Dragons and Rabbits: Inside Hong Kong’s Lantern-Making Workshops

This article was first published in Zolima City Mag on 18 September 2019

The morning light refracts through a kaleidoscope of taut inflated plastic, striking rainbows from the lanterns hanging in the frontage of a Chai Wan toy shop. Here a plump airplane; there the insipid smiling gaze of Little Twin Stars. Soon these lanterns will be taken down and delivered into the eager hands of children, ready to celebrate on the eve of Mid-Autumn Festival. 

Continue reading “Dragons and Rabbits: Inside Hong Kong’s Lantern-Making Workshops”

Chan Kwok-yuen: Cantonese Opera Headdress Maker

Written by Billy Potts

This article was originally published in Zolima City Mag on 4 September 2019

The scene opens on Temple Street with a backdrop of low hanging clouds and the steady pneumatic beat of roadwork. The neighbourhood’s usual players make their entrances and exits. Overhead, banners decorated with the flags of China and Hong Kong twist languidly in the tepid air. A discrete entrance sandwiched between fishmongers signals a scene change. 

Continue reading “Chan Kwok-yuen: Cantonese Opera Headdress Maker”

A Master Puppeter Gives an Ancient Art a 21st Century Update

Written by Billy Potts

A version of this article first appeared in Zolima City Mag on 22 May 2019

The room has been thrown into complete disarray, the floor strewn with spent bottles and jars of rice wine. Zhong Kui is the figure at the centre of it all, a crimson faced mess howling pitifully as he seizes another flagon and drains it. Throwing the vessel aside and stumbling across the room, he collapses in a heap, his fitful sleep punctuated by boisterous snores.

Continue reading “A Master Puppeter Gives an Ancient Art a 21st Century Update”

The Immigrant Dragons Part IV: Generations United in Bendigo

Written by Billy Potts

This is the eleventh in a series of articles in which I explore the cryptozoology of Hong Kong. This article was published in a shorter form in Zolima City Mag.

The clangour of cymbals and drums splits the air as lions prowl, pounce and tower vertiginously above the gathered crowd. An azure sky frames their acrobatics on this Holy Saturday as Bendigo’s dragons lie dormant, waiting to rise. Lion teams, from across Australia, have converged to grace these Easter celebrations in Bendigo, a city of 95,000 people about 150 kilometres northwest of Melbourne – a city with a surprising Chinese heritage.

Continue reading “The Immigrant Dragons Part IV: Generations United in Bendigo”