Pokfulam Village and the World Monuments Watch 2014

Date :
Saturday, 2 November 2013

In recognition of the selection of Pokfulam Village to the 2014 World Monuments Watch, the first site from Hong Kong to ever appear on the listing since it was established in 1996, the University of Hong Kong Museum Society is pleased to present two special events on Saturday, 2 November:

I. Tour of Pokfulam Village with Nigel Ko, Steven Chui and Henry Tzu Ng
Date: Saturday, 2 November 2013
Time: 09:15 Registration; 09:30 – 10:30 Tour
Place: Participants will be notified 7 days in advance
Cost: $200 Member; $300 Non-member, Free for Student with valid ID
Limit: 20
Enquiries: Carolyn Lu at [email protected] or 9092-1676

Site experts and conservators for Pokfulam Village, Nigel Ko and Steven Chui can be commended for having submitted the successful application for Pokfulam Village’s inclusion on the World Monuments Watch. Along with Henry Tzu Ng of the World Monuments Fund, they will lead our Society on a special visit to Pokfulam Village.

Pokfulam Village is living proof of one of the earliest settlements of Hong Kong, having been home to more than 7 generations of families and witness to almost 300 years of history. When Hong Kong was first colonized by the British Empire, the area surrounding Pokfulam Village flourished: the first Dairy Farm was built nearby, resulting in a threefold increase in population; the Maisons de Béthanie and Nazareth were built for the French missionary order, Missions Étrangères de Paris (MEP) in its quest to spread Christianity in Asia. People flocked to the area for jobs and, as a result, Pokfulam Village became one of the most densely populated areas in Hong Kong.

It is said to be a miracle that this village still exists to this day. The village is often mistaken for a shantytown, and has therefore come under threat multiple times as the government tries to demolish and rebuild the area, resulting in the destruction of local traditions and historical evidence. As the villagers worry the government may decide to expel them, they strive to retain many of their unique customs, such as the annual Fire Dragon Dance, the oldest of its kind in Hong Kong.

The future of Pokfulam Village remains uncertain. The government has indicated earlier this year that it may relax current redevelopment restrictions. In response, the villagers have lobbied together for the right to decide their own fate. Organizations such as the Pokfulam Village Cultural Landscape Conservation Group have joined in to help show the world that this village has tremendous historical and cultural value, and is therefore worthy of being preserved for posterity.

Founding core member of the Pokfulam Village Cultural Landscape Conservation Group, Nigel Ko is engaged in heritage consultancy work for historical buildings. Ko received a master’s degree at the Architectural Conservation program of The University of Hong Kong and a Bachelor of Building of the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong.

Also a core member of the Conservation Group, Steven Chui is a professional building surveyor. He is both a graduate of the Master of Science program in Architectural Conservation of The University of Hong Kong as well as a graduate of the College in Estate Management at the University of Reading.

II. Lecture: "The 2014 World Monuments Watch – Heritage at Risk from Hong Kong to Manhattan" with Henry Tzu Ng
Date: Saturday, 2 November 2013
Time: 11:00 – 12:30
Place: 1/F, Fung Ping Shan Building, UMAG, HKU
Cost: Free admission. All are welcome

Created in 1965, the World Monuments Fund (WMF) is the world’s leading private international historic preservation organization. Its mission is to protect against the loss of the world’s architectural heritage, comprising the built environment, the artworks that embellish it and the cultural traditions that it sustains. In addition to leading major on-going preservation initiatives around the globe, every two years the WMF publishes a World Monuments Watch that highlights significant at-risk architectural sites needing technical and financial resources for survival.

Ng will discuss WMF’s global advocacy work to protect architectural heritage by focusing on projects in East Asia, including those in the Forbidden City and Kyoto. He will also examine what the recently released 2014 World Monuments Watch reveals about the current health of the world’s built environment.  The discussion will specifically consider Pokfulam Village and its inclusion in the 2014 World Monuments Watch. At the conclusion of the lecture, Henry Tzu Ng, Nigel Ko and Steven Chui will welcome questions about both WMF and the listing of Pokfulam Village on the 2014 World Monuments Watch.

Henry Tzu Ng, Executive Vice President of World Monuments Fund (WMF), has worked for more than thirty years with cultural and philanthropic organizations devoted to improving the quality of urban life, architecture, cities, and the protection of our built world. In his current position as Executive Vice President of World Monuments Fund, he is responsible for developing and managing institutional initiatives in major geographic areas of interest to WMF. These currently include WMF’s projects in China, Tibet and Japan, as well as programs that address the increasing threats to modern architecture. Before joining WMF, Ng was the Director of the J.M. Kaplan Fund and Vice President of the Nathan Cummings Foundation. He holds a B.S. from New York University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.