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News Highlights

"Talk about Hong Kong culture" workshop for Shanghai Expo (with photos)

A workshop featuring excerpts from performances by Hong Kong art groups for Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo) and interactive activities helped to promote Cantonese culture in Shanghai today (September 22).

Twenty-five students took part in the workshop on the campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The "Talk about Hong Kong culture" workshop was an extension activity of the HKSAR's cultural programme for Shanghai Expo.

Renowned arts scholar, Dr Joanna Lee, conducted the workshop in Putonghua and Cantonese.

According to Dr Lee, the event leveraged Cantonese language teaching to promote Hong Kong's arts and culture as well as cultural exchange between Hong Kong and Shanghai.

"Hong Kong culture is not only dynamic, but it's also close to the people and moves so fast," Dr Lee said.

"We southern Chinese are proud of our heritage, aware that a lot of the newest and most innovative ideas have always started 'south' and then moved north."

Dr Lee said "Cantonese is such a melodious dialect – when you recite Tang dynasty poetry, it rhymes far better in Cantonese than in Putonghua!"

Dr Lee was born in Hong Kong. She is an arts administrator, writer, radio producer and presenter, teacher and scholar on music in Europe, Asia and the US. She is also a researcher on musical culture and musical practice in genres of contemporary music, popular music, Asian music and classical and crossover music. Over the years, Dr Lee has acquired extensive fieldwork experience in Germany, Sweden, Hungary and remote regions of northwest and southwest China.

In the 1980s, Dr Lee obtained a four-year scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music in Britain where she gained her bachelor's degree. In 1993, she was awarded a PhD from Columbia University, New York.

Since 2002, Dr Lee has been an Honorary Research Fellow of the Centre for Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong.

During the workshop, students were shown excerpts from various performances presented in Cantonese by Hong Kong arts groups for Shanghai Expo. Dr Lee then recited part of the scripts before discussing them with the students and getting them to play certain roles.

The interactive programme concluded with remarks by the instructor on the performance of the students and the selection of the best performers.

For full details and ticketing information on the Shanghai Expo performances and activities, please visit the Event Calendar section on Hong Kong's Expo website, www.hkexpo2010.gov.hk .