The Young Reporter

Health & Environment

Community teams in Hebei cope with scarce resources while fighting epidemic

Since February 1, Zhangjiakou government has required each residential community to form a coronavirus prevention team composed of at least 10 members to control personnel access and register residents' health situation, while due to the medical resources in short supply and limited joint members, community workers overworked only with basic protection. At the gate of some communities, temporary board houses or tents are built as epidemic checkpoints for community workers to check the identity card of the residents and detect the temperature of entering personnel. Some of them even continue working for 4 hours only with a table under the degrees below zero. "I put on 3 pieces of the warmest jacket in my home to resist cold weather," said Angela Zhang, the one assigned to the community to assist epidemic control work during the outbreak of coronavirus. "It's tough work for limited community workers." Aside‌ ‌from‌ ‌guarding‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌gate‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌community,‌  ‌she‌ ‌needs‌ ‌to‌ ‌distribute‌ ‌and‌ ‌collect‌ ‌the‌ ‌health‌ ‌registration‌ ‌form.‌ ‌The‌ ‌health‌ ‌registration‌ ‌form‌ ‌includes‌ ‌the‌ ‌names,‌ ‌the‌ ‌telephone‌ ‌number,‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌travel‌ ‌situation‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌residents‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌past‌ ‌two‌ ‌weeks.‌ ‌ ‌ "I‌ ‌paste‌ ‌the‌ ‌form‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌door‌ ‌of‌ ‌each‌ ‌household‌ ‌and‌ ‌remind‌ ‌them‌ ‌to‌ ‌fill‌ ‌it‌ ‌in‌ ‌by‌ ‌phone," ‌said‌ ‌Ms‌ ‌Zhang. Such‌ ‌work‌ ‌will‌ ‌repeat‌ ‌3-5‌ ‌times‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌the‌ ‌effective‌ ‌response‌ ‌of‌ ‌each‌ ‌family." ‌ The community epidemic prevention work is facing a shortage of workers. Primary and secondary teachers are also required to be on duty at the gate of each community to assist community workers' work from February 1to 7.   "The secretary of our community joint committee has not been home for several days because of the work to prevent the epidemic," said Ms Zhang. Medical supplies in short cannot guarantee the basic needs of community workers. Ms …

Health & Environment

Coronavirus: Hong Kong's DSE candidate faces an uphill battle with the risk of examinations delays

  "This year's HKDSE examination is like a disaster," says Lam Ka-Yi, a 2020 HKDSE candidate.   On February 13, the Education Bureau announced the classes of all schools remained suspended before March 16, and on the same day, the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority announced the schedule of the 2020 HKDSE still yet confirmed. The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority and the Education Bureau will decide the HKDSE schedule in late February. Based on the latest development of infections caused by the coronavirus in the community, they will decide whether the written examinations can be conducted from 27 March as scheduled, or will be postponed to 24 April.  However, Ms Lam says she's worried that the decision made on a detailed HKDSE schedule will be too late.  "I'm just hoping the government can confirm an exact date and plan on DSE examinations as soon as possible, as my study plan is now laying behind what I expected because of all the uncertainty on the exam schedule," says Ms Lam. The portion of Chinese- language speaking examination of the DSE examination scheduled for March 11 to 19 and English-language speaking and written exams conducted between March 27 and May 15 now might be delayed up to four weeks. The HKEAA also announced there is a portion that the written exams postponed with the cancellation of the Chinese- and English-speaking exams  Facing the situation that the  Chinese and English- language skills examination might be canceled, Ms. Lam thinks the arrangement is vague and disturbs candidates’ confidence dealing with the upcoming exams as the results might be affected once the speaking tests are canceled. "As a 2020 HKDSE candidate, I feel the urgency to practice my oral skills and do mock paper exercise in this remaining month. However, I'm disappointed that …

Health & Environment

Fo Tan: Residents refuse to leave homes following first coronavirus case

On February 6, Fo Tan saw its confirmed first coronavirus case after a middle-aged man had returned from Guangzhou.  The man, who remains unnamed, 42, lives at the Palazzo's Tower 10 and had travelled to mainland China and Macau over the Chinese New Year holidays to spend time with friends and family.  But on February 3, after returning to Hong Kong, he began to develop a fever and cough before being brought to the Prince of Wales Hospital, where he tested positive for the virus and has since remained in stable condition.  Rita Babani, who lives in tower two at the Palazzo, says she's worried that the virus could spread to other towers during the estimated 2-14 day-long incubation period.  "I'm just hoping for the best after the case in tower 10 and will probably stay indoors until all of this is over," says Ms Babani.  The Palazzo's management, however, has begun to take steps to ensure the well-being of its residents, including having hand sanitizers on each floor and cleaning its facilities twice a day.    Ms Lee, who did not want to reveal her first name in fear of losing her job at the Palazzo, believes that residents should avoid going out until the epidemic subsides.  "We are obviously doing our best in terms of ensuring the health and safety of our residents. I think it is also the responsibility of our residents to take precautions and only go out when required during a difficult time like this," Ms Lee argues. Local businesses have also taken a hit, as a result of the coronavirus case at the Palazzo.  Steven Chan, 26, who works at a local barbershop in Fo Tan, says that business has been adversely affected since the case. "I think it's no surprise that business has been …

