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2009.03.13   Speech of Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Thomas Chow, at the Opening Ceremony of the 2009 Hong Kong Flower Show

Mrs TSANG, Mrs YAU, Mr Hui, Miss Chan, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, let me extend a very warm welcome to you all to this Opening Ceremony of the 2009 Flower Show.

Time flies. It seems not that long ago that we were here for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Flower Show in which many fascinating floral arrangements featuring the five mascots of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games were shown here at Victoria Park. I am sure that, like me, many of you still have a vivid memory of the colourful scenes here. That demonstrates our success in leaving an Olympic legacy in Hong Kong, deep in the minds of the Hong Long community after the Games.

The year 2009 promises to be a very special year for Hong Kong too. This December, Hong Kong will be hosting the 5th East Asian Games. We are using every opportunity to celebrate and promote the 2009 East Asian Games, and this year’s Flower Show is but one of them. We have specially chosen “Blossoming Welcome for the EAG” as the theme for this year’s Flower Show and, as you walk around you will see the beautiful flower arrangements featuring the logo and the EAG mascots, Ami and Dony.

The 2009 EAG will be the first large-scale multi-sports regional sporting event ever held in Hong Kong. More than 3000 elite athletes will be gathering here to compete for 281 gold medals in 23 events. These numbers of gold medals and competition events are the highest in EAG’s history. In the coming months, the publicity of the EAG will be gradually stepped up. Other than the TV and radio publicity, you will be seeing more giant banners and lamp post buntings around the territory to enhance the EAG atmosphere in the community. The major promotion events coming up include the 2nd Hong Kong Games in May, which is bound to stimulate public interest in sports, the 200-day Countdown also in May as well as the 100-day countdown and Torch Relay in August. All these will take place before the EAG reaches its climax on 5 December as the curtain of the Games is raised at Victoria Harbour.

We are all looking forward to welcoming the EAG athletes and other visitors to Hong Kong for the Games, and are counting on you to extend Hong Kong’s warmest hospitality to them and to make the 2009 EAG a great success!

Let me also take this opportunity to thank the local, Mainland and overseas horticultural organisations and exhibitors, and the sponsors of this year’s Flower Show for all your support. I wish you all a very good day!

Thank you.

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