The Young Reporter

A plate goes down your gullet to fight plastic waste

  • 2019-11-06

Made of wheat, taste like tree skin and hard to chew — it may not be the finest option if you are looking for appealing and delectable food to satisfy your appetite, nor is this the most ornamental tableware to plate up your meals. But for people who want to avoid single-use plastic crockery, an edible plate might be the perfect alternative to curb plastic waste. Paper plates normally take five years to decompose while plastic ones take at least 500 years, but an edible plate would disappear in 30 days if it is not eaten up. A Polish technology company, Biotrem, curated the eco-friendly plates with natural wheat bran by heating and compressing the wheat into solid dishes — a process that requires no fossil fuel at all. The plates can hold cold or warm food with a temperature up to 350°F, and are microwavable and ovenproof. GreenBB, a local social enterprise has been importing edible plates from Poland since they first found the organisation in 2018.  "Some environmental groups merely ask people to behave in certain ways to benefit the environment, but we would like to take a further step by motivating and inspiring people to protect the environment using creative ways," said Jayford Wong, founder of the enterprise. The group, which includes 20 young people, organises experimental activities like green parties and workshops with schools and NGOs in a bid to raise eco-consciousness in the city which produces the most plastic waste in the Asia-Pacific region, with a per person plastic disposal rate at around 400g every day.   "Our participants like the plates very much, not because of the taste but the fact that they are fully biodegradable. The plates will disappear from the Earth whether they like to finish them up or not," said Mr. Wong, who said he had …

Politics

Issuing telescopic batons to off-duty police officers sparks concern

Throughout the course of the Hong Kong protests, police have been accused of using brutality tactics against protesters. What started out as a peaceful march towards the extradition bill gradually became a greater fight for democracy and investigation against police violence. A typical weekend of protests usually involves riot police with guns, batons and shields. Protesters may turn to using bricks, long sticks, metal pole and petrol bombs as weapons. Due to the escalation of protesters' violence and in the interest of operational efficiency, a new legislation that allows telescopic batons to be issued to off-duty officers from September 11 onwards has caused another ripple in this turbulent society. Chen, a 20-year-old university student who works part-time in the catering business, said he is "quite afraid" upon hearing the news.  The young man, who did not wish to disclose his full identity due to fears of authorities finding out, has shown strong doubt towards the decision made by the police force. "I will not define myself as a protester because I didn't join the protest very often. I have only participated in two rallies. However, I still feel scared," he said. Mr. Chen's occupation requires him to work till night and he only reaches back home around midnight. At the night of protest, he often sees police officers patrolling around the bus stop located somewhere in New Territories searching for protesters.  "Although I have not been checked by those officers ever, I still want to protect myself from being arrested, I will always leave some signs that I just left from my work place, in case riot police checks on me," he added. Chief Superintendent John Tse Chun-chung of the Police Public Relations Branch announced at a press conference on September 10 that numbers of telescopic batons will be specially …

Politics

Rallying international resonance: Hong Kong-Catalonia solidarity assembly

Protesters gathered at Central tonight, waving Catalonia flags to rally in support of freedom and democracy in Catalonia, after some of Catalan leaders, such as former foreign minister Raül Romeva was put behind bars for calling for independence.  Catalonia is a semi-autonomous region in the north-east of Spain. The region has about 7.5 million people, with their own flag, language, parliament and anthem. Region stirred up constitutional crisis when the people demanded independence from Spain. The Hong Kong-Catalonia Solidarity Assembly started at 7 pm in Chater Garden tonight. Videos of police brutality and interviews of Catalan protesters are shown in the event. People brought along Catalonia flags with different banners and signs.  The organizing committee announced three demands, which include calling for peaceful response to protests from Spanish government, condemning brutal force by Spanish police against protesters and quelling any imprisonment for one’s political beliefs. There were heated debates online about joining the Assembly, fearing such action would jeopardize the passing of  Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and weaken America's support to the city. It's because the US is supporting Spain’s government in the Catalonia independence dispute. On the other hand, people think that supporting solidarity does not equal to support independence on the popular online forum LIHKG.  Waving the yellow-red-striped flag is Mr. Chan, 23, who was wearing a mask in the rally is ignoring the mask ban. He believes that supporting Catalonia is showing sympathy as the Catalan protesters are being ripped off of their freedom and democracy, same as what has happened in Hong Kong.  "When we asked for international communities to stand with us, we also have the responsibilities to rally support for those people being oppressed," said the masked student. "Prison is not a solution." A woman from Australia who was identified as …

