Translated by Jamie @ http://zazafied.blogspot.com
Source: various HK media
Recently, The Chinese Artist Association of Hong Kong filed a proposition to use the North Kowloon Magistrate as a Cantonese Opera Cultural Center. However, after finding out that their proposal was rejected with the reason being that martial law was used to determine the rights to utilize the land, Dr. Liza Wang, the chairman of The Chinese Artist Association of Hong Kong, immediately held a press conference to voice 8 wor’s protest against the government’s decision. 8 wor felt that the government is only verbally showing their support for the Cantonese Opera community. Liza has requested for a disclosure of the vetting committee’s assessment criteria to ensure transparence in their decision. Liza also announced that she might consider taking 8 wor’s protest to the streets to express their disappointment and dissatisfaction in the government’s efforts to preserve the art of Cantonese Opera.
No intentions to submit a second proposal
Liza admitted that she almost cried when she received the news. Liza also questions the authorities’ decision and that they might have decided the outcome much earlier. The vetting committee meeting was also held behind closed doors. “From the start, the government had no intentions to let us make us of the land, we were really silly and naïve to believe that we had a fair chance in this” Liza exclaimed. Liza also stressed that the renewal of the Sunbeam Theatre contract and the usage of the Yau Ma Tei Theatre as a training center cannot be put together with the discussion of their proposals for the North Kowloon Magistrate land. Liza also felt that he American College of Arts, who pledged a HKD$150 million rebuilding fund, might have had a bigger advantage over 8 wor in this matter. “If we knew that our proposal would be looked upon differently if we pledged a large amount of money, we would have gone all out to raise funds.”
Liza also announced that 8 Wor would not be submitting a proposal for the second round of activation program and they would not be appealing for the government to reconsider their decision as every appeal and application would consume a few hundred thousand dollars.
Selection Committee Mr Bernard Chan declined to comment on why 8 Wor’s proposal was rejected. He stressed that the “contribution to the society” only takes up one of the five elements in the government’s selection criteria. He also said that the United States Savannah College of Art and Design also pledged that they would not require any funding from the Hong Kong government, instead they would be investing HKD$ 150 million to realize their proposal.
The Home Affairs Bureau said that the government had put in a lot of effort in promoting the development of the Cantonese Opera in Hong Kong, such as helping the industry extend their lease with the Sunbeam Theatre, providing funds to help start-up diploma courses and subsidizing the Liyuan Cantonese Opera youth troup. The government would also be allowing the Cantonese Opera industry to make use of a theatre in Yau Ma Tei. The government also has plans to build a large Cantonese Opera center in West Kowloon.