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Hong Kong Public Libraries resumed normal opening hours

From 29 September, all public libraries and their students’ study rooms have resumed normal opening hours, with cleaning session in between. Counting of overdue fines is resumed from 19 October 2020. For the interest of public health, library visitors will be subject to temperature checks before admission and need to wear their own masks. Children aged under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Please refer to the Details.

“Tung Wah Archives and Early Overseas Chinese” Subject Talks

“Tung Wah Archives and Early Overseas Chinese” Subject Talks

Hong Kong's longest standing charitable organisation, the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (TWGHs) maintains a rich collection of historical records. The comprehensive and organized records do not only shed light on various aspects of early Hong Kong society, but also help reconstruct the path of Hong Kong's development at different times in history. In particular, the Tung Wah Coffin Home Archives are unique cultural heritage of Hong Kong. They document the bone repatriation services provided by Tung Wah to Chinese people who passed away in Hong Kong or abroad from the late 19th to mid-20th century, and are important archives for the research on Hong Kong's role in a global Chinese philanthropic network.

Past Activities

Huiguan & Early overseas Chinese in the United States (Full)
Date: 2018/4/21 (Saturday)
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Venue: Hong Kong Central Library (Lecture Theatre)
Description: In the mid-19th century, a gold rush swept the United States while many new railroads were built. Many Chinese people left their hometowns to earn a living in the United States and improve their livelihood. Unfamiliar with the customs and language of a foreign country, these early overseas Chinese set up huiguan (benevolent associations) based on geographical ties to look out for one another. The huiguan played an indispensable role in early Chinese communities in the United States. In addition to assisting Chinese labourers on matters relating to work and livelihood, the huiguan also provided bone repatriation services. In her lecture, Dr Sonia Ng will draw on archive materials to discuss the history of early Chinese compatriots in the United States as well as the role of huiguan in this chapter of history.
Early Development of Hong Kong’s Funeral Industry (Full)
Date: 2018/4/14 (Saturday)
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Venue: City Hall Public Library (Extension Activities Room)
Description: Chinese people traditionally attach great importance to “birth, nurturing, death and burial”. In the early days when the funeral industry was yet to develop, funeral and burial services for Chinese people in Hong Kong were largely provided by coffin shops. Meanwhile, since the early 20th century, Tung Wah Hospital had built pavilions near major Chinese cemeteries to provide funeral goers with shelter from the elements. Today, all of the pavilions, with the exception of Wai Yuen Pavilion in Wo Hop Shek, have been demolished. Drawing on records and research information, the two speakers will discuss the early development of Hong Kong’s funeral industry.
Cuba: A Unique Chapter of Overseas Chinese History (Full)
Date: 2018/3/24 (Saturday)
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Venue: Hong Kong Central Library (Lecture Theatre)
Description: Cuba has always occupied a special place in the history of overseas Chinese. According to historical records, as early as 1847, the ocean liners Oquendo and Duke of Argyle had taken some 500 Chinese labourers to Havana, lifting the curtain on the history of overseas Chinese in Cuba. Between 1847 and 1874, an estimated 140,000 Chinese labourers were sent to Cuba, most of whom were deceived into taking up work or kidnapped. Today, fewer than 100 Chinese remain in Cuba. In his lecture, Dr Louie will discuss this unique chapter of overseas Chinese history in Cuba, drawing on his personal experience, field studies and historical documents. He will also share what he had seen and experienced in Cuba while he conducted his research.
Conservation of Tung Wah Archives (Full)
Date: 2018/3/10 (Saturday)
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Venue: Kowloon Public Library (Extension Activities Room)
Description: Mr Lai has engaged in paper conservation work for more than four decades. Since he took office as TWGHs’ Conservation Specialist, he has restored batches after batches of invaluable Tung Wah records, including the century-old Kwong Wah Hospital Registry as well as the Tung Wah Coffin Home Archives which document the bone repatriation services offered by Tung Wah. Mr Lai will share his work experiences in conserving the records of Tung Wah.
Preservation and Challenges: Tung Wah Coffin Home Archives (Full)
Date: 2018/2/10 (Saturday)
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Venue: Sha Tin Public Library (Extension Activities Room)
Description: Since the mid-19th century, many Chinese people travelled abroad to earn a living in hopes of improving their livelihood. They all wished to be buried in their hometown after they died. In this light, Tung Wah provided bone repatriation services to fulfil the last wishes of many overseas Chinese. Many records of this legacy have been preserved. Today the archives yield invaluable information for the research on Hong Kong’s role in a global Chinese philanthropic network and they are indeed world class cultural heritage unique to Hong Kong. The speaker will introduce the Tung Wah Coffin Home Archives and their importance, conservation and future challenges.
Early Chinese Labourers & History and Culture of Overseas Chinese’s Home Towns
Date: 2018/2/3 (Saturday)
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Venue: Hong Kong Central Library (Lecture Theatre)
Description: From the mid-19th century to early 20th century, there were waves of emigration from China due to political, economic and social factors at home and abroad. An estimated three million people left their hometowns in Guangdong during this period to earn a living abroad. They embarked on their journeys in hopes of improving their livelihood, but many Chinese labourers were in fact subject to discrimination and even violence. Meanwhile, Hong Kong was a transit point in their outbound and homeward journey – whether they were alive or dead. In her lecture, Professor Tan will present in detail the lives of early Chinese labourers and the unique “home town” culture in Guangdong.
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