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 March 19, 2001
Hong Kong Launches A Unique "Meet-The-People" Programme

 There's more to Hong Kong than breathtaking scenery, towering modern buildings, fabulous shops, luxurious hotels and exciting festivals. The City of Life is also home to a fascinating heritage and culture. And now, thanks to a creative new programme sponsored by the Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA), visitors can meet some cultural connoisseurs and experts who know these aspects of their city best.

The complimentary programme enables visitors to Hong Kong to meet with English-speaking experts in a variety of fields. These "hosts" will personally reveal different aspects of Hong Kong to their visitors and in the process ensure these visitors feel more like guests than tourists. These experts are eager and proud to unlock some of the secrets of their heritage and there's a different programme each day of the week. Choose the subjects that interest you most, or plan for the whole week and experience them all. Unique insights; new friendships; stories to take home and many memorable hours are guaranteed!

Monday's topic is entitled "Living with the Spirit World". Make your way to the Tin Hau Temple where, at 10:00 a.m. researcher and writer Mr S. J. Chan will be waiting to introduce you to Tin Hau - the goddess of the sea - and the rich legacy of maritime folklore and festivals in Hong Kong. How about some shopping with a new twist? On Mondays and Thursdays Mr Victor Choi, owner of three renowned antique shops on Hollywood Road, Hong Kong's hunting ground for antique lovers, will be waiting for you in his Dragon Culture Antiques Shop for the "Treasures of the Past" topic. At 11:00 a.m. Mr Choi, an impassioned collector and a scholar, will entertain and enlighten his guests on the history and cultural context of Chinese antiques and demonstrate how he can instantly tell an authentic item from a skilled copy.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are "Tai Chi Class" days. Make your way to the Waterfront Promenade at 8:00 a.m. and let Ms Wu, one of Hong Kong's best-known Tai Chi Masters, teach you the healthful, beguiling art of Tai Chi, a favourite means of keeping fit in Hong Kong.

On Wednesday Moon Garden Tea House owner, Mr Vincent Li, will be awaiting visitors at 11:00 a.m. to reveal to his guests tea-drinking etiquette Hong Kong-style and to relate the rich lore of tea. During this "Language and Lore of Tea" talk and demonstration Mr Li will reveal tea's almost mystical properties and, after initiation into this ancient ritual, guests will be presented with a certificate of participation. If the time of this demonstration is not convenient, Mr Li is happy to arrange an alternative hour and day.

Up to now all the topics have been rooted in the past. Not so on Fridays, when Mr Johnson Chang Tsong-zung introduces his guests to Hong Kong's contemporary art scene in his "A World of Contrasts" talk. Mr Chang is an internationally respected curator, art critic and owner of the Hanart T Z Gallery which specializes in contemporary Chinese art and is a leading gallery in its field. Mr Chang specializes in discovering and promoting new talents and his insights are sure to intrigue. Join him in his gallery at 11:00 a.m. and discover what's new and exciting on the Hong Kong art scene. There's something completely different awaiting visitors on Saturdays. That's when the "Buns and Medals, Vignettes of Island Life" event takes place. Meet Mr Lai Kam in the Cheung Chau Windsurfing Centre and Outdoor Café at 11:00 a.m. and learn about his famous niece - Hong Kong's first and only Olympic gold medallist - champion windsurfer Lee Lai San. Mr Lai also loves to regale visitors with stories about Cheung Chau's unique "Bun Festival", an eight-day event filled with colourful processions, lion dances and religious rites that has been celebrated every summer since 1777.

When Sunday comes around the theme stays close to the water with Feng Shui Master Mr Joseph Cheung's talk "Wind and Water". Join him at 10:00 a.m. at the HKTA Visitor Information & Services Centre and learn how Feng Shui grew out of traditional Chinese respect for the environment and how the practice of positioning objects in harmony with nature ensures good fortune.

"The most memorable journeys leave us transformed and filled with wonder," says Aliana Ho, HKTA Director- Canada. "We believe the interpersonal exchange of this Meet-The-People programme will make Hong Kong the trip of a lifetime for visitors. If they participate every day they are in Hong Kong they will come to know and love the City of Life as much as we do."

The programme is informal and casual and guests are not required to book in advance except for groups of ten or more.