Health & Environment

Vegan Food Fest promotes a plant-based living

The Boston Vegetarian Society held the 24th Annual Boston Veg Food Fest  in a sports stadium in Massachusetts last Saturday with over 100 vendors participating to advocate a plant-based diet, meanwhile promoting animal and environmental protection. Vendors at the Fest sold a large range of products from vegan food to sports gear. "We see whose books are coming out and who we think are the community we really like to hear from. We also look around to local restaurants turfs," said David Havelick, a key member of the Boston Vegetarian Society. According to Mr. Havelick, the first Boston Veg Food Fest, held in 1996, was born out of an idea from a group of vegetarians and vegans at Massachusetts Institute of Technology when "vegan" was a new concept to people and often mispronounced. In 2018, 3% of the American population declared vegans. However, the rate of vegetarians has remained 5% to 6% since 1999, according to a Gallup investigation. Google Trends suggests that searches of "vegan" in America have roughly sextupled since 2004, while those of “vegetarian” have remained the same. At the Fest, the vegan carrot cake from Cafe Indigo attracted many customers. The owner, Paul Dann, started their business when he and his wife made a vegan wedding cake to their vegetarian daughter as they were lack of choices in local bakeries back then. Viviana Wilches, a vendor of Shakti Warrior, had her table mottled by a variety of yoga mats made of cork, hemp fabric and natural true rubber.  "Yoga mats are made of plastics and they're not eco-friendly, and they end up in the landfill. We want to make a product that stays true to the practice and wellness and make sure it's not toxic," Ms. Wilches said. "A plant-based and vegan lifestyle is about everything …

Culture & Leisure

Florist on the rise - Jang Dasol

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: CarineChow、Mereen SantiradEdited by: Tomiris Urstembayeva
  • 2019-10-23

A fresh garden scent, buckets loaded with handpicked flowers and a dozen students gathered in the Aisle, a co-working space in Kwai Chung. Jang Dasol, an award-winning florist from Korea, demonstrated how to create a floral structure to his Hong Kong students . "Sometimes, a bit of asymmetry can make your design appear more interesting," Mr. Jang said, arranging the flowers at different levels and angles and wrapping them into a bouquet. He cut the dark green ribbons at different lengths. Floral design dates back to ancient Egypt, as the Egyptians were decorating their places with flowers as early as 2,500 BC. The Egyptians used to fill a wide-mouth bowl with flowers of similar pattern, which emphasised simplicity. Now, floral design has evolved into a form of art, with cultural influences such as German and French styles. Although floral design has a long history, it only becomes popular in Hong Kong in recent years, as owners are often perceived as a luxury item that people give during celebrations or anniversaries, rather than an art form. In 2017, famous Korean florist Vanessa Lee Ju-yeon introduced Korean floral design classes in Hong Kong, which popularised this form of art in Hong Kong. Since then, Korean florists have visited Hong Kong to teach floral design. Mr. Jang is one of them and this is his second time teaching in here. Despite learning the basics of floral design in South Korea, Mr. Jang's style is mainly influenced by his time in Germany, as he puts emphasis on hard lines and structural design. Using natural branches as the backbone of his design, Mr. Jang then adds flowers with softer colour to create a harmonised and rhythmic piece, balancing the hard lines from branches and soft lines from petals. Mr. Jang is a two-time consecutive winner …

