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By: Ka Ki FUNG、Kin Hou POONEdited by: Lokman Yuen

Culture & Leisure

Hong Kong Cantopop: K-song's popularity reduces diversity of local music

Cantopop has played an important role in Hong Kong music culture since 1960, yet faced criticism for being dominated by mainstream love songs, or so-called “K-songs”. The term “K-song” appeared 20 to 30 years ago and comes from the word “karaoke”, a popular choice of activity teenagers like to do in the 80s-90s, according to Michael Kam Wing-hin, associate programme director of the associate degree in social sciences at College of Institute. Some say that the emergence of “K-song” reflects the musical preferences of mainstream audiences while critics say K song is a commercial act adopted by music production companies to gain profit. Jacky Chueng, one of the four “Heavenly Kings” in Cantopop, had high sales of his K songs in the 80s and 90s, but his jazz style in the later years led to mediocre sales, Kam said. “This situation may reflect that ‘K songs’ have a good response and audience acceptance, but it does not necessarily mean that the quality of ‘K songs’ is high. While those with a high level of musical quality does not mean that they are easy to become hits,” said Kam. As K songs guaranteed commercial success, companies have shifted their attention more to producing these types of songs, which reduced the diversity of songs in the music industry, and led to mass production of songs with similar characteristics. Kam agreed K songs are a product of the music market. Songwriters tend to produce K songs because audience acceptance and market response is the key to decide whether a song is hot or not, and K songs are mostly about love, with catchy melodies that are easy for people to sing along with, gaining a lot of concern and support, Kam said. “K song” is also seen as a way for artists to …

Culture & Leisure

Last surviving hand-painted porcelain factory in Hong Kong

Yuet Tung China Works, first established in 1928, mainly exports hand-painted dinnerware and family crests, such as plates and bowls, to foreign countries. The Canton famille-rose porcelain making technique can now only be found in Hong Kong's last hand-crafted porcelain factory after the decline of handicraft industry.

Culture & Leisure

Chinese Paper Crafts’ Slow Revival

The traditional art of paper crafting is making a come back in Hong Kong. Workshops and exhibitions are drawing in a young audience eager to preserve a piece of the city’s identity.


Hong Kong echoes the country’s honour for former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin

Hong Kong expressed sorrow over the death of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin with a three-minute silence while live streaming Beijing’s memorial service in the Great Hall of the People at 10 am Tuesday. The city’s 18 district offices live broadcasted the memorial service to the public for residents to mourn Jiang. “The whole party, the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups mourn the loss of such a great man,” said current Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the state’s farewell event. “Comrade Jiang Zemin was a great Marxist, a great proletarian revolutionary, statesman, military strategist, diplomat and a long-tested communist fighter," he added. “The death of President Jiang is an immeasurable loss to our country,” said chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Facebook today. Outside the main entrance of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government on Tuesday morning, around twenty police officers were on guard near wreaths and a pile of white flowers dedicated to the former president. Some passersby stopped to take photos of the flower dedications and paid respect with bows to the picture of the late leader. “It’s a kind of respect,” said Win Hung, 78, “he (Jiang) had great achievements.” Hung brought his friend from the mainland to observe the scene after bowing in front of the former head of state’s portrait. “(Former) president Jiang has done a lot for our country,” said Yeung Kuen, 48, a businesswoman who also came with her friends to express their condolences outside the Liaison Office. A Hong Kong Polytechnic University postgraduate Teng Zihan, 23, held a white chrysanthemum, representing grief for the dead in Chinese culture, and bowed with his friend to honour the paramount leader. The Liaison Office in Hong Kong closed the mourning hall on Monday at 5:30 pm with prior …


Hong Kong pubs see slow start as football fans head to pubs to watch World Cup

Football lovers across Hong Kong returned to bars and restaurants to watch the game as the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicked off last Sunday, but some pubs didn’t see much boost in business, despite authorities relaxing opening hours earlier this month. Many venues screening the matches expected crowds, particularly for the more popular matches, including Brazil, Germany, France and England. However, Lan Kwai Fong, the city’s entertainment district, was almost quiet when the match between England and Iran was aired on Monday at 9 pm, with only a handful of patrons watching the games. Chu Ka-chun, 30, manager of The Derby Pub & Restaurants in Wan Chai, said the rapid test requirement has reduced customers' willingness to watch the game at bars and called the potential boost to business from the event “questionable”. However, Eddie Chan Ka-kin, 44, founder of Lockeroom Dining in Mong Kok, is optimistic and expects the tournament to bring up to 50% growth to his business. “Around 60% to 70% of the tables have been reserved for matches between the “traditional powerhouses,” Chan said. “It’s dull to watch the football match alone at home. Watching football matches in pubs has a completely different atmosphere,” said Jimmy Wong, a 60-year-old football enthusiast and a first-time visitor to Lan Kwai Fong to watch the tournament. Daniel Wosner, another football lover who came to Lan Kwai Fong for the tournament, said he would continue to enjoy the remaining matches there because of the excitement brought by the extended bar opening hours. This year’s FIFA World Cup tournament will run for 28 days until Dec. 18.

Culture & Leisure

See the world in patterns: Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition at M+

M+ celebrates its first anniversary with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now. The exhibition follows a number of themes such as Infinity, Accumulation, Radical Connectivity, Biocosmic, Death, and Force of Life.

