Society

Photo Essay

Weekend Review: Handwritten signboards reveal Hong Kong's culture and history

Two of our reporters joined traditional signboard calligrapher Lee Kin-ming on a tour to rediscover the hidden gems of Hong Kong on signboards along streets in San Po Kong.

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Weekend Review: Word art on signboards remains in Hong Kong

Two of our reporters join a signboards tour in San Po Kong and uncover the untold tale of a historical Chinese word font. Ever heard of the Chinese font Li Han Kong Kai ? Before it stepped foot into the world of typography, it was made up of 3600 Chinese word samples from Li Han, who used to be a signboard calligrapher before he retired. Those word samples were later passed down to his grandson Lee Kin-ming, who is continuing Mr.Li Han’s work in their family-run factory. "Signboards of large companies are everywhere and everyone can notice them,  but it is not the same for small shops' handmade signboards," said Mr. Lee Kin-ming, who holds regular guided tours in the weekends to introduce long-standing signboards in the city that are usually overlooked.  Compared to other old  districts such as Kwun Tong, most of the shops  in San Po Kong have a longer history so their signboards are still reserved, according to Mr. Lee in one of his guided tour held in the weekend before. He said signboards in Hong Kong are usually clear and visible from a distance. "Hong Kong shop keepers prefer grandeur fonts with thick strokes. For example, the Beiwei font looks  imposing since hooks inside the characters are relatively large," he said. Bone clinics and martial clubs usually use the Beiwei font for their  signboards, while the Clerical script font is for more artistic uses, he added.   For sign boards with  more complicated characters. Mr. Lee said  he uses rulers and French curves to draw curved alphabets such as the English letter "U" and for numbers,  he photocopies those on his calendar and follow them to draw. For example, the Biaukai font, of which strokes in words are usually separated,  has been disliked by many signboard …

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Weekend Review: Post 90s woman writes to break social stigma

Comprised of stories shared by 29 individuals from the post 90s, Choy Po-yin talked about her book, Salt To The Sea: Interviews of The Post 90s’ Generation, in a sharing event organised by the Art and Culture Outreach in Lok Sin Tong Wong Chung Ming Secondary last Saturday. "Apart from writing a novel, I hold talks to discuss the topic [labelling the post 90s in society] with the public to change people's perception of the post 90s" explained to Choy Po-yin, writer of the book, Salt To The Sea: Interviews of The Post 90s" Generation. "I can feel that I [as part of the post 90s] carry a lot of labels, so I want to clear all of them," she said. There is a phenomenon in society that the post 90s, who value their opinions and embrace diversity, "are always on the frontline," she added. More people [those of the post 90s] has already met their basic living needs, so they turned to focus on other concerns, said Jacob, born in 1992 and was reluctant to reveal their full name, said.   "The post 90's may be satisfied with their material lives but  it does not fulfill their spiritual desires, so they are stepping up to pursue something more valuable, such as equality and justice," said Kilo, another interviewee born in 1994. Author Ms. Choy said various banners seen in Hong Kong's large-scale socio-political movements on issues including climate change and civic engagement have been demonstrating a society they [the post 90s] desire.

"Dying" before death in the millennium: An increasing number of millennials take part in public engagement on death education

  • 2019-02-28

"You wake up to see yourself lying in a hospital bed. You are being told by a doctor that you were rushed to the hospital by the taxi driver. The next thing you know you are dying. Your heart pounds though as your body stays frozen. Millions of questions pop and memories of your life replay. Do I need a funeral? Do I donate my organs? What about my money? What about everyone? Will anyone remember me? Will they come and visit my grave? If anyone is ready, please open your eyes and write down your death note."   Art therapist, Michelle Chan Wan-chee, in her mid-30s, paused the meditation session of the death-education workshop, organised by an independent bookstore, Stay within Bookspace, in Chai Wan on a Sunday in January. She asked the 15 participants to write down their feelings and share it in small groups. Louis Chuk Ka-lok, 21, who runs the bookstore, said his traumatic experience with the deaths of his mother and grandmother made him want to help others rehearse and prepare before death happens in real life. Like this workshop, a handful of private organisations in Hong Kong are starting to offer interactive and reflective death-education experiences, as more people call for better public awareness of the value of life and death. Hong Kong needs death education because society is ageing faster, said Lam Ching-choi, CEO of the Haven of Hope Christian Service and chairman of the Elderly Commission, at a health conference at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.   Government data has shown an inversely proportional phenomenon on the demographics in Hong Kong. From 2014 to 2018, the number of birth in Hong Kong showed an average annual reduce of 2,150; while the number of death from 2014 to 2018 showed an average annual increase …

