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Society

A drive through the newly opened Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor

The Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor opens today, costing $36 billion dollars to build. The project began in December 2009 and aims to reduce traffic from the eastern corridor towards the city’s central area, which has previously been a problematic area for traffic during rush hour. This is caused by drivers and passengers going back to the Kowloon side via the Cross Harbour Tunnel and surge of traffic going towards the Sai Ying Pun area from Causeway Bay. Passengers that go by the route from the eastern corridor to the west side often have a 30 to 45 minute wait between 5:00PM to 7:30PM. Roads have now been changed in order to accommodate the brand new tunnel. One of our reporters drove through the tunnel this afternoon, taking about 5 minutes to drive through the entire 4.5km tunnel, with generally smooth traffic. However, the final "test" that should occur would be during the rush hours in the morning and evening. During the drive, there were no clear instructions indicated on switching lanes within the tunnel was not allowed, giving the Wan Chai North (going to the Wan Chai Convention Center) only one lane, but three lands while heading out to the western side of the island. Despite the three lanes leading up to the western side, there was also no clear route that connects the Western Crossing harbour Tunnel since the exit is currently closed. One of the main aims of the tunnel was to divert the traffic from the Cross Harbour Tunnel to the Western Crossing Tunnel and the Eastern Harbour Crossing. However, the unclear instructions and unopened roads made it very difficult to get to the Western Harbour Crossing. Overall, the experience of driving through the tunnel was smooth, despite some minor changes in the directions and some exits of the tunnel remaining closed.

Society

Operation Santa Claus: Food experiences for pupils with disabilities

With help from Operation Santa Claus, Caritas Jockey Club Lok Yan School plans to develop simple and healthy recipes for their pupils suffering from "complex medical cases". OSC is an annual charity campaign that aims to support the Hong Kong community and beyond, through the combined charitable fundraising power of two of Hong Kong's most respected news organisations - South China Morning Post and Radio Television Hong Kong.

Society

"Father of fibre optics" Sir Charles Kao laid to rest

The 2009 Nobel laureate Sir Charles Kao Kuen's funeral took place at the Hong Kong funeral home this morning following a public wake yesterday evening. Read more: http://tyr.jour.hkbu.edu.hk/2018/10/07/hundreds-pay-last-tribute-to-father-of-fibre-optics/ Sir Charles's widow Gwen Kao Wong May-wan arrived at the funeral home in North Point accompanied by her family and friends at about 10 am. The farewell ceremony started half an hour later. During the ceremony, videos about Sir Charles's life were played. Chinese University of Hong Kong Chorus sang one of the late vice-chancellor's favourite songs The Moon Represents My Heart. Sir Charles Kao was the third vice-chancellor of CUHK. Several university vice-chancellors and academics gave their orations, including incumbent vice-chancellor Rocky Tuan Sung-chi and former vice-chancellor Joseph Sung Jao-yiu. "The optical fibre he invented has rewritten human history and benefited humankind," said Prof. Tuan. "His perseverance is worth learning," said Prof. Sung. Rev. Francis King, one of Sir Charles's cousins, spoke on behalf of the family. "Death does not put an end to the relationship of Charles with us," he said. "He taught me to respect every human being." CUHK political science senior lecturer Ivan Choy Chi-keung described Sir Charles as "the nicest, most magnanimous and most sincere university headmaster" he has ever met. The city's chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was also one of the eight pallbearers apart from Prof. Tuan and Prof. Sung. Many other government officials also attended the remembrance, including financial secretary Paul Chan Mo-po, secretary for justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah. With his children, Simon and Amanda, carrying his portrait into the hearse, Sir Charles's coffin was then transferred to the Cape Collinson Crematorium. At age 84, he died in peace at Bradbury Hospice in Sha Tin on September 23 this year due to pneumonia.

Society

Thousands pay last tribute to "Father of Fibre Optics"

