The Young Reporter

Real-life Quidditch: More than Just a Harry Potter By-Product

  • 2019-03-29

The much-anticipated match commenced with "Brooms Up!" Players darted towards the balls in the centre of the field, makeshift broomsticks held between their legs.  On both sides of the pitch stood three ring-shaped, silver goalposts of different heights. Quidditch is a familiar sport for Harry Potter fans, but now, the fictional game has been brought to life. Full-contact and physically intense, the magical sport leaped off the pages in 2005 when freshmen Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe of Middlebury College in Vermont, US, co-created the rules of land-based Quidditch and dubbed it "Muggle Quidditch". A myriad of university teams are playing the sport from UC Berkeley in the US and McGill University and Carleton University in Canada  to recently in Asia, the University of Hong Kong. J.K. Rowling's wizarding world of Harry Potter continues to strike a chord with aficionados across the world, though the last installment of the fantasy series was in 2011. Fusing together a variety of elements from rugby, dodgeball, volleyball and tag, a Quidditch team has seven players per team on the field, who must keep a makeshift broomstick - usually a plastic bar or light metal stick - between their legs at all times during the game. In order to score, chasers of each team throw the quaffle (a volleyball) through the hoops as the keepers race to ward off their attacks. Beaters can attack players' of the opposing team using bludgers (two dodgeballs). The job of the seeker, the position that Harry Potter himself held, is to catch the "golden snitch" - a neutral player who has a yellow tennis ball attached to the back of his or her pants. The International Quidditch Association says the sport is gender inclusive with no more than than four players of the same sex allowed on the …

Culture & Leisure

Beyond the flair of Hong Kong's streetwear

For student Nie Yu-heng, 20, his obsession with the world of streetwear all started with a simple scroll through Instagram. Famous celebrities like rapper Kanye West and fashion icon Virgil Abloh often appear in his Instagram feed. Baffled by how simple combinations of sneakers, sweatpants and logo tees could look so good, he decided to find out more. Today, Mr. Nie frequently queues up as early as 7am when brands like A Bathing Ape release designs he likes and collects. Streetwear, which started with skateboarders and surfers in the United States, is embraced by locals, with many stores here ranging from big labels like Off-White to entire shopping complexes dedicated to selling streetwear such as Trendy Zone in Mong Kok. Fashion conglomerate I.T that distributes European and Japanese street labels across Asia is also based in Hong Kong. Expensive streetwear fashion has surged in popularity in Hong Kong in recent years, particularly among young people who do not mind paying top dollar because they feel a connection with brands and regard them as an extension of their personality. "When I look at myself in the mirror every morning, I will always look lively in clothes that I like," said Mr. Nie. "It's not about how expensive or how rare my clothing is." Samantha Setokusumo, 18, a freshman at the Savannah College of Art and Design Hong Kong, said that her streetwear collection allows her to showcase herself, regardless of how unique her style may be. "Because my friends and I always like to joke about being 'hobo' or 'failing in life', we made that into a fashion statement," said Ms. Setokusumo. "It's just the freedom to express ourselves through streetwear." However, buying clothes and accessories from renowned streetwear brands is not cheap. Prices are inflated as soon as they hit …

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.

People

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 …

Health & Environment

Weekend Review: Veganism struggles to grow in Hong Kong

People believe it costs more time and money to produce animal-free food and products in Hong Kong. Last weekend, PMQ Central held the first international trade fair and conference for vegan  living, VeggieWorld Hong Kong. And guests including nutritionists and company founders gave speeches inspire the Hong Kong community to live a vegan lifestyle. Vegan food has been the spotlight in the market. The first VeggieWorld Paris in 2016 attracted 6000 to 8000 visitors with the vegan products , such as superfoods, food supplements and meat and dairy alternatives. More than 50 vegan-friendly brands gathered in VeggieWorld Hong Kong to showcase visitors different types of vegan produce as alternatives for the regular ones like chips, chocolate, bread and cheese. Sarah, a foreigner who is living in Hong Kong, said she was glad to have discovered Mayse Artisan Bakery based in Tai Mei Tuk, a bread store which produces plant-based and gluten-free bread, because she has been suffering from gluten-intolerant.   She said despite the fact that the store is far for her, she is happy to start seeing vegan alternatives around because there had not been much choices in Hong Kong for her before.    Mikus, one of the owners of Mayse Artisan Baker, said although the ancient formula he uses to bake their gluten-free bread is successful, it takes them a maximum of  two days to produce a single loaf of bread. "Most of the bakeries nowadays use bleached flour and instant yeast to make bread faster for sales, but the outcome  is not good at all," said Mikus. Holding her new foldable recycle cup while strolling along stalls in the fair, visitor Jenn, who is not a vegetarian, dropped by briefly knowing there were recyclable cups, which she had "always wanted" on sale.   Though impressed by the creativity …

People

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.

