By: CarineChowEdited by: Fifi Tsui

Business

Working holiday scams

Working holidays are a popular way for young people from Hong Kong to spend time living abroad, but some are scammed because they weren't well prepared. Living in a concrete jungle like Hong Kong that's notorious for its expensive real estate, many young people may want to explore other countries by going on a working holiday. These vacations typically involve short term employment in lower paying jobs, such as working on a farm.  A working holiday allows participants to stay in a country for a longer period, ranging from a year to three years, depending on local regulations. Temporary jobs such as strawberry farming or helping out in a winery are popular.  According to the statistics from the Hong Kong government's Labour Department, 44,731 working holiday visas were granted between 2014 and  2018, and Australia has been the most popular among the 14 countries participating in the working holiday scheme. But there have been complaints of holiday makers being scammed because they are unfamiliar with the labour laws.  Garcia Fung, a 35 years-old backpacker, warned of the working holiday traps. "For instance, you may be underpaid by your employers, employers asking employees to transfer money before arrival, or some might even find that don’t have a job because it does not exist," he said. Mr. Fung went to Germany for a working holiday when he was 29.  He had a limited choice of jobs because he did not speak German. He started his first job after staying in Germany for six months. During his stay, he had a job as a box packer. Mr. Fung was paid €2 for each box. However, he realised something was unusual after packing a couple of boxes when he was instructed to pack bags of white powder. When he asked  what the powder was, …

Health & Environment

Vegan Food Fest promotes a plant-based living

The Boston Vegetarian Society held the 24th Annual Boston Veg Food Fest  in a sports stadium in Massachusetts last Saturday with over 100 vendors participating to advocate a plant-based diet, meanwhile promoting animal and environmental protection. Vendors at the Fest sold a large range of products from vegan food to sports gear. "We see whose books are coming out and who we think are the community we really like to hear from. We also look around to local restaurants turfs," said David Havelick, a key member of the Boston Vegetarian Society. According to Mr. Havelick, the first Boston Veg Food Fest, held in 1996, was born out of an idea from a group of vegetarians and vegans at Massachusetts Institute of Technology when "vegan" was a new concept to people and often mispronounced. In 2018, 3% of the American population declared vegans. However, the rate of vegetarians has remained 5% to 6% since 1999, according to a Gallup investigation. Google Trends suggests that searches of "vegan" in America have roughly sextupled since 2004, while those of “vegetarian” have remained the same. At the Fest, the vegan carrot cake from Cafe Indigo attracted many customers. The owner, Paul Dann, started their business when he and his wife made a vegan wedding cake to their vegetarian daughter as they were lack of choices in local bakeries back then. Viviana Wilches, a vendor of Shakti Warrior, had her table mottled by a variety of yoga mats made of cork, hemp fabric and natural true rubber.  "Yoga mats are made of plastics and they're not eco-friendly, and they end up in the landfill. We want to make a product that stays true to the practice and wellness and make sure it's not toxic," Ms. Wilches said. "A plant-based and vegan lifestyle is about everything …

Culture & Leisure

Florist on the rise - Jang Dasol

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: CarineChow、Mereen SantiradEdited by: Tomiris Urstembayeva
  • 2019-10-23

A fresh garden scent, buckets loaded with handpicked flowers and a dozen students gathered in the Aisle, a co-working space in Kwai Chung. Jang Dasol, an award-winning florist from Korea, demonstrated how to create a floral structure to his Hong Kong students . "Sometimes, a bit of asymmetry can make your design appear more interesting," Mr. Jang said, arranging the flowers at different levels and angles and wrapping them into a bouquet. He cut the dark green ribbons at different lengths. Floral design dates back to ancient Egypt, as the Egyptians were decorating their places with flowers as early as 2,500 BC. The Egyptians used to fill a wide-mouth bowl with flowers of similar pattern, which emphasised simplicity. Now, floral design has evolved into a form of art, with cultural influences such as German and French styles. Although floral design has a long history, it only becomes popular in Hong Kong in recent years, as owners are often perceived as a luxury item that people give during celebrations or anniversaries, rather than an art form. In 2017, famous Korean florist Vanessa Lee Ju-yeon introduced Korean floral design classes in Hong Kong, which popularised this form of art in Hong Kong. Since then, Korean florists have visited Hong Kong to teach floral design. Mr. Jang is one of them and this is his second time teaching in here. Despite learning the basics of floral design in South Korea, Mr. Jang's style is mainly influenced by his time in Germany, as he puts emphasis on hard lines and structural design. Using natural branches as the backbone of his design, Mr. Jang then adds flowers with softer colour to create a harmonised and rhythmic piece, balancing the hard lines from branches and soft lines from petals. Mr. Jang is a two-time consecutive winner …

