A dignified and joyful opening ceremony for the 5th East Asian Games (EAG) will be staged at Victoria Harbour on December 5. A floating stage, to be set up on the harbour for performances, will be complemented by a parade of adorned vessels amid special light effects and fireworks display.
Speaking at a press conference today (November 16) to introduce the arrangements of the EAG opening ceremony, the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, said this would be the opening ceremony which was most open to public access and with the highest number of participants and spectators. It would clearly disseminate the message of the Games to all members of the public and showcase Hong Kong's traditions as well as characteristics as a modernised metropolis to the East Asian regions and the world.
"As a tradition, opening ceremonies of the major games will be held at sports stadiums. But the 5th EAG Opening Ceremony will break the tradition and will be presented in an innovative manner."
It will be produced by the company which was responsible for the planning and production of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. The production team has made much effort in designing a series of extraordinary episodes to showcase Hong Kong's characteristics.
Mr Tsang stressed that the opening ceremony was the highlight of an international sports event, giving the organiser a chance to greet the athletes and guests from all the participating regions, and at the same time, allowing the participants to assemble before the Games to build up friendship and to undertake solemnly to compete with true sportsmanship. The opening ceremony is proving to be a huge drawcard and only about 100 tickets are left.
"While we are pragmatic in the organisation of the EAG, we are also courageous enough to have our dreams to create a legend. We don't aim to stage a flamboyant ceremony to be adorned with special effects, but instead presenting the EAG and its opening ceremony as an event that allows all walks of life to participate."
The Chairman of the 5th EAG Planning Committee, Mr Timothy Fok, said at the press conference that the opening ceremony was crucial to the success of the Games. To show their support, the participating countries and regions are sending their elite athletes to take part in the Games. Mr Fok hoped that exchanges among the participating countries and regions would be enhanced through the Games.
The Chief Executive Officer of the 2009 East Asian Games (Hong Kong) Limited, Mr Johnny Woo, said at the press conference that the opening ceremony would start at 8pm on December 5 and would end at around 9.30pm. It will feature ceremonial rituals, a cultural performance "Be the Legend" a boat parade in which 44 large and small vessels will take part, lighting of the EAG cauldron and concluding with a magnificent fireworks display.
He said the floating stage would be set up off the Hong Kong Cultural Centre while two LED effect vessels and two lighting vessels would be placed near the stage. In addition to the fireworks discharged from four barges, pyrotechnics will also be discharged from the rooftop of about 10 buildings for public viewing.
The large-scale fireworks display, the last but best show at the ceremony, will present the theme of athletes' hard-fought spirit in striving for excellence, going along with strong music and fireworks. The fireworks display of the opening ceremony is sponsored by iSQUARE.
The pre-show, featuring dancing and singing performance, will start at 6.30pm to let the public enjoy the cheerful atmosphere of the opening ceremony in advance. Ticket holders should be seated by 7pm.
General Manager of Beijing Beiao Grand Cultural and Sports Events, Mr Lu Jiankang, said the opening ceremony would show the unique elements of Hong Kong with innovative ideas of using the Victoria Harbour as a performing stage to create an impressive scene at sea.
The cultural performance will comprise four parts which will display the past and present of Hong Kong as well as its future after the EAG. The last part will be a chorus of EAG theme song.
Mr Woo said that the setting and adjusting of lighting effects would take time, so there was a need to conduct rehearsals on lighting arrangements every night from November 25. To minimise the impact on the vessels in the harbour, the rehearsals would be conducted at night when the marine traffic was light. The Marine Department will provide relevant information to the parties concerned.
Rehearsal for the boat parade will involve more than 60 vessels. Rehearsals for the boat parade are essential to ensure a smooth performance and they will also be carried at night. The Marine Department will notify the public of the necessary arrangements.
The Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung, said at the press conference, "We hope to present the opening ceremony as a great event in which the whole community can take part."
"We will make arrangements so that locals and tourists can take part in the opening ceremony in a way they prefer and to share the joy."
She said that apart from people with tickets who could watch the opening ceremony at the Cultural Centre Piazza, others could watch the fireworks at intervals as well as the 15-minute-long fireworks display on both sides of the harbour, including the promenades of Tsim Sha Tsui, West Kowloon, Central and Wan Chai. Giant TV walls will be installed at these locations for the public to watch the live broadcast of the parade at sea and the performances on stage.
Big shopping malls throughout Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories will hold celebration activities for those who will not be at the scene to watch the opening ceremony so that they can share the joy and celebrate the start of the Games.
After the opening ceremony, the adorned vessels representing the nine participating countries and regions will be moored off the Wan Chai waterfront on December 6 for people to take photos. People can also take part in the photo contest of the EAG to capture exciting moments of the competitions as well as the opening ceremony. The deadline for participation is December 21.
Mrs Fung said, "I hope the people of Hong Kong can take an active part in our Games by joining the opening ceremony on December 5 in a way they deem fit so as to make that day a great party for the whole city to greet the EAG."
Ends/Monday, November 16, 2009
The Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing (third left) , introduces the arrangements of the EAG Opening Ceremony at a press conference today (November 16).
Mr Tsang (centre) shows the latest sale situation of tickets for the East Asian Games opening ceremony.
At the press conference today (November 16) are (from left) Chief Director of the EAG opening ceremony, Mr Chen Weiya, Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung, representative of the fireworks display sponsor, iSquare, Mr Choi Ming-kwan, Chief producer of the EAG opening ceremony of the Beijing BeiAo Grand Cultural and Sports Events Co. Ltd., Mr Lu Jiankang, Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, the Chairman of the EAG Planning Committee, Mr Timothy Fok, Chief Executive Officer of 2009 East Asian Games (Hong Kong) Limited, Mr Johnny Woo, and representative of the fireworks display contractor, PyroMagic Productions Ltd., Mr Wilson Mao.
The conceptual map of the opening ceremony that showed by the Beijing Beiao Grand Cultural and Sports Events Co. Ltd.
An usher of the opening ceremony shown by the Beijing Beiao Grand Cultural and Sports Events Co. Ltd.