The Young Reporter

Society & Politics

Have yourself a Merry Lamma Christmas

Treasure hunt, hiking and biking on the island for local charities by Angela Cheung, Emily Cheung and Richelia Yeung This is the 18th year for the community of Lamma Island and Operation Santa Claus collaboration to raise money for the local charities in Hong Kong. On December 4th, a bike race, a 10km marathon, a family scavenger hunt and a treasure hunt were held on the island. Robert Lockyer, the organiser of the events, said they hope to bring the community together for a good cause. He said there are around 300 to 400 participants this year. Most of them are from the island. “We have to spread out the events on the island,” he said. “People even suggest additional events, so next year instead of a one-day event we will do two-days as we are hoping to do ten to twelve events next year.” Mr Lockyer said it has been really busy to organise all the events, but fortunately, the members from the Lamma community are so supportive. “It’s been a tradition that OSC is something Island Bar supported, so we took over that job as well,” said Brad Tarr, owner of the bar, who took over it about six months ago. He said they tried to make as much money as they could by putting on bigger events this year. Mr Tarr hoped he could continue to support the campaign next year even if he could not make any profit. He also thanked those who had come to participate in the OSC events in Lamma Island this year as the events would not be here without them. “We do the event for OSC, not for us,” Mr Tarr said, “If we can help a little bit these charities we will do it.” Family Fun Island Scavenger Hunt The …

Society & Politics

Unconditional love from Furry Doctors

by Isabella Lo and Choco Tang On November 8, three animal therapy dogs - Donna, Oscar and Sunday - made a visit to the Hong Chi Winifred Mary Cheung Morninghope School again to meet with their long-awaited friends. Dr Dog, an animal-assisted therapy programme by Animals Asia, aims to provide a friend for those with special needs, such as the elderly, the sick and the children with emotional weakness or disability. Ben Tsui Hiu-fung, a primary six student from the special needs school, could not hide his excitement when he hugged Donna again after a week in the room filled with laughter. Another student from the same year, Sunny Lo Siu-sun, patted the head of another furry friend, Sunday, when he was reading his storybook to the other patient dogs. The school’s registered social worker, Esther Chan Choi-wan, said the dogs will not judge children by their appearance or illness. “They spread an unconditional love for our children regardless of their personalities, their disabilities and their age,” said Ms Chan. The therapy programme, which has started to offer companion animals across Asia 25 years ago, has cooperated with this school to serve children with mild and moderate intellectual disability since 2005. Before meeting their loyal friends, the children have to complete a few goals at school.  “They are encouraged to attain some achievements, such as attending school on time, and be obedient during lessons,” said Esther. Spending 15 to 20 minutes weekly with registered therapy dogs, children are encouraged to take care and interact with their ‘friends’, and to build an intimate relationship with them. Marnie Yau Ma-yue, the programme manager of Dr Dog, said particular children are sorted out to spend more time with doctor dogs.  “Like any other interests, if the children show substantial love and caring for …

Society & Politics

Nature Works nurtures future

Teenage nature enthusiasts put their innovative proposals into practice by Celia Lai & Cecilia Wong Held by The Nature Conservancy, Nature Works Hong Kong has come to the third year providing platforms for secondary students to plan “eco-friendly”. This year eight student teams participated the program and came up with ideas, from food waste to shark rescue, in an attempt to protect the environment. The 11-month program, from March to December, put students into exposure of different environmental topics. The five-day training camp equipped students with knowledge and new skills through speakers and hands-on experiences. For instance, “minimum viable product”, a concept about the smallest valuable thing one can contribute, was introduced to students to get hold a small control of the environment. Packed with fundamental knowledge, participants had to come up with ideas regarding four conservation themes: freshwater conservation, food sustainability, waste reduction and biodiversity and wildlife conservation, and later on realised them. “We chose the topic of eating sustainably because we eat every single day. It has an impact on the environment,” said Rachelle Lui Ka-ching (16), one of the team members of Eco-roots. Eco-roots aimed to encourage sustainable eating habits among Hong Kong students. The five teammates had three goals: to improve access, increase awareness and inspire action. Building container gardens was one of their proposals. Eco-roots wanted to make sustainable food accessible to pupils by growing herbs and different types of veggies in the gardens in schools. “I hope I can educate the peers around me. They may change the way they eat and start thinking about the impact (of their eating habits) to the environment,” said Rachelle. Participants had over nine weeks to refine their proposals under the guidance from volunteer professionals. These advisors fine-tuned students’ presentations and gave them feedback on their planning process …

