Feature  
 
The Arts of Living
Enhancing People Quality and Culture in Hong Kong

"As Asia's world city, we will create an environment which fosters innovative thinking, mutual respect and team spirit, and we hope citizens can cultivate their artistic interests and personal tastes for their spiritual enhancement and cultural enrichment."

Policy Address 2006-2007 (Policy Agenda on "Enlightened People with a Rich Culture")


How enlightened are Hong Kong's people and where do we stand in today's globalised and technology-driven world?

To be considered a "world city", both Hong Kong and our citizens will be gauged against stringent international standard, while also being subject to the impact of globalisation. Like everyone else around the world, we are being thrust into a fast-changing milieu that is unprecedented, where unfamiliar and unanticipated branches of knowledge are developing at high speeds. We need continuing professional development to keep abreast of regional and global developments which continually demand new perceptions as well as different ways of thinking, working and living. What we are equipped with today may not suffice to meet the changing demands of tomorrow, and what we do acquire may never seem adequate to keep pace with market requirements. Further exacerbating the situation, we are competing with people, who may possess similar skill sets but have better language proficiencies and a broader international outlook.
The fact that living and working in our world, which some describe as "flat", throws us under rigorous scrutiny and comparison with our global counterparts. Hong Kong and its people are constantly asking themselves íV "Is our labour force competitive enough in the global economy?" This simplistic notion of treating individuals as pure "human capital"can create a great sense of insecurity and identity crisis. Apart from being a "worker" with earning ability and consumption power, are there other identities that we could be proud of? These nagging questions remain unanswered if we do not know where we stand as "individuals"and without an identity that is rooted in our culture, community and interconnected with the way we grew up.

All Things French
As the most visited country in the world, boasting 75,500,000 tourists annually, France and the French conjure up the image of a country and a people who take great pride in their motherland and its culture. The many pilgrims to this country, are attracted by the typically French taste for the exquisite hand-in-hand with its sophistication, which they can experience for themselves - in the architectural splendour and paintings, the museums, the music, the legendary cuisine as well as the world-renowned and aesthetically pleasing merchandise. Landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre; Montmartre; the paintings of Renoir and Monet; music by Camille Saint-Seans and Claude Debussy; are just some of the examples which epitomise the quintessence of this rich culture and inspire such awe among people around the world.

The Hong Kong culture or is there any at all?
Post-war period: Imported western culture
With the populace pouring into the territory largely as "refugees" in the post-war years, survival was an everyday issue for Hong Kong's people. Culture or "high culture" was meant for westerners and the minority elite. This culture, imported from the west, had little to do with people in the streets. To get a taste of the "genteel classes", we have developed, for instance, the "stylish" local version of high tea, and adapted versions of English songs. This is the collective memory of many post-war baby-boomers.
Affluent '80s and '90s: Canto-pop culture
As the children of the post-war generation grew up, they were keenly aware of their identities as "Hong Kongers". Against the backdrop of a continuously thriving economy, the affluent baby-boomers took great pride in their territory; seeking gratification and a sense of identity through the "indigenous" culture, which encompassed Cantonese songs, movies, concerts and other entertainment. With the vibrancy of our people both in Asia and overseas, where there are large numbers of Hong Kong migrants, the influence of the "Hong Kong culture" has spread afar.
Post hand-over period: having the best or the worst of both worlds?
We, once proud Hong Kongers, were humbled after 1997 with the lack-lustre economy as a result of the Asian economic crisis and SARS and in comparison to the quantum leap in progress exhibited by mainland China. Our pride and self-image as an efficient "value-for-money labour force" was reduced to "overpaid incompetent workers with low language proficiencies and little understanding of the Chinese culture". We were no longer sure if we represented the best of a culture where east meets west, or if we were a hybrid that had no place in either.

Both Sides Now
One side The other side Mindset
Expect children to love reading "serious" books.
Adults are avid readers of tabloid magazines.
Hope children will be empowered with knowledge / language skills which will increase their competitive edge in the job market.
Adults love horse racing and betting.
Never thought of an equestrian career as a possible future for their children.
Never imagined that horse-riding could be a sport.
Demanding parents who push children to learn to play the piano or violin, and expect them to pass their musical exams with flying colours, failing to understand the real benefits of studying music or the arts.
Discourage their children from considering music as a profession, depriving them of the opportunity to discover their true identity and "voice".
Parents hope that developing artistic talent will enhance their children's competitiveness in life, but failing to realise that a certificate does not guarantee the gaining of desired qualities such as creativity and problem solving.


