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Walking in Hong Kong

It says something about the possibility of having a walkable Hong Kong when artificial grass mats, splash pools, picnic tables and benches were placed on what used to be a heavily-congested Des Voeux Road Central in September last year. The government is working with NGOs to turn roads into more pedestrian-friendly and it maysurprise many that the city is currently having seven full-time pedestrian schemes and 30 part-time ones. "Walking can be safe, comfortable and interesting," said Maura Wong Hung-hung, Chief Executive Officer of the independent public think tank Civic Exchange. "That's why walking is a pleasure and something that people enjoy, they don't have to depend on vehicles," said Wong. The "Walk in Hong Kong" initiative, proposed by the Transport and Housing Bureau, was officially announce in the 2017 Policy Address on January 18. It aims to promote walkability, which is related to connectivity of streets in Hong Kong. Working on pedestrian environment, the initiative will implement multiple new measures based on four themes. According to the Legislative Council Paper, it will provide user-friendly information on walking routes, enhance pedestrian network connection, make walking a pleasant experience and provide a safe and quality pedestrian environment. Civic Exchange introduced a new initiative in December 2016, "Walkability", to advocate walking in the city. The new initiative also encourages the government and different sectors to take a "people-first" approach in urban planning. For instance, meetings and seminars will be organized to foster citizens' understanding about the concept of walkability. "Pedestrian should play a priority role in the city's development, including the transportation strategy," said Wong. Civic Exchange also introduced the WALKScore in December 2016, a tool to measure walkability in Hong Kong. It takes into consideration the city's density, mixed-land use, constant traffic, hilly topography and other challenges. From its data, Mongkok …


Master of Knives

A full steel armour stands in the show window of Chan Wah Kee, a cutlery shop on Temple Street in Mong Kok.Chan Dong-wah, 85, is one of the few remaining knife sharpeners inHong Kong. He has been whetting blades for more than 70 years.Chan first learnt the art of knife sharpening in Guangzhou when he was 11 years old. Four years later, he came to Hong Kong and set up his stall on Temple Street, sharpening tailor's scissors. After 20 years of hard work, he finally owned his cutlery store."The key

Hong Kong Needs Local Bazaar to Help the Poor

  • 2017-04-22
  • 2017-04-22

Local Bazaar can help the poor to earn some extra money while letting people to buy cheap wares. In November 2016, the Yau Tsim Mong District Council rejected government's proposal to organise a food bazaar at Macpherson Playground. While the government proposed the plan to allow local bazaars to be held during Chinese New Year, local bazaar advocates do not think the government is doing enough to develop local bazaars. According to Oxfam's latest report named ‘Report on Women and Poverty', more than one in six women are living below the poverty line in Hong Kong. The poverty line for a 4-person household was $17,600 in 2015, according to the Commission on Poverty. Wong Shek-Hung, Oxfam's Hong Kong Programme Manager, said running local bazaar on a regular basis and in an organised manner can be the way out for poverty because poor working women can make money on the side while enjoying the flexibility to take care of their families. Despite the complicated application procedures of running bazaars, the Supporting Grassroots' Bazaar Alliance hold the Tung Chung Bazaar after the two-month Hong Kong Bazaar Festival. Chiu Sin-ting, a spokesperson for Supporting Grassroots' Bazaar Alliance, said they implemented this pilot scheme of holding the bazaar, in response to the government's "district-led and bottom-up" approach to initiate hawking proposals. In order to gain broad local support and address various local needs and concerns, hawking proposals should be initiated by the local community, according to The Food and Health Bureau. Chiu said citizens' needs of local bazaar have been shown in last year's bazaar festival, in which stallholders are from all 18 districts. Candy Ho, a stallholder at the Tung Chung Bazaar who sells flowers and purses, said vending in bazaars is a stepping stone to small business. Despite a large loss, Ho …

Health & Environment

Plastic free for marine creatures

  • 2017-04-22

The first thing Lin Guan Yi does in everyday morning is to open Facebook page and check orders for glass straws, yet she doesn't sell them for money. Instead, she sells glass straws for the turtles. Founded in 2016, 4theturtles aims for promoting glass straws to replace plastic straws. Lin, a financial manager, works part-timely for 4theturtles. This Taiwan-based environmentally friendly organization is encouraged by a popular YouTube video in which a turtle's respiratory tract is inserted by a plastic straw. Plastic straws and stirrers, along with other plastic products, are listed as top ten categories of coastal floating litter, according to a report published by World Wide Fund (WWF) Hong Kong. Marine litter has become a hit topic in recent years. In Hong Kong, there're at least more than ten non-profit organizations which have delivered this issue. Among them WWF Hong Kong plays a leading role. Started from 2014 by WWF Hong Kong, Costal Watch is a project providing a long-term resolution for marine litter. It focuses on analysing the importance of solving the marine litter problem and raising people's awareness of being green in order to reduce litter at source. In "Costal Watch – Turning Tide Against Marine Litter", its annual research report, WWF Hong Kong pointed out that plastic debris is a huge threat to marine ecosystems. The Coastal Watch team did surveys in cooperation with local fishing communities. They found that plastic debris makes up most of the marine litter found along Hong Kong shorelines. "The plastic debris could cause two problems. One is that marine creatures will be entangled by it. Another is that fish consumed plastic, which directly affects the health of the fish and the whole food chain, meaning that human health will be affected," said Yeung Chung-wing, Project Manager of Coastal Watch. …


The Man Dances with Fire and Knife

  • 2017-04-11

by Erica Chin and Kobie Li When we talk about circuses, what pops into your head? A large tent with red and yellow stripes? Or clowns who juggle? Although Hong Kong Circus has neither, Chris Leung, the chairman shows his passion for performing arts through fire knife dance. Unlike most of the circus performers, Chris knew nothing about the circus at his early age. "I had never imagined myself to be a performer when I was working as a dresser in the backstage," he said. Chris worked with his wife, Margaret, a dancer of the circus in the theme park. He had no idea to perform on the grand stage before his interest in fire knife dance sparked. The immense interest towards this mysterious and danger art is triggered after Chris watched fire knife dance performance by chance for the first time. "I was amazed by how they control fire, the so-called ‘symbol of danger', so smoothly and easily," he said. Chris then started to practice the dance by using artists' baton during spare and lunch time. Later, he went to Hawaii twice for competition and to learn fire knife dance from a Tahiti fire knife master, Joseph Cadousteau. The road for him to learn was not smooth at the beginning. Chris recalled that it's not easy for him to pick up a new skill at the age of 20. "Many people, even some of my family members said that I am too old for it and it is too dangerous to learn fire knife dance." However, the objection from parents did not discourage him. The scars on his body marked the hard work he paid to practices and the spirit of never give up. Things began to change after years of efforts, circus started to gain popularity. His family members …


Shopping Africa

  • 2017-04-11

An e-commerce platform based in Uganda may bring the country out of poverty and outdated technology.