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Documentary of Kwang-Chung Yu and Hong Kong Premiered at NSYSU
Publish date : 2017-12-12
National Sun Yat-sen University celebrated the 90th birthday of the emeritus Professor Kwang-Chung Yu. The birthday party saw the premier of the first documentary about Professor Yu and Hong Kong. The filmmaking team visited Hong Kong to film and interviewed several literary acquaintances of Professor Yu. The team spent several months producing the 40-min documentary depicting Professor Yu’s 11-year literary career in Hong Kong and his literary works and life as a teacher. Professor Yu and his wife attended the premiere. The university also invited the emeritus professors Serena Jin and Wai Leung Wong, library staff, and friends of Professor Yu in Hong Kong to attend the premiere.

Professor Yu was born in Nanjing in 1928 and immigrated to Taiwan at the age of 20. From 1974 to 1985, he taught in the Department of Chinese Literature in the United College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. During this period, he published 163 poems and 25 prose. This was a golden period in his life that profoundly influenced his later years in Taiwan. Professor Yu stated that mainland China was the mother, Taiwan was the wife, and Hong Kong was the lover. His works revealed his passion for mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Shih-chiu Liang, late renowned writer, stated that Professor Yu used his right hand to write poems and his left to write prose, and that his achievements were beyond comparison. Professor Wai Leung Wong said that Professor Yu had a bright and colorful pen. The documentary vividly depicts Professor Yu’s golden years in Hong Kong through poetic images.

At the beginning of the documentary, Professor Yu recites his poem “The Sea.” The Chinese University of Hong Kong is the central axis of the documentary. During filming, the filmmaking team visited the Hong Kong International Airport, Sha Tin, Plover Cove, and Ma On Shan and photographed manuscripts written by Professor Yu during his teaching period (stored in the library of the Chinese University of Hong Kong) as well as documents regarding him being named an honorary doctor of letters. In addition, in-depth interviews with Professor Yu’s friends (i.e., Professor Serena Jin and Professor Wai Leung Wong) and students (i.e., Siew Liang Wong and Professor Shi Piu Fan) are included in the documentary. The lyrics of the songs in the documentary were from poems written by Professor Yu. Notably, two songs composed by the so-called father of folk songs Hsien Yang and singer Ta-yu Lo were allowed to be included in the documentary without royalties needing to be paid. Another two songs were composed by Yi Ling Wu and Yi Jun Liu, students at the National Sun Yat-sen University. By watching the documentary, viewers can become immersed in Professor Yu’s creativity to appreciate the essence of modern poetry.

Professor Yu discussed his poetry writing processes and stated that he wrote “The Sea” not long after he left Hong Kong and arrived in Kaohsiung. At that time, he greatly missed Hong Kong. He visited Sizihwan to look out across the Taiwan Strait. His eyes looking at the sea expressed his yearning for his former life in Hong Kong. Professor Yu stated that after his whole family had immigrated to Hong Kong, he encountered language problems because he could not speak Cantonese. When people asked him questions, he could only answer their questions in Mandarin, which he stated was “uncommon” in Hong Kong. Professor Yu recalled that at that time, the salary for a professor in Taiwan was NT$7000 a month. In Hong Kong, the salary for a professor was HK$7000 a month, which he deemed satisfactory.
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