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Film and Q & A - The Rhymes of Shui Hau - Dr. Chloe Lai

  • Hong Kong Club 1 Jackson Road Central, Hong Kong Island Hong Kong (map)

The village of Shui Hau is three hundred years old. The village is bounded by the Lantau Peak to the north and the South China Sea to the south. In Chinese, “Shui Hau” means the mouth of a waterway, which explains its geographic location. The village, or the island where it is situated, must be understood with an appreciation of the sea. Lantau Island is part of an archipelago separating the Pearl River and the open seas. The waterway connects Lantau to the Soko Islands, Cheung Chau, Peng Chau, Macau and other cities and settlements in the Pearl River Delta. Recent human settlements in Lantau can only be understood from the perspective of the sea and its seafarers.

Rhymes of Shui Hau features three elderly ladies from the village. Their stories, and the rhymes they hum in Wai Tau Waa, an age-old dialect that many cannot comprehend, offer a glimpse of Hong Kong before its industrialisation and urbanisation. If their rhymes open a window to the city’s past, they are also a peephole for our future. If development and urban expansion is given a free reign, we would soon forget the vernacular heritage that we have lost. 

A trailer for the film can be found here.

The Speaker

A journalist by training, Dr. Chloe Lai has long been covering issues pertaining to urban planning and development in English newspapers in Hong Kong. She currently runs a non-profit online platform called Urban Diary (Website:, Facebook: ovalurbandiary) that promotes sustainable living in the city. Urban Diary is a collage of stories which features the actions and crafts of ordinary Hong Kong people that make the city vibrant, diverse and resilient. Dr. Lai uses journalism to narrate stories of everyday life. She firmly believes in discovering different way of living in the ruthlessly development-driven Hong Kong. Dr. Lai’s work was turned into the bilingual publication titled URBAN DIARY: Sustainable Future Hong Kong Tales, which was named by academic groups such as the Hong Kong Urban Laboratory, and media outlets such as Stand News, as one of the top 10 books in Urban Studies for 2015. Dr. Lai obtained her PhD from the Department of Comparative Literature, The University of Hong Kong. Her thesis, Journalism as part of the neoliberal urban redevelopment regime: the case of Hong Kong, investigates the role of the press in Hong Kong’s urban redevelopment regime, and analyses the impact of neoliberal governmentality on journalism.

Time: 6.00pm  Reception and drinks.  

6.30pm  Film show screening ‘Rhymes of Shui Hau’

7.30pm  Q&A with Dr Chloe Lai

Venue: Harcourt Room, Hong Kong Club

Admission : RAS Members and guests $150

Booking : Please email in advance to reserve your place, and pay at the Reception Desk