The Young Reporter

Society & Politics

Somewhere over the rainbow - How an 8-year-old boy experience China’s education gulf

Every morning at 8:30, the muddy ocher-coloured cottage is blasted with young voices reading aloud textbook passages, so loud that it can be heard across the cement-levelled playground far from the school gate. There are three classrooms in the cottage with no lights but a rickety ceiling fan each. Drawings are repeatedly glued on and ripped off a section of the wall framed with red rice paper. On top, it wrote sloppily “In Celebration of the June First International Children’s Day”. This is where the eight-year-old Huang Wei-biao goes to school every day with his 22 young schoolmates, a village in the rural area of the East Guangxi province. The nearest town is 45 minutes of serpentine car ride away. One can tell Huang is a diligent student as he reads his textbook with his finger precisely pointing at each word when he pronounces it. One can tell Huang is an assiduous child as the veins of his neck appear every time he utters a word. One can tell Huang is an eager learner as each page of his textbook is torn and curled at the corners. Yet no matter how earnest or smart a student Huang is, he is just one the 13.8 million village primary students in China who are probably receiving education of lower quality than students who study in the urban parts of China. Village schools lack facilities and professionally trained teachers. Pupils do not have classes in other areas such as arts and physical education, let alone school outings. In comparison, the XinXing primary school in the same prefectural city has a multi-story building with a sports ground. There are more than 40 teachers and most of them have received tertiary education. Children's’ parents can also find better working opportunities close by and not have …

Food Order Platforms Price Markup Up to 86%

  • 2017-12-08
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Susan Gao、Melissa KO、Kenji ChanEdited by: Susan Gao
  • 2017-12-08

More than 60% of the meals ordered through online food order platforms were more expensive than restaurants’ takeaway, with price markup up to 86%, the Consumer Council said on Wednesday. After 91 trial purchases from nine food order platforms in September, the Council found problems including hidden surcharges, unilaterally order cancellation, late delivery, food leaking and double charges. The prices of over half of the food on four aggregate order platforms such as Foodpanda and UberEATS were about 30% higher than takeaway prices, while all the food on three eatery chain platforms including McDelivery were marked up by 4% to 86% with an average of 30%, said the Council. The Council’s Chief Executive Gilly Wong Fung-han said at Wednesday’s press conference that they would not advise on prices, and markup was understandable if people accepted paying more for convenience. Ho Chung-yin, a 32-year-old data analyst working in Central said she had used Foodpanda four times and knew the prices were much higher. “I only order online when I don’t have time to eat out,” she said. Testers of the Council found five out of 13 orders were canceled without remedy when ordering on 51WM, an aggregate platform. UberEATS even listed restaurants that had already folded or were being decorated without any notice, testers said. Customer Service Director of 51WM Dickson Lo told The Young Reporter that order cancellations were all done solely by restaurants, probably because they were understaffed or the locations were too far away. “We cannot improve the problem in the long run,” Lo said, “because it is a fundamental problem resulting from restaurant’s own uncertainties.” The Council urged traders to be responsible and delineate every party’s responsibility clearly, and provide means of contacts for inquiries with immediate assistance, while three aggregate platforms still have no contact hotline. …

Yahoo Asia Buzz Awards handed out to "buzziest" icons in 2017

  • 2017-12-07

The 2017 Yahoo Asia Buzz Awards was held on December 7 2017 at the Hong Kong Cultural Center. Based on search results from Yahoo's search engine, the annual Buzz Awards rewards the "buzziest" icons in the Asia-Pacific region. The awards show this year featured appearances from popular Hong Kong celebrities like Vincent Wong, Chrissie Chau, Kara Wai and Natalie Tong. Some of the notable winners include Hacken Lee, who won the awards for the "Top Buzz Local Male Singer" and the "Top Searched Song of the Year." C AllStar, Dear Jane and Supper Moment also won the "Top Buzz Local Group" award. The main highlight and closing act of the show is K-pop star Samuel Kim, who received the award of the :Most Searched Korean New Singer." He also performed three songs and closed the event. Reported by Wing Li Edited by Jianne Soriano Photos by Jianne Soriano

People not satisfied with new scheme for low-income families

  • 2017-12-07
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Susan Gao、Melissa KO、Kenji ChanEdited by: Susan Gao、Melissa KO
  • 2017-12-07

