Can Cheong, the “true font” Calligraphist keeps it’s legacy alive in this modern city?

Blog

Au Yueng Cheong is a calligraphist who has been stationed in the shopping mall in the State Theatre Building for over 30 years. 

At the peak of his career, he was commissioned to produce thousands of commercial signage all around Hong Kong. He is especially proud to have once produced work for a politician.

Cheong explained that he is now the only person in Hong Kong honing the skill of writing the “TRUE FONT”, which is identical to traditional Chinese characters, and that he would like to conserve the heritage. “The “True Font” can still be found at a few places in Mainland China nowadays” the calligraphist claimed. If this is true then our guess is that Traditional Chinese was used before the CCP took over, and so the writing became a rarity since it was replaced by Simplified Chinese as the official written form of Chinese in the 50s.

In recent years, China is slowly gentrifying Hong Kong into becoming like the rest of the cities in the mainland, Simplified Chinese has also been introduced into the Hong Kong school system to replace our traditional culture. 

Mr Au Yueng’s livelihood and the future of Hong Kong seems to be facing similar destinies, as both are to be slowly eliminated where we fail to see the value and the importance of heritage conservation as a city.  

New World Development, a Hong Kong based firm, purchased the premises at HK$740 million with the intention to tear down the whole building as its commercial plan in the first place. The 67-year-old State Theatre Building (formerly known as Empire Theatre) is now the only post-war standalone theatre, and 1 of the 172 Grade 1 historical buildings in Hong Kong. According to the Antiquities Advisory Board in Hong Kong, a Grade 1 building or structure is one that “has outstanding merit, which every effort should be made to preserve if possible”

Photo credit: Wikipedia

We appreciate the campaigns made by several organisations wanting to conserve the historical legacy of Hong Kong; without the passionate people working to keep Hong Kong’s characters alive, there would be one less heritage structure left every time a new development plan comes into place  Hong Kong would become faceless in no time.

Check out Instagram Media @likewise’ s video to have a last glimpses of this legend.

Drastic Social x Puurr

Hong Kong

Here, to our first.

A collaboration with Purr by 宀 (Mihn) to create an intersectional femme-centric space in Hong Kong.

At the Stardust art exhibition, I was introduced to Laura, who is the art curator at 宀 gallery. We talked about how we both wanted to create an alternative space for our femme centric communities and form an inclusive collective of music and culture enthusiasts in Hong Kong. 

The idea of Puurr was born. We then recruited a few talented friends to drum up the basis of Puurr, and we have been actively discussing how to expand on the idea since... 

What is PUURR?

“PUURR” is an inclusive cultural collective empowered by

We are an intersectional femme space focusing on activities that unite us together. There have always been limited spaces that support marginalised groups in our society, and we are here to make this space for all to safely express ourselves.

This is the PUURR Manifesto, 

We are them, They are you, You are all of us. Together we are whatever we want to be!

We donʼt know where weʼre going, and itʼs okay.

We keep dancing and moving forward to expand the boundaries of space. 

For us, for them, and FOR ALL.”

Who are PUURR’s core members?

Laura Zhang – Art curator of 宀 Gallery, Co-Founder of Puurr

Bertha Chan – Host, Co-founder of Puurr, Founder of DrasticSocial.com and Curvasian.com

Alison Tan – Food Designer, performance artist

Ellie Suh – Artist, Illustrator

Beatrice Wong – multi hyphenate creative

Alexia Rutter, Dj & Booking Manager of voyage Agency

A Martha Operation

Recap of our High Tea Focus Group

On the 1st of March, before the COVID-19 started affecting us locally, we organised a focus group meetup to ask 30 individuals in the music and creative space.

We opened with a teaser by showcasing some of our collective’s passion projects

  • Stephanie Teng –  Photography for Madame Figaro: Louis Vuitton Editorial with Model Shawn McRae 
  • Tiffany Huang – Spill Stories
  • Alison’s Tan – Art performance: The Complimentary Waffles
  • Megan van Wyk, Singer-songwriter – Song: “Safe Space”

During the event, we also discussed 2 important issues that give us some direction for inclusivity to develop some ideas and guidelines for future events.

1.What are some of the issues with the current clubbing culture?

Attitude: Toxic Expat Entitlement, “Ladies Night” Culture, Sexualising womxn for financial gains, No real connections

Intersectionality: Lack of space that draws in both locals and ex-pats, LGBT spaces generally caters to G only

Environment: In general gross-ness of clubs, need space for conversations, spiked drinks, and groping problems

2.What do you want to see in an inclusive club space?

Music: Different types of Music – Disco, the 80s, House, Hip hop.More local talents, Femme and POC (People of Colour) DJs.

Event Ideas: Sober Nights! Dance night without alcohol Liberating Events, Dress Up nights (All Puurr events are dress-up nights!), Drag Brunch, Cabaret with a diversity of genders, nude talk + drawing, Day Waves, Earlier parties, include men, 宀 cuddles, Celebrate Trans/Non-Binary identities, featured artists

Space: Sex inclusive + exclusive toilets, female bouncers, wheelchair accessibility, safe space policy, visual contents, installations, footwork, More femme/ POC DJs

Food & Beverage: Food! Bread <3, variety of non-alcoholic beverages, CLUB MATE lemonade, Tea! 宀 Brunch, Water fountain / Cup deposit

Whats next?

We have gathered this information to design our next event, exploring different subjects and create together with our collective an inclusive environment to discuss different topics. After 5 months of corona time, we are finally able to launch our first event next week on 15th July.

If you would like to be a part of Puurr collective and attend our community events, please subscribe to our newsletters and we will see you soon!

Me, Myself and I (2019) by Anny Wass

Vienna

Austrian artist Anny Wass uses sequence photography to re-enact the movements of labourers observed during her residency at the Jigongshan Museum in Henan province, central China.

“Drill Suits”, 2019

The Series – Me, Myself and I

Dormant and subservient, the visual language of the series reflects the evolution of the work itself.
The robotic, repetitive acts in Wass’s photographs mimic an orchestrated and purportedly harmonious culture under China’s communist rule, the enclosed museum space evoking a state censorship apparatus that shields citizens from outside voices.

Viennese Artist Anny Wass's fine art photography series " Me, myself and I" - "Escape Attempt", 2019
“Escape Attempt”, 2019
“Lotus”, 2019

Extra: Backstory

Wass had planned to adapt her 2016 interactive performance piece Piñata, in recognition of the Mexican cultural icon’s Chinese origins, but was refused permission to encourage participants to beat and smash the papier-mâché / paper decoration – which the museum feared the authorities would consider subversive. Paper crafts are also treated with respect in China, being associated with offerings for the dead.

Writer / Bertha Chan
Editor / Tom Bell