People

People

A Man Harvests Happiness in the Wild

  • 2016-02-19

by Crystal Tai His military haircut and worn-out clothes suggest a primitive living style. A man with a small farm and a house full of second-hand furniture, 33-year-old Mok Ho-kwong redefines the meaning of wealth and fame. Mr Mok, also known as Wild Man, does not choose the usual way of living after his graduation from the University of Hong Kong. Inspired by his teacher, Wild Man left the rat race about ten years ago and has since lived in the outskirts of the city. Being the founder of Natural Network, Mr Mok lives with the humble earnings he makes from holding environmental workshops and ecotours that mainly targeted students. "Nature has given me another option. People solve problems with machines in the city while in the countryside, I overcome challenges in life by tuning into the nature," he said. Everyday Wild Man collects dry leaves and wood to build fire for cooking. He plucks sweet potato leaves fresh from his backyard to be served along vegetarian dishes. Despite living on only $3000 a month, Wild Man has introduced another way of living to those who invest all their savings into shabby, cage-sized bed space – a rural way that revives the rustic joys of life. "I feel happy after clearing a patch of grass or seeing my plants growing. You don't need reasons or purchases to be happy. Happiness is not a privilege of the rich," he said.   But not everyone in the city feel the same. The recent Hong Kong Happiness Index Survey done by Lingnan University reveals that people's level of happiness is at all-time low. On the other hand, citizens are not leading a greener life as well. "When people live in the city, they're forced to lead a wasteful lifestyle," he said. "They dump their leftover to landfills while at the farm, you can use them as compost." Mr Mok did not start off to be an environmental activist. As a child, he was told that being close to nature means getting mosquito bites on his legs and dirt on his hands. It …

People

Spreading Love with Free Tutorial Classes

  • 2016-01-29

  by Jonathan Chan Valuing academic achievements, attending after-school tutorial classes have become a common and popular phenomenon among students in Hong Kong. According to a research conducted in 2012 by Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, more than 70 per cent of primary school students and 61 percent of secondary school students had private tuition. But not all households can afford tuition fees. Leung Kai-yip, 34, is the founder of "On Fire", a volunteer tutors group. Having grown up in a low-income family, Mr Leung could not pay for tuition classes even when he had poor school results. Inspired by his unfortunate childhood and a movie titled "Pay it Forward", Mr. Leung wanted to spread his love and influence others. He decided to start a project to help deprived students learn better. "I believe knowledge is the key for underprivileged children to break the cycle of generational poverty and they deserve better," he said. But starting the voluntary tuition group was tough. At the beginning, Mr Leung had difficulties finding voluntary tutors and a place for classes. He also had trouble reaching out to students in need through the group's Facebook page. He eventually came up with a new idea to approach parents near wet markets in different districts. At the same time, he found people willing to spare time for underprivileged students. Some were even professionals. In offering free tutorial classes, Mr Leung stated certain criteria in the selection of students. For example, those who received School Textbook Assistance, attended project briefing sessions and accepted home visits. On top of these, he emphasized the importance of students being enthusiastic in learning. At this moment, "On Fire" relies on more than 100 volunteers and offers weekly tutorial classes at 25 locations across the city. Some classes take place in …

