Hong Kong handover: Prepare for nosiest night on earth - karaoke for 2 million

Hong Kong's transition to Chinese rule has survived many challenges, but none as awe-inspiring as a scheme to get 2 million people joining a mass karaoke session singing patriotic songs as the Union flag gives way to the five-star red flag of China.

Leonie Ki, the chief executive of the Better Hong Kong Foundation, and organiser of what promises to be the noisiest night on Earth, cannot contain her enthusiasm. "I'm asking radio stations to get people to sing at home, to come out onto their balconies, if you have a window open it and sing, even sing in front of the television set. I want to create empathy for everyone."

High on Ms Ki's wish-list for the extravaganza are songs such as "Pearl of the Orient", "A Better Tomorrow", "China Dreams" and "Children of the Dragon", which became one of the anthems of the 1989 post-Tiananmen Square massacre protest movement. She may be unaware of the connection.

Karaoke singing is endemic in Hong Kong. Few social occasions are allowed to pass without piercing warbling from amateur performers. Even normally dour Chinese officials have been lured in front of karaoke sets to belt out romantic Chinese melodies.

Ms Ki has no doubt that her organisation can pull off this festival of what she calls "celebrations and jubilation". Radio stations will be asked to plug the event, newspapers to print song sheets and television stations to provide subtitles for the songsbelted out from loudspeakers during an pounds 8m "spectacular" parade organised by the foundation. There will be a light and sound show, an illuminated flotilla crossing Victoria Harbour, water fountains, fireworks, lasers and, of course, the music.

Like many of the hundreds of events scheduled for 1 July and the days following the handover to China, this parade will be paid for by leading companies anxious to hitch themselves to the new-era bandwagon. The stockbroking house Barings has chosen to advance its corporate rehabilitation programme by sponsoring yet another fireworks show, which will be held on the last night of British rule.

Everybody who is anybody will be expected to make an appearance at these events, but the public seems less enthusiastic about rousing themselves to go out on the streets as history is made. One opinion poll published last week found only 6 per cent of respondents keen to take part in the celebrations, while 60 per cent said they would stay at home.

It is widely assumed that once the Union flag is safely furled, President Jiang Zemin will make a triumphal entry to the territory with senior Chinese leaders in tow. He is expected to preside over a number of sombre set piece ceremonies, possibly including the swearing-in of the head of government.

The government itself is organising everything from competitions to walks to lyric-writing contests, food festivals, variety shows, concerts and dramas to mark the handover.

Hong Kong socialites, who need no lessons in extravagance, are planning a series of balls and dinners. And in a minor counter-culture of events is springing up, such as the Hong Kong Incarnation, a multi-media programme by local artists who want to question what is happening. A new gay club is planning a handover party which, its organisers say, will emphasise pink rather than red as the colour of the new order.

This is Hong Kong, so there will be a common purpose in these activities: money-making.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
fashion
News
videoJapanese prepare for the afterlife by testing out coffins
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford attends Blade Runner at Target Presents AFI's Night at the Movies at ArcLight Cinemas on 24 April, 2013 in Hollywood, California
film... but Ridley Scott won't direct
Sport
Hughes is hit by a bouncer from Sean Abbott
cricketStephen Brenkley on batsman's tragic flaw that led to critical injury
Sport
Dejected England players applaud the fans following their team's 3-0 defeat
football

News
people

Actress isn't a fan of Ed Miliband

News
The Bounceway, designed by Architecture for Humanity
newsLondon to add 'The Bounceway' to commuting options
Life and Style
Stefan Gates with some mince flies
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rooney Mara plays a white Tiger Lily in forthcoming film Pan
filmFirst look at Rooney Mara in Pan
Life and Style
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
tech
Life and Style
health

Do you qualify – and how do you get it?

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Langley James : Senior Infrastructure Engineer; VMWare, Windows; Bolton; £40k

£40000 per annum + benefits: Langley James : Senior Infrastructure Engineer; V...

h2 Recruit Ltd: BDD - Digital Banking Technology / CEM - £150k ote

£75000 - £100000 per annum + £150k ote: h2 Recruit Ltd: There are many compani...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Graduate Consultant - Sales Recruitment - £35k ote

£18000 - £25000 per annum + £35k ote: h2 Recruit Ltd: Looking for your first s...

Recruitment Genius: Advertising Media Sales - Print, Online & Mobile

£19000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing house has been ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital