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The Young Reporter

People got trouble with quarantine in mainland after escaping from the pandemic in Hong Kong

As the pandemic hit Hong Kong with unprecedented Omicron variants, many people working and studying in the city have started their journey to escape to mainland since mid February to avoid the health crisis. However, the poor living condition, extraordinary high prices and awful food during the 21-day quarantine caused a lot of inconvenience to the people longing to return home.

John Lee Ka-chiu confirmed to be the new leader in Hong Kong

John Lee Ka-chiu, 64, the sole candidate, secured his seat as the sixth chief executive in Hong Kong today with only eight votes against him.  Lee won 1,416 votes out of 1,428, including four blank votes, gaining trust from over 99% from the election committee, a record high of support. Thirty-three members did not vote. “With loyalty and perseverance, I shall undertake this historic mission and shoulder this responsibility to unite and lead the 7.4 million Hong Kong people to start a new chapter together,” Lee said at the press conference after being elected. This is the first chief executive election since Beijing’s election reform ensuring governance by “patriots only”. It is also the first uncontested chief executive election in Hong Kong since its handover. “I extend my sincere congratulations to Mr John Lee on his successful election and later today,” said Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the current chief executive, in a statement today. “We will render all the support needed for the assumption of office by the new term of government.” Lee will take over as chief executive on July 1.  The chief executive is chosen by the election committee, a body that has been expanded from 1,200 to 1,500 members after the electoral system reform and includes representatives from different sectors.  “The election committee members are very responsive and completed their responsibility,” said Tam Yiu-chung, member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, also the Lee’s campaign manager. “This is an important event in Hong Kong. The sixth chief executive will be elected under the new election system. We wish Hong Kong to begin a new chapter and a good development.” Lee, a former police officer, handled the anti-extradition bill protests in 2019 as Secretary for Security.  Lee’s latest ratings plunged to a new low of 34.8 between March 7 …

Desperate for drugs during the lockdown in China

Liu Tian, 27, in Changchun, Jilin province, suffers from a major depressive disorder. She has been off her medication for ten days since the city went into lockdown due to COVID-19 in March. Her medicine is only available at three pharmacies in the city far away from her home, and she cannot get it delivered. She tried to contact epidemic prevention staff in the community and the hospital for help. The community staff issued her an emergency medication certificate, but she could not go to the hospital because of local traffic control.  As a result, she had headaches, was irritated and emotionally unstable. She tried calling the hospital’s emergency number but was told that they were only responsible for emergency care and not prescriptions. “I don't want to keep looking for medicine anymore because I'm afraid of being rejected again,” Liu said. “When I was at my worst, I even thought about committing suicide.” Beijing has been sticking to the "dynamic zero tolerance" strategy for Covid. That means even a few positive cases would trigger a lockdown followed by large-scale testing.  During the lockdown, no one can travel and delivery services are limited. Chronically ill patients like Liu Tian face difficulties purchasing medications. They turn to local community staff, volunteers, and netizens for help. Cheng Yulong, 51, has diabetes. “My blood sugar level kept rising, and I was really desperate. I cannot solely rely on the blood sugar-lowering medications because they are not as effective as insulin,” he said. When the lockdown started in Changchun in early March, he had to stay at the construction site where he had been working for almost 30 days, but he only carried a limited amount of insulin.  The insulin Cheng needed was sold out in the nearby pharmacies. He sought help from community …

Polycystic ovary syndrome patients regain menstruation by following the ketogenic diet