Health & Environment

Hong Kong students boycott classes for global Climate Change Strike

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Katherine Li、Wallis Wang、Rachel YeoEdited by: Vimvam Tong、Oasis Li
  • 2019-03-16

Around 1,000 demonstrators composed mostly of students boycotted classes this Friday in protest against insufficient government policies to combat climate change as part of a global environmentalist movement. The students handed a letter to representatives of the Environment Bureau and of the Chief Executive, with demanding more renewable energy and establishing youth representatives within the Steering Committee on Climate Change in Hong Kong as the main focus. "Hong Kong accounts for so much of the carbon dioxide emissions," said Emily Tarr, a 17 year-old student of Southern Island School who is one of the three organisers of the local Climate Change Strike. "We can see climate change occurring here due to the catastrophical typhoons and the sea levels rising and also the increasing number of hot days, and that is very scary." Hong Kong is among the more than 100 countries whose youths joined in to set March 15th as a global student strike day. Ms. Tarr gave credit to Greta Thunberg — a 16 year-old student from Sweden who spent many Fridays sitting in front of the government building to demand climate change actions from the government and large corporations — for being their inspiration. Initiated by Ms. Thunberg, the movement called #FridaysForFuture has been spread to Finland, Britain, United States and across the world. "One of the main things we want is renewable energy, because Hong Kong only has 1% of renewable energy. We want that to happen now, as soon as possible!" said Ms. Tarr. Shouting slogans like "be the solution, not the pollution" and "the seas are rising, so are we", the students marched to the Government Central Offices in Admiralty from Chater Garden. "Adults always think that children and teenagers don't care about politics and know nothing about it, but the fact that we children …

Underwater hockey: the "strange sport" comes into view in Hong Kong

  • 2019-03-13

Putting on swimwear, goggles, snorkel and fins, Henry Chan was not going to jump in the ocean, but instead play hockey underwater. Underwater hockey requires a lot of skills, but be good at swimming isn’t the most important. "I swim very fast, but there's no point. The game is thirty minutes. You cannot swim all the way," said Mr. Chan, one of the founders of Hong Kong Underwater Hockey Association. Similar to ice or field hockey, in an underwater hockey game, two teams compete to push a puck with a hockey stick across the bottom of a swimming pool into the opposing team's goal. "For me, the first step that I think difficult is to really get myself calm underwater," Mr. Chan said, "but the most difficult is to have a team mentality to play for team, not only by yourself." Underwater hockey has been around for decades in Canada, England, USA and Australia but has only recently taken off in Asia, mostly in the Philippines and Malaysia. The sport has its own World Championship, which first took place in 1980, according to World Confederation of Underwater Activities. Hong Kong has one team that is trying to compete on an international level. Noel Luis Suarez Ignacio, another founder and the head coach of HKUHA, said breathing was crucial to this sport. "Every time you think your sport is hard, try doing it while holding your breath," he said. "I don't need swimmers, I need singers," Mr. Ignacio said the physically demand when playing underwater is to "stretch lung muscle and increase lung capacity". Mr. Chan has played this special kind of hockey since 12 years ago when he was studying in an university in America, where he failed to find a swimming team but came across an underwater hockey club. …

Hundreds protest on PolyU campus against disciplinary action on students

  • 2019-03-08

"Unjust trial system, revoke disciplinary order!" chanted the crowd under the lead of Wu Kwok-wang, newly elected student union internal vice-president, during a protest against the severe punishments meted out to four students of Hong Kong Polytechnic University who clashed with school officials over management rights of their democracy wall. Around 400 people attended the protest yesterday while a collective letter with approximately 3,000 signatures was handed to the school representative by Mr. Wu. Students were irritated by the university's confiscation of the democracy wall on September 29th last year, one day after Umbrella Movement's fourth anniversary. To demand a response, students intercepted Professor Geoffrey Shen, the PolyU Interim Vice President, and Professor Esmond Mok, the Dean of Students, outside their office and stopped them from leaving despite warnings given by the security. Four leading students were sentenced heavily on March 1st, including Ho Jun-him who was expelled and permanently barred from re-admission. "We tried so many different routes, but the school authorities simply kept stalling, which eventually provoked us to escalate things," said Mr. Ho, a graduate student of PolyU and member of Students Independence Union. Though the school authorities have criticised their behaviour as disrespectful and "triad-like", Mr. Ho emphasised that he was never violent during this whole process. "Were we just a bunch of people looking to stir up trouble? Definitely not," said Lam Wing-hang, former PolyU student union president who is sentenced to a one-year suspension. "But what those school authorities did is unacceptable to the students and the student union." Wong Hiu-ching, external secretary of PolyU student union, also warned the potential dangers of such an unprecedented level of punishment. "PolyU is the only among the eight universities which does not have an appeal procedure and can permanently expel students," said Ms. Wong. Despite the punishment, …

Photo Essay

The Green Women Festival: A celebration of women in environmental protection

The Green Women Festival 2019 is held in the Campfire Collaborative Spaces to celebrate social entrepreneurship, environmental awareness and gender equality. Speakers from various social organisations gave presentations, while workshops involving art and discussions are held for everyone to explore the concept of a green lifestyle.