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CollectionsFestival of Hong KongAbout the Collection

About the Collection

About the Collection  Historical Background  Organizational Structure  Celebratory Activities  Hong Kong Festival Promotion  Interviewing Kan Tai Keung  Social Commentary  References  Acknowledgements 

The Hong Kong government held three Hong Kong Festivals in 1969,1971 and 1973, with the intention that through different forms of participation in a wide variety of activities – large-scale and small-scale, indoors and outdoors -- the people in Hong Kong might develop a sense of belonging and identity. Commentators at the time pointed out that though the Festival programme appeared to be designed as entertainment, in reality, it was a manifestation of the colonial government’s initiative to alleviate the social tensions after the 1967 riots. The government’s original plan was to make this a Festival of the Hong Kong people and a long running event. However, it was never held again after 1973.

Did the Hong Kong Festival heal the wounds of the riots? Did it help to nurture a sense of belonging among people in Hong Kong? These questions are too big to be answered in simple ways. Yet, aside from the political concern, it is still worthwhile re-evaluating the social and cultural significance of the events. During the short periods of seven to ten days of the three Festivals, the sheer number and variety of activities, the number of organizations participating including government departments, businesses, local associations and interest groups, were impressive. It involved Hong Kong on a territory-wide level as well as the most local level. It was inclusive in the sense that, ostensibly at least, everyone was expected to take part and share the fun. It was also inclusive by embracing the tastes of different cultures and social classes. In this respect, the Festival of Hong Kong was a landmark and an ideal focus for studying important issues such as the changes in colonial governance, district administration and community development as well as the cultural tastes, interests and aspirations of people in Hong Kong at the time.

This Collection consists of photographs, textual documents, an interview record and a film. The photographs are from the archive of the various committees for the Festival of Hong Kong, the Government Information Services and private sources. Readers may enjoy taking a look at the numerous activities that had taken place. The textual documents, though all taken from government archives, are of different types, including records of the various Festival committees and government departments, evaluation reports, sketches and memoranda, press releases, programmes of events, etc., can give readers a good sense of how the Festival was planned and executed, how the committees were formed, the sources of financial resources, the dissemination of information and news, etc. The Collection also includes an interview with the local designer Dr. Kan Tai-keung by the Hong Kong Memory Team, and a promotional film, “The Festival of Hong Kong 1969”.

In addition, there was much reporting and commentary on the Festival in non-official publications. These included the Chinese Students’ Weekly, newsletters of tertiary students, kaifong newsletters in addition to many reports and reviews in Chinese-language newspapers. However, due to copyright reasons, such valuable materials cannot be included in the Collection. Readers who wish to pursue the subject further may refer to the References section.

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