Discovery Bay community outraged as boathouse families face eviction

  • 2019-01-24

On September 9, the usual tranquillity of Sunday evenings in Discovery Bay was disrupted by thousands of residents participating in a demonstration, against the impending eviction of Discovery Bay Marina Club houseboat residents.The move is due to new plans initiated at Tai Pak Bay by the Hong Kong Resort (HKR), a company which owns most of the development projects in the area. All dressed in white shirts, the demonstrators marched from Marina Club on to Discovery Drive and up Sienna Road. They gathered at the centre of the North Plaza at around 6pm, right before the commencement of their community hall meeting. "We want the Hong Kong Resorts to understand that their actions don't just affect the Marina residents, but also this entire community," said Henry Moreno, one of the organisers of the demonstration, who is also the chairman of 208 affected boathouse members. Mr. Moreno moved to Marina Club with his wife and three children just two years ago because they could not afford an apartment in Hong Kong. His boat costed him around $4.4 million, of which he still has a $3 million mortgage yet to be paid. However, once evicted with nowhere to berth, his vessel will worth nothing. "I am close to facing personal bankruptcy," said Mr. Moreno, "I still have three kids that go to school here, two in Discovery Bay International School which is owned by Hong Kong Resort and one in Discovery College, who would be out of school if we can't make things work. I have a family to take care of, so leaving the marina with nowhere to go is definitely not an option. But right now I really don’t know where we can go." Discovery College and Discovery Bay International School are the two main schools in the area. In …

Hong Kong government misses the "Spark" on technology

  • 2019-01-22

"We may be losing out on talents because of gender stereotype, but the issue here is our government need to understand the importance of technology and make policy changes accordingly," said Charles Peter Mok, Legislative Council member for the IT functional constituency, last Sunday at a discussion panel. Four leading figures in the IT industry attended the SPARK discussion panel the other day commenting on gender biases and how to make technology meaningful to people in Hong Kong, including Mok, Esther Ho Yuk-fan, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Careers Masters and Guidance Masters, Liu Candy, general manager of the HKC Technology and co-chairman of the Hong Kong Computer Society FACE Club and Jacqui Speculand, course director at the School of Media and Performing Arts in Coventry University. Mok expressed that the slow changes on study curriculums’ policy were not encouraging enough students in Hong Kong because it has been starting to allocate funding to the innovation sector since last year’s budget. Speculand of Coventry University, who teaches in HK THEi, stressed that students were generally “single-minded” because the study environment in Hong Kong lacked “the freedom to choose.” "Some of my students once told me they were not as good as the others because they failed the exam (DSE) which was heartbreaking to hear,"  Speculand added. Ho emphasized that school curriculums need to change in a way which would help students make sense of their learning by building connections between the subjects they are studying and their future career. "You need to educate students that technology is a part of life," Ho explained.   According to  Liu, who first formed the Hong Kong Computer Society FACE Club together with her 9 other like-minded individuals, the significance of technology has actually been present in various fields of profession such as …

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

  • 2019-01-21

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.

Operation Santa Claus: Food experiences for pupils with disabilities

  • 2018-12-13

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.

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

  • 2018-10-08

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.

Thousands pay last tribute to "Father of Fibre Optics"

  • 2018-10-07

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 …