The Young Reporter

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 …


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.

Photo Essay

An old inventor of bamboo steamers

Have you ever wondered how a bamboo steam basket filled with dim sum was made? Rounding three bamboo strips, interlocking each of them with a tool, placing a round-shaped bamboo plate in the middle as a base and attaching each part firmly under a "big stapler" machine, an old man has been repeating this process since he was a little boy.

Health & Environment

The Haunting Boars: Government measures on local wild boars control remain ineffective despite use of contraceptive vaccines

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Karen Kwok、William TsuiEdited by: Anna Kam、Maisy Mok
  • 2019-03-01

Zosha Piotrowski, a resident in Clearwater Bay area, said it was scary to see packs of wild boars by the rubbish bins when she was walking her dogs at night. "The wild boars knock down the bins and rummage for food, and there has been more and more of them in recent months," she added. According to the written reply from Secretary of the Environment, Wong Kam-sing, to Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, current legislative councillor from the geographical constituency, in early January, the number of the wild boars reached 738 in 2017, more than double what it was in 2013. Back in the 1970s, teams of civilian volunteers were granted arms licenses and special permits by the police and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) in order to hunt the boars, Mr. Wong said in a statement. Around 40 to 60 animals were caught each year. But in early 2017, the government suspended the hunting teams after reviewing their strategies for quantity control and relaunched the Pilot Capture and Contraception/Relocation Programme (Pilot CCRP), a two-year wild boar contraception project which successfully sterilised 54 wild boars by December 2018. Jeremy Young Chit-on, a district councillor for Central and Western District who wants the government to restart the hunting team, said contraception injections are ineffective because it is difficult to administer. The anaesthetic in the contraceptive vaccines, takes at least five to twenty minutes to take effect after injection. This gives the boars time to try to escape and become aggressive during the operation, a Legislative Council panel discussion summary released in late January stated.   Wild boars may become aggressive and attack humans when provoked or threatened, it quoted from the AFCD. On account of operational need and safety, the AFCD has to deploy 12 to 15 staff to capture …


Minimalism in Hong Kong's minuscule flats

Tax consultant, Erica Ip Ka-yee, struggles to find space to work at home. She lives with her parents. "They [her parents] cannot let go of things easily so they keep everything and I understand them," said Ms. Ip, "This situation is unavoidable when living spaces are generally compact within the city." But Ms. Ip is a minimalist. She said her friends often approached her, asking about how to achieve a visually aesthetically-coherent and clean style, similar to images they see on Instagram and Pinterest. She started blogging about the idea in 2017. "To master minimalism, you have to come to terms with your own life in order to see real virtual changes in your living environment," said Ms. Ip. She explained that reflection is important in order to live a minimal life. But she believed few in Hong Kong truly give up their material desires when even their basic needs, such as proper shelter, cannot be guaranteed. Minimalism first emerged in the 1960s as an artistic and abstract ideology in New York, in which artworks were mainly composed of simple shapes, such as triangles and squares, according to information from Tate Modern, an art gallery in London. Today, minimalism has become a social trend that is more than just an artistic concept. Polish designer and college lecturer, Szymon Hanczar has been making the headlines since July 2015 when his idea on a 140 square feet "micro-apartment" appeared in Dezeen, an online international design magazine. "Extremely small flats are great for people who are minimalists, who want to enjoy city life," Mr. Hanczar said. According to Dezeen, Mr. Hanczar's apartment focused mainly on "comfort and functionality" by including merely the "essentials". For example, he hooked his bike, which had been an "integral element of life" for him in Wroclaw, over the wall …

"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 …