People

The Mother-and-son Relationship

  • 2016-01-29

  by Phoebe Chau "Sit, Yahoo!" Yahoo, a young dog, immediately obeys. Without doubt, there's mutual trust between Yahoo and (his/her) owner, Edith Lee Yuen-yan. Ms Lee is a cadet trainer and puppy walker at the Hong Kong Seeing Eye Dog Service (HKSEDS), as well as a mother of two daughters. She volunteered to be a "Puppy Walker". "I would say my two daughters influenced me to make this decision," she says. Yahoo, a 2-year-old male Labrador, was adopted by Lee in 2013. "I spend most of my time taking car of Yahoo. It is my responsibility to do so," Lee says. The cadet trainer takes the role of a mother and has to shoulder heavy responsibilities and sometimes sacrifice. As a cadet trainer, Ms Lee provides Yahoo with daily socialization training. "Yahoo should be able to acquire the skills to overcome obstacles, in order to be qualified as a seeing-eye dog," she says. Although she understood that Yahoo would not stay with her for good, an air of melancholy surrounds Ms Lee when she's asked about Yahoo's future placement. But she says visually impaired people need Yahoo's presence more than anyone else would. Upon the completion of training, seeing-eye dogs are paired with visually impaired users. "The ‘eyes of the blind' were born to serve the community. It's their mission.They are not house pets," she says. Seeing-eye dogs will only become someone's house pet when matching fails. If that happens, says Ms Lee, the puppy walker will then keep them as a pet. Failure in matching seldom happens. David Wong was successfully matched with Hong Kong's first locally trained seeing-eye dog. He experiences a sense of security when his dog navigates him. "I hope the seeing-eye dog service will become more popular, and bring benefits to more visually impaired users," he says. But without sufficient capital and human resources, seeing-eye dog training will develop at a glacial pace. "We are hunting for families who are willing to commit and to walk seeing-eye dogs as daily training routines," Ms Lee says. So the selection of a puppy walker is strict, in order to prevent abandonment …

People

Rookie musical actress ready to shine on stage

  • 2016-01-09

  by Choco Chan She is an adorable 6-year-old child on stage, but a newlywed 26 year-old in real life. Angelika Wong Ching-ching is a rookie theatre actress. She introduces herself as Siu Lung, the nickname she is known by because she is only 150-centimetre tall. "I don't mind being short. My height has actually given me a lot of opportunities for many roles on stage," said Siu Lung. In ‘With Love, William Shakespeare', she played the main role, Juliet and drew a lot of attention. "I was thrilled when I received the call from the director because I was just a fresh graduate but was offered the main role," she recalls in excitement. "The director later told me he chose me simply because I was short enough to act as a sweet innocent girl," the 26-year-old said. "But I did not mind at all," she smiled. Unlike many successful actresses, Ms Wong did not have any drama experience during her secondary school years. But she liked singing and was always encouraged to join singing competitions at school. She started voice lessons when her music teacher discovered her singing talent and recommended a good tutor for her. But she found practising Italian and German songs "very boring". "I had no idea what I was singing. But now I am so grateful to the teacher because she helped me build a strong foundation. That's why many directors think of me when they need an actress who can sing in their drama," she said. Ms Wong wanted to study music at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts after secondary school. But the programme was not available then. So she chose drama instead because she thought that was similar. She got her first role in Disneyland soon after graduation. Dressed as a …

People

Unbox reality in rainbow concrete jungle

  • 2015-10-01

Canadian photographer discovers Hong Kong's colourful buildings and dreary lives of those residing in them.

People

Stand By Me singer Ben E. King died at 76

  • 2015-05-02

'Stand By Me' singer Ben E. King at age 76, has died of natural cause at his home in New Jersey. The R&B singer had 21 songs charted on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1961 and 1975, including the notable 'Stand By Me', 'Spanish Harlem', 'Amor', 'Do it in the name of love'. More on Ben E King Chart history on Billboard Earlier this year, King's version of the classic song by the U.S. Library of Congress to the National Recording Registry, saying 'It was King's incandescent vocal that made it a classic.' Born in North Carolina, King started his career as the male vocal of  The Drifters in 1950s, singing hits like 'Save the Last Dance for Me' and 'The Magic Moment'. In 1988, the band was inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

People

Kim Jong-un in Hong Kong?

