The Young Reporter

Society

Hong Kong's frustrated medics still on shift despite fight over COVID, social unrest with government

For Dr. Arisina Ma, alarm bells rang in late August when Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet Ngor called critics of the mass screening "the so-called doctors and experts who had political calculations and intended to smear the Central Government and damage its relationship with Hong Kong."  "I think this is the first time our officials used such strong comments about our usual, independent advice towards our healthcare policy," said Dr. Ma, the president of the Hong Kong Public Doctor's Association, the largest medical union in Hong Kong representing over 6,800 doctors and dentists. The turmoil last year -- from police brutality during pro-democracy protests to COVID-19 policies -- has amplified the frustration of public healthcare workers with the Hospital Authority and the government. Although the private sector might have greater autonomy and a lighter workload, medics are choosing to stay in the city's public hospitals.  Dr. Ma often shared professional opinions that did not align with official COVID measures. In late August, she said in an RTHK interview that she did not see the necessity of the mass screening when COVID-19 cases were slowing down and raised concerns over the test's accuracy. She published an article on Stand News in September, saying that relying on the health code, which is a proposed government policy, could put the city at risk because of "false-negatives." Non-participants might be restricted from entering public spaces and thus have their rights harmed, she also wrote.  Despite piled-up dissatisfaction, Dr. Ma continued working in United Christian Hospital, a public hospital operated by the Hospital Authority and the second public hospital she worked at after returning from the private sector in 2011.  "I stay for my patients. I don't stay for my boss or employer. I don't have any passion for my employer," Dr. Ma said.  …

Society

Mixed-mode art exhibition lights up Hong Kong cultural service in post-pandemic age

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Kitty Wang、Summer LiEdited by: Han Xu、Cassie Zhang
  • 2020-11-21

In face of the declining visits due to the public gathering restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Hong Kong cultural sectors seek innovative solutions by delivering online/offline art programmes to the audience.  The Fest Box program, launched for free by the Leisure and Cultural Service Department on Nov. 1, enables the public to enjoy and immerse in various cultural programmes by simply clicking on the programme's website at home. "The online world allows us to explore more possibilities," said Addy Wong Ngan-ping, Senior Media Coordinator of Muse Fest HK in a promotion video of the Fest Box. Facilitated with advanced online technologies, the team was able to create a chance for global audiences to appreciate artworks at any time. The Fest Box is not the pioneer of the virtual exhibition in the arts industry. Statistics from HK01 show that since the implementation of the restrictive policies amid COVID-19, 94.9% of art performances, festivals, and venues have been cancelled or postponed during the first quarter of 2020. As a result, many local art exhibitions, art festivals, and venues have switched to online mode. From March 18 to 25, Art Basel Hong Kong, one of the local signature activities that were originally cancelled due to the epidemic, set up the "Online Viewing Rooms." The initial form was so welcomed by the public that online visitors increased by three times to 250,000 compared with the previous offline ones, according to the statistics of HK01. As the LCSD announced on October 28, the limit on the number of visitors in each facility of LCSD museums, performance venues, and parks was relaxed from 50% to 75% starting from Oct. 30. In response, some art service providers started to organise both online and offline cultural activities. The Hong Kong Space Museum presented the "Univers/e" virtual reality exhibition …

Business

Local tourism emerges as a cross-border travel stops

The tourism industry has been devastated since the outbreak of COVID-19. The number of visitors to Hong Kong dropped drastically by 99.9 per cent year-on-year, as mentioned earlier by Mr Edward Yau, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.  Since the government relaxed the social distancing ban last week, many travel agencies started to organize local tours. At the same time, the Hong Kong tourism board relaunched the "Hello Hong Kong" scheme to help the sector.  The board offers free tours for the citizens who spend HK$800 or more on the local brick-and-mortar shops, including retail stores and restaurants. It is estimated that the government will subsidize the travel agencies in total HK$5 million on a selective basis. While some travel agencies find the policies effective for their recovery, some think the policies did little in relieving the plight of the tour operators. Sue Tsang, the customer service officer of the China Travel Service, said there is popular demand for the campaign, and it directly brings business opportunities to domestic tourism.  The number of tourists who sign up for other locally escorted tours remains limited. For the sake of overcoming the difficult times, China Travel Service also promotes discounted prepaid coupons and staycation packages.  "I have to stretch my legs. Although the local tour is not my priority, it is still a choice," said Eric Cheung, a middle-aged man who intends to enquire about international tours in the travel agency, chose to join local tours instead. Although the government has reopened the border, executed measures such as local inbound tours, the agencies' staff reckon that it is still unable to save those agencies which are on the verge of collapse. "There is no room for survival if the government does not implement new rules for cross-border tourism," said Wong Ka-lam, …

