Lego used to be a toy, a model-building hobby. But these days, says one local Lego lover, it's become more of an item to make money.
Andy Hung Chi-kin, 34, has 10 years of building experience with Lego. He was one of the founders of Legend Bricks, a local Lego fan club. "The development of Lego has become much more diverse in recent years," he says. "There are Lego series inspired by movies and TV shows - the Friends series aimed at girls, for example."
But this does not necessarily enhance the Lego building culture in Hong Kong, Hung says.
Die-hard Lego fans think the new Lego series opens a small window for shoppers to buy it. That drives people into becoming collectors rather than builders. "A few years ago, a new Lego kit would be put on store shelves for two to three years," says William Wong Hung-hei, 30, another member of Legend Bricks. "Now they go on the shelves for only about a year, and the movie-inspired series are available for only six months. People end up buying more Lego kits, but they don't build them, because they know their value will rise in a few years."
Hung says: "After a newspaper reported about how profitable it is to trade Lego, many builders turned into traders. The members we have here at Legend Bricks are the remaining hardcore builders who really enjoy playing with Lego.
"It is interesting how the internet helped Lego building in Hong Kong rise to its peak and then took it down. In 2007, broadband internet became popular, leading to the rise of Lego forums. Lego fans share photos of their work in the forums, and people exchange their ideas on Lego like never before.
"Our fan club events easily attract more than 200 fans, all eager to showcase their work."
Jared Chan Chun-kit, 28, says the rise of Facebook harmed Lego building. "Instead of commenting on the Lego of a builder on a forum, now people just post a 'like' on the masterpieces," he says. "It was discouraging to the builders."
Even so, Hung said Legend Bricks is getting more requests from shopping malls and other organisations to host exhibits. "The one good thing about having so many Lego series is that they attract more builders. Movie fans or girls become interested in Lego, and we get more chances to exhibit," he says.
"A Time for Bricks" is one such exhibit at Sun Yuen Long Centre until May 25. It took the builders three months and 80 million Lego blocks to complete.