Thousands bade a final farewell this afternoon to the 2009 Nobel laureate Sir Charles Kao Kuen, who passed away in Hong Kong last month at the age of 84. The public wake took place at Hong Kong Funeral Home in North Point from 3 to 5 pm today. The electrical engineer and former vice-chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong died in peace at Bradbury Hospice in Sha Tin on September 23 this year, having suffered from Alzheimer's disease for the past 16 years. Wearing black, mourners attended the funeral holding a white chrysanthemum on hand. "His farsightedness and perseverance in research gave rise to epoch-defining contributions to modern communications and set the pace for how humans transfer and disseminate information," the memorial booklet distributed to the guest reads. Academics, government officials and politicians came to express their respect to Sir Charles including university headmasters and senior government officials, such as chief secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung and CUHK vice-chancellor Rocky Tuan Sung-chi, as well as representatives from his secondary school St. Joseph's College. Fung Ka-keung, 39, graduated from CUHK in 2002, attended the wake as a voluntary helper. He said he came here due to "the calling as part of United College" since Professor Kao also belonged to that college before being promoted to the university's vice-chancellor. Ms. Lee, at her 70s, especially came to pay her last respects to Sir Charles. She said he had made her life more convenient thanks to his invention of the optical fibre. Polly Kwong Miu-yee was Sir Charles's painting tutor from 2013 to July this year to help him soothe his dementia. She said she admired his positivity and "willingness to communicate through painting brushes". "He loves smiling," Ms. Kwong told The Young Reporter. The renowned physicist was born in Shanghai on …

Society

PolyU students go on hunger strike against paper-covered "democracy wall"

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Ezra Cheung、Katherine LiEdited by: Holly Chik、Raphael Blet、Michelle Ng
  • 2018-10-05

"The university's management has pushed us to the point of desperation," said students starting a hunger strike. Two student leaders from Hong Kong Polytechnic University announced this evening they were to go on a hunger strike, to protest against the school management's decision to take control of the "democracy wall" initially managed by the university's student union. The conflict began on September 24, four days before the fourth anniversary of the mass pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, as some students stuck messages supporting the city's independence onto the notice board, commonly referred as "democracy wall". PolyU management covered half of the board with large sheets of red paper on Tuesday. Students were enraged claiming their freedom of speech was being stifled. Several dozens of students gathered when the student union held a press conference at the university's main podium at 8:30 pm on Friday following their protest on Thursday demanding the vice president an explanation as to why the management decided to cover the wall. The student union's president Wing Lam Wing-hang and the student union council chairman Victor Yuen Pak-leung announced that they were to "start their hunger strike immediately" at the podium. "The university management has pushed us to the point of desperation... They are numb to conscience," the student union said in their open letter. "The school has been dismissive to the student union council representatives." Mr. Lam said the student union had collected more than 4,000 signatures against the school's decision. "We do not compromise on freedom of speech," Mr. Lam added. Kate Liu, 24, an urban planning PolyU student from the mainland, thought the action the university took was "mild". "Students having their own views is good," she said. "But the university should be with the government in fighting against Hong Kong independence." During the press conference, a …

Society

July 1 protest with new starting point draws less crowd

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Katherine Li、Vanessa Yung、Nadia LamEdited by: Michael Shum、Holly Chik、Michelle Ng
  • 2018-07-01

This is the second year the starting point of the July 1 march has been changed to the Central Lawn of the Victoria Park while the number of participants continues to drop. About 50,000 people joined the rally this year as the organiser reported, while the police claimed there are 9,800 people at peak, which was the lowest since 2003. For the second consecutive year, the organiser failed to reserve the soccer pitches as the starting point due to the handover celebration organised by The Hong Kong Celebrations Association. The application to assemble at East Point Road also failed later. Au Nok-hin, the vice-convener of the Civil Human Rights Front, called for citizens not to join the rally at East Point Road. He claimed that the participants could join at the Hysan place or Wan Chai Computer Centre instead. "I am worried that the police will find opportunities to arrests citizens in East Point Road. I know that there are already dozens of police there. The grip placed on protests have definitely tightened," Mr. Au said before the protest started. As TYR reporters observed, the participants could join or leave the rally freely during the march. However, in some places with crowd control barriers in place, people are not allowed to enter. According to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, The Celebrations Association was given priority since it is a registered charity group under the Inland Revenue Ordinance. Different parties have different complaints towards the government. In regards to democracy, Martin Lee, founder of the Democratic Party in Hong Kong, believes that Carrie Lam is not doing enough. "My greatest complaint about the current government is that this chief executive has done nothing, nothing in this past one year, about democracy," said Mr. Lee. "The Basic Law has been interpreted by the …