Society

"Cyberpunk" exhibition takes place at former Sham Shui Po homeless camp

The "Heart of Cyberpunk" exhibition opened last week at the Tung Chau Street Temporary Market in Sham Shui Po, which used to be a homeless camp. The 9-day free-to-enter exhibition featured various workshops, guided tours and interactive sections with local artists. It marked the start of #ddHK, a 3-year Creative Tourism and Placemaking Project by Hong Kong Design Centre, since last October. However, the venue of the exhibition turned controversial as the Market was known as the camp for the homeless. The market was locked and the homeless had to move to the Tung Chau Street Park nearby.  This project was criticized as an accomplice in driving out the homeless, despite they had clarified later on their Facebook page. Ng Wai Tung, Community Organizer of the Society for Community Organization, agreed that there was no causal relationship between the exhibition and clearance of street sleepers at the spot. "The clearance took place in 2019, and ended by the end of the year. The police would suspect street sleepers for keeping drugs or offensive weapons, and bring them to the police station, and cordoned off their wooden house right away." Mr Ng said that the clearance was a step-by-step operation. The Highways Department would clear up the wooden house, and set up wire fences. So the homeless had no choice, but moved into the Tung Chau Street Park, and places like McDonald's. However, street sleepers' belongings had been damaged and lost during the clearance by the police. The Society for Community Organization has been helping 10 street sleepers, filing claims to the government at the Small Claims Tribunal for loss of personal belongings, ranging HK$2,200 to HK$13,290.  The lost items included clothing, cards, and cash, however invaluable items such as gifts from family, and photos, were unable to claim for compensation. …

Business

Exhibition of food and beverage industry in HK draws over 270 brands

The 3-day Restaurant & Bar Hong Kong X Gourmet Asia exhibition at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre ended on Nov. 13. Once postponed due to COVID-19, the Restaurant & Bar Hong Kong X Gourmet Asia exhibition was the only trade show for Hong Kong's food and beverage industry this year. Over 270 exhibitors and brands were participating in this event presenting spirits and beer; food service and catering equipment; hospitality design and supplies, as well as hospitality technology. The exhibition adopted hygienic precautions amid the pandemic. According to the posters and leaflets inside the venue, people were required to wear masks at all times and keep a safe distance of 1 meter when in queues. Buyers were asked to dispose of used lidded paper cups in a designed rubbish bin. Liang Jia, a 29-year old wholesale buyer who sought to buy meat said she felt the rules and measures were stricter compared to last year. She felt it is inconvenient to toss the trash into the designated bin since the bins were located far from each stall. Some exhibitors made their products specifically to cater to the time of the pandemic. Sales manager Twinkle Wong from BBPOS, a payment service provider, introduced their new vending machine without human contacts in the purchasing process. She believed that the risk of being infected would be reduced. "COVID-19 has shown the society the need for zero-contact ordering and payment methods in the food and beverage industry," Ms Wong said, adding that this was the debut of the machine in Hong Kong. The pandemic has raised the need among consumers to live a healthy and green life, which leads to strong demands for natural and organic products. Sales representative Winnie Choi from Green Common, a vegan product company, said they have seen …

Politics

One year after siege of CUHK: Censored commemorative exhibition

A commemorative event of the siege of the Chinese University of Hong Kong kicked off yesterday at the university's Cultural Square. However, the school censored the exhibition, including some of the most chanted slogans in protests.  The one-week event was to serve as a reminder of the fire and blaze of the CUHK siege last year. The host, CUHK Joint Student Unions, said they hope people still remember what they've experienced and stand in solidarity with the CUHK students arrested for defending their campus. Right on their poster is the slogan "Never Forget, Never Forgive."  Security has tried to block non-CUHK visitors from entering campus and going to the exhibition, despite the exhibition open to the public.  "I think it's a must for everyone to remember this history, not only for CUHK students, we should not forget the efforts made by others," said Cho Ning, 19, a student from CUHK who gave an alias as she was one of the protesters at the scene last year.   The exhibition shows photographs and placards displaying the timeline of last year's clash with police. Also, there are street booths that collect letters and cards from the public to CUHK students who were arrested, including some CUHK students who received asylum in Germany recently. However, some sentences are being censored. Common protest slogans such as "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Time" are covered by black paper. The Student Union of CUHK said they are being requested to remove such sensitive lines before the exhibition by the school administration.  "The school office reminds us a few times. We can only cover those sensitive words with black tape," said Au Cheuk-Hei, chairperson of the Provisional Executive Committees of CUHK. The censored lines are deemed by the government as a possible breach of the national …

Society

US 2020 Election Result: Joe Biden beats Donald Trump to be the 46th president of the United States

Biden has won more than 73 million votes, which hit a record high in US elections. He is now projected to have 290 Electoral College votes which the presidential hopeful only needs more than 270 votes to be elected.  Biden still won the battleground Pennsylvania by a margin of 49.7% to 49.2% over Trump after Trump requested a recount. Biden also took over another competitive swing-state, Georgia, winning the 16 electoral votes.  After announcing the latest result, Biden stated, "Americans, I'm honoured that you have chosen me to lead our great country." He declared that he would restore political normalcy and a spirit of national unity to confront raging health and economic crises.  He also promised to be the president for "all Americans" and calls for "American unity" in his later speech. Joe Biden, a 77-year-old man who has served the government for more than half a century, has been previously 47th vice president in the Obama administration for eight year. His term of being the president is expected to last for four years till 2024.

