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Cooking During the Pandemic

COVID-19 has not gone away, social distancing measures remain in place. Some people are finding new ways to share food with their friends. Bruce Zhao and Nick Yang report on how some people have taken up cooking as a new hobby.

Society

Hong Kong Brands and Products Shopping Festival opens, Unexcited by govt’s consumption voucher

The 2021 Hong Kong Brands and Products Shopping Festival, which was traditionally held during winter, opened on Friday in hopes to tap the buying spree boosted by the government’s HK$5,000 consumption voucher scheme.   For its first time held in summer, the festival will last for three days from August 6 to 8 at the AsiaWorld-Expo in Chek Lap Kok on Lantau Island.    After the opening ceremony of the festival, Edward Yau Tang-wah, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong, said the electrical consumption voucher was intended to boost the economy.   “Despite securing the enterprise, employment can also be secured by only spending a dollar,” he said. “We hope this goal can be achieved in the short run.”   The festival, used to be held annually in December or January in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, offers a variety of goods, as well as entertainment like shows, lucky draws and booth games for visitors.   The organiser, the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, expected the festival would have an enthusiastic response as registered citizens started to receive a $2,000 electronic voucher from the beginning of August. The balance of the voucher will be paid later this year.   “Some customers bought boxes of products using the vouchers,” said Ms Lee, who refused to disclose her first name. She is in charge of HOME+, an online shop that offers frozen food, groceries, household appliances and beauty products.   “We expect a 10% to 20% increase in membership after the festival,” she said.   The owner of Tak Shing Sea Products Co., Ltd. Ms Woo, who withheld her first name, said   while half of the customers purchased with electronic vouchers, the sales were limited. “They spend no more than $2000,” she added.   “We didn’t fantasise about …

Society

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 …