保護非物質文化遺產

Writing Question
Recently the Hong Kong Government published a list of intangible cultural heritage items that the city should protect. Traditional egg tarts and mahjong are on the list.
Write a letter to the editor supporting the Government’s choice of these two features of Hong Kong culture, suggesting why they are worth protecting and how they can be protected.


Dear Editor

I am writing to express my support to the government’s decision of including traditional egg tarts and mahjong into the list of intangible cultural heritage items to provide further protection and the government should consider various ways to achieve this purpose.

Traditional egg tarts should be protected since this cultural heritage items shows very well the irreplaceable characteristics of Hong Kong which we are all proud of – Hong Kong being a cultural melting pot. Due to the colonial history of Hong Kong, the British and their western culture is spread within Hong Kong. Pastry being the major element of the during culture in the west was as well being spread to us. Local businessmen then made use of the technique of making pastry, together with the skills of making smooth Chinese egg dessert, to design this fusion to foreign culture and the willingness of cultural integration. The intangible cultural heritage can demonstrate to other cities and countries the possibility of worldwide cultural acceptance and most importantly serve as Hong Kong’s icon being the world-famous cultural melting pot. It is definitely worth protecting.

Mahjong is also an intangible cultural heritage items worth protecting since it can best demonstrate the festive culture of the locals. Mahjong is a game involving four players, which is similar to the western card game - poker. However, unlike cased games, people will yell while playing mahjong to express their excitement as well as disappointment. The game is mostly played in important festivals such as the Lunar New Year. The culture of playing mahjong is a symbol of the Chinese preference of having a crowed and noisy atmosphere, while emphasizing togetherness in our culture. This is a special feature of our culture which should obviously be protected.

It seems undeniable that these intangible culture heritage items – egg tarts and mahjong are worth protecting. With this in mind, it is high time we proposed practical ideas on how the government should do so.

The most notable method to protect these intangible cultural heritage items is to provide subsidies to the local industries – the protection of traditional egg tarts are mostly man-made and involve complicated procedures. In Hong Kong, a cosmopolitan city, which stresses very much on cost effectiveness, many bakeries are using machinery to help with the production. However, this leads to the loss of the traditional flavor. If the government provides adequate subsidy to support the operation of traditional bakeries, more bakeries with the mindset to protect the traditional taste will be able to stand strong against the rising rent and cost of operation to continue their protection.

Equally useful is the emphasis on promotion by the government at school. Currently, the new generation is not having much knowledge of these cultural heritage items as they are less popular now in the era of globalization that youngsters are exposed to a large variety of choice on catering and entertainment compared to that in the old days. It is not uncommon that youngsters do not develop an interest on egg tarts and mahjong, which are recognized as old fashion. The government should encourage schools to incorporate more traditional and local cultural elements into moral and ethics lessons to educate students on the roots of our cultures and the importance of persevering them through introducing the history of egg tarts and game rules of mahjong in lessons.

Having implemented these practical ways to protect our valuable intangible cultural heritage items, I am sure that the future of these heritage will be bright and our culture will be prosperous again.

Yours faithfully

5A Penny Wong Kwan Yee

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