The Young Reporter

New port regulations around the world

Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced today (February 3) that four ports, including Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau, Huanggang and Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal, would be closed from 0:00 tomorrow to reduce the flow of people. WHO declared an outbreak of the new coronavirus as a "Global health emergency", but it did not recommend any restrictions on travelling to China or on trading with it. Despite this, some countries are offering travel restrictions, to prevent the epidemic from heating up or out of control. According to the data of the National Health Commision by the end of February 2, China has identified 17205 confirmed cases, 21558 suspected cases, including 15 cases from Hong Kong. Number of deaths has climbed to 361. The virus does not only spread in the mainland, but also in 23 other countries with 283 cases confirmed. Hong Kong 9 out of 13 ports in Hong Kong will be suspended at midnight. Three ports including the airport, Shenzhen Bay Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge will be opened and Kai Tak cruise terminal. The United States On January 30, the new coronavirus has been listed as a US public health emergency, imposing travel restrictions and issuing a mandatory quarantine. Foreign travellers from China in the past two weeks (except for immediate family members of US citizens and permanent residents) are banned from entering the US. In addition, US citizens who have stayed in Hubei province within the past 14 days need to be screened, and subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days. Citizens who depart from other chinese cities and return to the US will be diverted to eight designated airports for health screening procedures. Australia Effected from February 1, all persons travelling to Australia from mainland China are required to be quarantined for 14 days (except Australian citizens, Australian …

University student dies after falling from a high place near police operations

A 22-year-old student from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has died this morning. The student, Chow Tsz-lok, who fell from a high place five days ago in Tseung Kwan O and had multiple surgeries was eventually declared dead this morning. This is widely perceived as the first death in direct relation to the anti-government protests in Hong Kong, which has entered its fifth month with no sign of stopping. HKUST students marched from the campus piazza to the the school president’s residence after a memorial session at 1 PM. "Demand for Wei Shyy to condemn police violence," the students chanted as they marched. Mr. Shyy's front porch was then vandalised and filled with protest posters, while a few other restaurants on campus that have relations with the pro-Beijing company Maxim's have also been targeted and graffitied with slogans. At 6 PM in the evening, another memorial section with a higher turnout was held at the atrium of HKUST. Reverend Chu Yiu-ming sang "Amazing Grace" with a mini choir and prayed for the deceased student who has been Christian since a young age. "Although he is gone, his faith and courage will live on and shine a light into everyone’s heart," said Reverend Chu in a moving speech as many amongst the crowd shed tears. The night of mourning concluded peacefully as students sang along to a quiet piano version of "Glory to Hong Kong" and laid down piles of white flowers under candlelight. However, the death of Chow is seen by many as a sign that the conflicts will continue to escalate.

Issuing telescopic batons to off-duty police officers sparks concern

Throughout the course of the Hong Kong protests, police have been accused of using brutality tactics against protesters. What started out as a peaceful march towards the extradition bill gradually became a greater fight for democracy and investigation against police violence. A typical weekend of protests usually involves riot police with guns, batons and shields. Protesters may turn to using bricks, long sticks, metal pole and petrol bombs as weapons. Due to the escalation of protesters' violence and in the interest of operational efficiency, a new legislation that allows telescopic batons to be issued to off-duty officers from September 11 onwards has caused another ripple in this turbulent society. Chen, a 20-year-old university student who works part-time in the catering business, said he is "quite afraid" upon hearing the news.  The young man, who did not wish to disclose his full identity due to fears of authorities finding out, has shown strong doubt towards the decision made by the police force. "I will not define myself as a protester because I didn't join the protest very often. I have only participated in two rallies. However, I still feel scared," he said. Mr. Chen's occupation requires him to work till night and he only reaches back home around midnight. At the night of protest, he often sees police officers patrolling around the bus stop located somewhere in New Territories searching for protesters.  "Although I have not been checked by those officers ever, I still want to protect myself from being arrested, I will always leave some signs that I just left from my work place, in case riot police checks on me," he added. Chief Superintendent John Tse Chun-chung of the Police Public Relations Branch announced at a press conference on September 10 that numbers of telescopic batons will be specially …

