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Interactive fun exhibition on Chinese culture begins Summer Reading Month

The territory-wide annual popular library programme - "Summer Reading Month 2007" was launched today (July 21) with the fun-filled exhibition "Little Dragon Town - A Chinese Cultural Tour" at the Exhibition Gallery of Hong Kong Central Library (HKCL).

Using decorative images and interactive games to stimulate children to read more books, the exhibition is designed as an ancient town in China for children to probe the cultural heritage of Chinese characters, cuisine, costume, architecture, arts and inventions.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, the "Summer Reading Month 2007" features the different facets of Chinese culture with a thematic exhibition and an array of interesting fringe activities including puppet show, mask changing arts, magic show, Chinese opera, lion dance, origami, audio-visual programmes, storytelling sessions, workshops and competitions at various public libraries from today until August 26.

"The Competition on Story Writing in Chinese for Students in 2007", jointly organised by the Hong Kong Public Libraries of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Hong Kong Children's Arts Society, also held a prize presentation ceremony today. This year, the competition was well-received with about 2,700 entries. Award winners interpreted their stories vividly.

Officiating at the prize presentation ceremony were Deputy Director of Leisure and Cultural Services (Culture) Mr Chung Ling-hoi and Chairlady of the Hong Kong Children’s Arts Society Ms Suen Koon-lam.

Mr Chung pointed out that a good piece of writing required not only creativity, but also a writer’s cultural knowledge and language skills.

"For one to become an outstanding writer, it is essential, while making every effort to write, to read extensively as well. By learning from other excellent works we can absorb the nutrients required for writing and improving," he said.

Budding writers in the competition had written fascinating stories powered by their boundless creativity and earnest emotions. Creatures like leeches, cuttlefish, yellow weasels or family members like parents and grandparents were used as characters in different stories, demonstrating the creative minds of the new generations of writers.

At the "Little Dragon Town - A Chinese Cultural Tour" exhibition, which runs from today to August 20, visitors can find a variety of familiar items in the "Market" and "Fabric Store". From the four great inventions of ancient China to appetising Tofu, make-up powder, wooden thongs, straw hat, chopsticks, soy sauce, noodles, decorative hairpins, clasps ... objects that may seem mundane but in fact are full of rich Chinese cultural heritage in everyday living.

Apart from the innumerable familiar objects, many legendary figures including the military strategist, sage of tea, eminent calligrapher, literary master, forefather of medicine and the first emperor from Chinese history are all gathered inside the "Tea Shop", inviting children to sip a cup of tea alongside those historical tales.

After enjoying the vintage tea, visitors can navigate through the river of history to “Surname Palace” to find out the origin of the popular Chinese family names.

The "Chinese Chess Plan" awaits interested young players to challenge their skills in commanding generals and soldiers, to see if they can solve the three famous endgames in the history of Chinese chess. Also, a mound of ancient Chinese characters from 3,000 years ago is hidden inside the "Cave".

Families can take a break of the tour to enjoy the enriching variety shows such as "Fun with the Percussion Music", "Chinese Dance Performance", "Disney Reading Together" at the "Main Stage" or view the audio-visual programmes at the interactive treasure-trove in the "Pavilion".

Not to be missed is the "Traditional Chinese Study" built in the distinctive Chinese architectural style of a quadrangle residence. Reading books and sharing with others will be a pleasurable experience on a hot summer day.

Other highlights of "Summer Reading Month" are "Contest on Dramatisation of Chinese Stories for Family" and "Talent Show Contest on Chinese Culture" to be held in the Exhibition Gallery in HKCL to stimulate reading interest among children through showing their talents and knowledge in Chinese culture and adaptation of folk tales.

Ms Ho How-sim, author on children's literature, will share her experience in writing at the "Meet-the-Author Session" on August 18 from 2pm to 3.30pm at the Lecture Theatre of HKCL. Tailored made sessions including "Origami Workshop for Family", "Paper Cutting Workshop for Family" and "Story Restaurant" will also be held to invite the participation of parents and children.

A suggested booklist on Chinese culture is available for the public.

To encourage more readers to register as library members, two bookmarks will be given to all new members registered during the Summer Reading Month while stocks last.

Admission to all activities is free. For some programmes, admission tickets are required. Programme details and admission ticket information are in the booklet distributed at all public libraries. Enquiries can be made at 2921 2646, or visit the website: .

Ends/Saturday, July 21, 2007
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