Health & Environment

The Online Hotbed for Illegal Drugs

Blue pills - the story ends, you wake up in your bed, believing whatever you want to believe. Red pills - you stay in Wonderland, knowing how deep the rabbit hole goes. Sixteen-year-old Amy chose a set of pills from Yanhee Hospital which promised "a safe and effective hallucination". Convinced by the photos and videos posted by an online shop on Instagram, she paid $300 to buy this medication. "On the first day, I felt dizzy after taking the medicine. My heart was pounding very fast and I was always thirsty. I couldn't fall asleep no matter how sleepy I was. The next day, I felt so weak as if I was floating. Eventually, I couldn't take it anymore. I felt like dying," Amy said. "I asked the shop owner why I was suffering through WhatsApp. The medicine had no disclaimer on its possible effects. The owner said everyone might react differently, and that I should quit if I was sick," she added. Social media has become a hotbed for illegal drug trade. By law, substances used for medical purposes must  be registered with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong before sale. But this is often not the case for medicine sold online. Between 2014 and 2016, there were  23 convictions linked to illegal drug sales on social media, according to the Drug Office. Common drugs offered on social media include those that promise to improve one's appearance, such as breast enhancement or make you grow taller. They come under names such as Cosmoslim, Slim Perfect Legs and Yanhee. Input the keywords on Instagram and you get hundreds of posts of pills. Online drug sellers often claim there is no medication in their products and that they are approved by the foreign agencies. For example, an online post …


Special kids, Special Needs

Legislators call for a review of education policies to help Special Educational Needs students Becky Liu is a year three student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was in kindergarten. That means Becky has a learning disability in reading, writing and speaking. Liu recalled her parents being told by the teacher that she could not tell the difference between the letters "A" and "B". "I cried every day when I was in primary school because I was not able to spell the word ‘apple' and ‘orange' properly," Becky said. There were more than 7,800 special educational needs (SEN) students like Becky in Hong Kong in 2016, according to government figures. Their conditions range from dyslexia to severe cases such as intellectual disability, visual and hearing impairments. For them to learn effectively, the Education Bureau reckons the pupil-teacher ratio cannot be more than 4.5: 1. For the first two years of Becky's school life, she had the benefited from teaching materials and a curriculum specially designed for SEN students. But the problems started when she was transferred to a mainstream school.  She fell below average and school, in general, was a struggle "Luckily my parents always tell me to focus on the process instead of the result. That alleviates my pressures and I became less resistant to new things," Becky said. Becky believes that some teachers in mainstream schools assume that students who do not have good academic results are lazy. That, she says, makes it even tougher for SEN students to adapt to school life. "What we need," Becky said, " are patience and encouragement to build our confidence." Haven of Hope Sunnyside School serves students with the severe disability. Their intelligence quotients are sometimes equivalent to that of very young kids. …

Myanmar people march to demand peace to "stop war"

  • 2017-05-24
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Holly Chik、Wing Li、Dorothy MaEdited by: Cecilia Wong、Isabella Lo
  • 2017-05-24

Thousands of citizens protested against multiple domestic wars happening in the north where most ethnic groups live on February 5, demanding a peaceful Myanmar, said a leading demonstrator. About 7,000 people marched in downtown Yangon in February, carrying toy guns and poems, to protest the long-running civil war in northern Myanmar. The protesters marched to Maha Bandula Park and distributed leaflets printed a poem titled "I Hate the War So Much", expressing their discontentment with several civil wars happening in Myanmar. Conflicts between ethnic-minority militias and government forces have been flaring high up in northern Myanmar for feuds, competition over natural resources, and demands for more autonomy, dating back to the end of the second world war and the end of British colonial rule in 1948. Myanmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been trying to forge a nation- wide peace agreement between all ethnic groups after years of war in Myanmar's many border regions, but ethnic minorities have a deep-rooted mistrust of the central government. Many student unions and volunteers from non-governmental organizations participated in the demonstration, which was organized via Facebook, while, dating back a few years ago, Myanmar has no comprehensive internet network across its boundary. "We come here because we want peace... My parents don't allow me to go, but I am here. If there is a next one, I would like to join because of peace," said Sad Un San, a 16-year old student at East Yangon University. He said he came to the demonstration to demand peace and condemn the raging wars across Myanmar with his junior classmates who are about 15 years old. "In our country, people are fighting for no reason", said Hah Eie, a law student from Dagon University who distributed food and drinks to pro- testers for free as a …