Calls for improvement in online learning

Ignoring the piles of unfinished assignments on his desk, Michael Shum, a form two secondary school student, sits in front of his computer to play video games all day. Since the government announced the suspension of  classes, spending hours in front of the computer has become his new normal. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, schools in many countries, including Italy, India and the United Kingdom, have closed down in order to slow down the pandemic transmission. Ahead of the other countries, two months before it turned into a pandemic, schools in Hong Kong already stopped  face-to-face classes and shut down the schools indefinitely. Most teachers have since transferred to remote teaching. Students can turn their homes into classrooms with one click on their computers and get on to their schools' e-platform. Zoom is a popular web-based video conferencing tool for many universities worldwide, whereas eClass is often used in secondary schools to provide digital learning resources. Since the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong in 2003, the government here has been using the slogan "Suspending classes without suspending learning". The aim is to encourage schools to adopt eLearning in classrooms and offer digital content for students' self-learning outside the classroom. Apart from enabling eLearning during emergencies, the government also wants to build up an interactive way for students to participate in class actively. "E-Learning is a leading trend today and beyond, therefore the Hong Kong government has been promoting  eLearning for almost 10 years," says Dr. Li Ka Kui, the chairman of the Hong Kong Publishing Federation.   But Michael Shum has his reservations on eLearning. He thinks the only benefit of eLearning is that he can stay at home all day, without rushing to school. "I simply don't like eLearning especially when we are forced to suspend all our classes,"Michael says with …

Hong Kong's underprivileged face unequal access to healthcare

Fong Cheng-Mui, 75, relies on the government's old age subsidy of approximately $3,000 per month. She prefers to treat herself at home rather than go to a public clinic when she falls ill.  "I once went to Queen Elizabeth Hospital with severe abdominal pain and waited for over five hours, but never got treated. I went home and took care of myself," said Ms Fong. Ms Cheng is one of thousands of people in Hong Kong, who have not been getting adequate healthcare. A study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong in late 2018 found that 8.4% of respondents did not seek medical care due to financial problems. Others avoid public clinics because of overcrowding, according to a local non-governmental human-rights advocacy group.  While many in Hong Kong can afford private healthcare with minimal fuss, the city's lower and middle income residents face long queues and hours of waiting at public hospitals. Consultation for primary outpatient care costs $50 per visit with speciality services at $135 for the first visit and $80 for a follow-up, according to the Hospital Authority's website.  "When I found out that I had a lump in my stomach, I rushed to a private hospital because I could not wait at a public hospital because I was afraid that it might be cancer. But the charge was so high that I had no choice but to come back to a public hospital," said Fung Ho-Chu, 71. Last year, for non-urgent cases, waiting times to see a doctor at a public hospital ranged from a minimum of six months to nearly three years, according to the Hospital Authority's website. For semi-urgent cases, it could take up four to seven weeks.  Last year, Ms Fung had to wait five months to see a specialist in a public …

Fight or flight: How do Students Abroad Cope with the Global Pandemic

As schools around the world shut to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, university foreign exchange students struggle over the decision to return home or stay put.  In Europe, non-essential incoming travel was banned on March 17, stirring worries among the student community as air ticket prices shot up.  Rachel Khun, a German exchange student in the Netherlands, decided to go home, despite Germany having one of the highest numbers of confirmed cases in Europe.  "I left the country when face-to-face classes at the university were suspended. Staying at home reassures me," said the 21-year-old, adding that her home in the German countryside has fresh air and open space and she can follow the news in her mother language. "I will not return to the Netherlands unless classes or exams are resumed on campus," said Ms Khun, who was sharing a home with three other students there.  Also studying in the Netherlands, Chiara Pierucci, 21, from Italy, decided to stay as the number of confirmed cases there are fewer than in her hometown.  "My parents asked me repeatedly to go back home before all flight connections would be interrupted, but I thought that staying in the Netherlands was safer," said Ms Pierucci, who lives alone in a studio apartment with a private toilet.  Italy is the most hard hit country other than China, with case numbers reaching 64,000 and a death toll over 6,000 as of March 24. Meanwhile in the Netherlands, the number of confirmed cases is just under 4,000.  Ms Pierucci said her main concern is the spread of the virus. "The possible development of the virus is scarier than catching the actual virus," she said, though she also worries about the Dutch private healthcare system, which requires insurance. Alitalia, Italy's main carrier, requires passengers to wear …

