Society & Politics

A "Day of Thanks": Hong Kong protestors flock to pro-democracy businesses to show gratitude

Pro-democracy protesters heeded an online call to support "yellow shops" today, expressing their gratitude to businesses which have shown support for the ongoing anti-government protests that started in June.  The "Day of Thanks" was publicised on social media outlets and chat platforms, such as telegram, encouraging supporters to "say yes" to those businesses by endorsing and purchasing products from them throughout the day. The "colouring" of opposing political views was sparked by the Occupy Movement in 2014, with pro-democracy supporters labelled "yellow ribbons" and allies of the police or Chinese government classified as "blue ribbons".  The current unrest, sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, has again greatly divided the city, with netizens categorising shops depending on their political stance.  Stores classified as "blue" are actively boycotted by protestors, while stores categorised as the newly emerged colours of "red" and "black" — meaning mainland financed or have suspected triad affiliation — are often graffitied and vandalized during demonstrations.  Let’s Jam, a cafe in Tsim Sha Tsui, and Lung Mun Cafe, a Hong Kong-style diner, were among the "yellow shops" listed on a poster advertising the "Day of Thanks". Supporters were urged to check into the establishments on social media with the hashtag #standwithhk. Many of the "yellow shops" have openly endorsed the pro-democracy movement through participating in strike days, posting social media as well as in-store.  Staff of Let's Jam said business has increased after they have created a “Lennon Wall” in the shop for customers to write words of encouragement to support the movement and protesters. "More people have been coming to support us for standing on the side of Hong Kong people," said Tung, staff member of Let's Jam. "Apart from the Lennon Wall, we also offer free meals to protesters who used up their money because of the movement."  Ms. Chiu is …

Society & Politics

The heart-stirring rhythm — "Glory to Hong Kong"

Dubbed the new, unofficial anthem for Hong Kong, the heart-stirring march "Glory to Hong Kong" has motivated and touched the hearts of protesters, inspiring them to join choruses in shopping malls around Hong Kong. The lyrics have been translated into different languages, including English, Japanese and Korean. Videos showing flash mob-style performances have reached more than 2 million views on Youtube in a month. The tune is the creation of a musician working under the pseudonym, Thomas, who we contacted by LIHKG. "I created this song to boost morale and to enhance cohesion among the people," Thomas said. "My faith ( in the movement) inspired me to write the song. I want people to keep their heads up together and I want everyone to know that we are fighting hard for liberty and freedom," Thomas added.  "The song not only talks about the old days when people used to chant about the 'Spirit of Lion Rock', but it also refers to a new generation of Hong Kongers, and their sacrifice for liberty and rights," he said. Thomas said the protests are no longer just about opposition to the extradition bill, but also symbolize Hong Kongers' fight for freedom, liberty and universal suffrage. "Most people in Hong Kong support the protesters by buying them safety gear such as helmets and gloves, but these gear can barely withstand the violence. As a musician, I can write a song to strengthen people’s faith because having a strong faith is invincible," he said.  Some say the song is a better way to express political aspirations than violence. "The song comes at a time when the activists want to have space to express their sentiment rather than just fighting the police. I believe people are afraid of 'Mainlandization', that is, their personal liberty and freedom will …

Society & Politics

When wardrobes are politicised: is it safe in Hong Kong to dress in black?

