Monday, December 18, 2017

Hong Kong's "A Christmas Carol" and The Dickens Project

By Gemma Cleansalte

I took a respite from all the fun and winter shops and decorations to visit an old classic in two regions. On Hong Kong University Education Island there is a wonderful depiction of the ever told tale of Scrooge as a virtual Christmas story. I doubt there are many who have never heard Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” in which a miserly old man is met with his past, present and future. I am used to seeing the shortened versions of Scrooge on TV and had almost forgotten how involved the story really is. 

You begin your visit to Mr Scrooge in the office of Scrooge and Marley where you find Mr Scrooge talking with his nephew and refusing an invite to Christmas dinner with’ Bah Humbug.’ . His worker Bob Cratchit is staying on Christmas eve to work in the cold office  . Mr Scrooge leaves him there and goes home to dinner and wine.  Move to his home where he is sitting and you find the ghost  of Marley, his former business partner,  greeting him with ominous talk and the saga begins. He is going to experience some past life and some of  the people he has injured during his life.

Follow him to the viewing of Christmas Past where there is a wonderful party going, Fezziwig’s Ball. His memories of his past are filled with failures of social interactions. Take a tour of the venue which is snow covered and lovely with characters of the mid nineteenth century along the way (His home there is better than I expected).   

His  ghost of the present  takes him to view the home of his worker Bob Cratchit and how he spends his holiday with loved ones including his invalid son Tiny Tim. They are seated at the dining table waiting for dinner.

The setting outside the home is lovely and worth exploring and skating on the pond. I stopped in at Scrooge’s cottage on the way around the town.

The ghost of the future is the most upsetting . He carries Scrooge to his final resting place where there is a large tombstone stating, “ Here lies A Bitter Man.. Ebenezer Scrooge... R.I.P." He stands there looking at the epitaph in dismay.  That is where you are left in the story.

Just to remind you, when Ebenezer awakens on Christmas Day, alive. He is so happy to have a chance to make up for the life he has lived. He treats the Cratchits to a wonderful Christmas dinner and tips the carolers that are singing. He changes his ways and becomes a different man. 

Dickens was a prolific author and wrote books and articles about the ills of the time where the rich were very rich and the poor were very poor and the social ills of the day. Sound familiar?

Stop over to see the marvelous exhibit . .


There is an installation on LEA7 where you can go to learn so much more of Dickens.  The Dickens Project of the Seanchai Library in its fifth year. There is so much going on in the region . The venue again is the London of Charles Dickens. Take a tour with the horse and carriage up and down the lanes of the city.Stop in at the Dickens Library. It is a very bookish area near the library and one can learn all about Dickens and his times. 

I stopped in also at the offices of Scrooge and Marley which still bears that name long after Marley’s death.  Caledonia Skytower one of the founders of the project, along with  Aoife Lorefield, says, ”Our vision has always been too guide our audiences 'in the steps of Ebeneezer Scrooge' using Dickens words framed by a themed environment, like walking through a live picture book."

The many events taking place during the month to add to knowledge of this writer and why he wrote what he did. This exhibit goes into so much detail about the author that I have forgotten and much I never knew. I went on the balloon ride that takes you into the early life of Scrooge out on the isles surrounded by raging waters. Try to get to a spoken guided tour of details of the time and life of Dickens. This website gives you information on the activity of the day.   This venue could give a degree in Dickens!

I ran into one of the contributing artists, Mireille Jenvieve-Woodford (mireille.jenvieve), who told me  to be sure to attend some of the presentations and I will. Get to the sim before December 30 just to get the flavor of the times and a fun education.

Gemma Cleanslate  

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