Society

Last day before Tiananmen closes for maintenance

The red flag with yellow stars slowly descends as the sun goes down at the Tiananmen square, marking not only the end of a day in Beijing but also the last day before the 700-year-old castle wall closes for maintenance. The Tiananmen District Management Committee announced on Tuesday that the heritage would be closed from 15 June to April next year. It is the first time Tiananmen close for repairment after its major renovation in the 1970s. The maintenance would mainly improve on waterproofing the Tiananmen tower, repairing and replacing tubings and equipments which have reached its life time, and conserving the heritage. The flag raising and lowering ceremony take place everyday at sunrise and sunset. Tourists, mostly Chinese, starts to gather on the plaza shortly after six, 90 minutes before the flag lowering ceremony. Mandy Yip, a tourist from Hong Kong said she chose to come today because the tower is closing the day after. "We didn't plan to come today, but we heard from the news that it is closing, so we came to visit before it is draped," she said. Li Feng, a Tianjin tourist who came to Beijing with his girlfriend also said they came knowing today is the last day of the building. "I do not have any special feelings about the building, but I still came knowing I could not visit it in a year." On the square, there are many cameramen who win breads by taking photos of tourists in front of the Tiananmen. "The maintenance is a catastrophe to me. It would no longer be attractive for photo-taking. I may go jobless," Wang Chao, one of the photographers said. Yet not all businesses think alike, Chen Yi-lin, who runs a vending truck said she is not worried at all. "I have never …

Society

Catalonia's brewing independence

Spain has a new prime minister this week. Pedro Sanchez defeated his predecessor, Mariano Rajoy in a vote of no confidence. Rajoy is embroiled in a corruption scandal. Although Basque and Catalan nationalist parties voted in favour of Sanchez, it is unclear whether they will support his government. Sanchez, like Rajoy, will likely have to contend with Catalonia’s continuing fight to split from Spain. Walk past any major street in Barcelona and you will notice row upon row of flags fluttering from balconies. In Catalonia, the Senyera estelada, is a symbol of independence. Some of these yellow and red striped ensigns with a lone white star have been there for so long that the stripes have been bleached almost pink and white by the sun. But the newer polemic symbol of Catalonia’s quest to split from Spain are the yellow ribbons. These too are all over Barcelona: spray painted on pavements, tied to railings and lampposts, some of them, giant displays outside residential building stretching several storeys high. Yellow ribbons have become more common since last October when pro-independence parties claimed that most people in Catalonia chose independence from Spain in a referendum. Liz Castro is an American writer and publisher living in Barcelona. In May 2015, she was elected national secretary of the Catalan National Assembly, a grassroot movement for Catalan independence and Ms. Castro is currently chairwoman of the Assembly’s international committee. She has been writing about Catalonia’s fight for independence for years and is also an activist in the Catalan independence movement. Following last year’s referendum, Ms. Castro wrote The Street Will Always Be Ours. Ms. Castro said that Spain is actively suppressing the Catalan economy by not funding the infrastructure that the region needs. "Catalonia represents 16% of the population but Spain only allocates ten or …

Society

Virtual Healing

Researchers at the University of Barcelona have found virtual reality to be a useful tool in psychology   Virtual reality may be the buzzword in journalism and entertainment. But for a team of psychologists and computer scientists at the University of Barcelona, these are just new applications for tools that they have been researching on for some time. The Experimental Virtual Environments Lab (EVENT Lab) at the Department of Psychobiology of the University of Barcelona focuses on immersive and embodiment experiences. Researchers from the University of Barcelona, the University College London and the University of Derby help participants learn through compassion. They use avatars and computer science gaming technology to teach empathy. For example, a user can be embodied in a black avatar to experience racial discrimination, or an adult in the body of a child to empathise how it feels when parents are harsh. "We found that adults who experience the kind mother gain trust," Mel Slater, the director of EVENTS Lab explained, "but when they meet the harsh mother first followed by the kind one a week later, they tend not to trust her." To experience embodiment, the participant has to put on a black bodysuit. Sensor pompoms on the garment allow the computer to track the person's movement so that the programme can react accordingly. The signals are picked up by sensors mounted on the walls of the pitch black lab. A virtual reality headset then allows the user to immerse in the altered world. "Parents who go through the experience tend to become more empathetic toward their children afterwards," said Domna Banakou, a researcher at the lab. "Racial discrimination also tends to decrease after white people experience what it is like to be black," added Banakou. These virtual reality experiments have taken Mel Slater and his …

Society

A 10-min mobile experience to online dating

More than 50 million people on earth are Tinder users. In a hustling city like Hong Kong, single millennials found it hard to look for partners because of gender imbalance, high expectation and busy schedules. LGBT communities actively use online dating apps because it is difficult for them to look for partners, while they are constantly worried that their identity and personal data will be exposed.