Knowledge of history underpins community life

Impact: Societal

Description of impact

Prof LAU Chi-pang is one of a few scholars who can claim to be true experts on the history of Hong Kong and South China. His passion for the city has led him to devote more than 20 years to research, teaching, and collecting as many “Hong Kong stories” as possible. He has published more than 30 scholarly publications in academic journals and books and all have been widely cited.

“An appreciation of history is all important; without it, a city or region can start to appear totally ‘lost’ and ‘forgotten’ almost overnight,” Prof LAU believes. “It lets you understand the unique position of your own city in the world and how and why it is different from every other city and country.” Prof LAU’s research covers “everything” and seeks to capture all walks of life, including oral history, personal memoirs and official studies of the colonial era up to interviews with doctors who fought through the Sars crisis, which affected hundreds of people in 2003.

How will the History Learning Programme impact the younger generation?
The Jockey Club Hong Kong History Learning Programme, and the Knowledge Transfer project commissioned by the Hong Kong Museum of History, are recent highlights among Prof LAU’s other work and engagements.

The former aims to develop a comprehensive set of teaching and learning resources by delving into the breadth of Hong Kong history. It can then support the main learning areas of “personal, social and humanities education” in the curriculum of primary and secondary schools with the help of five key components. These range from the development of teaching kits on Hong Kong history to thematic seminars, study tours, oral history workshops and mobile exhibitions.

“There will be over 75 topics covering aspects of geography, politics, the economy, society, culture, biography, buildings, and other thematic records,” Prof LAU says.

He hopes the programme will cultivate a more in-depth understanding - among students and teachers - of Hong Kong’s development and changes. It should also inspire the younger generation to think of ways to preserve the city’s precious collective history and give them a sense of why understanding the past matters so much.

What is the significance of the Knowledge Transfer project?
“For the Knowledge Transfer programme, we have been interviewing professionals and people who have served society during their careers,” Prof LAU says.

Earlier this year, for example, he interviewed over 20 local toy manufacturers who made their names in overseas markets over the past few decades. The findings were the basis for “The Legend of Hong Kong Toys” exhibition. “These legendary manufacturers had a lot of interesting stories to share,” Prof LAU says. “Most of them started from scratch and successfully developed all sorts of technical know-how over the years.”

The two projects will help to further Lingnan’s mission of developing a research network among historians and institutions for the study of Hong Kong and South China as well as establish Lingnan University as a hub of Hong Kong and South China historical research.
Category of impactSocietal