People missed the annual HONG KONG BOOK FAIR alright, based on the swarm of bookworms, collectors and spectators that visited it at the event’s 7-day duration. It is the country’s first time to host one after enforcing the National Law. Remarkably, it thrived beyond expectation.
The Hong Kong Bookfair, which began in 1990, garner a great number of global visitors each year. In 2019, they reached its highest attendance at the 1.04 million mark. Though the pandemic halted last year’s event due to social distancing measures implemented by the Hong Kong government, a grand come back affirms that things are getting back to how it used to be.
The Hong Kong Book Fair 2021 was permitted to push through with its theme of inspiring and motivating reading with a tagline “Reading the World – Inspiring the Mind and Refreshing the Soul”. An array of cultural activities, thematic exhibitions and Eight Seminar Series, follow it up which many of Hong Kong’s book lovers yearned for quite some time now.
The Hong Kong Bookfair 2021 collaborated with the Hong Kong Sports and Leisure Expo, including the World of Snacks, which got unleashed this year to make it worth every guest’s visit. Since tourism is down and basically, nobody is allowed to travel yet, the new World of Snacks featured famous foods from all over the world.
The Organizational Aspect
I always have a pleasant experience collecting my media badge with no hassles and long lines. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council truly does a great job around this area. They isolated the room for the press this year to address COVID concerns of prevention. The media may collect their badges, schedules, and media release sheets from the designated area facing the pier entrance. Plenty of hand sanitisers everywhere – that was great. I would say no alteration in the operations, but personally, it would be great to check the schedule of talks online to save time as you plan. Take that as an advice irrelative of HKTDC involvement.
A little bit of improvement in the flow of people coming to and from would be great if they would assign a quota per day of the number of people that can enter. Perhaps, through an appointment? Booking a time slot may avoid overcrowding, most especially during the weekends.
I always want too many books, but I limit myself to a budget. Nowadays, you can’t be too careless with money. Uncertain times lurk around us, and you don’t want to get into the quicksand of letting go of funds and not having something to spare in the end. People who had lost their jobs or businesses barely could get it together, so there goes the explanation of buying only for my daughters this time.
It was more than 60% off, so it was great. I got mesmerized, once again, just like the year before… and the year before… and the years before that. But this time, I was looking for volumes of Manga comic books as I know it may be expensive to collect. I thought I could bang a bargain. Sadly, it wasn’t even available in English. So, no luck there.
You would see that parents were there too, with a suitcase or two, to buy the listed books from the school to purchase them at a more affordable price. That is a clever way of saving money, as compared to the set from the school. But, this price comes with “a price” of going into tugs of war with other parents. And also, they had to deal with long lines. Not to mention, the hassle of going elbow-to-elbow with the rest of the people on the train come closing time. For those who are riding the bus, that’s another story.
Generally, I noticed that there were more Chinese booths available this year. A great length of age-specific programming books being the most sought after by young kids. And to my surprise, English grammar books for kids fascinated the kids at heart.
Sitting down and listening to one of the renowned authors at the Book Fair, Gillian Bickley, talk about her books, “Over the Years” and “Journeys with a Mission” reminded me of the outpouring dedication of authors. The whole process is not only to finish it but it’s how an author transforms afterwards. The experience of communicating with people, researching the actual truth about the subject, and treading the steps they did to write effectively, are just some of the investments.
Besides aiming to create a record of Hong Kong and those who have lived in the 19th century until the present day, it published the travel journals of the first Anglican Bishop of Victoria. The book about Reverend George Smith talked about St. Paul’s College, Diocesan Girls School and Diocesan Boys School which are popular schools here in Hong Kong.
Overall Experience for the 2021 Hong Kong Book Fair
For an entrance fee of HK$10 both in the morning and at night, it is an experience like no other that is great to share with friends and family. At a very affordable price, access to talks, exhibits, overflowing resources, stationeries and documentation, the Hong Kong Convention Exhibition Centre had done a great job keeping it orderly and COVID-free. There were no reported COVID-19 positive cases at the time of this writing, reflective of the city’s conjoined efforts in imposing the necessary safety measures for its prevention.
The energy that you feel at fairs like this is massive. It’s good to feed yourself of such kind as much as you can. People, though I think it’s probably because of lockdowns, were walking around with intention. Seeing an overflowing sense of purpose like this made me say, “Yes! It’s slowly getting back like before”. Dynamism, what a great feeling!