Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Iconic Brussels statue gets Hong Kong makeover to mark 15th anniversary of HKSAR (with photos)

     The iconic Brussels statue Manneken Pis has been dressed up with a trendy Hong Kong suit today (July 6, Brussels time) to mark the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

     The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Brussels donated the specially designed "Hong Kong Zhongshan Suit" to the City of Brussels at an official ceremony at City Hall attended by around 100 guests.

     The costume aims to portray a positive message about Hong Kong as a modern and connected city with Chinese heritage.

     The design of the suit embodies the East-meets-West aspects of Hong Kong in a way that is instantly recognisable.

     A black Sun Yat-sen jacket bearing the Brand Hong Kong logo on the front and the logo's coloured ribbons on the back is teamed with a pair of trendy black jeans and red shoes with white laces.

     A tablet computer, a must-have accessory in Hong Kong, completes the costume.

     The suit's design was submitted to and approved by the College of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Brussels and a committee of members of the Friends of the Order of Manneken-Pis, an Order founded to preserve and promote Brussels folklore.

     At the presentation ceremony, the Alderman for Culture of the City of Brussels, Mr Hamza Fassi-Fihri, received the costume from the Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Union, Miss Mary Chow.

     Mr Fassi-Fihri in turn handed the costume to the President of the Order of the Friends of Manneken-Pis, Mr Edmond Vandenhaute. Mr Vandenhaute then carried the costume to Manneken Pis, located a few hundred metres from Brussels City Hall, for it to be dressed.

     After the ceremony, guests followed Chinese lion dancers out onto the market square of Brussels.

     After performing in the square, the lion dancers led guests to Manneken Pis, where Miss Chow unveiled the statue, revealing the Hong Kong Zhongshan Suit.

     According to custom on festive occasions, the fountain statue produced beer for guests instead of the water which usually flows from the statue.

     The costume will remain on Manneken Pis for one day on July 6 and then be displayed at the Museum of the City of Brussels.

     Thousands of visitors are expected to see the Hong Kong costume on Manneken Pis since it is now peak tourist season.

     In her speech at the ceremony, Miss Chow said that Hong Kong and Brussels have a lot in common. Both are cosmopolitan, international cities. Brussels is the gateway to Europe just as Hong Kong is the gateway to the Mainland and Asia's world city.

     "We are delighted to present this costume to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland," she said.

     "Over the past 15 years, Hong Kong has flourished as a Special Administrative Region of China with a high degree of autonomy under the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle.

     "With the support of the Central Government and the enterprising spirit of Hong Kong people, our economy has continued to grow, consolidating the city's position as an international financial, trade and maritime centre.

     "This presentation of a costume to Manneken Pis also signifies the friendship between Brussels and Hong Kong, and we look forward to further collaboration between our two cities in the years to come."

     Brussels City Hall, where the ceremony was held, is a prestigious 15th century building in the gothic and classical styles located on the famous market square known as the Grand'Place or Grote Markt, a UNESCO world heritage site.

     Manneken Pis is a 58-centimetre-high bronze fountain sculpture, depicting a naked little boy standing on a six-foot-high stone base, urinating into a fountain's basin. There are records of a stone statue on the site as early as 1388. In 1619, the City of Brussels commissioned sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy to create a bronze version.

     Until the 19th century, Manneken Pis played an essential role as part of a network for the distribution of drinking water. Towards the end of the 17th century, the statue became increasingly important in city life, gradually becoming a cherished symbol of Brussels folklore and the embodiment of the irreverent spirit and capacity for self-derision of the Brussels people.  

     The tradition of donating a costume to Manneken Pis and dressing him up to mark a special occasion dates back to the end of the 17th century.

     It is known that in the 18th century, Manneken Pis was dressed at least four times a year. Nowadays, 36 dressings a year are planned on fixed dates and he regularly receives new suits.

     He now possesses over 800, of which 100 are kept in the Museum of the City of Brussels. A multimedia database allows visitors to consult the whole wardrobe of the famous little boy.

Ends/Friday, July 6, 2012
Issued at HKT 21:03


Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo
Print this page