What do you mean when you say 台 [toi4]?28.8.2015 | lifestyle.
Sally TamPerforming Arts - Summer Intern
I have been working in the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority as an intern for 2 months already. I enjoyed myself very much- it is so nice working with my dear colleagues and chit chatting with other interns during lunchtime. I would like to share with you one of the funny incidents I had in my week 2 life. My job was to go shopping- this may sound hilarious to most of you but really, I did a lot of shopping these days. I had a list of things to buy for the Technical Development team toolkit, and they are mainly equipment for presentation use and some other tools we need for on- site floor marking. I got used to this kind of shopping like for a year ago. But not because I am a girl or a shopaholic, but because of my practical training in the Academy. As a member of the Stage Management Team, sometimes we need to go buy Staging equipment for stage move in, or more commonly, props and set dressings for the production. We call this ‘propping’. Usually we need to check out the nearest spots of buying those and identify the shopping route, then we go prop for the things we want with the price as low as possible. And this time, I went to Sham Shui Po, a place with a variety of goods ranging from computer stuff to props with a cheaper price. I walked inside a computer store and the friendly staff sold me a few of the items I need for the toolkit. At last we had a little chat. Frankly I told her I was working as an intern in the West Kowloon Cultural District, and she was curious about my daily job duties. At this point, it would be really really weird if I said stage management or technical development… and in Chinese, I answered her with a single word – “台” (pronounced as “toi”, meaning stage in English). She was surprised and said,’can’t imagine a girl like you who works for a telecommunications company. Is it PCCW?’ (she thought it was 電話台, meaning telecommunications company) ‘Umm… I’m sorry I mean theatre…’ It is always funny when people get confused with the meaning because of the same pronunciations in Cantonese. But this encounter has given a strong feeling that Hong Kong people are generally not exposed to cultural activities, and more accurately, performing arts. I guess most of you will agree with me that this becomes the norm of Hong Kongers, but what causes them to have such a low awareness to the performing arts industries? I guess one of the biggest reasons is our work and life balance. In this hustle and bustle city, work life and leisure life do not strive a balance- people tend to work long hours and have little time for rest. When we have a bit of leisure time, to be honest, we tend to the sleep and get recharged. Enjoying a performance may not be the top few options for most of the people. And when less people are interested in performing arts, it discouraged people to work in the field. There may be less performing organisations or societies, therefore producing less performances. To continue the story, when there are only a few choices of performances to choose from, people will then find other forms of leisure activities… which forms a vicious cycle. To relieve the worse situation, I guess one of the ways is to promote the artistic development of Hong Kong. When people are more exposed to the similar activities, their interests may arise, and eventually change the current cycle. But the problem is, how? I guess this is one of the reasons to set up the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority – the arouse public interest in performing arts and promote the artistic and cultural development of Hong Kong. In the future, the WKCD will be a good-to-go place for Hong Kongers to spend their leisure time. There will be a significant increase in performing venues, which will encourage more artistic performances, a museum that promotes visual arts and last but not least, a freespace, that belongs to everyone. Some people may say, that the WKCD is still not operating for a decade, and I will have to deny the saying. WKCD has never stopped working – they are bringing innovative ideas and revolutionary programmes to boost the cultural development of the region. ‘Come join the Freespace Happening Event on August 9! You’ll know what I really do, and what I mean when I say “台”.’ I hope she was here on Sunday.