After Patricia Wong Oi-wai went a year without menstruating, she went on a ketogenic diet, a popular high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet commonly called “keto”. She weighed her meals, checked for fat content and only seasoned them with salt and pepper. Diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome at the age of 36, Wong refused to take medications. Instead, she read that a ketogenic diet could relieve her symptoms. She tried it to see whether it was real. PCOS is a common endocrine hormone condition among women of reproductive age that causes irregular menstruation, acne and excessive masculine features such as an overabundance of body hair. PCOS affects between 6% and 12% of women of reproductive age around the globe, according to a study from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences. However, there is no precise clinical procedure to cure PCOS.  "If there is a way that would heal my sickness without taking any medication, why not give it a try?" Wong said. "After trying it out, it works." Wong used to cook for herself and cut back on social gatherings to meet the strict requirements of the ketogenic diet – a daily food consumption of 70% fat, 20% protein, 5% vegetables and 5% carbohydrates.  Wong lost nine kilograms after strictly following the ketogenic diet for a month and regained her menstruation four years ago.  A ketogenic diet is often used to lose weight and improve insulin resistance. PCOS patients said their emotions and hair condition improved on the diet and that it helped with weight loss and regulated menstruation cycles. It even increases the chance to get pregnant, according to a pilot study from Nutrition & Metabolism.  Wong, who said her PCOS symptoms have mostly been relieved by adopting a ketogenic diet, said it was tough for her to avoid carbohydrates and sugar …

Desperate for drugs during the lockdown in China

Liu Tian, 27, in Changchun, Jilin province, suffers from a major depressive disorder. She has been off her medication for ten days since the city went into lockdown due to COVID-19 in March. Her medicine is only available at three pharmacies in the city far away from her home, and she cannot get it delivered. She tried to contact epidemic prevention staff in the community and the hospital for help. The community staff issued her an emergency medication certificate, but she could not go to the hospital because of local traffic control.  As a result, she had headaches, was irritated and emotionally unstable. She tried calling the hospital’s emergency number but was told that they were only responsible for emergency care and not prescriptions. “I don't want to keep looking for medicine anymore because I'm afraid of being rejected again,” Liu said. “When I was at my worst, I even thought about committing suicide.” Beijing has been sticking to the "dynamic zero tolerance" strategy for Covid. That means even a few positive cases would trigger a lockdown followed by large-scale testing.  During the lockdown, no one can travel and delivery services are limited. Chronically ill patients like Liu Tian face difficulties purchasing medications. They turn to local community staff, volunteers, and netizens for help. Cheng Yulong, 51, has diabetes. “My blood sugar level kept rising, and I was really desperate. I cannot solely rely on the blood sugar-lowering medications because they are not as effective as insulin,” he said. When the lockdown started in Changchun in early March, he had to stay at the construction site where he had been working for almost 30 days, but he only carried a limited amount of insulin.  The insulin Cheng needed was sold out in the nearby pharmacies. He sought help from community …

Cornering caregivers at home puts them under intense pandemic stress

Debby Kwan Ho-kwan, 27, has been suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus for 10 years and stiff person syndrome for three years. Lupus is a form of immune system disorder that requires life-long medication and treatment, and stiff person syndrome leads to progressive muscle stiffness. Although Kwan can manage her own medical treatments like anticoagulant injection, her mother worries about a relapse of SLE. She frets over whether to seek hospitalisation if that happens, which may expose her daughter to COVID-19. The pressure builds when Kwan’s mother tries to understand new policies and chart new solutions almost every day.  “Sometimes, my mum suffers from insomnia. She has to take medication under such mental pressure,” said Kwan.  Since the start of the pandemic, caregivers like Kwan’s mother often prioritise the elderly, children and chronically ill patients over themselves. The restriction of face-to-face contacts during COVID-19 poses challenges to patient rehabilitation. Their caregivers often have to extend their working hours and more preparation work is required. “Many caregivers cannot withstand the pressure-cooker-like environment anymore,” said Zoe Chong Shuk-yi, a dementia care planner working at Renascence Integrated Rehabilitation Centre. Chong and Alvin Shum Chun-kit have devoted their support to dementia patients and their caregivers throughout the pandemic.  Since the fifth wave of Covid outbreak, they have suspended on-site visits. Instead, they prepare extra cognitive training tools for home-training and help carers overcome technical issues when they engage with dementia sufferers during online training sessions because the patients often have a short attention span.  Dementia patients need a regular rehabilitation schedule in order to maintain their brain functions. They need constant cognitive therapy and practice, otherwise their conditions will deteriorate quickly, Chong explained.  “A number of them seemed to be more sluggish than before,” she said.  Before the fifth wave of pandemic struck Hong Kong, …

