Cheung does not see Nudism as showing off flesh. He says: “Nudists do not want to disturb others or to be disturbed. They do not want people to gaze at them.” Cheung points out that overseas, genuine nudists have given up the famous nude beaches as crowds of tourists with their long lenses have occupied them. Being under this kind of gaze goes against their desire to be free and relaxed.
In the past, BAA announced the details of their activities on their website. But this drew crowds of curious non-nudists to trail them as if they were rare safari creatures. Therefore they decided to keep their itineraries confidential.
Nonetheless, Cheung thinks it is necessary to establish a nudists’ zone in Hong Kong. Otherwise, nudists can only be “weekday nudists” who are restricted to inferior beaches with thicker sand.
Under the current legal framework, it is difficult for BAA to organise and promote their activities. They always need to negotiate for a long time when they book venues for their events.
Their website is controversial as well. It has received numerous complaints for posting explicit art photos. “Whatever I upload on Facebook, it is reported as pornography. I did not even post pictures, but drawings,” Cheung says. Yet he has never considered using a foreign server to free their website from Hong Kong law.
“We insist on using a local server. If you think I am illegal, you can sue me. I do not want to operate within the loopholes of the law,” says Cheung. The message Cheung wants to send out is that as an organisation, BAA is born and bred in Hong Kong. He says, “People always say nudism comes from the West but we clearly state that nudism is local and inborn.”
Cheung says setting up a nude beach would be mutually beneficial for nudists and the rest of society as both sides would avoid disturbing the other. But after years of requests, it is clear that any chance for a nude zone in Hong Kong is slim. He attributes this to what he feels are ridiculously strict moral standards. “People will tell you privately they are comfortable with public nudity. But when they need to give a voice, they would not touch the bottom line. They are afraid of being judged,” he says.
Sitting naked, against the one-way mirror window in his flat, Cheung muses on how difficult it can be to live a simple life in this city. So-called moral values deny humans from returning to the original way of living. People are educated to be judgmental to the extent that they will deprive the freedom for others to merely strip off.
We come into the world equal and without clothes. Perhaps we will leave it the same way too.