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has introduced several policies to ease the plight of low-income families in her maiden policy address today, while many of those families are dissatisfied and argue for more. The city’s first female leader proposed to “significantly enhancing” Low-income Working Family Allowance (LIFA) starting from April 1, 2018. Under the new policy, with a few more requirements being satisfied, the monthly payment for a four-person household with two children will increase by 23% from the current $2,600 to $3,200, said the Chief Executive. Ivan Wong Yun-Tat, the Vice Secretary of Neighbourhood and Worker’s Service Centre and the district councilor of Kwai Tsing, said that Carrie Lam has responded to the grassroots’ aspiration but “the benchmark duration of working hours for the scheme is still higher than expected.” The new scheme requires all family members in a four-person household to have no less than 192 total monthly working hours, whereas Wong said 72 working hours per month is the most ideal amount. An open forum discussing Carrie Lam’s first policy address was held in Kwun Tong Methodist Social Service today. It was jointly organised by 20 social welfare concern groups with Wong as one of the organisers. The neighbourhood, several political parties and concern groups turned out en masse the event, urging the government to do more for the disadvantaged groups. Mrs. Lam, a full-time housewife having been received the allowance for several years said she was not satisfied with the scheme because her daughter has autism. She suggested that the government should do more, especially to support those low-income families of a child with special needs. Anthony Wong, the business director of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, said the families of “N have-nots” tended to benefit the least from the updated …

Society & Politics

Hong Kong Pride Parade 2017: Goodbye to LGBTI discrimination

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Li Wing Kiu、Elisa Luk、Japson Melanie Jane、Ezra CheungEdited by: Choy York Borg Paulus、Cecilia Wong、Daisy Lee
  • 2017-11-25

The Pride Parade 2017 kicked off at two pm today, with hanging lucky scrolls in Victoria Park, signifying the smoothing out of the path, for people of all sexualities. The slogan for this year's parade is “turn the tide, walk with pride”. Gary Fan Kwok-wai, current member of the Sai Kung District Council, believes that sexual minority rights should be legally protected. “Everyone should be equally treated, including sexual minorities,” said Fan. Professor Alfred Chan, the chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission, said there will be legal consultations concerning transgender rights next year. Professor Chan said everyone, especially the government, should cooperate to achieve equality in society. “Everyone is born equal,” said Kwok Ka-ki, member of the Legislative Council. However, Kwok thinks that the road to equality for the LGBTQI community is always not an easy one in Hong Kong.

Health & Environment

Flexitarian: an easy way to go green

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Sharon Pun、Wong Yin TingEdited by: Richelia Yeung、Ellen He
  • 2017-11-21

To become a flexible vegetarian in Hong Kong “I’d like to have the Pesto Chicken Salad, but please take away the chicken,” said Ms. Chan at a bakery cafe. Her friend surprisingly asked her, “What? You’re taking away the best part of the dish!” This is a situation often encountered by Chan Wun, but her diet habit is different from that of traditional “vegetarians”. She is a member of a rising group, “flexitarians”, a combination of “flexible” and “vegetarians”. The number of flexitarians rose from 5% in 2008 to 22% in 2016, while vegetarians only account for 3% of Hong Kong’s population. Up till 2017, over 1,000 restaurants in Hong Kong have joined an initiative programme to offer vegetarian-friendly menus, according to a social startup, Green Monday. “In order to lose weight, I had become a vegetarian for around two months during high school,” said Ms. Chan, an 18-year-old university student. She had no choice but to constantly ordered Indian curry since it was the only vegetarian choice at school. Things become more difficult during family gatherings. When Ms. Chan’s mother cooks vegetarian meals for her non-vegetarian father and brother often complain that the meals lacked protein. “It is difficult to avoid eating meat especially when we are living in Chinese culture where specific cuisines and dishes will be offered during celebratory events and festivals,” said Ms. Chan. “Then I decided to quit because of inconvenience, time cost and expense.” Instead of being a strict vegetarian, she opted for a flexitarian-style diet. In fact, the problem was not faced just by Ms. Chan when she was a vegetarian. To Hiu-yan, 20, a university student who has been a vegetarian for two years, said that the once-athlete started this eating habit to keep fit.   Ms. To said she faced limited …

Health & Environment

Hong Kong's first solar-powered food truck wins catering award

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Holly Chik、Michelle NgEdited by: Choy York Borg Paulus
  • 2017-11-07

Hong Kong's first green food truck won the Gold Prize of Catering in Traditional Cuisine of CLP’s Greenplus Award Programme. The solar-power panels, which cost over $20,000, are installed on the vehicle's roof to supply electricity for fans and for customers to charge their electronic devices. “The eye-catching panels also demonstrates the eco-friendliness of the vehicle whereas other energy-saving measures are usually not obvious,” said Trevor Ng, Managing Director of Pat Chun, who has been operating the $800,000 truck since March this year. The company also adopts an energy management system which can be operated with a smartphone to improve energy efficiency. “With the system, we can collect real-time energy consumption data and adjust the use of electricity,” said Ng. For example, they can use the remaining heat generated by the automatic rice-fryer to cook their stewed beef brisket. To reduce interior temperature, they opted for a heat-resistant automatic rice-fryer. The solar panels on the roof also serve as a heat barrier during hotter days. A centrifugal range hood and a grease trap are also installed to collect used cooking oil that will be converted to biodiesel for the car. Ng said they save about 25% on their electricity bill after implementing these measures. Such environmental protection measures “mitigate climate change, lower business cost and create new business opportunities,” said Philip Yung Wai-hung, Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Commerce, Industry and Tourism).  

