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HK Swimmer Haughey Breaks Asian Record, Wins Second Olympic Silver Medal

  Hong Kong people cheered and applauded on Friday as they witnessed local swimmer Siobhan Bernadette Haughey breaking the women’s 100m freestyle Asian record and winning her second silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.   Collected her first silver medal in the women’s 200m freestyle two days ago, Ms Houghey finished the 100m freestyle at 52.27, only 0.31 seconds behind Australian athlete Emma McKeon, who made an Olympic record at 51.96.    Setting the new personal and Asian best, the second silver makes Ms Haughey the first Hong Kong swimmer to attain two medals in the Olympic Games.   Speaking at the press conference, Ms Houghey said 80% of the performance depended on her mentality. “I broke the personal best at the semi-final and achieved my goal. I just wanted to enjoy the 100m race,” said Ms Haughey.      Tokyo Olympic marks Hong Kong’s best performed Olympic Games so far, including two silvers achieved by Ms Haughey and a gold from Cheung Ka-long in the men’s individual foil fencing which is the city’s first medal in the game.    Approximately 500 audiences at APM, a shopping mall in Kwun Tong cheered for the 23-year-old while watching the live broadcast together.    Crowded on two floors, supporters brought along cheering tools like pom poms that made loud sounds by hitting and decibels reached the maximum as Haughey’s silver medal was secured. No one could help but cry out their excitement and appreciation.     Ten-year-old swimmer Yu, who withheld his first name, was inspired by the outstanding performance of Ms Haughey. “I will practice swimming more often, but winning an award in the Olympic Games is too difficult for me,” he said.   Audiences showed both the national flag and regional flag of Hong Kong after Ms Haughey won the …

Society

Hong Kong Government Land Confiscation Scheme Forces Closure of Popular Farmers Market at Mapopo Community Farm

  After more than a decade in operation, Mapopo Community Farm held its last farmers market on Sunday before permanently closing due to the Hong Kong government’s Land Resumption Ordinance.    The farmers market sells locally produced vegetables, mainly from the northeastern part of Hong Kong’s New Territories, including Ping Che (Fanling), Tsiu King (Sheung Shui) and Kwu Tong (Sheung Shui).    At two in the afternoon, about 15 people lined up outside Mapopo Community Farm to snatch up locally grown fruit and vegetables, including winter melons, pumpkins, longan and dragon fruits. Most products were sold out within the first hour.    Chatting and laughing during their visit to the market, customers filled shopping bags with green vegetables and fruits. Some visitors brought their pets and kids to the market, to witness the decline of Hong Kong local agriculture. People expressed gratitude to the farmers by leaving messages and colorful drawings in the farmer markets’ autograph book.    “The villagers are exhausted fighting for their lands,” said 26-year-old Ms. Wong, who withheld her first name. She said she has heard of the land resumption scheme since she was a student.     The scheme, officially announced in 1998, allowed the government to claim the land for residential purposes, in order to handle the growing population in Hong Kong.    Farmlands in Kwu Tong North, Fanling North and Ping Che/Ta Ku Ling have been identified by the Hong Kong government to be new development areas.The rural areas in northeast New Territories will be used for commercial and residential land.    However, the development plan was rejected by the farmers. They worried that the residential and commercial land development would reduce the amount of farmland, thus deteriorating the farmer’s livelihood.    Following several legal challenges by residents of Ma Shi Po Village, …

Culture & Leisure

Art Basel returns to Hong Kong, smaller with more local artists

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: KOO Chi Tung 顧知桐、WANG YichunEdited by: WANG Yichun
  • 2021-05-29

Art Basel Hong Kong returned to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre last week for the first time in two years with a hybrid exhibition of online activities and a smaller display. The annual art exhibition featured 104 galleries from 23 countries with more local and Asian art this year. “This fair seems to have a kind of feeling of excitement maybe. It’s like a lot of people are feeling the spring time and they want to come out,” said Kaitlin Chan, an associate at Empty Gallery. According to Ms Chan, the attendance this year was strong. “The circumstances of having an art fair at this stage amid the pandemic is that people are eager to do something different from their usual routine,” she added. Mrs Ren, 74, an art lover and collector from Taiwan, said she attends the exhibition every year to learn and purchase modern art pieces by young artists. “Because these antique paintings should be kept in museums for appreciation, they cannot affect your life. So I discovered paintings by young people create an environment affecting emotions,” she said.