Politics

Mass rally in London to call for second Brexit referendum

LONDON - Marchers in London celebrated on Saturday after the British parliament voted in favour of withholding approval of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit plan.  Organisers of the rally, People's Vote, want a second referendum on Brexit. They claimed up to a million people joined the march. Protesters assembled on Park Lane at noon and walked to Westminster, where the Parliament is located. They waved European Union flags, carried signs and banners which read "Together for the Final Say", and shouted "Boris out!" during the march. Anger poured out in Britain when Mr. Johnson announced a Brexit plan last week, in which Northern Ireland would remain in the European single market for trade purposes but leave the customs union. That would mean Northern Ireland would become Britain's entry point into the European Union’s customs zone. Britain would need to stick to EU regulations on agrifood and industrial products, which some believe will cause huge economic damage to Britain.  "A no-deal Brexit will influence day-to-day food, medication and people's daily life in the UK," said Savannah Louie, a protester in the march. Another protester, Marnn, who came from Ireland with her husband, said, "If it [Brexit] happens, we will need to leave the UK and go back to our own country." Petts, Marnn's husband, said he would feel "desperately disappointed" if Boris Johnson's deal is passed in Parliament. Countries currently in the European Union do not share single borders with those outside the union. Whether or not there will be a hard border between Britain and Ireland has been a main point of contention in the Brexit debate. Britain's major opposition Labour Party, is against Mr. Johnson's latest deal. They want to put the country’s decision to leave the European Union to a public vote.  Rosie Rawie, aged 28, a member …

Politics

Overseas Hong Kong students defend their identity in times of protests

On her way out of the classroom, Sara, a sophomore from Hong Kong majoring in journalism at Emerson College in Boston, was asked by one of her American classmates if she was from China.  "No!" Sara flatly refuted, "I'd be offended if people said I was from China."  Given the recent tension in Hong Kong, Sara did not want to disclose her full name. Sara first became aware of her cultural identity as a Hongkonger when she was involved in the Umbrella Movement, a three-month occupation of a downtown area in Hong Kong back in 2014,  to call for universal suffrage.  Describing herself as a Hongkonger would makes Sara proud. It gives her a sense of belonging to her home city.  On her Facebook page,  most of her posts are about protests in Hong Kong.  "I'd say I'm from Hong Kong and they [her classmates] can ask me about what's going on [there]," Sara said.  She believes this is her way of contributing to her beloved city when she tells people on campus in Boston about what protesters in Hong Kong are facing. It’s her way of expressing her cultural identity. Frances Hui Wing-ting, another student from Hong Kong at Emerson College, wrote an article "I am from Hong Kong, not China" for the university newspaper.  It went viral.   "'I am from Hong Kong' has a special meaning. It means we value democracy and human rights,"  Frances explained.  In the article, Frances said it upset her to see the name of her home city listed as "Hong Kong, China" in the university's exchange programme document. She accused the university of not sufficiently "cognizant" and "knowledgeable" about Hong Kong. "It's very offensive to ignore one's identity," Ms. Hui said. She has been organising marches and assemblies in support of the anti-extradition bill …

Policy Address 19/20: Carrie Lam rolls out economic measures for youth but misses the mark

  • 2019-10-16
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Carol Yuan、Katherine Li、Cassie Zhang、YanniChow、ShukmanSo、BellaHuang、Moon LamEdited by: Katherine Li、Tomiris Urstembayeva、Oasis Li
  • 2019-10-16

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is attempting to appease discontented youth with a number of policies for more affordable housing and career opportunities as well as a one-off subsidy for school children, as announced in her policy address today.  Speaking to the public this morning in a broadcast video, Mrs. Lam said she plans on increasing youth hostel availability by the thousands, helping young professionals with a new Starter Home program and providing each school child with a $2,500 subsidy from the 2020/21 school year. "We will enhance the operation of the Youth Development Commission, so that it can participate, at an earlier stage and in a more concrete manner, in policy discussion relating to education, career pursuit, home ownership as well as young people's participation in politics," reads the supplement section of the policy address.  These policies came after four months of increasingly violent youth-led protests tearing across the city and Mrs. Lam’s failure earlier today to deliver the full policy address within the Legislative Council Chambers upon being repeatedly heckled by the opposition party. Despite Mrs. Lam's emphasis that those policies were created "with a view to respond to the aspirations of the community", many young people feel that she has missed the mark. "Carrie Lam may hope that her policies can calm down the youth, but young people may not accept that," said Tse Kee-On, a 24 year-old member of the Social Democrats League, who joined a protest in front of the Central Government Offices this morning. He said that most youth have non-financial aspirations and dreams, such as genuine universal suffrage. "I think most Hongkongers think the policy address is useless, because it can't help solve the social division," said Mr. Tse, who questions Carrie Lam’s legitimacy in the hearts and minds of the people.  …