The Silent Struggle of Trafficking and Slavery victims in South Asia

  • 2017-10-26
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: CHAN Yeuk Hang ErinEdited by: Winnie Ngai、Jianne Soriano
  • 2017-10-26

Reporters: Erin Chan and Sherry Zhu    Editors: Jianne Soriano and Winnie Ngai The HKBU-SOPA Award Winners Forum has invited Nita Bhalla, a South Asia correspondent at Thomson Reuters to talk about Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery in South Asia at Hong Kong Baptist University this Thursday. Human trafficking is the second largest crime in the world with about 32 billion people fall victim to it every year, according to Bhalla. About 60 per cent of human trafficking victims are women and children, especially in North Africa and South East Asia. Six hundred thousand to 8000,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. Worse still, the average price of a slave has increased from $40,0000 to $90,0000 today. As Bhalla explained, modern slavery comes in different shapes and sizes. The common ones include forced marriage, commercial exploitation, sexual exploitation and debt bondage. “In the US, prisoners being forced to work may be considered as a form of contemporary slavery. Likewise, children working in the agricultural sector in Pakistan, which is required by law, can also be counted,” said Bhalla. “People being trafficked were told that they get to work in a nice and wealthy home, you get three meals a day. But most cases is that they have to work 24/7, they may have no food and freedom of movement,” she added. She added that having documents withhold is one common practice among people bounded by slavery. “In the Gulf State, for example, there is this Kafala system in which employers can take away your passports for two years. The employer worries that slaves may switch jobs and therefore pay in advance to an agent so that the employee immediately becomes a bonded worker, “ said Bhalla. Bhalla illustrated her experience of witnessing a 19-year-old girl struggling in silence, …

Culture & Leisure

Hip-hop geeks leap forward with local rap battles

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Daisy Lee、Jianne SorianoEdited by: Daisy Lee、Jianne Soriano
  • 2017-10-26

At eleven o'clock on Saturday night, when it's past bedtime for the city, the nightlife hub in Hong Kong's Lan Kwai Fong just kicked off its day. Standing at the entrance of an underground club, Hector "SCF-SAiNT" Telmo, in a plain black t-shirt with the words "Straight Outta Home Kong" was busily distributing leaflets for his hip-hop show held later night. Unlike others, he's looking for the chance to break the deadlock of hip-hop on the 'cultural desert' by organising regular rap battles in Central hipster clubs. Straight Outta Home Kong is a underground music project co-founded by two non-Chinese rappers, Telmo and Mohit "DJ Mojito" Kailandasani. Telmo has been stuck for a while in developing his career as a rapper. "Nobody opened the doors for us, nobody gave us opportunities. We felt like outcasts, so our mission was 'how do we bridge the gap, how do we connect, how we get to work with them,'" he said. Though the road to success is not as simple as he expected, the 25-year-old didn't stop. Instead, he started searching for way-out for his fellows—to connect Cantonese, English and Tagalog rappers, who were also looking for a place in the hip-hop industry for a long time. "Now that there's a platform, an opportunity and the fact that the younger generation can see this...at least they have something to look up to, especially on the ethnic minority side," he added. Invited by Telmo, Eric "Heartgrey" So, a Hong Kong beatboxer who debuted about 10 years ago, sees hip-hop battles held in bars as a chance 'to show [their] passion and energy to the local people'. "It's already hard to do music in Hong Kong so if there's a platform...why don't you perform and participate?" Describing the times when he was still starting as …

SOPA award winner says patience and ethics is key to investigative stories

  • 2017-10-26

Reported by Michael Shum and Kenji Chan Edited by Nicole Kwok Aun Pheap, reporter at The Cambodia Daily and co-winner of the SOPA Award for Excellence in investigative reporting, said doing an investigative story could be dangerous and demanding, but staying patient and ethical is crucial in getting the story done.   Being a journalist in Cambodia, Pheap sees how corrupted the Cambodian government is.   He had once entered a military area with his colleagues in Zsombor, where they found a bunch of luxury-grade timber stocked there. They were discovered by the military and were arrested as well as interrogated.   “The military officials said they would not allow us to leave if we don’t reveal our intentions. We disclosed our identities as journalists,” said Pheap, “they suddenly became friendly to us.”   “They invited us for coffee and offered gasoline, hoping that we will not write anything about the luxury wood stocked in the military base,” he added.   “The military commander found us a driver to a guest house, but we left the city right after the driver drove away, for we are afraid of the commander changing his mind. After that, we put everything into the article.” said Pheap.   He also received a direct request from a government official before, asking him not to publish an negative coverage on government officials. But instead of giving in, he reported the situation to his chief-editor. The Daily decided to disclose that whole conversation between him and the government official to the public.   “I always got hung up on after revealing that I am a journalist,” Pheap added. “Government officials will call and scold us with very bad words.”   “However, I usually try to stay friendly. I want them to answer my questions,” he said.   …