Dear Hong Kong, a non-profit social project that celebrates identity and diversity is launching the first volume of its eponymous photo book. Built with the shared vision of 50 volunteers across 20 nations, the team has spent two years interviewing, photographing and translating the stories of almost 100 interviewees from different countries and territories.
Dear Hong Kong, a 200-page bilingual photo book, aims to documents stories from 150 nationalities to bring life to the stories and portraits of inspiring people from around the globe who live in Hong Kong.
"By documenting stories and humanity, we hope that the book can be a platform to give voice to the voiceless, challenge stereotypes, and promote mutual understanding," said Oskar Valles and Aggie Lam, co-founders of Dear Hong Kong.
"Many Hongkongers have limited opportunities to have deep dialogues with people in different communities. This project has allowed our team to learn about Hong Kong from a completely different perspective. The culturally diverse social, economic, and educational institutions that have helped to build the foundation of Hong Kong, the struggles of marginalised communities, and the contributions to Hong Kong of both famous people and unsung heroes are all part of our collective narrative," they added.
Through these interviews, you can see how Hong Kong is home to thousands of talented individuals from different cultures, professions, genders, age groups and classes. Some of the people included in the photobook are Phyllis Marwah (USA), co-founder of Mother's Choice, Christopher Doyle (Australia), a renowned cinematographer, Jeff Rotmeyer (Canada), founder of ImpactHK and Love 21, Dennis Philipse (Netherlands), organiser of Hong Kong Gay Games 2022, Lance Lau (Hong Kong), an 11-year-old climate change activist, Karis Teetan (Mauritius), a professional jockey and Ajmal Samuel (Pakistan), a member of the HK Para-Rowing team.
Dear Hong Kong hopes that these various cultures will bring it closer to its readers and spark a conversation around identity, respect and unity.
"I thought I knew Hong Kong was diverse, but this takes it to a whole new level of eye-opening. Every profile I read reminded me how exciting it is to be a Hongkonger," said Vivek Mahbubani, an award-winning Hong Kong-bred bilingual stand-up comedian said of the book.
"I have made 120 movies here, Hong Kong has given me so much. How could I not give it back? This is my home," said Doyle.
For the first volume, 80 profiles have been completed and work on the second volume is well underway to achieve the target of 150 nationalities. Dear Hong Kong is also organising different exhibitions and events in public spaces across the city to spread the message of diversity and unity.