Culture & Leisure

Culture & Leisure

Dark tourism in Chernobyl

Still remember Chernobyl where the nuclear disaster happened more than 30 years ago? Nowadays, Chernobyl has become one of the main tourist attractions in Ukraine. Watch and know more about dark tourism.

Culture & Leisure

Cultural differences you may face in St. Petersburg

"Rude" maybe tourist's impression towards people in St. Petersburg, Russia, but there may be an underlying misunderstanding behind the image. St. Petersburg is always considered a must-visit city in Russia, no matter for international or domestic travellers. Being the second-largest city in Russia, the area consists of canals and world-famous spots such as the Winter Palace, Saint Isaac's Cathedral and Peter and Paul Fortress.  St. Petersburg remains attractive to tourists, but there are some factors pushing international visitors away. Russians rarely speak English. The majority of middle-aged and older people do not understand the language. According to a survey done by Romir research holding, 30% of the Russians can speak English to a certain degree, and only 3% of the interviewees claimed to be a fluent speaker. The low English speaking rate leads to a rough time for those visitors who do not speak Russian. No one can answer their questions if they face obstacles during their journey, resulting in an unpleasant travel experience. Хао Yu-Fei, a 20-years-old tourist from China, believed that language is the problem travellers face. As English is not widely-used among Russians, they cannot communicate fluently with the tourists.  "When locals answer questions with simple English and do everything in a rush, travellers get an impression that Russians are impolite and rude. We understand that being straightforward may be a characteristic of Russian, but some people might have hard feelings towards that," Xao said. Xao also noticed that no matter what ethnicity people appear to be, Russians always intend to start the conversation using the Russian language. "In Russia, many people with an Asian face can speak Russain. The locals are used to it, thus feel natural to communicate in the Russian language with foreigners." Tourists may feel insecure when facing an unfamiliar language during travelling. …

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 …

Culture & Leisure

Creative writing — a journey of self discovery and breaking stereotypes for marginalised foreign domestic workers

As a foreign domestic helper in Hong Kong, Anni Juliana works in her employer's home six days a week up to 13 hours a day. On Sunday, her only day off, the 37 year old from North Sumatra in Indonesia spends this time on studying English and participating in creative writing. Ms. Juliana is one of the over 360,000 foreign domestic workers in this competitive city, around 41 percent of whom are Indonesian. She is also one of 10 whose work was featured in Java Tales and Voices, a creative writing magazine published last December by local charity TCK Learning Centre for Migrant Workers. "Back when I was in school in Indonesia, I always loved to write in English," said Ms. Juliana, sitting cross-legged on a lush carpet in TCK Learning Centre's study room, while her friends outside put on makeup and sequined dresses in preparation for their angklung traditional Indonesian music performance later that afternoon. "I had to go find work, but I still try my best to find these opportunities." Under the instruction of Becky Mitchell, their creative writing instructor, Java Tales and Voices was published as a compilation of creative works by migrant workers. Despite high operating costs, a number of workshops around the city have also been encouraging foreign domestic workers and ethnic minorities to tell their stories and take pride in their culture through creative writing. In her personal memoir titled Rainbow, Ms. Juliana tells a poignant personal story of struggle and hope, about how she fought to keep her family afloat and give her three children a future. "Tick tock… Tick tock… Days, months, years go by, my kids growing up. Time moves so fast. No one can control or stop it, or even push the pause button. A million tears fall. A million prayers …

Photo Essay

A taste of Central Asia culture

Central Asia has always played an important role in connecting the East and the West both during the Silk Road period and now by joining the One Belt One Road Initiative. Rich Turkic and Persian history and culture later affected by Soviet diversity are reflected in the wide variety of cuisine. The Central Asia Centre is a non-governmental organisation aiming to provide Hongkongers a chance to explore the history, culture, traditions and nature of Central Asia.  It has organised a cooking workshop to demonstrate Uzbek culinary art. The cooking class instructor from Uzbekistan, Ms. Munira, shows how to make golden-crispy buns with juicy meat — Uzbek samsa, which is a must-have on each table in her home country.  

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.

Culture & Leisure

Weekend Review: Contemporary art in the bloom in private

The 14th Asia Contemporary Art show Spring exhibition was held last weekend at Conrad Hotel in Admiralty. The Asia Contemporary Art Show offers art exhibitions two times per year, in spring and fall. It aims to support exhibitors all around the world, as well as providing a vibrant and diverse art experience for collectors and art buyers. This year, the show opens in a rather "private format" compared to other exhibitions happening. Over 2000 pieces of the most compelling contemporary art are on show, presented by 85 art galleries from over 20 countries of Asia and the rest of the world. The Show included original painting, limited editions, sculpture and photography. The majority of the works of art were from emerging and mid-career artists, with few pieces of those who had achieved recognition at auction and were held in private and public collections before. Prize draw and freebie like postcards were used to attract traffic by the art galleries, including Carré d’artistes, which created a new concept of public accessible painting and sculpture art gallery to break down the grid barriers of fine art.

Culture & Leisure

Art review: Inside Art Basel Hong Kong 2019

Take one day off busy work, and enjoy a chance to stroll the art world. The seventh edition of Art Basel Hong Kong launched on this Friday in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. 242 galleries from 35 countries participate in this annual art event, displaying a variety of contemporary art through the diverse mediums, including installation, paintings, sculptures, prints, photography, videos, and digital art.

Culture & Leisure

Beyond the flair of Hong Kong's streetwear

For student Nie Yu-heng, 20, his obsession with the world of streetwear all started with a simple scroll through Instagram. Famous celebrities like rapper Kanye West and fashion icon Virgil Abloh often appear in his Instagram feed. Baffled by how simple combinations of sneakers, sweatpants and logo tees could look so good, he decided to find out more. Today, Mr. Nie frequently queues up as early as 7am when brands like A Bathing Ape release designs he likes and collects. Streetwear, which started with skateboarders and surfers in the United States, is embraced by locals, with many stores here ranging from big labels like Off-White to entire shopping complexes dedicated to selling streetwear such as Trendy Zone in Mong Kok. Fashion conglomerate I.T that distributes European and Japanese street labels across Asia is also based in Hong Kong. Expensive streetwear fashion has surged in popularity in Hong Kong in recent years, particularly among young people who do not mind paying top dollar because they feel a connection with brands and regard them as an extension of their personality. "When I look at myself in the mirror every morning, I will always look lively in clothes that I like," said Mr. Nie. "It's not about how expensive or how rare my clothing is." Samantha Setokusumo, 18, a freshman at the Savannah College of Art and Design Hong Kong, said that her streetwear collection allows her to showcase herself, regardless of how unique her style may be. "Because my friends and I always like to joke about being 'hobo' or 'failing in life', we made that into a fashion statement," said Ms. Setokusumo. "It's just the freedom to express ourselves through streetwear." However, buying clothes and accessories from renowned streetwear brands is not cheap. Prices are inflated as soon as they hit …