Health & Environment

Coronavirus is changing Hong Kong residents' daily routine

Coronavirus is spreading in Hong Kong. Since the Lunar New Year, local  residents have been searching for surgical masks, hand sanitizers and disinfectant. Three weeks after the lunar new year, the supply of face masks is still under the demand. The Hong Kong government tried to purchase surgical masks from other parts of the world but they still cannot provide a stable supply of masks. Some Hong Kong residents are panicking about the lack of face masks and spending hours queuing up for a box of masks. Some organisations distribute free face masks to elderlies in communities. The situation on valentine’s day is still the same.  

Health & Environment

What happens if a COVID-19 case is found in your building?

XI'AN---- A plastic rope hung from a window on the third floor of a residential building. In the garden downstairs, a man tied a courier box to the rope and the box was then pulled up. This is a way for residents living in Unit One of Building One of Zhongjian Kaiyuan City to obtain items while the unit is blocked. Zhongjian Kaiyuan City is a residential community located in the west of Xi'an, Shanxi province. On February 14, a resident of Unit One of Building One was found to be a suspected case of the novel coronavirus. There was a confirmed case found in the same community on February 4.  According to the work plan of the local government on epidemic prevention and control, as long as there is one suspected case in one unit, the entire unit will be blocked for 14 days, no one can enter or leave.  The security personnel set up a simple movable boardroom out of the unit on February 15, on duty 24 hours to prevent anyone from entering and leaving at will. If residents need daily necessities, such as vegetables and fruits, they need to ask friends or call delivery service to send the items to the property office. Staff will disinfect the items and then send them to the household door to door. "It is really inconvenient to follow this way. We think that we can also avoid infection with our method," said Tian Mimeng, 46, who lives on the third floor of the blocked unit. She and her family camp up with a new method - using a plastic rope to 'fish' items from downstairs.  Ms. Tian said the property office called her to collect the information and health status of her family members. Before the unit was blocked, although …

Health & Environment

The Southern District council members in Ap Lei Chau are selling masks to the needy

All the shops on Ap Lei Chau main street are still open as normal even though one of the residents nearby has been confirmed to have the coronavirus. People are walking around, buying groceries and eating in the restaurants as usual. However, some people are so worried about the shortages of daily necessities like masks and toilet paper who have emptied in the supermarkets. Chan Ping-yeung, a councilor of Ap Lei Chau North, started selling masks online with other council members last week.  He thinks that people are more willing to help their neighbors during the epidemic. "Both restaurants and local residents have been donating bleach, hand sanitizers and masks for free to those who are in need," says Chan. "I didn't get the masks, because I have sufficient masks. So, I want to share it with others," Lam Chin-hei, 21, says.  The first coronavirus case has been confirmed on February 9, 2020.  Chan agrees that there are sufficient masks for the elderly in Ap Lei Chau, which six out of the eight elderly houses can get adequate prevention supplies.  However, Chan feels disappointed that the communication with the government has been difficult. "The government prioritizes the political issues. They rejected all my suggestions just because I am not from the pro-establishment camp. They argue for nothing instead of really dealing with the virus. It made me very angry," explains Chan. As the office of the Home Affairs Bureau has been closed for two weeks, the district council was forced to hold a meeting outside the tennis court. Although the district council has approved five hundred thousand dollars funding to buy more epidemic prevention supplies, the councilor of Ap Lei Chau North says that the administrative process of claiming the money has been frustratingly slow.  

Health & Environment

The inconvenience of online classes

Universities in Hong Kong are conducting classes online. However, not everyone finds the arrangement convenient. Zoom is widely used for online lectures in universities such as Hong Kong Baptist University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and City University of Hong Kong. This software supports video conferences with up to 1,000 people, participants can share their screen, lecturers teach in this way via sharing powerpoints with students. People are having privacy concerns towards the "zoom (the online learning platform that people can participate with videos and audios)" lectures since they are afraid that turning on the camera will leak out their messy room and surroundings. Some students have complained about regulations set by their lecturers for online classes.  "I hope lecturers can respect students if they are unwilling to switch on their cameras during class," said a post on CUHK secrets, a Facebook page that allows students to express their thoughts anonymously. This post has gained 347 likes. "A classroom is a public area but your home is not. Not everyone wants others to see what his or her home looks like," Alvin Leung, a netizen who commented on the post. Others though think that the camera can be used to maintain order during class. "How can lecturers know whether you are concentrating on the class if you don't show your face? It's weird that a lecturer only talks to himself or herself. We need communication," Cheung Mok-yan, another netizen who commented under the post and got 68 likes. Online classes also disrupt family life. Emily Fong, a 20-year-old university student who is off school because of the coronavirus outbreak thinks online classes are not efficient. She complains that she seems to be having lectures with her father.  "His voice is just too loud and I can hear every word that …

