Haw Par villa set for new life

A HK$167 million plan to convert Haw Par Mansion (虎豹別墅) into a ‘music farm’ has cleared its first hurdle, with lawmakers in the Public Works Subcommittee (工務小組委員會) giving it the thumbs-up.

The plan will now go before the Finance Committee (財務委員會) for funding.

The mansion in Tin Hau (天后) was a villa owned by the late Aw Boon Haw (胡文虎) and is classified as a Grade I historic building.

Lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen (葉建源) welcomed the decision, saying the Haw Par Music Farm (虎豹樂圃) can provide music courses to connect society.

“It can also help promote music education,” he said.

‘Long Hair’ (長毛) Leung Kwok-hung (梁國雄), however, felt that the idea of restoring the mansion and music are not related.

Commissioner for Heritage (文物保育專員) Jose Yam Ho-san (任浩晨) said the Advisory Committee on Revitalisation of Historic Buildings (活化歷史建築諮詢委員會 ) had considered factors such as social value and financial plans.

When the place is up and running, it would have an open day every year.

The music farm will be open from 9am to 7pm daily and there will be free guided tours to introduce the history of the mansion.

Apart from the office and some classrooms, most of the areas will be open to the public.

Haw Par Music Foundation (虎豹音樂基金) board member Gordon Siu Kwing-chue (蕭炯柱) said visitors and students will be told about the value of the building and why it is worth preserving.

(This article is published on The Student Standard on 1 December 2015)