Society

Society

A Hong Kong Calligraphy Master

Every corner, wall and even the floor of King Wah Signboards in North Point is covered with the calligraphy of  Au Yeung Cheong. There are also photos of his visitors, both local and from overseas.  It’s a kind of creative mess with ink, plastic boards and paper all over the floor.  The shop has been around for 30 years but recently relocated to Kam Ping Street after the State Theatre building was sold.  The 65-year-old Chinese calligraphy master is well known for his remarkable and unique real script Mr Au Yeung has created more than a thousand signboards in Hong Kong, starting from writing, text carving to installing lightboxes.  He started when he first arrived in Hong Kong in the 1970s and later set up his shop King Wah Signboard. “The real script was created and used by emperors as the official typeface since the Tang Dynasty,” Mr Au Yeung claimed.  He described the strokes as Guan Yu’s blade, clean-cut, awe-inspiring, which is different from the Song Ti font and regular script typeface.  “The Real script shouldn’t look as if they don’t have heads or tails. The characters are tightly structured and as sharp as a knife cutting a watermelon,” he explained. As  Mr Au Yeung demonstrated his calligraphy, he almost threw himself into a trance, savouring the connotation his work seemed to bring him. He then compared his work with the calligraphy of  Wu Zetian, the only empress of China. “Don't you think mine is more beautiful than hers?” he asked.  It might be a common misconception that expensive brushes and ink are needed for the artform. But Mr Au Yeung revealed that his brushes and inks were bought from a hardware store nearby.  “What matters most is the skill you have in handling the brushes and how familiar …

Society

Muslims in Hong Kong prepare for a second Ramadan under COVID

Muslims in the city welcomed the month of Ramadan after the Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong, the official representative body for Muslims, announced the confirmation of the start of the holy month yesterday. The announcement came after the government allowed the resumption of religious gatherings with a maximum 30 percent of the venue’s capacity. “There’s this sense of relief in Hong Kong that the mosques are open” said Adeel Malik, chairman of the Muslim Council of Hong Kong. “Overall, It’s sweet to have Ramadan again,” Mr. Malik said More than 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide fast from dawn to dusk for the month of Ramadan, though some, such as the sick, are exempted. Not having the iftar — the group meal during the breaking of the fast -- was the only downside this year, said Mr Malik. The iftar meal is usually eaten after sunset together with a large group of people, including family and friends. Social gatherings beyond four people are not allowed under the current government regulations — making iftars in the city confined to homes. "The purpose of Ramadan is to attain righteousness and that’s the main purpose of fasting," said Mr. Malik, adding that he expected to have Ramadan “fully back to function” in following years. Rahman Anse, a final year student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said the month helps her to improve her spiritual goals. Ms. Anse also added that people should protect themselves as well as the community during the pandemic. “All of these activities can be done in smaller groups or even at home,” said. Ms. Anse. “I have more time to spend at home because all of my classes are online now.”. The city has 300,000 Muslims from multiple backgrounds, making up 4.6% …

Society

Life Under the Pandemic: How Do the Domestic Helpers Spend Their Holidays

Every Sunday, in areas such as Mong Kok and Central, footbridges and parks are packed with clusters of foreign domestic helpers. Under covid regulations, large groups  are broken up. A domestic helper, Bege, said this was her first time to gather with friends at the Mong Kok footbridge. They used to spend their  day-offs in her neighbourhoods. Another domestic helper, Vina, said, apart from resting at the footbridge, she would go shopping with her friends. But under the pandemic, she had nothing to do after spending time with her friends, so she would get home earlier. Unlike Bege and Vina, another domestic helper, Magttelena enjoyed “me-time” on the footbridge by doing live streaming on Facebook. For domestic helpers in Hong Kong, finding a place to spend their days off is tough during COVID. The parks in which they used to gather are now off limits. "Under the gathering ban, domestic helpers are facing more discrimination from locals when spending time together," said Peggy Shek, committee member from the Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions, which has over 750 foreign domestic helper members. According to the FADWU’s figures in June 2020, among the 427 domestic helpers who were interviewed, over 80% of them felt they faced more discrimination amid the pandemic. "Before the pandemic, the domestic helpers would sometimes be driven out by security guards  or dissuaded from taking photos when resting in parks," said Ms Shek But since last year, the domestic helpers interviewed felt that they had become the focus. Ms Shek added that reporters come to them more often and more people give them the dirty look. "Once when the domestic helpers were resting in the park, there were announcements reminding them to follow the social distancing rules every hour, which they found disturbing," said Ms …