BRISBANE | Labour Day events in Queensland, Australia

Thousands of union members have flooded Brisbane’s CBD for the Labour Day parade in the capital of the State of Queensland in Australia today. The Labour Day events are organised by the Queensland Council of Unions, affiliated with the Australian Labor Party. The Queensland Council of Unions said that the event acknowledges the improvements made to the lives of working people and to society by the labour movement. Political figures from the Labor Party have participated in the parade. Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Premier of Queensland, marched along with Anthony Albanese, the Leader of the Opposition of Australia. Michelle Rae, the Queensland director of Media and Entertainment and Arts Alliance, said their goal in this parade is to raise awareness for press freedom and remind the rights of freelancers in the media industry. She explained that the Labour Day parade in general brings collective power to fight for a better working environment and holidays that labourers  deserve. “The parade can bring a new generation along, and at the same time, it can give Union members a chance to talk about their reality,” said Rae. The march ended with live music shows and booths that provided refreshments for participants at Brisbane Showgrounds after an hour's walk.  

No increase in HK’s female legislators in 23 years: are women part of a reformed Legco?

In last year’s Legislative Council election, Cindy Chan Yuk-sim, 55, an estate surveyor and civil servant, cast a vote for the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape functional constituency, one of 29 representing various industries of Hong Kong. Both candidates running for the single seat were men. “I wish there were more female candidates who can participate in the architectural constituency so that more female voices can be heard in the Legislative Council,” Chan said.  Though, in recent years, more women have taken up significant political roles, such as Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and DAB Chairperson Starry Lee Wai-king, Hong Kong politics are heavily skewed in favor of men.   At the top levels of government, less than a fifth are women. And there has been little to no increase in this number for the last 23 years. Of the current 90 legislators, only 17 are women, about 19%. The percentage is the same for the Executive Council, the cabinet to the Chief Executive. Of the 32 current members, only six are women. “As most of the members in the Legislative Council and Executive Council are male, women opinions are relatively neglected, weakening their power in fighting for women rights in the council,” Joseph Chan, 62, a former professor from the Department of Politics and Public Administration of the University of Hong Kong, said. Entrenched gender stereotypes run deep in Hong Kong. Voters tend to favor men for political positions involving financial policy while women are preferred for social welfare and education, according to a survey by the Gender Research Centre at Chinese University's Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies. Joseph Chan said gender stereotypes may also cause male legislators to be judged on their accomplishments while women are judged on their appearance along with their achievements.   “Women should be …

Feminists redefine gender equality

Hilarie Fung Hiu-lam, a year 3 university student and her friends have been managing @medusasinnocent, an Instagram page dedicated to feminism since mid-September last year.  “Do you believe in gender equality? If yes, then welcome to the family of feminism!”  she said. It started off as an assignment, but Fung has enjoyed learning about feminism and proudly calls herself a ‘feminist’. “I think feminists are villainized, but all we ever wanted is for everyone to be equal,” said Fung. The name @medussasinnocent, comes from the Greek myth about Medusa, the maiden turn monster after she was raped by Poseidon in the temple of Athena.  Even though Medusa is traditionally portrayed as a villain, she was actually a victim. Fung’s teammate thought there are similarities between  the villiainization of Medusa and of feminists. “I have never understood why boys are not allowed to cry and girls should cover up to protect themselves,” Fung said bitterly, “it is quite obvious that society is morbid enough to normalise toxic masculinity and sexualisation. We should stop asking people to do or not do things according to their genders.”  She emphasised that feminism is about providing support to all genders when they feel tied down by gender norms, rather then promoting females as the “better” gender.  The Instagram page Fung and her teammates run also includes a link to their blog “Medusa”. It covers  a wide range of topics, including the objectification of South Asian women, hyper-sexualisation of male idols and women not being able to wear what they want without the fear of being judged. The articles have accumulated hundreds of views and sparked healthy discussions online. Fung is delighted to see her efforts in promoting gender equality pay off.   “My mother does not let me hike alone and my ex felt embarrassed because …

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