John sets high standards for his teaching career because he has a sense of mission for this place. John’s determination to make his home in Hong Kong is obvious enough. Andy comes from a tiny city in Germany. He has been in Hong Kong for two years, and is now working hard on learning Cantonese. In order to speed up Andy’s progress in learning the dialect, his wife Tracy even arranges her parents to hang around so that he has more exposure to the dialect in terms of speaking and listening. To assimilate on foreign soil, one has to embrace the unique local culture, which is of utmost importance. Fortunately, Andy is not alone when adapting to all these new things to him. He has the company of Tracy. Brett comes from Canada. The time he has spent in Hong Kong is comparatively short. He met his wife Saron in Hong Kong, got married, and gave birth to a daughter who is now one year old. Speaking not a word of Cantonese, he did have struggles about adapting to her social circle. After their daughter was born, the couple had different views on how to bring up the kid, as one did it the Western way and the other the traditional Hong Kong way. In the end, it is communication and compromise that won the day. From another point of view, the appearance of Brett has also brought about subtle changes in Saron’s relationship with her folk, and the changes are all positive.

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16/06/2018
World Vibes
World Vibes
This week World Vibes has two musical themes of note ! First our mini musical tribute to little know artiste outside Portugal, but inside a huge iconic figure of cultural importance for many reasons, António Variações, who passed away forty-four years ago this Wednesday the 13th June ! And our featured new album from Belgium’s award-winning singer-songwriter Axelle Red ! Click on ‘World Vibes’ above for more details. Our first hour is entirely devoted to our mini-musical tribute to innovative, provocative and audacious singer-songwriter António Variações, who died at just 39 years of age, one month after releasing his second only album ‘Dar & Receber’ in 1984. We hear songs from this album, and also from the 2004 musical project ‘Humanos’ with the album of the same name, where musicians recorded 12 new songs of António Variações that he never recorded himself. In between these we also hear new covers of his songs by Laura Wrona (Brazil), Freddy (Portugal), DJ Phill Kay (UK), ending the hour with a last hit from António Variações. Stunning discoveries, new and old, for all, enjoy ! * Our second hour is devoted to our featured new album ‘Exil’ from Axelle Red, who shows her Soul and Rhythm n’Blues mastery with his Rockin’ album. In between Axelle red’s new songs, we hear the newest covers of António Variações’ biggest hits from instrumental ensemble Oquestrada, Fado singer Telmo Pires, rock band União dos Tribos, Dance producer Felipe Catto (Brazil), and a new 2018 French version from Madalena Trabuco (France), ending the show and the hour with a stunning Rock n’Soul piece from Axelle Red. A cornucopia of new surprises to discover, enjoy !

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