Society

Nearly 3 million Hong Kong Facebook accounts may be affected by data leak

Personal information from more than 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries have been leaked and posted in a low-level hacking forum on Saturday, cybersecurity researcher, Alon Gai said on Twitter on Saturday. Around 2.94 million Hong Kong users may be affected. The exposed data includes users’ full names, phone numbers, locations, email addresses and biographical information. Security researchers say hackers could use the data to commit fraud.  A Facebook spokesperson said that the data had been scrapped due to a vulnerability that the company patched in 2019.  According to Alon Gal, the chief technology officer of a cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, who discovered the leakage of data on Saturday, said while the data is a couple of years old, it could be used by cybercriminals  to impersonate users or scam them into handing over login credentials.  Ms Chung Lai-ling Ada, the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data inHong Kong, said that her office is paying close attention to the Facebook leak and has carried out compliance investigations.  She suggested that members of the public should think twice before using social media. "The use of social media carries inherent yet non-negligible risks to users' privacy in relation to personal data," said Ms Chung.  The PCPD also issued a “Guidance on Protecting Personal Data Privacy in the Use of Social Media and Instant Messaging Apps” on April 5, which provides the public with some practical advice to mitigate the privacy risks involved in the use of social media. The Guidance points out that the use of social media and instant messaging apps is not really "free" because users’ personal data is usually monetized upon registration or in the course of user activities.  Users of social media often unwittingly reveal more information than they think. Information shared online can also be misused …

Society

Hong Kong resumes BioNTech vaccination after 12-day suspension

Hong Kong resumes BioNTech vaccination after 12-day suspension Hong Kong's BioNTech vaccination programme started again on Monday after a batch of the vaccine was found to have defective packaging on March 24. The injections offered from today come from a new batch of 300,000 doses that arrived last Saturday. Two previous batches are temporarily on hold until an investigation is completed by the manufacturer. People who could not get their vaccination during the week-long stoppage are automatically reassigned new time slots by the Centre for Health Protection. A notification is sent to their phones. "I am actually still a little worried, but I heard that the second dose must be given within a limited time after the first dose," said Ngan Lap-wing, a 62-year-old man who received his first shot on March 10. He originally booked a second shot on April 1. The city's vaccination booking system showed that all bookings of the BioNTech jabs are taken in the coming two days. "I had obvious side effects such as a fever after getting the first dose, and the second dose I received was a new batch. So I think it should be effective," said Alfred Lau, a 35-year-old banker who had his second shot today. By April 4, about 151,400 people in Hong Kong have received the first dose of the BioNTech vaccine and about 600 have also had their second shot, according to the latest figures released by the government.

Society

Wellness hub provides sanctuary for Hong Kong Baptist University students under stress

Covid-19 and long hours of online learning may be adding to the stress of university students. But a short break in a "wellness hub" maybe just the way to decompress.

Society

HKBU student tests positive for COVID-19

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) announced today at a press conference that a 22-year-old local male student from Hong Kong Baptist University tested positive for COVID-19 on March 26. The source of infection is unknown. The student had a runny nose on March 25, and tested positive for COVID-19 the following day. He is from the Faculty of Social Sciences, and visited the HKBU campus in Kowloon Tong on March 18 and March 22. He attended at least two classes and a meeting in three separate buildings. According to Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, the head of the Communicable Disease Branch of the Centre for Health Protection,  the students interacted in one of the classes and thus increased the chance of spreading the virus. Hence, more than 40 students and a teacher in one of the classes have to be quarantined. People who also went to the buildings that the student visited, including the HKBU Communication and Visual Arts Building, the Academic and Administration Building, and the Lui Ming Choi Centre at Sin Hang Campus, will have to take compulsory tests. Ms Jenny Lam, a senior lecturer who taught a three-hour lecture which the infected student attended on March 18, said she is not worried about the situation. “The students in that class wore masks throughout the lesson. There was no class discussion and interactions of any kind,” Ms Lam said. She has taken a COVID-19 test at the Hang Hau Community Testing Centre and the result is negative. According to Ms Lam, the classroom is 1100 sq. ft. and there were 25 students in class on the day. The infected student sat on the last row with a friend while other students were at least three rows away from them. Ms Lam said that only one student who attended her …

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 …

Society

DSE results to be released via SMS, strict Covid measures in place as exams begin next month

Candidates sitting this year's Diploma of Secondary Education examinations will receive their results through SMS messages in addition to official print transcripts, the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority announced on Thursday.  The text will show the partial name and ID number of the student, subjects and grades. It allows candidates - who might not be able to go to school in-person due to Covid-related reasons - to change their university choices promptly, said Ricardo Mak, Director of Public Examinations at the HKEAA.  The HKEAA will send students a test SMS in June, one month before the DSE results are released.  The exams will take place from April 23 to May 20.  Students waiting for compulsory Covid tests or in lockdown are not allowed to take the exams, and they should inform the Public Examinations Information Centre, the HKEAA said. But there will be no make-up if the students miss their exams, added the HKEAA. The application for absence from exams requires affirmation from the school principal. The HKEAA will then give a grade based on the student's academic performance; the maximum score is 5, the third-highest level after 5** and 5*. "Regarding unusual cases like this, we will assess and tackle fairly and impartially," said Mr Mak. Head of School Examinations and Assessment Margaret Hui said, students who are late for exams because of delayed Covid test results should try to head to the centres and report to the supervisors. But no extra hours will be granted. "Even though they might have less time for paper 1, they might make it to do paper 2. We will use the performance of paper 2 to assess how we can compensate for the loss in paper 1," Ms Hui said. Candidates must fill in the health-declaration form and have their temperature …

Society

Hong Kong Vaccination

Hong Kong has expanded the Covid vaccination programme to include students over 16 years old who study abroad. Kylan Goh qualifies and he shares his experience.