Benny Tai is an academic. He has taught constitutional law at the University of Hong Kong for more than 20 years. He’s penned a weekly column for the “Hong Kong Economic Journal” for the last seven. It’s not hugely popular; after all, he uses his column inches to wade into matters such as the rule of law and procedural justice. But the trajectory of his life has been altered by just one of them.
Benny Tai has gone, perhaps rather reluctantly, from a low-profile legal scholar to the new face of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement—but his plan doesn’t take off until 2014. Grace Tsoi investigates.
HK Magazine: How long have you been doing this?
Pride in Rainbow: We started out back in 2011. It was actually around the time of Hong Kong Pride Parade—we wanted to do something before it. We started out as two people, and both interested in making art as a form of activism. Our current crew is formed of three to four regularly involved members.
Lately a more colorful sort of graffiti has graced our streets. This rainbow-filled stencil art of prominent singers or animals spewing rainbows carries a message of tolerance for the city’s LGBT community. It’s the work of the anonymous group Pride in Rainbow—Grace Tsoi talks to one of its members.
Hong Kong’s streets are like no other place in the world, and walking though the city’s streets is part of what knits us into such a unique community. Unlike the inhabitants of car-reliant North America, walking is a daily activity for us all. With one of the world’s best public transport systems, we walk from home to the station or bus stop; we use our feet to shop, eat or simply wander, taking in the vibrant street life that surrounds us. We city-dwellers love it, and why not? It’s carbon-neutral and it keeps us fit.
With our innumerable railings, footbridges, underpasses and diversions, trying to walk from A to B in Hong Kong makes us all feel like rats in a maze. Grace Tsoi takes a closer look at why walking in Hong Kong’s urban areas is such a nightmare—and what we can do about it. Photos by South Ho.
I am used to getting rejected [by investors]. Nine out of ten proposals are turned down.
I insist on filming something I want, so I traipse around the island, Kowloon and the New Territories in search of investors. Most of the time, I can’t find anyone interested.
Many mainland investors do not really understand creativity—even less than their Hong Kong counterparts. They treat movie-making as a business, and they have a lot of other concerns. They might want to cast their girlfriends.
Mabel Cheung is one of the most prominent female directors in Hong Kong. Since forming a creative team with longtime boyfriend Alex Law in the 1980s, the pair have juggled directing, scriptwriting and producing, creating classics such as “An Autumn’s Tale,” “City of Glass” and “Echoes of the Rainbow.” She talks to Grace Tsoi about moviemaking, the future of Hong Kong cinema and what to do when Daniel Wu tells you he got dumped.
Sat 16 - Double Trouble
The week's news in bite-size chunks.
Four Hong Kong journalists are assaulted by a group of men in Beijing while attempting to report on activist Yang Kuang’s attempt to visit Liu Xia, the wife of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo. A TVB cameraman is attacked first. He is pushed to the ground and the mob rains punches on his head, limbs and chest. It is alleged that the assaulters were employed by mainland authorities.
The week's news in bite-sized chunks.
Hong Kong’s skyrocketing housing prices have afflicted every sector of society. However, while most of us are whining about insufficient space, some of the city’s residents are living in unimaginably appalling and dangerous conditions. Their dwellings may come with different names—coffin homes, subdivided flats and partitioned rooms—but they are all part of the harsh realities faced by the most disadvantaged groups in our city.
A photography project by a local advertising agency highlights the plight of Hongkongers living in cramped, squalid conditions. By Grace Tsoi
The victims aged from 33 to 62, and they had joined a tour from Kuoni Travel and arrived in Egypt on February 22. The hot air balloon crashed after an explosion which took place at 300 meters in the air, claiming the lives of 19 passengers. Besides the Hong Kong tourists, victims included visitors from Japan, the United Kingdom, France, and Hungary.
The tourists—four men and five women—were killed in the ancient city of Luxor in an explosion during a hot air balloon ride.
While Tin Hau’s Mid-Autumn Festival fire dragon dance is famous in Hong Kong, few people know that Pokfulam Village has its own fire dragon. The ritual is central to village life—an annual boost of solidarity among the villagers. Today, the Ng brothers are two important figures keeping the festivities alive, and they share a hope that the tradition will be passed to Pokfulam Village's future generations.
At first glance, it's easy to overlook Pokfulam Village. Its ramshackle tin dwellings seem a bit out of place, dwarfed by the wealthy apartment blocks that dot Pokfulam. This village, however, is rich in history, and its residents have helped to shape the area for more than two centuries. With the chief executive’s pledge to increase housing supply in Hong Kong, the future of the village is being called into question, which is why we decided to pay it a visit and learn more about these communities that are gradually facing extinction. Photos by South Ho.
I don’t see any changes in myself [compared to 10 years ago]. In terms of the quality of music production, I have improved significantly. But my attitude towards music has always been the same. I understand that music and the music industry are two different things.
I have grasped the fact that the Chinese don’t really listen to music itself. A lot of Chinese listeners would say, “The lyrics really strike a chord!” Bu