Politics

Biden’s victory frustrates Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was elected the 46th president of the United States on Sunday, with more than 74 million votes nationwide, surpassing Obama's 2008 record of 69,498,516, setting a new record for the popular vote. Millions of people have kept their eyes fixed on the battle between the Republican US President, Donald Trump, and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. And people in Hong Kong are no exception, yet the result has disappointed many Hong Kong pro-democracy supporters. As Trump had openly taken his stance to support Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters, many have been rooting for Trump and have even actively promoted Trump across social media platforms.  "I support Trump, for sure, his policies are tough. I believe Trump would definitely bring benefits to Hong Kong when we are on the path of fighting for democracy," said Lo Ho Yin, 21, a pro-democracy university student.  Mr Lo said he has nothing to do but to accept the reality. "I mean it's the decision of the US citizens. They certainly have the right to vote for what they think is best for the country," said Mr Lo.  "And now Biden wins, he will stop the US-China trade war for sure, and it will only help China to gain more power," said Mr Lo, adding that Biden winning will only help China rise. He said that Hong Kong is just a small part of the US's concern, and Hongkongers should broaden their perspectives on what Biden would do to benefit different races and change the world.  In response to the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, Trump had launched a series of boycotting policies toward China. He cancelled 1,000 China students' visas and banned members of the Chinese Communist Party from entering the US, in support of the Hong …

Society

Hong Kong celebrates 'Once In a Blue Moon' Halloween amid COVID-19

Traditionally, Halloween has been a festival for people to dress up as different characters and go trick-or-treating. But, the Halloween of 2020 has been a different one: Hong Kong is celebrating the festival under COVID-19, along with a 'blue moon'. The blue moon phenomenon, which refers to the second full moon in the same calendar month, is also the origin of the English phrase 'once in a blue moon'. The first blue moon appeared during the Mid-Autumn festival in early October.  "We are excited to see what everybody is talking about, and also looking forward to seeing it [the blue moon]," said Alex Nathan, 45, who came to the West Kowloon Cultural District to take part in Halloween activities such as face painting. Mr. Nathan also brought four other children to the District, with all of them dressed up as different characters, including a vampire and ballerina.   "The blue moon is making the day more special," said Will Mok To-Wing, 31, and Rebecca Cho Miu-Kwan, 24. Mr. Mok and Ms. Cho decorated their gathering venue with outdoor chairs and pumpkin lanterns, while also sharing food with their friends. Under the blue moon were a group of adults and children dressed as the hit Japanese game character Mario, which were bought from an online shopping platform for less than HK$500.  "We wanted to dress up at a low cost and with clothes that can have different recognizable colours, so we chose Mario," said Cuby Lau Pui-Yu, 32, who put on a green Mario costume, along with her former classmates and their children. Apart from the costumes, Mr. Nathan, Mr. Mok, Ms. Cho, and Ms. Lau also carried face masks and hand sanitizers in their bags, with the pandemic still looming large in the city.  Due to COVID-19 and unstable weather in …

Society

Halloween brings large crowds to Lan Kwai Fong amid COVID-19

Hundreds dressed in costumes gathered at Lan Kwai Fong for a night of partying on Halloween, with packed streets and long queues accumulating for bars and nightclubs, amid the city's on-again, off-again social distancing measures.  "We can't take off our masks at all, take proper photos or completely enjoy ourselves," said Sparsh Goyal, 20, a university student in Hong Kong who came to celebrate Halloween with her friends, while having to sanitize her hands frequently to enforce self-hygiene and remain safe. Up until Friday, bars, restaurants, and clubs were only allowed to operate at a half-full capacity, with a maximum of four people per table allowed at restaurants, two at bars, and a required midnight closing time.  On Friday, the government announced it would ease measures with the limit of people at restaurants raised from four to six and from two to four at bars. Clubs and bars were also allowed to operate at a 75% capacity till 2am, a two-hour increase for party-goers.  Police took extensive measures to ensure crowd control. Signs were hung at every corner to guide people through designated entrances and exits, as well as to make sure they were following social distancing measures. Some were not so worried about the risk of contracting the disease even while being present amongst such a large crowd. "There is not a big chance of catching COVID while just walking around [Lan Kwai Fong]," said Chan Yu-Hon, 34, who said it was his first time celebrating Halloween at the city's prime party street. Most bars and clubs followed anti-epidemic measures such as temperature checks upon entry and providing hand sanitizing gel.  "It's kind of surprising and unusual to see this many people together now," said Aidan Cheung, 23, referring to the large crowds. Since the start of the pandemic, …