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Mrs Betty FUNG CHING Suk-yee,	Director of Leisure and Cultural Services

In 2013-14, the LCSD organised a wide range of sporting, leisure and cultural programmes that suit the needs and interests of different segments of the population, while continuing to manage and maintain cultural and recreational facilities for public use.

During the year, a number of Hong Kong’s most important sports facilities were completed. A highlight was the Hong Kong Velodrome in Tseung Kwan O and the adjoining Hong Kong Velodrome Park. With a 250-meter indoor cycling track that meets the international standards, the Velodrome not only provides a home base for training of local athletes including Olympic bronze medalist Sarah Lee, but also a facility for holding international cycling competitions. A number of international cycling races have been lined up to be held at the Velodrome.

Swimming remains one of Hong Kong’s most popular sports, and swimmers have benefited from the completion of the redevelopment of the Victoria Park and Kwun Tong Swimming Pools during the year. The new Victoria Park Swimming Pool provides indoor heated pool facilities for year-round use, which can also be used for international swimming and diving competitions, along with water polo and synchronised swimming.

Pets, like humans, need opportunities to exercise, and there is increasingly demand for more pet gardens where pet owners can let their pets off the leash. To this end, we have increased the number of designated ‘pet gardens’ in Hong Kong to 35. New pet gardens opened during the year included the one on Butterfly Valley Road, which is the biggest in Kowloon, and another in the Central and Western District Promenade.

We aligned the fees and charges of leisure and sports facilities and programmes in the latter half of 2013, thereby removing the inconsistencies in fee charging in the urban and New Territories regions. We also implemented new administrative arrangements to improve the booking systems for such facilities.

The 4th Hong Kong Games were held from April to June 2013. This biennial sports event enabled athletes selected to represent Hong Kong’s 18 districts to pit their skills against each other. In August 2013, top Hong Kong athletes attended the 12th National Games in Liaoning Province. Our athletes performed with distinction in this highly competitive event, bringing home a gold medal, three silvers and three bronzes in the cycling, equestrian, rugby, golf and fencing events.

The annual Sport For All Day adopted the slogan ‘Stay active. Exercise every day with your family’. On August 4, 2013, over 198 000 people enjoyed free use of LCSD’s sports facilities and another 29 000 or so people took part in the free sports programmes organised by the department that day.

On the cultural services front, a wide array of exhibitions and activities were organised during the year. Some of the blockbuster exhibitions staged by our museums this year were on a stupendous scale and proved immensely popular with all segments of the population. The most spectacular was the Legends of the Giant Dinosaurs exhibition, which attracted a record attendance of over 700 000 visitors, along with many thousands more who enjoyed the life-like moving dinosaur models displayed outside the Hong Kong Science Museum. Indeed, this exhibition was the most popular thematic exhibition ever held by the LCSD. A total of 6.3 million people had visited our museum exhibitions, representing a 1.6% over the 6.2 million in 2012-13.

A triumph for the Hong Kong Museum of History was its collaboration with the Palace Museum of Beijing in presenting The Splendours of Royal Costume: Qing Court Attire, a lavish exhibition in which some exquisite national treasures were exhibited outside the Mainland for the first time ever.

Another exhibition that captured the attention of the Hong Kong public in the year was Ju Ming – Sculpting the Living World at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The sculptural artworks by Hong Kong artists on display in the newly-opened Art Square in Salisbury Garden also attracted much attention. Two exhibitions at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum that highlighted iconic Hong Kong figures proved highly popular: Bruce Lee: Kung Fu • Art • Life to commemorate the great Kung Fu master was opened in July 2013 and will last five years; while Fashion • Image • Eddie Lau showcased fashion and haute couture items designed by Lau for the local music industry (including the late Anita Mui) over the years.

We were excited to open the newly-renovated Oil Street Art Space (Oi!) during the year, which has transformed a Grade 2 heritage building into a dynamic art space for up-and-coming young Hong Kong artists. Currently, several other cultural facilities are at the planning, construction or redevelopment stage. For example, the Hong Kong Museum of Art is expected to undergo major renovation and expansion starting mid-2015; and the New Wing at the Ko Shan Theatre will be opened for use in November 2014 to further strengthen our support for Cantonese opera. The construction of a community cultural centre in Ngau Tau Kok is under planning and sets to become a major cultural facility for Kowloon East upon its completion.

On performing arts, we celebrated the International Arts Carnival 2013 with a fine set of performing arts programmes and educational arts activities for children, teenagers and their families. Another major cultural event in the year was the World Cultures Festival 2013, with its special theme of Lasting Legacies of Eastern Europe. This festival offered Hong Kong audiences exposure to some marvellous work from a region that provided the setting for countless historic events, featuring artists from Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Poland, Hungary and Romania in various programmes.

Enhancing cultural exchange remained an important goal for us, as a way of fostering cross-fertilisation of the arts. Occasions for cultural exchange during the year included the second edition of Hong Kong Week in Taipei.

During the year, we continued to upkeep our world-class library system by upgrading its Multimedia Information System and extending it to all public libraries in Hong Kong. We also launched a new one-stop library portal that provides easy and convenient access to a wide range of library services and programmes, including our e-books and e-databases.

We will offer equally inspiring programmes in the year ahead, all thoughtfully designed and planned to cater for the widest possible range of leisure, sporting and cultural interests. I hope Hong Kong people will make the most out of using our facilities and patronising our programmes.

Mrs Betty FUNG CHING Suk-yee Director of Leisure and Cultural Services