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Showing posts from November, 2018

What DSE Does To Us (Film review on "Distinction" 《非同凡響》2018)

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22 Nov 2018 | Ashley

Nothing is more exciting than a local Hong Kong film. "Distinction" (《非同凡響》) (2018), a recent local film directed by Au Man Kit Jevons (歐文傑), explores issues such as education, class, disability and prejudice in our current society. As a local Hong Konger, I see myself identifying with a lot of the phenomenon presented in the film. Yet, I find it difficult to establish a relationship with the characters.

Similar to "Tomorrow is Another Day" (黃金花)(2017), it is a film that touches on mental issues. But their major difference is their focus. For "Tomorrow is Another Day", its plot evolves around a working class family, more specifically, the mother who takes care of her autistic son. Since they have only a few characters, the audience's attention could concentrate on the story of a few people. In this case, I find it easy to achieve a profound understanding of the protagonists, the mother, the son, and the cheating husband, why they re…

A Sculptural Book Coming Alive (Performance review of "Tree of Codes" @ New Vision Arts Festival)

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13 Nov 2018 | Ashley

There we go, the New Vision Arts Festival is back! One of its opening shows this year is Tree of Codes, a ballet performance performed by Company Wayne McGregor and guests. It was a multi-media performance, which incorporated not only dance, but visual arts, music and lights.


In fact, the name of the show, Tree of Codes, is borrowed from a sculptural book by Jonathan Safran Foer, where he cut off words from the original book Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz and constructed another story. The show did a good job creating the illusion of layering, just as how Foer's book looks like. With colourful filters which separated the stage into a front section and a back section, and dancers moving behind and in front, mirroring one another a uniform choreography, it gave me the illusion that the dancers at the back were reflections of the ones in front. The bright colors chosen for the filters also gave this piece of ballet a modern and refreshing look. It was a sor…

When Labels Don't Define You (Performance review on "MOTUS MDLSX" @ HKIBBF)

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13 Nov 2018 | Ashley

This is another impressive production presented by theHong Kong International Black Box Festival,  a festival of collaboration between Hong Kong Repertory Theatre and West Kowloon Cultural District. This time around, they brought to us MDLSX, a one-person show directed and produced by the acclaimed Italian Company Motus.

Performed by Silvia Calderoni, a multi-award-winning actress and artist from Italy, the audience had the opportunity to sneak a peek into her autobiographical tale as a gender-bendy person in a pre-dominantly binary society. At the beginning, the screen at the back of the stage showed a video of a little girl singing karaoke in the shape of a circle. This was shown for quite some time, and I was questioning where the show was going with this. Little did I know that this little girl was actually the actress herself when she was a child, and that soon, she would elevate this moment to a mix of emotional personal tales and rock n' roll power hous…

Satirical Drag Horror Show (Exhibition review on "Art Me" (Michael Kvium) @Tang Contemporary Art

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8 November 2018 | Ashley

What drew me to this solo exhibition of Danish artist Michael Kvium, namely Art Me, at Tang Contemporary Art was the grotesque characters that he sculpted and painted.


Tang Contemporary Art, like most galleries, has their walls painted white, unlike Empty Gallery, which has everything in black. It was quite a big space I would say which housed, during the time of the exhibition, a circus of peculiar characters. What captured my attention at first gaze was inevitably the human-size sculpture called Contemporary Fools: Art, 2017. It is a middle-aged man wearing a chic red cap emerging above a yellow metal can of black liquid, and with his arms stretched wide to his sides with skeleton hands. This was already a crooked character that would fascinate anybody. The use of silicon for his body and face, as well as the detail of curly brown hair on his chest and underarm were so effective in bringing to life the texture of human skin and hair. I spent a lot of time (n…

An Underwater Kingdom (Exhibition review on "Gravitational Currents & The Life Magic" @Empty Gallery)

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7 Nov 2018 | Ashley

An Empty Gallery experience is bound to give you the thrill. This one was no exception. But what's special about this time is that you open the doors to a mysterious underwater world. Welcome to Gravitational Currents & The Life Magic, a current exhibition at the Empty Gallery!

