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A rise of local prosthetic makeup

Special effect makeup artist Gary Chan seeks ways to support artists in Hong Kong by Connie Fong and Susan Gao A sweaty-stocky meat deliveryman dismembers the corpse of a 16-year-old female prostitute, tearing the skin from her face. The signature bloody scene appeared in the award-winning local crime movie "Port of Call". 26-year-old Gary Chan Ka-wai was in charge of special makeup effects. Dubbed "the little king" in the field, Mr Chan says he wants to be more than just a makeup artist. He hopes to improve the art industry and society through his work. "I was lucky that I got lots of opportunities," said Mr Chan. He wants to create more opportunities for others. As Mr Chan participated in many local art competitions, he found out that many of the rules and judges in those competitions were not professional or qualified. So, he decided to organise one himself. At the moment, Mr Chan is organising a face-painting competition for local artists. Mr Chan said its aim is to support local artists, since filmmakers nowadays usually prefer hiring foreigners. "The moon seems fuller in foreign lands," he said. Many production companies either simply edit the script and stories to eliminate the need for special makeup or find foreign makeup artists if they have enough budgets. Mr Chan implores production companies to hire locally - and to respect local artists by giving them a budget to work with. "Don't think that we're beggars," he told The Young Reporter. Although many skilled artists have emerged in Hong Kong, the major problem in the prosthetic makeup industry is still a shortage of talent, he added. It takes at least a year to train a qualified special makeup artist, but many people do not have that patience, he said. After a couple of weeks …

People

Connecting with Tattoos

"The ink may be skin deep, but the accent is deeper." By Connie Fong and Cecilia Wong Jayers Ko is not your typical tattoo artist. "The ink may be skin-deep, but the accent is bone-deep." she said. For her, tattoos are more than just decorations. It is an art of self-expression.She believes the message in a tattoo goes beyond space and time constraints to connect with people. Ms Ko's first tattoo was a little blue star on her left wrist. "What it is, graphically, doesn't matter; but it's the placement that matters a lot. It is somewhere obvious to me," she said. It reminds her to move on from hard times. "I needed something eternal to calm me down," she said. The idea of getting a tattoo popped into her mind when she was 19. She was going through a tough time. She had to take up the responsibility of taking care of her brother. Later, she was ditched by her boyfriend whom she was madly in love with at that time. She went into a random tattoo shop in Thailand, picked a random picture and a random tattoo artist to edge the blue star on to her skin. That marked marking her start to a new life. "My mum asked me if I was a prostitute when she saw the tattoo," Ms Ko said. Her parents were against her becoming a tattoo artist. But after getting her first tattoo, she studied psychology and searched for information about tattoos online. She tried but failed to get an apprenticeship. With no background in art, Ms Ko started working on her portfolio by doing paintings on paper. She then sent an email to a traditional tattooist requesting an apprenticeship. "I guess it's my passion that touched him," she said. "Apprenticeship is a …

People

Bobsy Gaia: 25 years of Ecopreneurship in Hong Kong

The story of an entrepreneur and his eco-friendly businesses By Celia Lai and Crystal Tai Wearing a man bun and a long grey beard, Bobsy Gaia almost has the look of a Taoist priest from Chinese mythology. The "ecopreneur" was born in Lebanon and has been pioneering socially responsible business in Hong Kong since 1992. He is the co-founder of several vegetarian restaurants, including "MANA! Fast Slow Food". Just like its owner, "MANA! Fast Slow Food" is vibrant yet relaxing. The furniture is made of recycled materials and the menu is on a chalk board. The restaurant regularly promotes eco friendly campaigns. For example, "World Water Day" was written in delightful colours on March 22 on the board to remind people to conserve water. Mindful of the environment, Bobsy is on a mission to educate consumers to "eat like it matters". His restaurant serves organic produce. Bobsy became an "ecopreneur" when he started to promote social responsibility in business in 1989. He was a fashion designer at the time, but came up with the idea in a moment of despair. "I was financially broke at that time in Bangkok. At the same time, many profound changes were happening in the world such as the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War," said Bobsy, "there were also Nelson Mandela, mass protests over the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest and women fighting for equality. These movements showed the awakening of human power. It was speaking to me. I suddenly realized there was something bigger than me going on," he said. The awakening, Bobsy thought, was a game change in man's perception of the world. That is similar to the realisation that the Earth is round and not flat. "The people in this humanitarian movement are amazingly creative …