Soul-searching Questions for All
The list above is by no means exhaustive. At the crossroads of the 21st century's globalised world, we should ask ourselves: Do we want Hong Kong people, and particularly the next generation to be confident Chinese citizens, able to discern triviality from profundity, sensitive to refinement versus banality, daring to be different; or opting for complacency as "value-for-money workers"? There are no quick fixes to these questions. However if Hong Kong truly embraces its aspiration to nurture "Enlightened People with a Rich Culture", as promulgated in the Policy Address 2006-2007, we need to put on new lenses and revisit our value system under a different light.
The Arts, Music and Physical Education are age-old possibilities which can inject new insights to the issues regarding "people quality" and identity. They can cultivate human and artistic capabilities and sensitivities for lifelong growth, spiritual enhancement, as well as cultural and community enrichment.

The Visual Arts Division of the Department of Creative Arts and Physical Education runs quality and diverse programmes for the education and development of visual arts school teachers enabling them to meet the challenges of the 21st century.


Childhood Days

Patrick Yiu's passion for visual art is very obvious - even when he was sharing his photo album with our editorial team, Patrick couldn't take his eyes off the fascinating features of a Beijing museum. There is no doubt that "art" has left a heavy imprint on his DNA. Patrick's father is in the decoration business. His mother loves painting traditional Chinese art. As a child, Patrick often spent his days with his elder brother drawing matchstick figures and cartoons. This childhood was a happy one - his "masterpieces" often ended up on the classroom notice-board, accompanied by praise from relatives and friends. As Patrick grew up, he won various drawing awards and prizes which gave him the motivation to pursue art. He is also grateful to his mother for never interfering in his career aspirations and for always showing her support for whatever he accomplishes.

Mentors and Teachers

To become a good art teacher, Patrick is seeking to build solid foundations in a number of aspects. His aim is to accomplish more than what his tutors expect of him. For example, he does over ten roughs before submitting a finished piece to his tutor. He also goes to the library whenever he has time to study the styles of the great masters, drawing inspiration from every one of them. Patrick believes a teacher should be a "walking reference" for students, playing the dual roles of being both a source of knowledge and a friend. Patrick cites two prime examples - Dr Lau Chung-yim and Dr Josephine Kitty Do - his great mentors. They allow their students infinite space for creativity and the broadening of their visions. Patrick also remembers how deeply impressed he was by the Sketch Class in Year One and how amazed he was by the very bold drawing of one of his classmates. Asked where he finds inspiration for his creative art, Patrick answered "everyday life" right away.

All for the Good of the Young

From courier, fast food shop waiter to pamphlet distributor, Patrick has tried his hand at many summer jobs and enjoyed them all. These summer jobs have given him the chance to observe life, providing the source for his artistic inspiration. Patrick is now a part-time tutor in a children's hobby class, which he considers a blessing. Teaching young children makes him understand that he must be patient and pro-active in sharing his own experiences with his pupils to make class fun. As a teacher, Patrick hopes to become a role model for life-long learning among his students. He believes that a teacher should always be open-minded towards students, providing them with guidance and food for thought. As such, Patrick hopes that he will not only teach his students how to paint, but also how to experience life and be inspired by it. His motto is "to combine art and life".

Interflow
Patrick Yiu Pak-tun was selected by the Leung Kit Wah Foundation Cultural Exchange and Research Programme for a 14-day art exchange tour to Beijing this year. He considers himself extremely fortunate to have been given the chance to broaden his visions and experience the life style of another city. He particularly treasures the "truthful dialogues" that he had with his Beijing counterparts.

The Music Division offers quality music programmes, diverse music experiences as well as a dynamic learning and research environment for students to become specialist music teachers in primary and secondary schools.

Music Tugs at Michael's Heartstrings

The Two Preludes
Michael Leung Chi-hin has been playing the piano and the violin ever since his primary school days. In the early days, music was just an interest not a passion. Playing music in school was a solitary exercise and Michael never dreamt of taking it further. The turning point came during his Form 5 summer holidays when he joined the Yuen Long Town Hall String Orchestra. Suddenly he found himself among a group of young people who were passionate about music. Michael was no longer alone. He had stepped into the world of classical music.

HKIEd, where he continues to refine his artistic accomplishments as a student-teacher, has become the second cradle to Michael's musical career. In 2005, he won his first award in music composition with a piece called String Quartet No.1 (Reminiscence) 2005. He had entered a new world. However, Michael was not blinded by his success. Instead, he set himself another goal - to further his knowledge of the various musical instruments, as they form the foundations for composing and the beginnings of his new pursuits in music.