Since June, the streets of Hong Kong have been filled with the trademark black and yellow hues, peppered with the pink filters of their gas masks. Some even cover their entire faces with black scarves or turtle necks to hide their identities. Andy Lam, 21, is one of the black-clad demonstrators."Wearing black T-shirts represents our identity and our five demands," she says. The five demands include withdrawal of the extradition bill, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, not to label the unrest as "riot", release arrested protesters and universal suffrage. Anyone wearing black these days may be suspected of involvement in the protest, especially after some protesters threw petrol bombs and bricks, set fires and vandalized properties. Ms. Lam said she strangers sometimes glance at her just because she is in black. Recently, she tried to help a mainland couple to find their way around Hong Kong Baptist University, but to Ms. Lam, they seemed suspicious because she was wearing black. Christoph Li Xiaoyong, a 22-year-old mainland student from Hong Kong Baptist University, is not a protester, was mistaken for a protester on September 9 just because he was wearing black. He was actually just out to watch a movie in Mongkok that evening. "I had to hide in the alley but the riot police followed me and then found me. I then had to go back on to the main road, where I got tear-gassed along with the protesters," he recalled, "and that made me feel depressed." Another mainland student, Seven Yang, had a similar experience when she was in black.  "Coming back from Lowu, I was stopped by customs officers for inspection. They checked my bags but not my friends’ who were wearing other colours,” she said. In fact, people with different political views are split according …

Caught in the mayhem: foreign domestic helpers are the silent victims of the protests

  • 2019-10-05

On Sundays, foreign domestic helpers from South East Asian countries usually gather next to Victoria Park for recreational activities and to share their culture delicacies. But finding a safe place to meet has become increasingly challenging since the anti-extradition bill protest in June. Organisers of Indonesian Martial Arts have been holding events every Sunday in Victoria Park since October 2009, but that stopped. "Sometimes we can't meet our friend," said Nuki, IMA's spokeswomen who only gave her first name, "we have almost 300 people in our group." she said. Nuki has  been living in Hong Kong since 2008. "I never felt scared, but this time I [am] really scared." She feels "caught in the middle" when violence erupts on weekends.  Demonstrations have spread across the city every weekend since June and the violence has intensified, forcing domestic workers to change their schedules on their only day-off to avoid high-risk areas.  The Cabinet Secretariat of Indonesian issued a travel advisory in August to Indonesians concerning Hong Kong's protests. According to the Immigration Department’s data in 2018, there were about 165,000 Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong. "The way of Hong Kong’s protests won’t happen in our country. The police won’t let it," said Nuki. Maya, another Indonesian helper, sat on the ground at Victoria Park, chatting and eating with her friends. "Hong Kong is too dangerous, if I have no place to go, I will just stay at home," Maya said,  "we have to work the whole week, we need to enjoy (our holiday)." Some domestic workers have had their days off cut short by the protest. On 15th August, protesters dressed in black were at a rally organized by the Civil Human Rights Front on the 15th of August, despite the march being banned by the police.  "Go quickly, otherwise you would …

Goodbye, To Kwa Wan

  • 2019-06-01

After a fatal building collapse in To Kwa Wan, the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) has announced a number of redevelopment projects in the district since 2016. While most residents accepted the government's compensation, many say moving away from the neighbourhood is not about money.

Hong Kong Fishermen's Ballads: A history in songs

  • 2019-05-27

Fishermen's ballads are a form of oral history of Hong Kong's dwindling fishing community. Our reporter, Zinnia Lee tells the story of how these songs have become a form of Intangible Cultural Heritage for Hong Kong and what the younger generation is doing to preserve them.

Is Hong Kong a safe place for men to crossdress?

  • 2019-05-10

The frilly, dark lace trimmings embroidered around Tsang Ching’s knee-length, eccentric red dress stood in stark contrast to the modernity of the bustling streets of Mong Kok. With immaculate makeup and long, soft curls fanned over her shoulders, Tsang Ching strutted past the sardine-packed markets in a pair of black suede knee-high boots. Biologically male, Ms. Tsang identifies and dresses as female. She first started crossdressing began when she tried on her first pair of stockings at the age of six. During secondary school, she would crossdress at home borrowing clothing from her family members, only to put them back when she felt satisfied. But as she did not have the money to buy shoes and wigs until she turned 23. Now, Ms. Tsang, 33, works as an organising secretary for a labour non-profit organisation and dresses as a woman every day. Her colleagues are largely accepting of her identity, she says, and adds that the major objection comes from her wife. "Some think crossdressers are gay, and that’s the reason why they do crossdressing. Or they would straight up think that I am a pervert because I was dressing so femininely", said Ms. Tsang, "I want to be treated as a female even though I don’t hate being male." With increased LGBT exposure in recent years, whether or not Hong Kong has progressed into a safe place for men to publicly crossdress remains a question. "Each time crossdressing is used in Hong Kong and Chinese media, it is sometimes laughable. It is used as comedy." said Brenda Rodriguez Alegre, a transgender lecturer of Gender Studies at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Hong Kong. "I think socially, logically and psychologically, safe is a complex term to use. Maybe you will be safe in the sense that you …