Again, like always, there was an ongoing droning sound which captured me that instant I set foot in the reception. Artist Susanne Wintering has placed a multi-channel sound-installation commissioned by Empty Gallery at the centre of the art space, namely Planetary Opera in Three Acts, divided by the currents, 2018. It is a hydrophone recording of algae, green turtles hatching, crabs rubbing their claws together and other ecological marvels. All of that together inevitably gave me an intense sensory reaction, where at times, the track seemed to devour you and snatch you away as the volume increased and disappeared at its climax.


As I moved inwards towards the cooling breeze (I do not …

Learning Cantonese Part 3: Useful Apps and Resources for Learning and Practicing Cantonese

2 November 2018 | Veronica

If you haven’t yet, check out Part 1: 8 Reasons Why You Should Learn Cantonese and Part 2: Where to Learn Cantonese in Hong Kong!
Here are some Cantonese-specific tips, apps, and resources to help you learn Cantonese! For general language learning suggestions, I recommend you check out these commonmistakes language learners make and how to fix them.
1. Be prepared to jump between different Romanization systems Unfortunately the limited Cantonese resources out there don’t share a standard Romanization system, so in order to use it all you will need to jump between systems. The most common are Yale (i.e. Hēung Góngand Jyutping (i.e. hoeng1 gong2). Being comfortable in multiple systems will help you out – at least, until you learn to read Chinese!
2. Pleco Pleco is an amazing app that will allow you to customize the Romanization you want to use. The app has an excellent dictionary (can type in the sounds you hear in Cantonese), the option to make flashcard dec…

Learning Cantonese Part 2: Where to Learn Cantonese in Hong Kong

1 November 2018 | Veronica

Aren’t sure yet that you should learn Cantonese? Check out part 1 on 8 Reasons Why You Should Learn Cantonese!
Fast, Good, Cheap. Pick two.

When it comes to Cantonese classes in Hong Kong, you’ll end up compromising on something. I’ve written this guide based on personal experience and reviews from colleagues with the goal of helping you find the school that best matches your needs.

Do you want a crash course for short, daily interactions around the city within weeks? Or do you dream of being able to watch Wong Kar-Wai films without needing subtitles?

Read on to find the best Cantonese schools in Hong Kong!

*Note: This guide has been written for non-Chinese speakers. Check out the school pages directly for Cantonese courses for Chinese speakers!

Language Schools 1. VTC Recommended for: Quickly learning the basics with once a week classes. At the end you will be able to have short, daily interactions.

Hours: 20 hours, once/week

Class Size: Starts around 20 stu…

Learning Cantonese Part 1: 8 Reasons Why You Should Learn Cantonese!

31 October 2018 | Veronica

Thinking about studying Cantonese? Check out these 8 reasons why you should learn Cantonese. 1. Investing in a foreign language is always beneficial Have you ever heard someone say they regret learning a language? On the other hand, there are numerous benefits. Language skills open up connections and opportunities, save you from paying tourist prices, and set you apart when applying for a new job.
2. It's the local language. Although English is an official language in Hong Kong, and it is possible to survive with only English, your experience in the city will be entirely different and a whole lot friendlier with a bit of survival Cantonese.
While Mandarin is beneficial for business purposes, going into local neighborhoods and speaking Mandarin would be a bit like going to a Spanish-speaking country and speaking Portuguese. Don’t be that guy!
3. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the culture Language shapes the way we interact with and make sense of …

Being Chinese and Female in Paris (Exhibition review on "Song of Spring: Pan Yu-lin in Paris")

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31 Oct 2018 | Ashley

From mid September to 6 Jan 2019, Asia Society is presenting an art exhibition called "Song of Spring: Pan Yu-lin in Paris" (《春之歌:潘玉良在巴黎》). If you are familiar with Greco-Roman paintings, you might recall seeing nymphs bathing under blossoming trees. This is what you will see in this exhibition, but with a twist of Asian implications, proudly presented by the Chinese female artist, Pan Yu-lin, through female models' facial features, hairstyles, dance poses, and her use of Chinese ink technique.

What interests me the most about her works is her tendency to intertwine Western and Asian characteristics. Being one of the earliest Chinese female artists staying in France to learn art, I imagine that she felt the need to establish her own definition of herself in a foreign country. From her works presented in the first chamber, we see portraits of people from different ethnic backgrounds, those who were generally considered less privileged in society. This…