A Colleague of his Previous Teachers

Michael chose his own secondary school for his practical training as a student-teacher. During the six-week practical session, he did not ask his students to learn music through memory or technical ability. Instead, he encouraged them to express their feelings for music in drawings. Students were thus able to fully stretch their imaginations on the one hand, while others lacking knowledge in music theory could still participate and exercise their creativity, on the other. As Michael's music lessons engaged the students more deeply, his satisfaction as a teacher became greater and greater. His previous teachers, now his colleagues, could hardly recognise the introverted young student that they used to once teach.

Wonderful Days at HKIEd

Michael is no longer the shy, young student he used to be. To thank HKIEd for the happy times he spent here, he composed a piece entitled Wind Chime last summer, and presented it as a gift to HKIEd's Choir and the HKIEd Handbell Ensemble. Under Dr Wong Wai-ying's supervision, Wind Chime made its debut at the Institute's Staff and Students' Fundraising Dinner in 2006. Michael says he owes the successful performance of this musical piece to Dr Wong for her advice and valuable comments. He would also like to thank Dr Lai Sheung-ping for her infinite patience which has given him tremendous encouragement.

"The Victoria"
Michael Leung Chi-hin wrote a prelude based on the chiming of the old Star Ferry clock to express his love for Hong Kong. It was then followed by brisk rhythms resembling the hurried pace of life in Hong Kong, to arouse an echo within the audience. Very much to our pride, another of Michael's pieces, The Victoria, won the First Prize at the Handbell Composition Contest at the 2007 Hong Kong Handbell Festival.

The Physical Education Division provides a creative and dynamic learning and research environment for future teachers in physical education. The Division employs innovative teaching, critical analysis and the application of skill and scientific knowledge in physical activities.

Following Her Star

A Blessing in Disguise 9/2003
Law Lai-ha has always wanted to be a PE teacher. Her initial failure to gain admittance to the Department of Creative Arts and Physical Education after graduating from Form 7 was not a deterrent. With the support of her mentor and PE teacher, she became the trainer of her school's basketball team. Senior to her team members, Lai-ha worked extra hard. In fact, as a keen basketball fan, Lai-ha was more than happy to have this opportunity. It gave her invaluable practical experience as a PE coach, something her peers at HKIEd would not have had. After four years of hard work, Lai-ha gained her big reward. The basketball team she had helped to train won first prize in an open competition.

Nothing is Impossible 9/2004

At long last, Law Lai-ha joined the HKIEd family. Excitedly, she considered this to be the turning point in her life. She describes herself as "a sheet of blank paper" before coming to HKIEd, as she knew only very little about sports. Considering herself reasonably accomplished in basketball, volley ball and swimming at first, she was dazzled by the eye-opening tutelage of her various HKIEd teachers. Lai-ha enrolled in many sports training classes with her favourite being football. Relying on her solid foundations in sports, she adapted very well to the weekly intensive training sessions and was delighted at the chance to learn and play sports with like-minded peers. She decided to follow her tutors' model to develop her own specialty in sports and build solid foundations in teaching. She is grateful for the quality education she has been receiving at HKIEd, where teachers-to-be are taught a variety of ways to handle students with different needs.

The Courage to Dream 11/2006

Law Lai-ha believes that a teacher must be able to command respect from his or her students. A new challenge emerged when she was sent to a "band-three" school for her practical training. The environment was totally different from her alma mater where she had spent four years as a basketball trainer. In the beginning, she detected signs of disobedience from some of the "big boys" in her class. As a "new teacher", the only thing she felt she could do to fix the situation was to spend more time with her students after school. Gradually she realised that these students were not really "bad" by nature. They just tended to be more active and liked sports more than books. She therefore concluded that these students needed special help. They actually reminded Lai-ha of what she had been like in her younger days. Her school results at primary were never outstanding and her mother used to scold her for spending too much time playing basketball. Her mother even tried to dissuade her PE teacher from recruiting her to the school sports team, nearly losing her the precious opportunity to win medals for her school. After her six-week's of practical training, Lai-ha has become more confident and her latest goal is to teach in a non-band one secondary school.


The Most Valuable Player
Law Lai-ha recently won "The Most Valuable Player of 2007" award. The first thing she did was to tell her mother that she had finally got the recognition she deserves for her unswerving perseverance in sports. Looking forward, she pledges to continue her work in this direction, spreading her enthusiasm to other "sporty" students.