Culture & Leisure

Cultural differences you may face in St. Petersburg

"Rude" maybe tourist's impression towards people in St. Petersburg, Russia, but there may be an underlying misunderstanding behind the image. St. Petersburg is always considered a must-visit city in Russia, no matter for international or domestic travellers. Being the second-largest city in Russia, the area consists of canals and world-famous spots such as the Winter Palace, Saint Isaac's Cathedral and Peter and Paul Fortress.  St. Petersburg remains attractive to tourists, but there are some factors pushing international visitors away. Russians rarely speak English. The majority of middle-aged and older people do not understand the language. According to a survey done by Romir research holding, 30% of the Russians can speak English to a certain degree, and only 3% of the interviewees claimed to be a fluent speaker. The low English speaking rate leads to a rough time for those visitors who do not speak Russian. No one can answer their questions if they face obstacles during their journey, resulting in an unpleasant travel experience. Хао Yu-Fei, a 20-years-old tourist from China, believed that language is the problem travellers face. As English is not widely-used among Russians, they cannot communicate fluently with the tourists.  "When locals answer questions with simple English and do everything in a rush, travellers get an impression that Russians are impolite and rude. We understand that being straightforward may be a characteristic of Russian, but some people might have hard feelings towards that," Xao said. Xao also noticed that no matter what ethnicity people appear to be, Russians always intend to start the conversation using the Russian language. "In Russia, many people with an Asian face can speak Russain. The locals are used to it, thus feel natural to communicate in the Russian language with foreigners." Tourists may feel insecure when facing an unfamiliar language during travelling. …


Copenhagen's rising rainbow economy

The rainbow flag, a symbol of gay pride, is common as one strolls down the streets of Copenhagen. Businesses proudly display rainbow stickers on their windows as a show of support for Copenhagen's diverse community.   Copenhagen is widely regarded as one of the most LGBT+ friendly cities in the world. But some say it is just a colorful facade for clever marketing strategies that focus on making a profit. Over The Rainbow Rainbow marketing, rainbow capitalism or the rainbow economy, refer to companies which brand their products with rainbow flags and colors.  This is especially noticeable throughout the city during Copenhagen Pride. The annual event held in this August draws over 300,000 people to the streets to celebrate the diversity of Denmark’s capital city.     Thomas Rasmussen, Head of Communications for Copenhagen Pride, though says the increasing popularity of rainbow marketing may harm businesses and brands because they might be perceived as "attempting to make a profit by catering to the LGBT+ community. There hasn't been any official claim of how big Denmark's rainbow economy market could be, however, the huge profits potential of such a business model can be seen from the American LGBT+ community. According to the latest data from the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, America's LGBT+ community holds an estimated buying power of $917 billion annually. "It is of great importance that the marketing directed at the LGBT+ community is backed by action and real change," Mr. Rasmussen said. Different Orientations, Different Views For some LGBT+ community members, such “supports” from the businesses which only can be seen in the pride season might not be genuine enough. "Showing real support is not how you brand yourself one day or a month, but it's about how you run your business and all of the other days of the year. I think that's what really counts," said Sami Kleit, 27, an openly gay student from …


Mainland students at Hong Kong universities dissatisfied with suspension of on-campus teaching due to novel coronavirus

Hong Kong universities suspend on-campus classes until 2nd March, sparking worries of poor online teaching quality, graduation delay and financial loss among mainland students. Online teaching measures including Zoom, Moodle and WhatsApp will be applied during the suspension. Make-up classes, examinations and approval of graduation lists will be duly deferred. “The suspension sucks! Now I’m just wasting my tuition!” raged Xu Zheng, a mainland senior at Hong Kong Baptist University majoring in advertising and branding. Twelve mainland students at the University drafted a “Joint Declaration of Mainland Students at Hong Kong Baptist University,” worrying about financial and academic loss caused by another suspension on the heels of the 6-month political upheaval last year. The Declaration received 1079 effective supporting signatures by 19:30 1st Feb before it was submitted to the University. The Declaration demands graduation support, focus on teaching quality and tuition compensation, expanded qualification for full tuition refund and subsidy for the living of non-locals. The drafters claimed that flaws of online teaching such as inaccessibility of on-campus equipment would discount the outcomes of the tuition paid. About half of 1305 respondents felt “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with the quality of online teaching due to political turmoil last November, according to a survey conducted by Association of Mainland and Hong Kong Youth, HKBU. About half prefer extension of semester to online teaching. According to official websites of Hong Kong universities, yearly tuition for non-local students is about 100,000 HK$ more than that for local students. Based on a Mingpao survey, 28.6% to 46.0% of Hong Kong university entrants were from Mainland China in the academic year 2018/19. “We talked with the mainland student organization and they said some students would be misrepresented if they were to publish a declaration, so we came up with this joint letter asking for …