Policy Address 19/20: Internships and exchanges on the mainland for Hong Kong's disenchanted youth

  • 2019-10-16
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: OliviaTam、Carol Mang、Sunny Sun、HaywoodManEdited by: Stephanie Ma、King Woo、Vimvam Tong、Cara Li、Rachel Yeo
  • 2019-10-16

For 22-year-old Eleanor Pang, a recent graduate from Chinese University of Hong Kong, her internship in mainland China last year was meaningful.After working in Beijing for 1.5 months at the State Development and Investment Corporation - the largest state-owned investment holding company in China, she now understands mainland business and social cultures and Chinese history.  This year's policy address offer Hong Kong students and university graduates like Ms. Pang, more opportunities to work and visit the mainland as part of a slew of measures aimed at connecting with young people. The government plans to spend $1 billion on the measures. "The current-term government will strive to do its best in youth development work by addressing young people's concerns about education, career pursuit and home ownership, and encouraging their participation in politics as well as public policy discussion and debate," said chief executive, Carrie Lam in her policy address supplement. Exchange and internship programmes, managed by the Youth Development Council are expected to benefit about 19,300 and 3,800 local youths respectively this year. Students can join internships at the Palace Museum in Beijing, Wolong National Nature Reserves in Yunnan, and the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The government will also continue to provide subsidies for post-secondary students who wish to go on exchange in the "Belt and Road" region. Apple Poon, 20, a third year student at the University of Hong Kong, joined an exchange programme organised by Hong Kong United Youth Association last year. She spent 1.5 months living in Beijing working at a state run online firm. "To be honest, the time of the internship is so limited that we can only do some basic work. It’s hard for us to learn about working culture in the mainland. But my boss and colleagues …

Policy Address 19/20: Policy Address fails to alleviate economic concerns of SMEs

  • 2019-10-16
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: AcaciaRedding、Nicole Ko、Hong-shun Wong、KawaiWong、AlecLastimosa、JayGanglaniEdited by: Anna Kam、Nadia Lam、Yetta Lam
  • 2019-10-16

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor expressed concern about the "pressure borne by small and medium-sized enterprises and members of the public amid an economic downturn," but unveiled no further measures to aid such enterprises in her policy address today.  Between the US-China trade war and the ongoing political conflict in Hong Kong. "The global economic growth has slowed since late 2018," said Mrs. Lam  "Violent acts in the recent months have aggravated the situation, posing an unprecedented challenge to our economy," Mrs. Lam, said in her third policy address.  "Since July this year, there have been sharp reductions in visitor arrivals due to the airport halt and retail sales, a continued decline in trade exports as well as deeply dampened businesses, investment and consumption sentiments. Certain industries have recorded the worst business performance ever," she said.  Besides assisting Hong Kong enterprises through promoting products and services to the mainland market, the government is also seeking policy support for "tax concessions for the city's enterprises that want to switch from exports to domestic sales and streamlining of the approval process" to bolster competitiveness in the Mainland domestic market.  SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES  As of January 2017, 330,000 SMEs operate in Hong Kong, accounting for 98.3% of total business units and providing job opportunities to over 1.3 million people, according to the government's official website. Some retail businesses said they are not under a great deal of pressure due to a dependable amount of local customers that they know will continue to come in regularly.  A saleswoman at a folk costume shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, who did not wish to reveal her identity, said, "Our business has not been affected because our customers are mostly locals." Mr. Leung, a staff member at Japanese restaurant Betsutenjin in Tsim Sha Tsui, said …