Annual Report 2004 - Leisure and Cultural Services Department Brand Hong Kong - Asia's world city
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Foreword
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  Foreword
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Hong Kong has long been a place where the cultures of East and West meet, a crucible from which ideas and creative talents flourish and develop into new and exciting industries. The government's policy to encourage cultural and creative industries will open up new employment opportunities for our young people to show their skills. At the same time, the historic decision in November 2003 for Hong Kong to host the 5th East Asian Games in 2009 is providing a catalyst for the development of a new sporting culture in Hong Kong and the promotion of our competitive edge as an international sporting venue.

These twin developments are providing new impetus to the work of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department as Hong Kong strives to enhance its position as the cultural and sporting events capital of the region.

Indeed, planning for the Games gathered momentum in June 2004 with the establishment of the 2009 EAG Planning Committee. This high powered committee includes representatives from the sports sector, government, business, banking, tourism and other related organisations. The committee will plan and prepare for the staging of the Games, enlist community support, develop publicity and marketing strategies and advise on the venue facilities required for this important sporting event.

During the year, new measures were taken to raise the standard of sports in Hong Kong and the Mainland with the signing of separate sports exchange and co-operation agreements and memorandum with the State Sports General Administration of China, the Shanghai Administration of Sports, and the General-office of Culture, Radio, TV, Publication and Sports of Hainan Province. A special liaison group has been set up to plan and implement these joint programmes.

Hong Kong's Avenue of Stars, which was opened in April, has become an instant 'star attraction' for locals as well as tourists from around the world. By the end of the year, more than eight million people had 'walked the avenue'. Activity on the cultural, information and heritage scene was just as exciting, as the government continued to expand its links with the Mainland in a number of areas. This included the April launch of the Pearl River Delta Cultural Information Website to improve the exchange of cultural information between Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau; and the introduction of an Internet Reference Enquiry Service by Hong Kong's Central Library in collaboration with the Zhongshan, Shenzhen and Macau libraries. The year also saw the opening of the Basic Law Library at the City Hall Public Library for readers and researchers to gain a better understanding of Hong Kong's mini constitution, the Basic Law.

A notable achievement during the year was the completion of nine new facilities, including three major projects, for the benefit and enjoyment of the community, particularly in the New Territories. These included the Ma On Shan Sports Ground, the Ma On Shan Sports Centre and Public Library, and the Tai Po Complex. At the end of the year, a further 13 projects were under construction, which will bring the total number of sports facilities managed and developed by the department to nearly 1,800, and this does not include the 100 or so cultural facilities also under our control.

While many of our historic buildings have given way to the glistening glass and concrete skyscrapers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the government is continually looking at ways to conserve Hong Kong's built heritage. One of the most notable developments in early 2004 was the acquisition of the historic Kom Tong Hall on Hong Kong Island that will be converted into a museum to introduce the life and revolutionary activities of one of the most respected figures in Chinese history, Dr Sun Yat-sen. The museum is due to open in November 2006. We hope the preservation of the 1914 building will encourage the community and property owners to join the government in conserving our cultural heritage. Also during the year, another historic structure, the Morrison Building in Tuen Mun's Hoh Fuk Tong Centre was officially declared a monument and will be protected under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance.

These were just some of the initiatives and on-going services our dedicated staff were involved in during 2004 — a year in which we were able to consolidate and enhance our many and varied activities that touch on the lives of most Hong Kong people. And it sets the scene for what is shaping up to be an equally stimulating and, no doubt, challenging year ahead in 2005. Two major events planned for our museums in the coming year include the exhibition of over 45 internationally acclaimed masterpieces of the impressionist school from the National Collection of France, which will be held at the Hong Kong Museum of Art; and the display of more than 300 national treasures — mostly grade one relics — showing the artistic and cultural changes that occurred in China from 'Eastern Han to High Tang' at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

On the sports front, the Sports Commission will be established and the Hong Kong Sports Institute reconstituted to pursue a new vision for sports development in Hong Kong. We are aiming to bring in more major international sports events during the year; and develop a strategy through which the sports community can engage business partners in organising and promoting such events. Preparations are also being made for the 2005 East Asia Games in Macau and the 10th National Games in Nanjing. These, together with the significant cultural and performing arts events planned, will help us implement the department's vision of providing quality leisure and cultural services appropriate to Hong Kong's development as a world-class city and events capital.


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Anissa Wong
Director of Leisure and Cultural Services

 
 
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