People

Changing the Meaning of Blindness

  • 2016-06-24

  by Nicki Wong Chong Chan-yau lost his sight when he was six years old. As a result, his childhood was one of tragedy, dependency, hopelessness and even superstition. But technology has redefined the way the world see Mr Chong, or more appropriately, how Mr Chong sees the world. He can surf the internet and use a cell phone just as well as any sighted person, with the help of a Braille note taker. Mr Chong  is the director of EL Education, president of the Hong Kong Blind Union, chairman of Carbon Care Asia, founder and chairman of Dialogue in the Dark Hong Kong. "I can go anywhere, play football and chess, study, and do all sorts of things that a sighted person can do ," said the 60-year-old. He is eager to improve society for people who are marginalized in order to maximise their potential.. "The loss of sight became my characteristic, not a limitation," Mr Chong said. He believes his optimistic personality saves him from feeling tragic. "Hong Kong has a lot of facilities for the disabled,for example,  audible traffic light signals, "said Mr Chong. But he doesn't want to take it granted when it comes to travelling alone. "Accessibility is a matter of interaction between people and their environment," he said. Mr. Chong has tried to prove that blind people can navigate the city without special facilities.   Back in the 80s, Mr Chong asked the traffic department to install audible signals road crossing, , but the department  said it was "too dangerous" for  blind people to cross the road on their own. But we weren't victims. We were actually the problem solvers," said Mr Chong. He believes visually impaired people should be treated just like everyone else. He approaches the problem from the point of view of …

People

An Aussie turned Hong Konger

by Paulus Choy, James Ho   Gregory Charles Rivers considers himself every bit a Hong Konger. " I care about the city, I love the Canto songs, and the language," he said. Mr. Rivers  is Australian. He moved to Hong Kong nearly 20 years ago, and has since acted in a number of Hong Kong drama productions and TV shows. He shot to fame again recently with his  performance in the 100Most Magazine award ceremony. Rock and heavy metal music was popular when he was in college, but Mr. Rivers was not fond of those. Several of his Hong Kong friends introduced him to Cantopop and that was exactly what he liked. His stage name, Ho Kwok-wing, came from the famous deceased Cantopop singer Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing. His love of Cantonese music drove him to learn the language. He got his hands on a cassette tape when he was in university, but the program only taught six of the nine intonations of Cantonese. He eventually came to Hong Kong in 1987 with a friend. Later on he auditioned for a role at TVB, and has never looked back. "I did not have confidence that I could do what TVB wanted, I think I got in because TVB didn't have another choice," he said. Mr. Rivers feels that the Hong Kong entertainment scene has done little to welcome foreign actors. "Script writers seem to forget that foreign actors could add flavor to a story, and I don't understand why,." he said. He acted in a number of TV shows, and also sang on the side. But his big break came when 100Most invited him to rap on stage. He was crowned the "real Hong Konger", and he feels that a true Hong Konger needs to really care about his home town …

People

Young Singer-to-be Has a Different Dream

  • 2016-04-02

  by James Ho "Which song should I sing?" Zoe Sung asks while yawning her partner. The 21-year-old girl is sitting on the sofa next to the electronic piano. She is preparing for a singing-contest-audition. People would probably be nervous if they were going to have an audition in two hours. Yet it was not the case for Zoe, who has run into top-three in three similar competitions before. Zoe Sung Wai Man is a fourth-year university student. She is an award-winning singer and one of the few, who has stepped on the stage of the Hong Kong Coliseum as a backup vocalist at the age of 19. "When the lighting and the Hi-Fi starts bombing, it feels like it is me who is having the concert in front of the audience," she recalled on being a backing vocalist in HK Coliseum in Hung Hom, the stage of which is regarded to be only prepared for the top singers in the industry. Zoe was a member of "Show Choir" in high school at that time. The choir opened up many opportunities for her to sing in concerts of many famous local singers, like Eason Chan, Gem Tang and Edmond Leung. Zoe has recently joined a monthly tournament called "Show Off Voice Challenge", where she has to compete with dozens of talented but amateur singers, for an opportunity having their own songs published. Before being an active member of singing contests, Zoe used to be one of the buskers on street, who performed simply with a guitar or electronic piano. But her band did not last long. "It was fun at the beginning, but then my partners started asking me to sing more popular songs to attract more audience, which in my perspective is inappropriate," she said. She believed that street …

People

Chasing His Dream Through the Lens

  • 2016-04-02

  by Richelia Yeung & Tiffany Lui The photo "The World of A Wild Child Who Chases His Dream" depicts a young man staring at the breathtaking night view of the city. The image shot a young photographer to fame. Kelvin Yuen Sze-lok  was the winner of the 2015 National Geographic's International Photo Contest.  He also had an honourable mention in youth group of the Taiwan section. The 19 -year-old Hong Kong photographer took the picture at Kowloon Peak, one of his favorite shooting spots. The award came as a surprise. "I thought they sent the email to the wrong person," Kevin said. "Being a photographer is more than just pressing a button on the camera," . Kelvin did not plan to be a photographer. The year 2 student at Hong Kong Baptist University said it was a trip to Lion Rock nearly two years ago that first aroused his passion in landscape photography. He was attracted by the clouds over the hill that day and brought his camera to record the moment."I get to see a different side of Hong Kong."he said. He has since become a self-taught photographer, learning from online tutorials and articles. "I just keep trying and gain experience," he said. Kelvin s tries to strike a balance between school and photography. "I go to classes in the morning after shooting the sunrise on the mountain." He said his parents are more concerned about his safety than his academic results. "They are very supportive of my hobby," he laughed. "Landscape photography is full of challenges, "he said. "The weather can make a huge difference in the photos even if I go to the same location." Kelvin said it is tough to walk through rough terrains while carrying all the photographic equipment in his backpack. But the …

