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Saturday, Apr 01, 2023

Friday Beyond Spotlights - Winnie Tam, the woman behind and beyond the spotlights

Friday Beyond Spotlights is an informative yet light-hearted talk show broadcast every Friday at 8:30pm on Hong Kong International Business Channel (#76).
The English programme is where prominent guests share their insights into current affairs, business, innovation and culture, as well as their ingenuity, passion and grit which formulate the Lion Rock spirit. The show is hosted by Patrick Tsang On-yip, Nick Chan Hiu-fung and Herman Hu Shao-ming.

The first episode of Season 2, hosted by Patrick Tsang On-yip, features Winnie Tam, Chairperson of Hong Kong Palace Museum. Tam is a Senior Counsel of the Hong Kong Bar, an international arbitrator in independent private practice, and a former Chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association (2015-2017). Her public services include a part-time High Court judge, a member of the Law Reform Commission, Chairman of the Communications Authority, and a member of the Independent Commission on Remuneration for Members of the Executive Council and the Legislature, among others.

In this interview, Tam explains the uniqueness of Hong Kong as an international arts and cultural hub with so much happening at the West Kowloon Cultural District and around town, and also shares anecdotes from her childhood that inspired her to pursue arts and culture.

Hong Kong: an international arts and cultural hub

Tam says Hong Kong has been assigned the special role as an international cultural hub under China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25). In this respect, the Hong Kong Palace Museum is not only a museum of Chinese artifacts, but a cultural museum as its Chinese name “Hong Kong Palace Cultural Museum” suggests. The museum will be hosting international exhibitions as well as artifacts from the precious collections of Beijing’s Palace Museum. In some of these special exhibitions, modern and ancient cultures will be juxtaposed to accomplish the East meets West theme of international culture exchange.

Hong Kong is anything but a cultural desert, says Tam, “We see Hong Kong bringing up a world class orchestra, world class performances in ballet, international award-winning art groups. Our performing arts school is one of the best, if not the best, in the region where students from across the region come to study.” She adds that Hong Kong has been excellent in accepting and embracing overseas talents, including Chinese talents from the Mainland and Taiwan, and has a mix of local talents as a metropolitan city.

Inspiration from mother to pursue arts and culture

At the interview, Winnie shares with audience an iambic verse (or sung chi) of a Sung Dynasty poet called San Hei Jat, which her mother has written for her on a fan-shaped paper. “I love this piece very much because it reminds me of a moment between my mother and I, where we communicated in art and literature. It was very precious to have that memory of the time which I have treasured ever since.”

Tam is impressed by her mother’s determination to pursue her interest in arts and culture. “We were not from a rich and privileged family at all as my mother was a teacher, and she was by then retired. But it never stopped her from pursuing arts and culture. The realities of life never made her feel that this kind of thing is not for me. It was so important for her that she never stopped pursuing it. That is the important message that we would very much like people in Hong Kong to share: arts and culture is for everybody and everybody finds enjoyment, and everybody can find enjoyment in the part of himself or herself in arts and culture.”

Message to young people

When asked to offer her advice to the next generation, Tam says: “I find grit is a very important quality, perseverance, and I think it is very important for young people to know right from the start that the path in front of them is not going to be all flat and easy. The next is open mindedness. It is about not limiting your own opportunities in life. And another quality is gratefulness. I think gratefulness is a mindset and helps you to have hope for what you aspire to have. Another piece of advice I would often give to young people is self-reliance. You will find that you are the best help to yourself.”

And on the future of Hong Kong, Tam says the future will depend on all of us working together and even to the utmost to promote dialogues between human beings, between nations, between governments, or between sectors of different interests. “I believe it is so important for us to find common ground rather than only focus on differences and also to have, as our goal, doing things for the common good rather than for promoting self-interest,” she concludes.

To watch the video, visit Friday Everyday YouTube Channel -

Friday Beyond Spotlights Season 2 Ep.1 l Winnie Tam: Live in the Palace Museum

Part 1 : https://youtu.be/1pbocrTnbVg

Part 2 : https://youtu.be/MtbsH5X5jaA

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