Society & Politics

Silent Talk: The Voice to be Heard

A deaf pupil speaks about his struggles and needs in life by Henry Wong & Winnie Ngai His hands move to make signs. He talks silently. This calm and ambitious man had lost his hearing after a serious illness in infancy. Martin Wan, a deaf student recalled his growth journey as an unsound person in the society. “I daydreamt in class,” Wan said. Life did not go smoothly in the beginning since sign language is not common in Hong Kong. Martin felt embarrassed and uncomfortable when his classmates forced him to talk by lips in secondary school. “I feel like being discriminated,” he said. Loneliness and sadness came together as no one was willing to talk to him in class.   There are more than 155 thousand of hearing impaired people in Hong Kong, according to the figure of the Census and Statistics Department in 2015. However, the public often misread the deaf minority. “People thought they need to shout when they communicate with us, “Wan shook his head. He explained that hearing impaired people can understand the meaning by using hand-signs and reading lips. “It is no need to shout,” he said. Apart from this, labelling of deaf people in the society saddens Wan. “They think hearing impairment is infectious,” he said. Wan mentioned a teen who used a tissue to clean a pen after he led it to him. Deaf people are sensitive and they often get hurt by this kind of act. Willy Kwong, the head of Silence said that hearing impairment is a kind of invisible disability that cannot be noticed by appearances. “If you speak behind a deaf people, they don’t know what you are talking about.” He mentioned the misunderstanding and workplace discrimination are often caused since the public is not aware of it. …

Business

Social Enterprise: to the Community

The government’s plan to help social enterprises is not effective enough by Richelia Yeung & Cecilia Wong The problem of an ageing population is nothing new in Hong Kong. In his 2016 Policy Address, the Chief Executive predicted that the proportion of people aged 65 or above is estimated to increase from 15 percent in 2014, to 36 percent in 2064, that is, by over 1.5 million. “Hong Kongers have some of the highest life expectancies in the world. Many people have a long time to live after retirement,” said Mr Derek Pang, one of the founders of Senior CID. “People need to be concerned about what they have to do to make a living for the rest of their lives. That inspired us to start our company,” said Pang. Senior CID was established in early 2016 after Pang and two other partners participated in the Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge 2015 (HKSEC). It is a social enterprise that provides training in pet care for the elderly. Once trained, participants can then offer their services to pet owners. Pang said the difference between a social enterprise and a business company is that they have visions to do something for the society instead of just making money. “We want to give values to those in need." Pang added. “Providing a pet sitting service is a much better way for the elderly to make a living compared with collecting papers on the street,” said Mr Keith Leung, one of the pet sitters in Senior CID, which he became after his retirement from a teacher’s position at a secondary school. However, pet sitting services are not well known in Hong Kong. As a pet owner himself, Leung pointed out that the popularity of a pet sitting service in Hong Kong is much lesser than that of …

Culture & Leisure

Modern paper offerings are breaking traditional stereotypes

Breaking the Traditions: Paper Offerings as Art? by Emily Cheung In every traditional Chinese festival, paper offerings for celebration or the worship of spirits can be seen everywhere. “Paper offerings are not only about funeral affairs. We do paper offerings for the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance, and even for Chinese New Year,” said Mr Ha Chung-kin, the traditional paper craftsman. He said there were two factions in the paper offering industry in the past - paper offerings for celebrations and those for funeral purpose. “We cannot make paper offerings for both occasions [at the same time] as people think it is ominous,” he said. “But now, we do everything together, people don’t mind.” The culture of paper offerings is believed to have started with a concept brought along by Confucianism, introduced in the Spring and Autumn period, according to Dr Tam yik-fai, from the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Hong Kong Baptist University. “In the ‘Book of Rites’ by Confucius, the master once said that we should respect spiritual beings with containers,” said Tam. “As Confucius starts to distinguish human beings and the spirits as two different existences. The containers for spirits must be different from those we used,” Before that, most Chinese tended to use the same offerings, for example, meat, fruit, or even humans - which they were presenting to a higher hierarchy - the spirits. Although Confucius did not state specifically that we should use paper to make offerings, the plant and common reed that he mentioned is believed to be an early sample of paper offerings. Until modern age, paper offerings have experienced a striking development in different parts of China, with great diversity since their introduction in the Spring and Autumn period. For example, people in Tianjin use joss paper …

People

A rise of local prosthetic makeup

Special effect makeup artist Gary Chan seeks ways to support artists in Hong Kong by Connie Fong and Susan Gao A sweaty-stocky meat deliveryman dismembers the corpse of a 16-year-old female prostitute, tearing the skin from her face. The signature bloody scene appeared in the award-winning local crime movie “Port of Call”. 26-year-old Gary Chan Ka-wai was in charge of special makeup effects. Dubbed “the little king” in the field, Mr Chan says he wants to be more than just a makeup artist. He hopes to improve the art industry and society through his work. “I was lucky that I got lots of opportunities,” said Mr Chan. He wants to create more opportunities for others. As Mr Chan participated in many local art competitions, he found out that many of the rules and judges in those competitions were not professional or qualified. So, he decided to organise one himself. At the moment, Mr Chan is organising a face-painting competition for local artists. Mr Chan said its aim is to support local artists, since filmmakers nowadays usually prefer hiring foreigners. “The moon seems fuller in foreign lands,” he said. Many production companies either simply edit the script and stories to eliminate the need for special makeup or find foreign makeup artists if they have enough budgets. Mr Chan implores production companies to hire locally - and to respect local artists by giving them a budget to work with. “Don’t think that we’re beggars,” he told The Young Reporter. Although many skilled artists have emerged in Hong Kong, the major problem in the prosthetic makeup industry is still a shortage of talent, he added. It takes at least a year to train a qualified special makeup artist, but many people do not have that patience, he said. After a couple of weeks …

