Wai King Wong – Hong Kong SAR

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She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “To preserve culture, the human being is the prime factor. If people in a community do not see the importance of safeguarding it, development is an empty word”.

Wai King Wong - Hong Kong SAR rogné.jpg
Wai King Wong – Hong Kong SAR

She works as founding member for the Tai O Cultural Workshop.

A Hong Kong native, Wong Wai King is a housewife living in Tai O, a small fishing village on western Lantau Island, the largest outlying island of Hong Kong. She began her community services for the elderly and people with different abilities in her home village in the early 1980s. From 1990 onward, she has actively engaged in safeguarding the ecological environment of Tai O, challenging government- corporation collusion and patriarchal ideologies.

In 2001, she founded the Tai O Cultural Workshop, which keeps historical archives and objects from the small fishing village. Wong Wai King has been living in Tai O for more than 40 years. A mother of two sons, she was once a kindergarten teacher. In 1982, she began her community services, in particular, providing care to underprivileged elderly and people with different abilities.

The economy of Tai O began to slide in the early 90s, partly because of its remote location. Many young people left their hometown for new adventures. Wai King has attempted to boost the local economy by launching ecological tourism. In doing so, she hopes that the public will better appreciate the treasures of Tai O and nature.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong government set its sights on the potential of Tai O and planned to bring in property companies. It turned out to be a battle, and a long one, for Wai King. With her love and passion for this small village, she has been fighting against the government to safeguard the natural environment of Tai O over the last decade, trying her best to conserve Tai O and prevent it from falling into the trap of urbanization.

In 1993, Wai King started the “A Fool Moving the Mountain Campaign”(meaning an almost impossible mission), mobilizing university students and volunteers to repair the dykes along the coast with their bare hands. These dykes are highly symbolic in the life of Tai O. She organized the ?Economic Development Plan of Tai O which aimed to encourage the local economy. Since 1994 , she collects cultural relics and oral history from villagers as a cultural heritage and oral history collection. Her proposal to the government to set up a Tai O Museum was rejected. But she secured a one-year sponsorship from an overseas foundation, and established the Tai O Cultural Workshop.

In 2000, she published her first book, My Love Stories with Tai O, a collection of oral history on Tai O and its cultural heritage. She covered the cost with her own savings. Her second book, The Spiritual Mountain and Water of Tai O, was published in November 2004. Through these publications, Wai King promotes the spirit of loving one?s community. She devotes all her efforts to educating the public, lobbying the government and politicians, and organizing ecological tours on a voluntary basis to let the public understand the importance of saving Tai O, and also how urbanization works against nature and our life. So far, she has been able to reach more than 200,000 people.

Tai O is a community where indigenous male villagers are privileged over the others by historical, traditional and patriarchal circumstances. The government approached male villagers with lucrative terms. Wai King?s efforts in conservation met with oppositions from these villagers who weighed business opportunities over ecology and conservation of nature. Her elder son was attacked when some indigenous male villagers got into the Tai O Cultural Workshop and humiliated Wai King with foul words because she opposed the government?s plan relating to fishing vessel anchorage.

The awareness of the Hong Kong public on the importance of conservation has been enhanced by the efforts of Wai King. They see that protection of environment is not an individual responsibility. Neither would they accept the market reality as an excuse to cause damage to the ecology. To Wai King, the Government?s plan to re-develop Tai O and the island as a whole is commercially based. It is just an open invitation to the corporations to destroy the environment, ignoring the genuine needs of the local villagers, the natural and the ecological balance. It will turn the unique fishing village into a commercial gimmick. Among all others, the environmental destruction brought by the construction of Disneyland in Lantau worries her most.

Feminism puts much emphasis on peace. Wai King participates in conservation and cultural heritage work in Tai O. She is a living example of what she advocates, conserving the natural environment of the community through internal and external means to bring about peace and harmony between humans and nature. Wai King is ?an advocate of peace ecology and a good friend of the many city dwellers who have been enlightened by her. She is a woman who is willing to contribute to the community. She has great faith in equality and possesses the amazing willpower to protect her own home village. (Read all on 1000peacewomen 2005).

Sorry, I can not get more information in english about Wai King Wong – Hong Kong SAR, being certified it would be the wanted person. Nor on the Tai O Cultural Workshop.

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