Face Off: Should Hong Kong establish itself as a cultural and sporting hub?

Face Off: Should Hong Kong establish itself as a cultural and sporting hub?

Each week, our two teenagers will debate a hot topic. This week …


West Kowloon.
Photo: Sam Tsang/SCMP

Nitika Chandiramani, 15, King George V School 

Hong Kong is not all about skyscrapers and malls. It is well known around the world as a multicultural city with a wide range of attractions.

It has a unique diversity, with plenty of cultural gems for tourists to uncover, from temples and museums to historical buildings and arts centres. For example, the Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha statue on Lantau Island are tourist hot spots.

Then there is the impressive Wong Tai Sin Temple, where worshippers flock to pay their respects, especially during major festivals. There are also churches, temples and mosques that shed light on Hong Kong's cultural diversity.

The city is not short of famous sports events either. Rugby fans from all over the globe gather at the annual Hong Kong Sevens to enjoy the action and have a good time.

We also host the Hong Kong Marathon, the cross-harbour race, and the Hong Kong DanceSport Festival - this shows that we already cater to fans of a range of other sports.

The city is also planning to launch new sports events. For instance, the FIA Formula E Championship will be held here for the first time in October this year.

Asia's World City is also a food paradise, with the choices ranging from roadside stalls to top-class restaurants. Food enthusiasts can indulge in a variety of authentic dishes from countries such as Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico, and India, as well as European and American food.

With Hong Kong already boasting so many attractions, how can the city not be classified as a sporting and cultural hub and capitalise on that?

Wincy Leung, 19, University of Hong Kong

When asked to identify a cultural or sporting hub in Asia, few would pick Hong Kong. Instead, many would choose Shanghai, Singapore or Japan.

To call itself a sporting hub, Hong Kong would need to host large-scale sports events costing billions of dollars.

Although there is a budget surplus of HK$63.8 billion (as of March 2015), it is wise for the government to focus on social and environmental problems rather than spend huge amounts to attract sports events to Hong Kong.

Also, the lack of proper indoor sports venues here has forced many local athletes, such as cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze, to train overseas, causing many to lose faith in Hong Kong as a potential sporting hub.

To make matters worse, last year's cross-harbour race was poorly planned. Many swimmers complained they were unfairly disqualified after jumping the starting gun because they could not hear it properly.

Such incidents cast doubt on Hong Kong's ability to host large-scale sports events.

Music fans don't have a lot of options either. Clockenflap is the only well-known arts and music festival in Hong Kong. Besides, only a few entertainers hold concerts in Hong Kong; instead they choose to perform in Macau and other cities in the region.

Even the multi-billion-dollar West Kowloon Cultural District has not contributed much to our arts scene.

To establish a world-class cultural and sporting hub, I think we first need to nurture local talent. But unfortunately, we are encouraged from a young age to focus on our studies to gain good grades and enter a top university.

If we want to see change, we need to start persuading foreign talent to relocate to Hong Kong, and educate the next generation about the importance of sports and local culture.

And all this starts with an overhaul of our exam-oriented education system.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Should Hong Kong establish itself as a cultural and sporting hub?


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