  • 2015-04-19

Not everyone has the chance to visit North Korea, let alone meeting the country's supreme leader. But some people suspect they see him here. IF you think you have met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un occasionally in Hong Kong, don't panic. You have only met his look-a-like, Kim Jong "Um", a character created by Howard. Since 2013, Howard, who prefers not to reveal his name, started impersonating the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. In fact, when Howard first saw Kim Jong-un with his father, Kim Jong-il, years ago on television, he already noticed that he looks very much like Kim Jong-un. But it was not until his friends also pointed out this likeness did he start impersonating Kim. "If lots of people recognize me as Kim," he said, "it means that I could become an impersonator and make money," He and his friends created a Facebook page called "Kim Jong ‘Um'-Kim Jong Un Look alike/Impersonator" and started posting pictures of him with Kim's signature haircut and black button up suit. Although Howard looks like Kim, it still takes him four hours to turn himself into Kim by changing his hairstyle and modifying the shape of his eyebrows. Other than changing his appearance, Howard has also learn to imitate Kim Jong-un's tone by watching all the speeches the real leader has delivered. But despite having done that, Howard said he knew nothing about Kim's personality. "Actually, I think no one knows for sure," Howard said. "Perhaps he is a puppet of the real governors behind the scene. Who knows?" Another obstacle for Howard is speaking Korean. Usually, he only needs to walk around and wave to people silently. But he feels horrible when he is asked to recite Korean lines. "I still do not know how to speak …

People

Superheroes in town

  • 2015-02-24

Star Wars cosplayers bring joy to countless kids   "May the Force be with you." If you can tell that this classic line is from the spiritual peacekeeping Jedi in Star Wars, and have been fond of helping the needy, you might want to join the Rebel Legion. The organisation is based in the United States and has spread all over the world. Star Wars costume lovers can team up and form a base in their community as long as they have passed the requirements set by the headquarter. RL members utilise their costume talents and give back to the community by dressing up as Star Wars superheroes for charity and volunteering activities. The quality of their work will be overseen by the headquarters. "The Rebel Legion Hong Kong Base" (RL) is a force formed by about 20 local members. Among them are Mr Edmund Tong, Ms Carmen Chiang and Mr Chris Chan. The members did not make a superhero entrance to our interview. They just came in casual wear. All the goodies were stored in the gigantic suitcases they brought with them. They showcased the delicate costumes while telling the story. "Cosplayers of Star Wars gather as friends to do good things together. This is what the RL aims at," said Mr Tong. The "good things" they did included visits to hospitals children wards. From the RL's point of view, cosplaying for hospital visits made it easier for children to accept them, he explained. Yet, it is not that easy for the adults. " Those well-known charitable organisations are used to doing things in a certain way. They have a lot of concerns when someone approaches them wanting to add in new elements to the volunteer programmes as they care very much about their image," said Ms Enid Lau, who has …

People

Millinery trailblazer

  • 2015-02-24

Hong Kong's sole hat designer talks about her passion for making a piece of clothing not commonly worn by locals To Ms Jay Cheng,"hats are poems", as a hat is the piece of clothing that highlights the personality of its wearer. For that reason, those words have adorned the business cards of Hong Kong's only millinery trailblazer,whose clients include many local celebrities, including actoress Carina LauKar-ling and singer Eason Chan Yik-shun. "A good hat can make a big difference. It can make a beautiful lady more gorgeous," said Ms Cheng, showing her love and confidence in hats. Despite having made a name as a milliner, Ms Cheng still cannot quite explain why she has fallen in love with hats. She had started as a freelance fashion stylist after studying fine arts and printmaking in Canada. Some years ago, having decided to go back to school, she came across a course on millinery while browsing through the courses of the London College of Fashion. She was instantly hooked and decided to give it a try. Ms Cheng still remembers how she was impressed by a room full of millinery blocks when she first arrived at the college. "I felt that place was paradise to me," she said. After learning the basic techniques of making hats in the seven-day course, Ms Cheng further developed her skills by receiving training from a renowned British royal milliner, Rose Cory. In 2005, after completing the training, she gave up her job as a stylist and became a full-time milliner."I would feel sorry for myself if I did not try to be a full-time milliner, as I have developed a strong love for making hats and nobody's doing it in Hong Kong," she said. To Ms Cheng, hats have a great power of subliming a person's temperament …

People

Female racecar driver shines in motor car racing

  • 2015-01-10

Ms Denise Yeung says that women can also be great racecar drivers Ms Denise Yeung, one of the very few female racecar drivers in Hong Kong, has been participating in this traditionally male-dominated sport as an amateur racer for five years.