Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Hong Kong's Intangible Heritage

Did you know making mahjong tiles is an intangible cultural heritage?
Hong Kong has come up with a list of 480 examples of "intangible cultural heritage" that it promises to protect.

Following three years of research and four months of public consultation, the list includes things like dim sum and dragon boat racing to making snake wine and Cantonese opera.

The list even includes the Hindu festival of lights called Diwali, and Nepalese Teej festival where women wear traditional dresses and sing songs and dance.

It's nice that there are other ethnic groups included in there, but perhaps not everyone in Hong Kong knows about Diwali or Teej since the government doesn't exactly promote multiculturalism.

Nevertheless the list was divided into five categories: oral traditions, festivals, performing arts, skills, and social practices.

The city is supposed to protect the cultural heritage under the United Nations Convention for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage that was ratified by China in 2004 and implemented in 2006.

Some interesting ones:

Hakka dialect
Pixu dance
Funeral laments
Man Cheong (God of Literature and Bureaucracy) Festival
Li Ling Divine Festival
Lung Mo (Dragon Mother) Festival
Chai Tin Tsai (Monkey King) Festival
International Mother Language Day
Traditional jade stone knowledge
Fisherman's knowledge of the universe and nature
Making fermented black bean
Making Chiu Chow sugar loaf
Making Hong Kong style milk tea
Mahjong tile making
Coffin crafting
Fishing net plaiting technique

How Hong Kong intends to protect all these seems highly ambitious, but it's a good way to make the government accountable.

Some pan-democrats asked why events like the July 1 march and June 4 candlelight vigil at Victoria Park were not included, but an academic replied the tradition needed to be at least 50 years old to be considered...

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