Politics

Overseas Hong Kong students defend their identity in times of protests

On her way out of the classroom, Sara, a sophomore from Hong Kong majoring in journalism at Emerson College in Boston, was asked by one of her American classmates if she was from China.  "No!" Sara flatly refuted, "I'd be offended if people said I was from China."  Given the recent tension in Hong Kong, Sara did not want to disclose her full name. Sara first became aware of her cultural identity as a Hongkonger when she was involved in the Umbrella Movement, a three-month occupation of a downtown area in Hong Kong back in 2014,  to call for universal suffrage.  Describing herself as a Hongkonger would makes Sara proud. It gives her a sense of belonging to her home city.  On her Facebook page,  most of her posts are about protests in Hong Kong.  "I'd say I'm from Hong Kong and they [her classmates] can ask me about what's going on [there]," Sara said.  She believes this is her way of contributing to her beloved city when she tells people on campus in Boston about what protesters in Hong Kong are facing. It’s her way of expressing her cultural identity. Frances Hui Wing-ting, another student from Hong Kong at Emerson College, wrote an article "I am from Hong Kong, not China" for the university newspaper.  It went viral.   "'I am from Hong Kong' has a special meaning. It means we value democracy and human rights,"  Frances explained.  In the article, Frances said it upset her to see the name of her home city listed as "Hong Kong, China" in the university's exchange programme document. She accused the university of not sufficiently "cognizant" and "knowledgeable" about Hong Kong. "It's very offensive to ignore one's identity," Ms. Hui said. She has been organising marches and assemblies in support of the anti-extradition bill …

Policy Address 19/20: Internships and exchanges on the mainland for Hong Kong's disenchanted youth

  • 2019-10-16
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Olivia Tam、Carol Mang、Sunny Sun、HaywoodManEdited by: Stephanie Ma、King Woo、Vimvam Tong、Cara Li、Rachel Yeo
  • 2019-10-16

For 22-year-old Eleanor Pang, a recent graduate from Chinese University of Hong Kong, her internship in mainland China last year was meaningful.After working in Beijing for 1.5 months at the State Development and Investment Corporation - the largest state-owned investment holding company in China, she now understands mainland business and social cultures and Chinese history.  This year's policy address offer Hong Kong students and university graduates like Ms. Pang, more opportunities to work and visit the mainland as part of a slew of measures aimed at connecting with young people. The government plans to spend $1 billion on the measures. "The current-term government will strive to do its best in youth development work by addressing young people's concerns about education, career pursuit and home ownership, and encouraging their participation in politics as well as public policy discussion and debate," said chief executive, Carrie Lam in her policy address supplement. Exchange and internship programmes, managed by the Youth Development Council are expected to benefit about 19,300 and 3,800 local youths respectively this year. Students can join internships at the Palace Museum in Beijing, Wolong National Nature Reserves in Yunnan, and the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The government will also continue to provide subsidies for post-secondary students who wish to go on exchange in the "Belt and Road" region. Apple Poon, 20, a third year student at the University of Hong Kong, joined an exchange programme organised by Hong Kong United Youth Association last year. She spent 1.5 months living in Beijing working at a state run online firm. "To be honest, the time of the internship is so limited that we can only do some basic work. It’s hard for us to learn about working culture in the mainland. But my boss and colleagues …

Policy Address 19/20: Policy Address fails to alleviate economic concerns of SMEs

  • 2019-10-16
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: AcaciaRedding、Nicole Ko、Hong-shun Wong、KawaiWong、AlecLastimosa、Jay GanglaniEdited by: Anna Kam、Nadia Lam、Yetta Lam
  • 2019-10-16