Art review: Artists discuss video art in the 90s at Art Basel

Technological improvements gave way to video art in the 1990s, and serve as the new gateway to film and new media art forms. "[After] the post-film period [and entering] into the period in which video was more easily accessible in terms of equipment, what became important [for the development of video art] was the fact that video cameras became cheaper," she said. "The Final Cut Pro was a very important element that any artist could have just as one had tubes of oil paint," Ms. Malani, whose work expanded from the realms of painting to film and video since the 1990s, added. Final Cut Pro is a video editing software released by Apple in the early 1990s that is packed with features such as colour correction, sound mixing and special effects. Priced at a mere US $1000, the programme was significantly cheaper than those released by the film industry's then superpower, Avid, whose systems ranged in prices from US $50,000 to $100,000. "My idea for making video art was because the language of the moving image is much better understood. Montage is very quickly understood by an Indian public because they are used to seeing it in advertisements, television and all of that," she said. The emergence of video arts in Asia during the 1990s was attributed to technology and culture, Zhang Peili, a Chinese contemporary artist and the Director of the Embodied Media Studio at the School of Intermedia in Hangzhou, China said. "Technology is being imported to China and is known by the people in China and used here. On the other hand, people's awareness of arts and culture changed. And because of that, they would abstain from what they did before," he added, "That's how video art came into being." Barbara London, an American curator and founder …

Art Review: The Stars Exhibition in Art Basel

This year, the 10th Chancery Lane Gallery especially displayed early artworks of a trio of avant-garde artists to commemorate the 40th anniversary of a historically important art event, which challenged official aesthetics and called for free artistic expression in the Post-Mao Era. Wandering at the colourful Art Basel, visitors could not help but slowed down their pace when a series of black and white photographic documentation came into sight. On an early morning in fall in 1979, the year after China initiated the economic reforms, a group of non-academy Chinese artists exhibited a total of 163 works with distinctive Modernist style and rebellious thoughts, displayed on the iron railings of The National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) after they were deprived the right to use an official exhibition space. Curators named exhibition with the word, Star, which means each star exists as an independent illuminator rather than the only illuminator during the Cultural Revolution when Mao Ze-dong was hailed as sun. This art exhibition without official permission gained huge supports from art students and famous artists at that time. On the following day of the opening, however, the police from the Dongcheng District of Beijing arrested two core curators, Huang Rui and Ma Deng-sheng, and acclaimed that The Star Exhibition affected the daily life of the masses and social order. After two months of demonstrations and negotiations, folk artists from The Stars Art Group eventually got legal permission to exhibit their artworks at the gallery of Beijing Artists Association, which attracted more than two hundred thousand audience. The second edition of The Stars Exhibition was successfully held in 1980, yet, it aroused the panic among senior figures of Chinese art field. An art exhibition jointly organized by Huang Rui, Ma Deng-sheng and Wang Ke-ping was banned due to the Anti-Spiritual-Pollution Campaign launched …

Weekend Review: Word art on signboards remains in Hong Kong

Two of our reporters join a signboards tour in San Po Kong and uncover the untold tale of a historical Chinese word font. Ever heard of the Chinese font Li Han Kong Kai ? Before it stepped foot into the world of typography, it was made up of 3600 Chinese word samples from Li Han, who used to be a signboard calligrapher before he retired. Those word samples were later passed down to his grandson Lee Kin-ming, who is continuing Mr.Li Han’s work in their family-run factory. "Signboards of large companies are everywhere and everyone can notice them,  but it is not the same for small shops' handmade signboards," said Mr. Lee Kin-ming, who holds regular guided tours in the weekends to introduce long-standing signboards in the city that are usually overlooked.  Compared to other old  districts such as Kwun Tong, most of the shops  in San Po Kong have a longer history so their signboards are still reserved, according to Mr. Lee in one of his guided tour held in the weekend before. He said signboards in Hong Kong are usually clear and visible from a distance. "Hong Kong shop keepers prefer grandeur fonts with thick strokes. For example, the Beiwei font looks  imposing since hooks inside the characters are relatively large," he said. Bone clinics and martial clubs usually use the Beiwei font for their  signboards, while the Clerical script font is for more artistic uses, he added.   For sign boards with  more complicated characters. Mr. Lee said  he uses rulers and French curves to draw curved alphabets such as the English letter "U" and for numbers,  he photocopies those on his calendar and follow them to draw. For example, the Biaukai font, of which strokes in words are usually separated,  has been disliked by many signboard …