Society & Politics

From Keyboard to Chopping Board

  • 2016-04-02

  by Paulus Choy Muslims own most of the Halal eateries in Hong Kong, and one of the city's oldest restaurants of this kind is run by a Muslim family. Osman Wong Kar-yi is the owner of Wai Kee, a nearly 70 -year-old Halal restaurant in the Causeway Bay food market.  He aims to serve the Muslim community with authentic Halal dishes, just as his parents have done for decades.                                         Nowadays, Wai Kee  attracts non-Muslims as well as Muslim customers. Osman's grandfather started the restaurant in 1939 because there were few places that were selling Halal food at the time. But working in a kitchen is a sea change for Osman.  He  studied computer science in Canada, and began his career in information and technology.  He was once a manager at  computer giant, IBM. As a boy, he used to help out in his father's shop every weekend. Then his mum got injured. The loving son did not want to end the family business, so Osman quit his job at IBM and now works full time at Wai Kee. "My daughter asks me why I don't wear a suit to work anymore," he said with a bitter smile. But Osman still provides computer consultancy for his clients on the side. "During a parents sharing event at my kid's school, they were startled when they knew I ran a hawker stall," Osman said. " I simply ignored these reactions and carried on. " He has had to learn how to handle picky customers with eccentric personalities. One  customer, for example, complained to him about his food, wanting to have duck instead of chicken over rice. "This particular man never has the money to …

People

The Unsung Hero of Hong Kong

  • 2016-03-09

  By Celia Lai Wearing a pair of thick glasses with a phone in hand, Joseph Lai Hung-Fat walks around the university campus like every other student. But Joseph is actually a "super hero" named KNIGHT in the cyber world. KNIGHT dresses up like Batman but in a remade version: blue cloak and mask, grey shirt and a pair of glasses. Unlike the cartoon character who saves the city with advanced technology, KNIGHT draws animation and makes videos. The 25-year-old illustrator has captivated nearly 70,000 subscribers on Youtube and 20,000 followers on Facebook in three years with his drawings for copypasta, an internet slang for disseminated forum post. Inspired by Japanese comics, Mr Lai illustrates his characters with distorted faces which readers find entertaining. " The way I present my work makes me different from other illustrators," he says. The young illustrator selects some copypastas with political elements in an attempt to mock Hong Kong's political and social problems. One of his pieces named Mark Six portrays the frustrating life that an ordinary Hong Konger leads. (KNIGHT depicts the miserable life an average Hong Konger leads: Mark Six is the mere breath gap to taste hope under the invisible control of hegemony.) "Politics is everything," he says. "Yet Hong Kong people are extremely apathetic to politics. I want to arouse my readers' attention to current issues by presenting politicians in a humorous way." Mr Lai is among the voices speaking out on the adverse effects of the Copyright (Amendment) bill. Critics call it the Internet Article 23, equating it with the controversial national security law. He posted a comic in which KNIGHT is blindfolded and bound with the Chinese characters of Internet Article 23 as background, symbolizing the restriction on free speech. "What I did was to spread the news so …

People

Shining Light on Nepal

  • 2016-02-19

by Alfred Lam & Daniel Ma Pink Lee Wai-ki was a financial reporter, but a trip to Tibet in 2006 made her rethink the purpose of her life. She felt a calling to help people in need, so she quit her job and used her savings to travel and volunteer in different countries, such as Colombia, Mongolia and India. After years of travelling, she realised that real happiness and the meaning of life lie in helping others without expecting anything in return. "You do it just because you want to," she said Pink grew up in a single-parent family with an extremely quiet, violent and mentally abusive father, so she left home immediately after she graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong and found a job as a journalist. A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, 2015, killing nearly 10,000 people. Pink Lee was a long-term volunteer in Nepal. When she went to the mountainous epicenter of Gorkha, she was the leader of a group of volunteers in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Soon after the earthquake, Pink raised over $400,000 for relief work. That was used to send over eight tonnes of supplies to the victims and helped 700 families. To better manage the funding and relief work, Pink then founded Light On with her friends. It is a non-profit- making organization whose goal is to build at least two schools in the local community. Though Nepal received donations from around the world after the earthquake, Pink says Nepal has serious corruption and bureaucracy issues. If she did not start the reconstruction projects, people there might have to wait for at least two years. Pink is not paid for her charity work. She writes columns and teaches yoga for a living. Profits from Light On Cafe on …