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor expressed concern about the "pressure borne by small and medium-sized enterprises and members of the public amid an economic downturn," but unveiled no further measures to aid such enterprises in her policy address today.  Between the US-China trade war and the ongoing political conflict in Hong Kong. "The global economic growth has slowed since late 2018," said Mrs. Lam  "Violent acts in the recent months have aggravated the situation, posing an unprecedented challenge to our economy," Mrs. Lam, said in her third policy address.  "Since July this year, there have been sharp reductions in visitor arrivals due to the airport halt and retail sales, a continued decline in trade exports as well as deeply dampened businesses, investment and consumption sentiments. Certain industries have recorded the worst business performance ever," she said.  Besides assisting Hong Kong enterprises through promoting products and services to the mainland market, the government is also seeking policy support for "tax concessions for the city's enterprises that want to switch from exports to domestic sales and streamlining of the approval process" to bolster competitiveness in the Mainland domestic market.  SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES  As of January 2017, 330,000 SMEs operate in Hong Kong, accounting for 98.3% of total business units and providing job opportunities to over 1.3 million people, according to the government's official website. Some retail businesses said they are not under a great deal of pressure due to a dependable amount of local customers that they know will continue to come in regularly.  A saleswoman at a folk costume shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, who did not wish to reveal her identity, said, "Our business has not been affected because our customers are mostly locals." Mr. Leung, a staff member at Japanese restaurant Betsutenjin in Tsim Sha Tsui, said …

Policy Address 19/20: Policy address offers transport subsidies, but ignores MTR closures

  • 2019-10-16
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: SamuelMo、Cherry Lee、CarineChow、Han XuEdited by: Karen Kwok、Jo Ng、Phoebe Lai
  • 2019-10-16

The chief executive has outlined a plan to save an average of around 280 million dollars a year in public transport fares in her policy address. That includes toll exemption for franchised buses at seven tunnels and two toll roads. Carrie Lam believes that will reduce annual fare increase in public transport systems by about three percent. About 2.2 million people are expected to benefit from $1.3 billion  in transport subsidies in the coming year. The government also pledged to commit $412 million to subsidise six outlying island ferry routes. But the chief executive has not addressed recent closures of MTR stations as a result of the unrest in recent months. Professor Carlos Lo Wing-hung, head of the Government and Public Administration Department at the Chinese University of Hong Kong thinks that the increase in travel subsidies may not satisfy the needs of Hong Kong residents. The increase may only catch up with inflation. "The subsidies cannot meet the needs of middle- and lower-class residents," he said.  Prof. Lo believes policies on livelihood outlined in the policy address are designed to draw public attention away from the extradition bill and the anti-mask law . Earlier this month, services on all 11 railway lines on the MTR were suspended due to the ongoing protests. Some stations such as Kwun Tong and Mongkok, were closed for four days.  Since 11th October, MTR services stop at 10 pm every evening.  Ms. Ku, aged 53, lives in Shatin. He said the MTR closures are"unreasonable".  "Passengers cannot estimate their traveltime," Ms. Ku said   Coey Tse, who lives in Shatin finds it inconvenient to use public transport systems other than the MTR.  "I rely on the MTR and I am not getting used to taking other means of transport," said Ms. Tse, "The waiting time has …

People

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 …

Photo Essay

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 …

Society

Sevens' Week: Hong Kong Sevens takes off

Sevens' major sponsor Cathay Pacific started showcasing an array of rugby footballs in prints of Hong Kong signature items, such as crispy eggettes and neon street signs during a promotional event at Hysan Place in Causeway Bay last Friday. With less than a week left, the Sevens has been hyping up for the annual Hong Kong Rugby Sevens. Cathay Pacific is holding an exhibition of their featured collection for this year's event, the "Collectaballs". The "Collectaballs" are a series of ten rugby footballs decorated in prints of items that represent Hong Kong. Prints include Hong Kong's common household tile game Mahjong, blue and white prints on porcelain cups used in Hong Kong traditional restaurants, dragon dance costumes seen in Chinese New Year, sweet "pineapple" buns, Cheung Chau's "Ping On" buns, prints on nylon-canvas carrier bags, words in Chinese Kickass font created by Hong Kong designer kit Man and Cathay Pacific Airways' iconic sign can all been seen in ten rugby footballs shown at the shopping mall's entrance. Try out their interactive private preview of the games beside the iconic rugby footballs exhibit. The promotion will be last till April 7th at Hysan Place. Stay tuned to our coverage on other related events coming on the Sevens.