Asia Should House Its Poor Before It Houses Its Art

Stephanie Poon
Feb 25, 2015 12:00AM

May 2014

Presented as a timely debate when controversy raged in Hong Kong over the government’s endowment of the West Kowloon Cultural District, Intelligence Squared posited the motion “Asia Should House Its Poor Before It Houses Its Art” to four cultural influencers Jessica Morgan, Philip Tinari, Vishwas Kulkarni and Jake van der Kamp, with the former two positioned agains the motion. Moderated by Michael Lynch, the debate asked vital questions about funding of culture in Asia. Are state museums just vanity projects that swallow up money that would be better spent on helping the poor? Should arts funding be left to private patrons who are more likely to embrace controversy and push the boundaries? Or are public museums important educational spaces, defining a connection with a country’s past and national identity for the future? Morgan and Tinari ultimately made their case, withstanding their ground against fierce competition. 


Pre-debate vote: For 41% | Against 33% | Don't know 26%
Post-debate vote: For 47% | Against 41% | Don't know 12%

Stephanie Poon