Culture & Leisure

First “Super blood moon” in 24 years occurs during total lunar eclipse

The total lunar eclipse coincided with the super moon, causing a rare cosmic phenomenon known as “super blood moon” that amazed large crowds all over Hong Kong tonight. When the moon enters the shadow of Earth, a lunar eclipse occurs and it appears red, according to the website of the Hong Kong Space Museum. A super moon appears when a full moon is at its closest to earth. The diameter is about 14% larger than a usual one. The eclipse started at 6:56 pm, peaked at 7:19 pm and ended at 9:50 pm. Photographer Thomas Tung said he was excited as this was his first time watching a lunar eclipse. “I came at 5pm to secure a place,” Mr Tung said. Astronomy enthusiast Zach Wong said he watched the total lunar eclipse three years ago, but it rained on that day. “I feel lucky as the sky is clear today,” Mr Wong said. The last “super blood moon” visible in Hong Kong was on Sept. 17, 1997, which was 24 years ago. The next one will be on Oct. 7, 2033.

Culture & Leisure

Art Basel 2021 returns to Hong Kong

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: WANG Jingyan 王婧言、WANG YichunEdited by: WANG Yichun、WANG Jingyan 王婧言
  • 2021-05-25

Art Basel 2021 has returned to Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center after a one-year suspension. With a shrinking physical exhibition scale this year due to the Covid-19, the exhibition features 104 galleries from 23 countries, adding more local and Asian artists’ works. Have a tour with The Young Reporter on Art Basel! Reported by Ayra Wang Jingyan and Kitty Wang Yichun Edited by Ayra Wang Jingyan and Kitty Wang Yichun

Society

Camping staycation: A new form of vacation apart from staying in hotels

Mawin Cheung Man-wai was heading to his office to take a break, but another group of campers showed up. So he welcomed them to his campsite instead. Mr Cheung is the chief executive officer of Easy Organic Farming, a campsite located in Yuen Long. Although Covid-19 restrictions mean they can only serve half the usual number of customers, the campsite is fully booked every day. Since the start of the epidemic in January 2020, staycations have been a worldwide trend. Not only are hotels used for staycations, camping is a popular alternative. According to the Annual Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research survey in January this year, Hong Kongers ranked fourth among 32 countries as most wanting to travel. Of those asked, 46% said they wanted to travel in 2021, while 74% said they would probably or definitely get vaccinated if that is what it takes to travel. In November 2020, Hong Kong and Singapore tried to form a “travel bubble”, where citizens might enjoy quarantine-free travel between the countries. However, the plan was put on hold when a fourth wave of Covid-19 hit Hong Kong. “I felt sorry to reject some of the customers’ bookings, but I want to ensure that campers can enjoy a safe and spacious environment during their stay at my place,” Mr Cheung said. “That is also the main reason why my campsite can attract that many people for staycation even during Covid-19.” Ricky Chan Wai-kit, 44, a loyal customer of Easy Organic Farming, regularly goes camping there with his children. It is not only an opportunity for him to bond with nature, but also allows him to reminisce about the past. “When I was young, camping was no different from military training. We had to do everything from scratch, such as looking for logs, …

Society

World Press Photo Exhibition 2020 returns to Hong Kong

The World Press Photo Exhibition opened today for two weeks after being cancelled in February by Hong Kong Baptist University over campus safety and security concerns.  The independent, Amsterdam-based organisation holds the awards, which is recognised as one of the most prestigious photojournalism contests in the world. The World Press Photo 2020 received more than 70,000 entries from 4,000 journalists. The Hong Kong exhibition is sponsored by the Netherlands Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau. More than 150 photos are exhibited as this year’s winners across eight categories: Contemporary Issues, Environment, General News, Long-term Projects, Nature, Portraits, Sports and Spot News. Photo of the year "Straight Voice", won by AFP photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba, was on a protester reciting poetry amid a military coup and blackout in Sudan. A major theme of the Word Press Photo 2020 were protests held in places all over the world including Algeria, Sudan, Hong Kong and Chile. Other themes were climate change, transgender rights and territorial conflict.  Story of the year titled "Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt", was a series of 30 photographs on the youth-led protests in Algeria by photographer Romain Laurendeau. A series of photographs on the protests in Hong Kong titled “Hong Kong Unrest” by AFP photographer Nicolas Asfouri, was nominated for World Press Photo Story of the Year. The Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to more than half of the World Press Photo exhibitions worldwide and delayed Hong Kong’s exhibition, which was initially set to be held in the fall last year.  The exhibition was cancelled again in February by Hong Kong Baptist University after online criticism of the Hong Kong photos sparked safety and security concerns.  The exhibition is open to the public at theDesk in the United Centre, Admiralty. Online registration is required beforehand to enforce social …

