Colorful banners and posters help to advertise
a Cantonese opera performance in Tai O
Inside the bamboo theater, Cantonese opera
artistes entertain the audience of
youngsters as well as old folks
The bamboo theater may be a temporary structure
but that doesn't make it less of a work of art itself
For a variety of reasons (including my mother being in town), I didn't go hiking this weekend. So I'm putting up photos from last Sunday's excursion rather than any this week. More specifically, the photos at the top of this blog entry were taken at hike's end in the northwestern Lantau fishing village of Tai O and are of a bamboo theater housing Cantonese opera performances to commemorate the Hau Wong Festival.
Appropriately, the bamboo theater had been erected just a stone's throw away from the Hau Wong Temple in Tai O that's dedicated to Hau Wong (trans Prince Marquis) Yang Liang Jie, a loyal Song Dynasty (960-1279) general who sacrificed himself to try to protect the last Song emperor, the child emperor Bing.
The temple and the festivities serve as a reminder that this part of Hong Kong actually has a place in imperial Chinese history. For as unlikely as it may seem today, Lantau was where the last two (short-lived) emperors of the Song Dynasty had held court.
On a Hong Kong movie note: I find it really cool to see that Cantonese opera performances in temporary bamboo theaters like those seen in Ann Hui's The Spooky Bunch (1980) and Derek Yee's C'est la Vie, Mon Cheri (1993) continue to this day in the Big Lychee. And on a culture heritage note: Hong Kongers may not be all that good at preserving old, historical structures but I do get the feeling time and time again that many forms of intangible cultural heritage -- performing arts but also traditional beliefs and practices -- remain very much alive and even pertinent to contemporary lives.