Hong Kong musicians organize pop-up market in Richmond

Richmond is hosting the Made by Hong Konger pop-up market this weekend.

A pop-up market on Alexandra Road is hoping to showcase Hong Kong talent while offering a touch of home this weekend.

“A lot of my friends make crafts at home and sell them on the side, like dim sum, Hong Kong-style sauces, leather crafts and t-shirts. So we thought, ‘What if we set up a little market and sold our products there?’” said Chris Ho, the pop-up market organizer and founder of 3721 Productions.

Those from Hong Kong might recognize Ho, a member of the Hong Kong band Yellow! (formerly known as Wildchild). Ho has over two decades of experience in Hong Kong’s entertainment industry, where he has also worked as a music producer, in talent management, event and concert production.

When Ho left Hong Kong to settle in Richmond in 2020, he realized he had to start over.

“More and more people are coming over from Hong Kong and more and more people are speaking Cantonese… So I thought I could do something for Hong Kongers and Hong Kong culture,” Ho said Richmond News.

“I want to show Canadians the motivation of Hong Kongers and our other strengths. I also want to bring across the culture that we used to have in Hong Kong and keep it here.

“Taking canto-pop as an example – there are many subjects that aren’t mentioned, aired or written these days. As musicians living abroad, it is our duty to preserve our culture.”

Finding “home” as a member of the diaspora

To preserve and promote Hong Kong culture, Ho has collaborated with other musicians from the Hong Kong diaspora to produce Vanto-Pop – which stands for Cantopop with a Vancouver diasporic twist. He also hosts regular get-togethers called the “Blow Water Club” (blowing water means chewing fat in Cantonese) aimed at helping newcomers settle into Vancouver.

Ho also teaches music and produces videos about life in Canada for his YouTube channel, The BIG Van, many of which feature Richmond.

Though Ho is dedicated to preserving Hong Kong culture, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s homesick.

“What we miss is the Hong Kong of the past, the Hong Kong that existed before we left. The city is different today and Hong Kong is just a memory in our minds,” he said.

Ho also hopes to show Hong Kongers that life after immigration can be exciting and fulfilling.

“Home isn’t a place, it’s where the people are. It’s like when Thor’s planet exploded and the characters said, “It’s okay, our planet is where our people are.” So where there are Hong Kongers, there is home.

“It may sound sad, but it’s okay. We can use that memory and uphold it abroad, not only in Canada but also in the UK and Australia,” Ho added.

A market where Hong Kongers are showcased by Hong Kongers

The “Made by HongKonger” pop-up market is Ho’s latest venture and he plans to host more markets in the future after receiving overwhelming support from community members.

Visitors to the pop-up market will find Hong Kong-style sauces from MAMAintheKITCHEN, traditional Hong Kong treats from Vancouver Birthday Bun, as well as accessories, clothing and soaps. Ho will be giving a teaser of his music lessons at his booth and a tarot card reader will also be opening his shop.

“I chose Richmond because I have connections with the restaurant where we are hosting the event… And Richmond is home to a lot of Hong Kongers and it’s also very convenient. So Richmond was perfect,” he said.

The market takes place on July 9th and 10th from 1pm to 7pm at the Dot to Dot Lounge on Alexandra Road. Customers can also enjoy Taiwanese food and drinks prepared by Hong Kongers.

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