‘Old neighbours have finished their tour guide training, tour plan has also been completed, and invitations have been sent to schools… everything was almost ready but has been deferred again and again due to the pandemic. This disappointed the elder volunteer guides who have been looking forward to the tour launch,’ said Bonnie Sin, the supervisor of the Nam Tai Centre for Senior Citizens.

Many plans were interrupted by the unexpected changes. In last year many projects and plans that were about to launch had to be held up due to the pandemic. Thanks to the creativity and perseverance of everyone involved in the tour of Exploration@Namshan Project including staff, elder tour guides and young volunteers, the tour whose launch date was once unknown is now presented to the public in an innovative way.

Adapting the trend and going online

During the pandemic, it has become a global trend for campaign projects to use online platforms to interact and stay connected. Exploration@Namshan Project also caught up with this trend – elders are encouraged to learn and use new technologies and social media like Facebook and Instagram, at the same time content of the estate tour has been rearranged into a series of online videos named as ‘Friends of Nam Shan’, introducing an online experience of Nam Shan Estate that allows viewers to know about its history, culture and community.

‘Thanks to the Project, for the first time I had the opportunity to guide a tour and participate in video filming. Through the experience I have made friends with many neighbours and tried missions that I have never done before – all these are new and interesting to me!’ said Mei-sheung, a guide of the estate tour who also participated in the filming of promotional videos and history corner videos.

‘Friends of Nam Shan’ series cover a wide range of themes – fun cooking contests, introduction of the Estate’s historical spots, interviews with small shops in the Estate, and even the popular “unboxing” videos. Some of the videos have also interactive games and invite viewers to share their comments. In just a few months the series has attracted viewers from all ages in the neighourhood and gained a lot of great feedbacks.

Elders and Young working together

The success of the video series is a combined achievement of elders who are willing to try and participate in new things and young volunteers who assist and support them. It is the intention of Exploration@Namshan Project to work with youth service organisations in the community. By creating opportunities for elders and young people to work together, they can know more about each other’s lifestyle and culture and achieve mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s talents.

In the videos, elders showed their cooking skills by making traditional food like Hakka steamed rice cakes and shared their childhood memories. Young people brought trendy culture elements to the videos like mixing in the latest slang words in their conversation with elders. Both sides learn new things from each other.

The Project brought back a lot of childhood memories to me like beating cotton, weaving rattan and making red bean congee. Although these traditions were now diminished, I can share the memories with others through the guided tour,” said Siu-tung, an old neighbour that has now become one of the guides.

At the beginning of the Project, many elders were nervous about being the tour guides, but now they are able to have fun in front of the camera and are keen to make suggestions to perfect the filming. Although the preparation of the guided tour may not be smooth, along a winding path the elders found surprises and challenges, and by walking through them they gained new experiences.

Exploration@Namshan Project – Estate guided tour

The aim of the Project is to invite elders in Shek Kip Mei to become trained guides for a tour that introduces characteristic spots and culture of the area to the public and young people. Elders are also recruited as instructors of traditional craft workshops to pass on the traditional cultures. By creating channels for participants to recognise the knowledges and talents of elders, the Project promotes inclusiveness across all ages.

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