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People invited to participate in territory-wide heritage survey (with photos)

     The HKSAR Government has launched a territory-wide survey to compile the first inventory of intangible cultural heritage in Hong Kong. The survey will be conducted by researchers from local universities commissioned by the Government. People are invited to take part by proposing items which are of cultural significance for consideration.

     The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) came into effect in April 2006. Since China has ratified the convention, the HKSAR Government agreed that it would be applicable to Hong Kong. According to the convention, inventories of intangible cultural heritage should be made.

     As stated in the convention, intangible cultural heritage covers the following five domains: oral traditions and expressions; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; and traditional craftsmanship.

     A spokesman for the Government said, "The research items are very widespread and cover every aspect of daily life in Hong Kong. For oral traditions and expressions, the items may include Wai Tau dialect and fishermen's dialect, etc. For performing arts, the items may include the Baak Fu (White Tiger) ritual and fishermen's ballads, etc. For social practices, rituals and festive events, the items may be praying mantis boxing, beat the petty person ritual and pun choi, etc. For knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, the items may be dit daa (bone-setting) and traditional Chinese medicine production. For traditional craftsmanship, the items may include bamboo steamer making, dried fruit production and cured meat production."

     The research team is attempting to compile, through the study of existing publications, written records, videos and archives, an initial list covering the five domains for further research. Apart from studying the existing publications and written records, the research team will also conduct fieldwork including interviews, observations and video-recordings of the processes of the events. It will arrange interviews with those who are familiar with the listed events for collecting information about the history, content of the events or items, and the transmitters' experience.

     "The survey will cover all districts in Hong Kong and be conducted in two phases," the spokesman said. "Conducted by the South China Research Centre of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, phase I of the survey has been started in Yuen Long, Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan, Kwai Tsing, Islands, Central & Western, Wan Chai, Eastern and Southern districts and is scheduled for completion in early 2011. Phase II is expected to start by mid-2010 and it will cover the North, Tai Po, Sha Tin, Sai Kung, Wong Tai Sin, Kwun Tong, Kowloon City, Sham Shui Po and Yau Tsim Mong."

     The Government invites the public to participate in the survey. Interested parties can propose any intangible cultural heritage item which complies with any of the domains set by the convention by filling out the reporting form which can be obtained from the South China Research Centre of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology by phone at 2358 8026 or 2358 8939, by email to, or by fax at 2358 7774. The reporting form can also be downloaded from The completed forms can be submitted to the South China Research Centre directly. For enquiries, please call the South China Research Centre of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology at 2358 8026 or 2358 8939. All reported intangible cultural heritage items are subject to further assessment by experts for listing in the intangible cultural heritage inventory.

Ends/Thursday, January 21, 2010
Issued at HKT 12:01


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