Culture & Leisure

Cotton trees in bloom and the best places to see them

Hong Kong’s cotton trees are in full bloom. The flame-colour flowers mark the height of Spring in the city, especially along the road named after it: Cotton Tree Drive in the mid-levels. Native to India, Malaysia and the Philippines, cotton trees are widely cultivated in South China, Taiwan, Indo-China Peninsula and Malaysia by immigrants. According to Mr. Ken K. Y. So, arborist and t Chief Executive of The Conservancy Association, cultivation of cotton trees has been recorded in Hong Kong since the Qing Dynasty. Today, there are more than 8,000 trees according to Greening, Landscape & Tree Management Section of Development Bureau. Colloquially known as “hero trees”, cotton trees get the name for their straight and sturdy trunk., They are also named after the legendary hero of the Lizu people, one of the 56 ethnic groups indigeous to Hainan island in southern China. The late Hong Kong pop icon Roman Tam also had a song called Hung Min, the Cantonese name for cotton trees, in which he used the plant as a metaphor for the lofty and unyielding character of Chinese people. It also carries the connotation of cherishing and the promise of wealth and well-being. In 2015, a Wong Tai Sin District Councillor proposed to sterilize the cotton trees around town because he thought the kapok the plants produce was a nuisance. But the proposal was eventually dropped because there was no medical evidence that the white kapok affected the respiratory system. The scientific name of cotton trees is Bombax ceiba. It can be found all over the city, and there is a cotton tree lovers map marking out more than 40 places to admire the bloom. Many are in Tuen Mun and Mei Foo. The most famous place to see cotton trees blossom is along the Shek Kong …

Culture & Leisure

Anti-pandemic measures baffle florists in Lunar New Year Fair

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Vikki Cai Chuchu、Kwok Chiu Tung 郭昭彤Edited by: Zhu Zijin Cora 朱子槿
  • 2021-02-12

On Lunar New Year's Eve, buyers crowded the Mongkok Flower Market for last-minute shopping while the 15 government-organized festival flower markets were relatively quiet due to anti-pandemic measurements, which curtailed the number of stalls by half, limited visitors and slashed operating hours. The Hong Kong government once decided to stop organizing this year’s Lunar New Year Flower Fair but changed its mind to announce on Jan. 19 that the 15 flower markets would be opened for the festive period of seven days but with crowd-control measures. Many Hong Kong florists who planned to join the Lunar New Year Flower Market had already taken alternative plans including renting pop-up shops and selling online. “We have rented a shop for selling flowers, but the government suddenly changed after two weeks,” said Hung Chun-kit, 31, one of the florists. He said that they were not able to return the deposit to the shop owner and the government measurement made them lose their head. Even though the government exempted the rents for the 2021 Lunar New Year Flower Markets, it would not be enough to compensate florists’ extra costs and reduced sales. “The scale has been downsized with crowd-control measurement, customer flow is fewer than before. It is hard to gain profit even though the Lunar New Year Flower Market was uncharged, ” said Mr Hung. The scale of the fair had been down to 50%, the number of booths is limited. Therefore, florists continued to rent empty shops to sell flowers because these shops have no crowded-control measurements. “The government announcements are messing around our businesses, and this is an erratic situation for our industry,” said Tse Wong Siu-yin, 45, chairperson of Hong Kong Flower Retailers Association. Lam Sze-ching, 72, a florist who won the bid but did not join the fair while …

Culture & Leisure

Tsang Fook Piano Company to close in March after 105 years in business

  Tsang Fook Piano Company, Hong Kong’s oldest musical instrument store, announced on Jan. 22 that it will end its business in March. The descendant of the Tsang Fook family revealed the decision to close was made because the next generation had limited interest in inheriting the business. The announcement mentioned how the company has witnessed the ups and downs of the city for more than a century, and it is now time to say goodbye.  Its two branches in Wan Chai and Wong Chuk Hang are putting on a clearance sale before the closure. The founder, Mr Tsang Fook, learned how to make and tune pianos in Europe and America. In 1916, he opened Tsang Fook Piano’s first branch on Morrison Hill Road in Wanchai. In the 1980s, Mr Tsang set up a factory and manufactured his own ‘made in Hong Kong’ pianos named Morrison. The street nearby was named “Kam Hong Street” (translated as “the piano company street”) to commemorate the factory building. The brand earned its prominence not only in Hong Kong but also in South East Asia, Britain and New Zealand. Later on, the company expanded its business to music instruments wholesale, retail and education. Customers expressed their regret about the closure of Tsang Fook Piano Co. This afternoon, Mr Yip, a retiree, wandered around the showroom for half an hour, trying to turn back time. When Mr Yip was young, he visited the store regularly. He was the guitarist of a band. Since the 1950s, Tsang Fook Piano Company has been one of the few stores in Hong Kong selling foreign music instrument brands, including his favourite Gibson guitar.  “At that time, Tsang Fook was far more well-known than Tom Lee and Parsons Music. And now, the online world and the chains throttled its room …