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SEM visits Lantau Island (with photos)

    The Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, was today (November 20) impressed by the rapid development of Tai O on Lantau Island.

     On his visit to the renowned fishing village, Professor Li was introduced to its many facilities including an exhibition room of the Rural Committee, the market, fire station as well as the newly opened Hong Kong Shaolin Wushu Culture Centre and the pier nearby.

     He was glad to see that the younger generation in Tai O had the opportunity to learn how their ancestors made a living with the wide array of fishing and farming tools on display in the Rural Committee's exhibition room.

     Out in the market, he was interested in the goods on sale especially those with a local flavour, which ranged from accessories made of sea shells to the famous dried seafood. However, what he enjoyed most was the casual chat with local residents.

     Professor Li got to know more about Hong Kong's history during his visit to a stilted house owned by an elderly couple, surnamed Cheung, and learned how the husband and wife had a narrow escape from the notorious Typhoon Wanda which struck the territory some 40 years ago. He also got the secrets of how to make good dried fish.

     While their children had settled themselves in the urban areas of Hong Kong, the elderly couple was content with life in this peaceful village. And Professor Li knew this well looking at the Cheungs' smiles and the family photos on the walls of the stilted house.

     Professor Li thanked firemen of the local fire station for their hard work and talked about how sad he was to see a vast area of the countryside scorched by hill fires as a result of the carelessness of picnickers and those attending to their ancestors' graves during the last Chung Yeung Festival. He appealed to the public for their support in preserving the natural environment.

     Professor Li boarded the newly opened Ngong Ping 360 cable car for his return trip and was glad to see this latest facility being a real boost to tourism and the local economy.

     "I am so impressed by how successfully our Tai O residents have adapted to the changing economy by developing this village into a tourist spot with a strong cultural identity. They are exemplars of Hong Kong people moving ahead with the times," concluded Professor Li.

Ends/Monday, November 20, 2006
Issued at HKT 19:56


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