Speech by Dr Patrick HO, Secretary for Home Affairs at the Opening Ceremony of the United Buddy Bears Exhibition
Distinguished Guests, Consuls General, Representatives of Sponsors, Art Workers, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to attend today's opening ceremony of the United Buddy Bears Exhibition.
Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city with a unique blend of eastern and western cultures; therefore economic, cultural, art and sport exchanges and co-operation with other countries are very frequent. These exchange activities not only facilitate our economic development, but also enrich our life. The United Buddy Bears Exhibition is the first major event jointly organised with an overseas organisation to promote public art. A total of 120 colourful Buddy Bears representing love and peace are transported from Germany to Hong Kong for exhibition. As all bears are designed and painted by artists from their respective countries, they bear distinct cultural colours and thus help disseminate the message of global peace and tolerance. Another twelve Buddy Bears designed by local prominent artists are also exhibited in the Victoria Park to show our involvement in and support to this worldwide Buddy Bears Project. This exhibition will not only help us to understand more about the cultures of other countries, but also allow us to admire art in public open space familiar to us, hence incorporating art into our daily life.
The United Buddy Bears Exhibition is a public art promotion activity as well as a charitable event where the funds raised will go to the Community Chest of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Committee for the UNICEF and the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation to help those in need. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the local bodies, corporations in the industrial and commercial sectors and people from various circles for their generous donations. I would also like to convey my sincere thanks to the founder of the United Buddy Bears Project Dr Klaus Herlitz and his wife Eva, the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation, the Tourist Commission, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the German Consulate General Hong Kong for their invaluable support and assistance in making this event reality. Lastly, a special word of thanks to Mr Jackie Chan who proposed to the Government to bring the Exhibition to Hong Kong.
I sincerely hope that while you appreciate these colourful and unique Buddy Bears, you would help relay the message of love and peace, so as to contribute towards the promotion of harmony and solidarity in Hong Kong