Percentage charge in handling fees for Sevens’ tickets on official sale platforms varies

  • 2019-04-05
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Vanessa Yung、Anna Kam、Hailey ManEdited by: Phoebe Lai、Yetta Lam
  • 2019-04-05

It’s advertised as "where the world comes to play" by sponsors. This weekend, tens of thousands of rugby fans from around the world will cheer their teams at the annual on Hong Kong Rugby Sevens at Hong Kong stadium. According to the Rugby Union’s audit report, income from "entry and admission fees" raked in $1.3 million Hong Kong dollars. The finals on Sunday usually draw the largest number of spectators every year and tickets for those top team matches are sometimes hard to come by. For years, scalpers would approach fans, typically at Causeway Bay MTR station to offer tickets to those desperate to see the finals. This year, the Hong Kong Rugby Union announced in October 2018, that the tickets were going to remain the same price as last year staying at $1950 for a full three day tournament ticket. Currently, there are no laws in Hong Kong regulating ticket scalping. An online scalper who refused to give his name, claimed that he sold a three-day ticket package for $3600. That’s a 80% markup on the original price. "Few Hong Kong local fans would pay thousands dollars for the Sevens tickets. Buyers are mostly staff from insurance companies who want to offer tickets to their clients, [as a gift]," the anonymous seller explained. According to the Hong Kong Sevens official website, Hong Kong identity card holders can enter a ballot in which tickets would be randomly allocated. Each person can apply for up to two tickets and a total 9,000 tickets would be sold this way. Visitors from overseas can purchase the "Essential Sevens Travel package" from travel agents listed. There are also "hospitality packages" from, for example, Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). One of the travel agents on the website, Keith Prowse Travel, …

Photo Essay

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.

Real-life Quidditch: More than Just a Harry Potter By-Product

  • 2019-03-29

The much-anticipated match commenced with "Brooms Up!" Players darted towards the balls in the centre of the field, makeshift broomsticks held between their legs.  On both sides of the pitch stood three ring-shaped, silver goalposts of different heights. Quidditch is a familiar sport for Harry Potter fans, but now, the fictional game has been brought to life. Full-contact and physically intense, the magical sport leaped off the pages in 2005 when freshmen Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe of Middlebury College in Vermont, US, co-created the rules of land-based Quidditch and dubbed it "Muggle Quidditch". A myriad of university teams are playing the sport from UC Berkeley in the US and McGill University and Carleton University in Canada  to recently in Asia, the University of Hong Kong. J.K. Rowling's wizarding world of Harry Potter continues to strike a chord with aficionados across the world, though the last installment of the fantasy series was in 2011. Fusing together a variety of elements from rugby, dodgeball, volleyball and tag, a Quidditch team has seven players per team on the field, who must keep a makeshift broomstick - usually a plastic bar or light metal stick - between their legs at all times during the game. In order to score, chasers of each team throw the quaffle (a volleyball) through the hoops as the keepers race to ward off their attacks. Beaters can attack players' of the opposing team using bludgers (two dodgeballs). The job of the seeker, the position that Harry Potter himself held, is to catch the "golden snitch" - a neutral player who has a yellow tennis ball attached to the back of his or her pants. The International Quidditch Association says the sport is gender inclusive with no more than than four players of the same sex allowed on the …