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Ambrose Li

Ambrose Li

Articles (4)

Michael Wong on his collaboration with Glenlivet

Michael Wong on his collaboration with Glenlivet

Michael Wong is a man of many talents – actor (notable for his parts in films like Lost and Found, Beast Cops and Nightfall), singer, aviator, and now, whisky connoisseur. Working with Glenlivet and auction house Dragon 8, the renaissance man has helped create MW MIchael Wong Glenlivet 35, a 35-year-old single malt of subtle complexity, limited to 228 bottles.Ahead of the whisky’s release we talk to Wong to learn about his latest creation, his career and an office favourite tune...In your own words, how would you describe your MW Michael Wong whisky?Something modern and very classy, which carries a certain elegance to it. Something that fits my brand profile.Obviously you’ve tried it, so what do you like about the whisky in terms of tasting notes?The 35 is a very smooth whisky, it has a lot of interesting characteristics to it. There’s a very subtle but creamy finish. Everyone describes their whisky in different ways. I had it written down as soft, honey-kissed, mixed dried fruits. You need to wait for the finish to really get the proper definition. But that’s the one thing that comes through most for me – a very soft, honey feel.How do you take your whisky?I myself, I dilute my whisky. I think it helps to open up the whisky. I add several drops of distilled water. That takes away the bite on the nose, as it can be very strong. This bottle is very masculine, the stopper is very traditional, a very strong stance.Have you always enjoyed the spirit?Since I was in high school. In

Interview: Stephen Cleobury on the Choir of King's College and Brahms' Requiem

Interview: Stephen Cleobury on the Choir of King's College and Brahms' Requiem

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge perhaps needs no introduction to most people. Not only a household name worldwide through annual broadcasts Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve, they're also one of the most well-known all-male choirs in the world. The distinguished choir, which sings six services a week in the magnificent King’s College Chapel under the direction of Stephen Cleobury, brings to Hong Kong audiences Johannes Brahms’ monumental Requiem in an upcoming concert, featuring local opera star Louise Kwong.  A performance of Requiem consists of seven movements, and generally takes at least one hour to perform, sometimes up to a staggering 80 minutes. Naturally, its length makes it a rather demanding task for any choir to perform on tour – especially for soprano boys aged between nine and 13. When asked how the boys are coping with rehearsing and performing such a piece on such a grand scale, Cleobury reveals that 'they [the boys] are absolutely loving it'. Cleobury goes on to tell us some of the challenges that come with the performing the piece: “The fugues at the end of movements three and six require great stamina for many singers. Equally, considerable refinement is indispensable in some of the more expressive passages.”  Despite the difficulties, the critically acclaimed Choir has most certainly risen to the challenge, having recorded the entire work accompanied by two pianists – a version arranged by the composer himself.  “The Choir have als

Interview: Hiroaki Umeda and Anna Chan on dance as art and multimedia

Interview: Hiroaki Umeda and Anna Chan on dance as art and multimedia

Hongkongers love Japanese culture. We are a city obsessed with Japanese food, we grew up with Japanese animation and drama, we rock Japanese threads, and don't get us started on Japanese video games. But how much do we know about Japanese dance – or, more specifically, Japanese avant-garde dance? Award-winning Japanese choreographer Hiroaki Umeda was recently in Hong Kong for the latest installment of the West Kowloon Cultural District's New Works Forum, in which he discussed the relationship between (and manipulation of) multimedia and dance with local artists.Having presented his works in various prestigious venues such as the Barbican Centre in London and the Sydney Opera House, Umeda shares his experiences of creating his highly acclaimed work Holistic Strata to Hong Kong artists.  "My purpose in creating art," Umeda explains, "is to cause sensations in the bodies of the audience. There is no specific meaning or message, just the experience of time and space." He goes on about the concept behind the work as an 'impulse'.  "For me, emotions are defined by and in the society [in which we live]." He continues, "The word 'impulse', to me, comes prior to emotion – the root of the emotions, in fact." It is these pre-emotive impulses which he aims to explore in his work. As an audience member, Anna Chan, the head of artistic development (dance) at West Kowloon Cultural District, shares her thought on Umeda's performance. "The work is very thought-provoking, and it awakens our s

Interview: Carlos Acosta on his Classical Farewell and 17 years of dance

Interview: Carlos Acosta on his Classical Farewell and 17 years of dance

Receiving an astounding 20-minute standing ovation at his final ballet performance at London's Royal Opera House (ROH), where he danced for 17 years, was a fitting end to the career of one of the greatest dancers of our time. Hailed by his company during that final curtain call as 'a trailblazer and inspiration for male dancers', Carlos Acosta has appeared in title roles in the most prominent venues in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera House, New York and the Paris Opera, and was the first foreign dancer ever to be a guest-principal at the Bolshoi Ballet. Now 43, he is retiring from the world of classical ballet having enjoyed a long and successful international career, which he is celebrating with his upcoming three-night show, A Classical Farewell, in Hong Kong this week."This programme consists of several ballets from different styles and times," Acosta tells us ahead of his shows. "It shows us the world of ballet on stage, and backstage. The selection has to do with my career, and some of the choreographers are my friends." A Classical Farewell features a wide-ranging repertoire, from excerpts of the crown jewel of ballets, Swan Lake, to Acosta’s swansong at the ROH, Carmen, a production which saw him take on duties as both lead dancer and choreographer. When asked why this is his 'classical farewell', Acosta answers, "I have fulfilled almost every dream, so I think it is time for a change. It’s not only for my body, but I also have other interests." Acosta has