Hong Kong’s “Round-the-Island Trail” - what you need to know

  • 2022-11-21

Hong Kong will develop a coastal walkway on Hong Kong Island, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu announced in his first policy address. The “Round-the-Island Trail” project will connect the North Shore Promenade and the Southern District Countryside Walkway to improve the city’s livability, Lee said. Here’s what you need to know about the trail. 1. What is the total length of the “Round-the-Island Trail”? The “Round-the-Island Trail” will be about 60 kilometres long and will go around the whole Hong Kong Island. Currently, it is possible to detour around the Hong Kong Island’s coastline but the existing  “Hong Kong Island coastal trail” is not fully connected and contains missing links. It is 65 kilometres long and connects a series of well-known routes, small paths and lost trails. 2. When will the “Round-the-Island Trail” be completed? John Lee said the study and design of the trail will start in two months and that 90% of the trail will be connected by 2028. As early as 2020, four District Councils jointly proposed a similar “Hong Kong Island Coastal Trail” to be created by a non-profit organization, Designing Hong Kong. But the plan was shelved back then.  3. What scenic attractions will the “Round-the-Island Trail” include? The 60-kilometre trail will include modern tourist attractions and historical sites, such as Wanchai Harbour, Kennedy Town's "Instagram Pier", Dragon's Ridge, and Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir Dam. 4. Are there any harm to the environment? Some critics say that building trails can have a negative impact on the natural environment, especially with regard to the construction materials used. According to a recent survey conducted by, some respondents suggested minimizing the use of concrete during the construction of the trail as it is an artificial material that may cause environmental harm. 5. What does the government hope …


Creativity inside the red lines: Hong Kong artists adapt to National Security Law

Ng Kap-chuen, a cartoonist who goes by his artist name Ah To, left his native Hong Kong for the United Kingdom in April this year for fear of being jailed for his art.  Ng, 39, is known for being critical of Beijing and the Hong Kong government. He has produced a number of artworks since 2014 expressing discontent over controversial issues, such as the National Security Law, social unrest, and COVID-19 measures.   Some artists, including illustrators and cartoonists such as Ng, whose works tend to challenge and criticise the government in a satirical and controversial manner said they fear being accused of violating the NSL, implemented in 2020 after anti-government protests broke out across the city in 2019. The NSL aims to prevent, stop and punish subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts, with critics warning it could silence dissent and erode freedom in the city. “The immense pressure, terror, and uncertainty of not knowing when I would be arrested really tortured me mentally and made it hard for me to be in a good mood for creation,” said Ng, a pro-democracy artist who still draws cartoons about Hong Kong’s social issues and politics from the UK. “I don’t feel comfortable if I can only make artwork that doesn’t express all my feelings. Self-censorship is not my way,” said Ng. “I am working on some sensitive topics that other artists in Hong Kong avoid talking about. They draw about local policies while I focus on sensitive political issues.” While no artists in Hong Kong have been arrested under the NSL, in September, five speech therapists were sentenced to 19 months in prison for conspiring to write and distribute books with seditious intent. The case involves a series of illustrated cartoon books about wolves and sheep, symbolising Chinese authority …


Foodpanda riders strike over wage cuts

Saam Bilal, a Pakistani Foodpanda rider, woke up at 6:30 am. He finished a quick breakfast before starting his 12 to 14-hour shift delivering food orders. It took Bilal two hours to get to work from his home in Tuen Mun to Central. “I used to earn around HK$50 per order, which is double compared to the wage now,” he said, showing his order record. “Now I only get HK$20 to HK$30 for each order.” Bilal joined a strike by a group of Foodpanda delivery workers on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4. Most of the strikers are Pakistani. On 29 September, the food delivery platform introduced a new system to calculate the riders’ earnings. Instead of using the linear delivery distance, Foodpanda switched to using Google Maps. Although Foodpanda claimed that the minimum order service fees had remained unchanged, couriers complained that the new system led to the salaries cuts again. Another local Foodpanda rider, Tim Law, 39, has worked for Foodpanda for about three years. He said that he earned at least HK$200 less every day since the implementation of the new mapping system. “(In order to get the same salary,) I have to work longer hours and sometimes I can’t even finish my work until 2 am,” Law said. The wage cut has sparked several strikes in October and November. Another rider who gave his name as M Lee joined Foodpanda in 2020. He was resentful about the company's batch system, an order distribution system which ranks delivery workers into batches based on certain criteria. The batch number determines the shift booking and service fees category they’ve been placed into. “Foodpanda uses this way to control us. If you follow the rules, you’ll become Batch 1, and the system will send you better orders, which means higher service …


Hong Kong eases curbs on vaccine pass checks except cinemas and ice rinks

A number of premises like public wet markets, religious venues and game centres will no longer have active vaccine checks for visitors starting from today, but scanning the LeaveHomeSafe QR code is still required. Active inspections of vaccine passes will be scrapped for premises, as the government announced last Thursday. No actively check is patron’s vaccination records or exemption certificates upon their entry. That means amber code holders are permitted to visit those venues. People under the category of amber code means they are inbound visitors from overseas places or Taiwan, who are not allowed to enter premises subject to "active checking" of the vaccine pass. Wong Muk-ching, dean of Lai Yiu Alliance Church welcomes the policy, he said using vaccine pass to decide whether the congregation can go back to the church was unacceptable. “Amber code holders can go back to the church after the policy implemented, which they are not allowed to do so before,” Wong said. “There are people who have obtained amber codes due to not having the valid vaccine pass which has restricted them from going back to church during the COVID-19 outbreak. Those having an amber code can return the church in a legal way,” he added. Wong said the government has enacted effective policy in coping with COVID-19, ensuring those who are infected will not be able to enter the church. “This policy now even makes those with amber codes entering the church more conveniently,” he said. “Ice rinks which require facemasks and cinemas that prohibit food or drink could drop “active checking”,” Libby Lee Ha-yun, Under Secretary for Health announced today in the press conference. But one day before the launch of the updated policies, the government announced that social distancing measures for these two venues remain the same as before, meaning …