Health & Environment

Healing with rhythm and melody

Music therapy helps children with autism by Daisy Lee In a room filled with playful and catchy melodies, Sam Lawrence sits beside an electric piano, moving along the rhythm played by his music therapist. There are no words but his body movements express the joy he finds. Sam has a chromosome abnormality, which has ose symptoms resembling those of autism spectrum disorder. His journey with music therapy began when his therapist discovered that he reacted positively with music.Once the therapist discovered that he reacted positively to music, his journey with music therapy started. Rona Grecia has been Sam’s nursemaid for almost 11 years. After accompanying him in the music therapy sessions for three years, she has seen observed that how music therapy has given Sam a chance to express himself.   Sam has a chromosome abnormality. His Ose symptoms resemble those of autism spectrum disorders. “He used to react slowly to (his) therapist’s music or instructions, but now I am impressed to see his improvement in interactions. He can even express what instruments and music he likes. Sam is calm and happy when he is with music,” she said. According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is effective in improving their interpersonal and communication skills. Jockey Club Sarah Roe School offers in-house music therapy to children with special needs. “Children with autism always live in their own world. Music serves like a cue, which can bring their attention back into reality and make them feel connected to the real world,” said Joanne Wu, a music therapist at JCSRS. “For example, we always play ‘Hello Song’ when a session starts, which serves as a signal and converge (grabs) the children’s attention,” she said. Ms Wu added that music is a kind of …

People

Connecting with Tattoos

“The ink may be skin deep, but the accent is deeper.” By Connie Fong and Cecilia Wong Jayers Ko is not your typical tattoo artist. “The ink may be skin-deep, but the accent is bone-deep.” she said. For her, tattoos are more than just decorations. It is an art of self-expression.She believes the message in a tattoo goes beyond space and time constraints to connect with people. Ms Ko’s first tattoo was a little blue star on her left wrist. “What it is, graphically, doesn’t matter; but it’s the placement that matters a lot. It is somewhere obvious to me,” she said. It reminds her to move on from hard times. “I needed something eternal to calm me down,” she said. The idea of getting a tattoo popped into her mind when she was 19. She was going through a tough time. She had to take up the responsibility of taking care of her brother. Later, she was ditched by her boyfriend whom she was madly in love with at that time. She went into a random tattoo shop in Thailand, picked a random picture and a random tattoo artist to edge the blue star on to her skin. That marked marking her start to a new life. “My mum asked me if I was a prostitute when she saw the tattoo,” Ms Ko said. Her parents were against her becoming a tattoo artist. But after getting her first tattoo, she studied psychology and searched for information about tattoos online. She tried but failed to get an apprenticeship. With no background in art, Ms Ko started working on her portfolio by doing paintings on paper. She then sent an email to a traditional tattooist requesting an apprenticeship. “I guess it’s my passion that touched him,” she said. “Apprenticeship is a …

Health & Environment

Stretched to the limits

A shortage of nurses at public hospitals adds tension to patient care By Richelia Yeung & Tiffany Lui Public hospitals in Hong Kong serve 90 percent of all the patients in the territory, yet employs only 40 percent of doctors according to a report published by the Food and Health Bureau in 2015. Medical staff were pushed to their limits during a recent outbreak of influenza. Miss X, a registered nurse working in the orthopedics department of a public hospital, says medical staff feel like they are ‘fighting a war with no weapons ’. “As nurses, we want to provide a good care for the patients,” she says, “but the hospital is not giving us enough support, especially when it comes to manpower.” The nurse says there are only six nurses per shift taking care of more than 50 patients. Sometimes it is down to four or five nurses if someone falls ill. “We are lucky if the patients are all in stable conditions, otherwise we would be under a lot of psychological pressure if anything happens all of a sudden,” she said. The Association of Hong Kong Nursing Staff addressed an open letter to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in March. They said  medical staff is overworked. The nurse-to-patient ratio, they said, was 1:12, far exceeding the international standard of 1:6. “No matter which department it is, there are more patients during the influenza season,” says the nurse. “When one department is in need, others departments need to give a helping hand. There is a ripple effect.” She says Lunar New Year is the only time when they get some relief because it is taboo for Chinese people to go to hospital during the holiday. “Experienced staff quit their jobs in public hospitals and  work at private hospitals because they …