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The Hidden Gem in Hong Kong: Spoken Word

Video Credit: TEDxWanChai

Speaking Up

In early July, Hong Kong-based poet Akin Jeje gave a workshop on spoken word to a group of 16 Form 5 students at Valtorta College in Tai Po. Jeje, who is also one of the directors of local English-language poetry group Peel Street Poetry, gave the students an introduction to spoken word, a performance-based oral art form, before the students tried to write and perform a poem of their own.

“Most students’ exposure to poetry is through an anthology or traditional poetry in a way that most students can’t relate to, and in an English they can’t access,” Jeje said. “Spoken word is something that is living, something that they can watch on YouTube and it has links to music, to things that students can relate to. In an international school environment, [students] get it immediately. In the local system [like at Valtorta College] it takes a little longer but trust me -- they get it. A lot of the topics that the poets talk about -- racism, anxiety, everyday life… these are the things that most kids of a certain age will be able to access.”