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Hong Kong Profile: Cheung Shun-king – Mahjong tile artisan

Hong Kong Profile: Cheung Shun-king – Mahjong tile artisan

Come the weekend, the rattle of mahjong tiles being shuffled before a game is a common sound. It creeps out of apartments and into stairwells, an indelible part of local culture. Nowadays, most mahjong sets are mass-produced in factories on the Mainland. Only a handful of artisans who are able to engrave the tiles by hand remain in Hong Kong. Jordan’s Cheung Shun-king is one of them. “I’ve been in the industry for more than half a century,” Cheung tells us. “I grew up surrounded by people who made mahjong tiles, as both my father and grandfather were in the business.” Cheung goes on to tell us how he acquired his skills solely by observation. “I didn’t start off as an apprentice to the old masters,” he says. “It began with the old masters giving me tiles on which they made mistakes, which I could engrave for my own amusement. I closely inspected their techniques.” In retrospect, Cheung jokes that it was a mistake to have learned the techniques for fun, because once he knew how to do it, he was obliged to help out with the family business. “Those were the days when we had too many orders and too few staff. I had to help out on the side as a child,” he mentions.  Biu Kee Mahjong A self-taught craftsman, Cheung demonstrates his virtuosity by engraving the green 12-stroke character ‘發’, meaning fortune, on to a tile in less than five minutes. Afterwards, he shows us a myriad of homemade knives, cutters and other utensils he uses to go about his business. “I made these myself and

Hong Kong profile: Felix Yeung, director of music at St John's Cathedral

Hong Kong profile: Felix Yeung, director of music at St John's Cathedral

Written to glorify God, Ode to Joy, the choral symphony from Beethoven’s Symphony No 9, and the famous hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah are some of the most well-known pieces in the history of Western music. But these days, for many, church music is a relic belonging to a past era. Yet, whatever other traditions have been lost in Hong Kong, our city hasn’t forgotten its appreciation for this very particular style of music. Felix Yeung, the director of music at Central’s 169-year-old St John’s Cathedral, is one of those individuals entrusted with maintaining Hong Kong’s history of church music. Yeung recently received the Award for Young Artist (Music) from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, among other prizes he has earned, in recognition of his talent and efforts. His main duty is to conduct St John’s cathedral choir but he is also responsible for playing the organ and overseeing the music ministry of the entire institution. “I’ve always enjoyed conducting,” the 29-year-old states. “I can’t see myself having another career and I won’t become a professional conductor if I do!” Yeung started conducting at the age of 13, at his alma mater, St Paul’s College, for an end-of-term concert, and he has continued to do so ever since. “I joined the cathedral choir when I was 15, as a singer, and was given the chance to conduct the choir every now and then by the then director of music, Raymond Fu,” Yeung recalls. By taking up this position, Yeung feels it allows him to give

Joyce Mak of Gingko House on social entrepreneurship in Hong Kong

Joyce Mak of Gingko House on social entrepreneurship in Hong Kong

In The Intern, Robert De Niro, a 70-year-old retired executive, applies to work at Anne Hathaway’s fledgling start-up because of the blandness of life after retirement. Hathaway is sceptical at first but eventually De Niro proves himself a valuable addition to the company and wins over his colleagues. Heartwarming stories such as these don’t often happen in real life but there’s actually something similar right here in Hong Kong. Joyce Mak, the CEO of Gingko House, founded the original restaurant on Gough Street to promote senior employment in Hong Kong and to help alleviate pensioners’ depression as a result of retirement. Established in 2006, the business now has four restaurants serving a variety of cuisines including vegetarian, traditional Chinese and old Hong Kong style, are run almost entirely by elderly. “We had no experience of running restaurants prior to starting Gingko House,” Mak reveals. “We’ve been wading across the stream by feeling the way, as the Chinese saying goes.”  Everything began at the Depression Hotline for the Elderly in the Wong Tai Sin Community Centre, where Mak used to work 12 years ago. “We received many phone calls that expressed boredom and dejection after retirement, and struggles to adjust to a retired life. They felt lost,” Mak tells us. Determined to do more to help, she organised a small stall at the community centre manned by elderly members of the public who sold herbal tea and simple snacks. “It turned out really well,” Mak recalls. “

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