INFO · Search
· Chinese version · Subscribe

By: Katherine LiEdited by: Phoebe Lai

Culture & Leisure

Creative writing — a journey of self discovery and breaking stereotypes for marginalised foreign domestic workers

As a foreign domestic helper in Hong Kong, Anni Juliana works in her employer's home six days a week up to 13 hours a day. On Sunday, her only day off, the 37 year old from North Sumatra in Indonesia spends this time on studying English and participating in creative writing. Ms. Juliana is one of the over 360,000 foreign domestic workers in this competitive city, around 41 percent of whom are Indonesian. She is also one of 10 whose work was featured in Java Tales and Voices, a creative writing magazine published last December by local charity TCK Learning Centre for Migrant Workers. "Back when I was in school in Indonesia, I always loved to write in English," said Ms. Juliana, sitting cross-legged on a lush carpet in TCK Learning Centre's study room, while her friends outside put on makeup and sequined dresses in preparation for their angklung traditional Indonesian music performance later that afternoon. "I had to go find work, but I still try my best to find these opportunities." Under the instruction of Becky Mitchell, their creative writing instructor, Java Tales and Voices was published as a compilation of creative works by migrant workers. Despite high operating costs, a number of workshops around the city have also been encouraging foreign domestic workers and ethnic minorities to tell their stories and take pride in their culture through creative writing. In her personal memoir titled Rainbow, Ms. Juliana tells a poignant personal story of struggle and hope, about how she fought to keep her family afloat and give her three children a future. "Tick tock… Tick tock… Days, months, years go by, my kids growing up. Time moves so fast. No one can control or stop it, or even push the pause button. A million tears fall. A million prayers …


Hong Kong Fishermen's Ballads: A history in songs

Fishermen's ballads are a form of oral history of Hong Kong's dwindling fishing community. Our reporter, Zinnia Lee tells the story of how these songs have become a form of Intangible Cultural Heritage for Hong Kong and what the younger generation is doing to preserve them.


Animal cafes in Hong Kong: welfare experts call for licensing

At The Cat Tea room in Tsuen Wan, cats jump from table to table, sometimes lying beside a cup of tea while being petted by customers. The owner of the shop, Albert Lee, said he was inspired by a trip to Japan and Korea. Mr. Lee observed a lack of animal cafes in Hong Kong and seized the opportunity to open one. Most of the cats were once strays. Wanting to create a safe haven for cats, Mr. Lee took them under his wing to provide healthcare, food and shelter. "Before my business partners and I opened up this place four and a half years ago, there was only one cat cafe in Hong Kong," said Mr. Lee. "Now there are around 10 or more cat cafes and a wide variety of animal cafes." Animal cafes have sprung up in Hong Kong in recent years. Although it may seem like a dream come true for animal lovers, for one animal welfare expert, it is a nightmare. In Hong Kong, the government does not require a licence to run animal cafes. In fact, the Labour and Welfare Bureau released a statement that they have no plans to regulate pet restaurants. So instead, an animal cafe that serves food follows the health guidelines for restaurants, which only prohibit dogs or they are regulated as a licensed club. If the cafe only serves drinks, then they do not have to follow any rules at all. Owners have used these loopholes to introduce all kinds of animals to cafes. The Cats Tea room is only licensed by the Business Registration Office. There is no kitchen in the cafe and only beverages are prepared. Food that is served is not made by staff but instead ordered from nearby restaurants. "If they (animal cafes) are allowed …


Is Hong Kong a safe place for men to crossdress?

The frilly, dark lace trimmings embroidered around Tsang Ching’s knee-length, eccentric red dress stood in stark contrast to the modernity of the bustling streets of Mong Kok. With immaculate makeup and long, soft curls fanned over her shoulders, Tsang Ching strutted past the sardine-packed markets in a pair of black suede knee-high boots. Biologically male, Ms. Tsang identifies and dresses as female. She first started crossdressing began when she tried on her first pair of stockings at the age of six. During secondary school, she would crossdress at home borrowing clothing from her family members, only to put them back when she felt satisfied. But as she did not have the money to buy shoes and wigs until she turned 23. Now, Ms. Tsang, 33, works as an organising secretary for a labour non-profit organisation and dresses as a woman every day. Her colleagues are largely accepting of her identity, she says, and adds that the major objection comes from her wife. "Some think crossdressers are gay, and that’s the reason why they do crossdressing. Or they would straight up think that I am a pervert because I was dressing so femininely", said Ms. Tsang, "I want to be treated as a female even though I don’t hate being male." With increased LGBT exposure in recent years, whether or not Hong Kong has progressed into a safe place for men to publicly crossdress remains a question. "Each time crossdressing is used in Hong Kong and Chinese media, it is sometimes laughable. It is used as comedy." said Brenda Rodriguez Alegre, a transgender lecturer of Gender Studies at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Hong Kong. "I think socially, logically and psychologically, safe is a complex term to use. Maybe you will be safe in the sense that you …

Photo Essay

A taste of Central Asia culture

Central Asia has always played an important role in connecting the East and the West both during the Silk Road period and now by joining the One Belt One Road Initiative. Rich Turkic and Persian history and culture later affected by Soviet diversity are reflected in the wide variety of cuisine. The Central Asia Centre is a non-governmental organisation aiming to provide Hongkongers a chance to explore the history, culture, traditions and nature of Central Asia.  It has organised a cooking workshop to demonstrate Uzbek culinary art. The cooking class instructor from Uzbekistan, Ms. Munira, shows how to make golden-crispy buns with juicy meat — Uzbek samsa, which is a must-have on each table in her home country.  


Hundreds marked the 30th anniversary of the June 4th incident

Around a hundred people joined a 15-kilometre long-distance running from Causeway Bay to Sai Wan last Sunday, marking the 30th anniversary of the June 4th incident. With another 15-kilometre previous run completed by the "June 4th Long Distance Team", the total distance added up to 30, which is the anniversary year of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Crackdown. "The route is set upon two meanings: the historical background of 1989 Democracy Movement and the accusation to June 4th Crackdown," said Mr. Lee Cheuk-yan, the Secretary of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China (HKASPDMC). Throughout the 5-hour-run, participants passed by 18 checkpoints, which were all landmarks related to the 1989 Democracy Movement, according to Mr. Lee. For example, the Pillar of Shame at The University of Hong Kong was a memorial sign for the movement. And the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government was the place where people expressed their accusation to the Central government, hoping one day the June 4th movement can be successfully vindicated. Runners shouted "Vindicate June 4th! We are getting closer to the success!" along the run to raise the morale and support themselves to carry on the tough long run. "Joining the long-distance run is a way to demonstrate my determination to the rehabilitation of June 4th," said Wong Nga-man, one of the permanent members of HKASPDMC. "Same as the long-distance run, it has a long way to go and takes great perseverance." The participants laid flowers at the Pillar of Shame and at the gate of LOCPG to express their respect and solidarity to the sacrificed students and activists during the movement. Led by the organisers, they paid silent tribute in front of the Pillar of Shame for one minute. "Many people with great aspiration were sacrificed back then. If …


Nine Occupy Central defendants all found guilty

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Katherine Li、Ezra CheungEdited by: Wallis Wang、Jo Ng
  • 2019-04-09

  In the verdict issued by Judge Johnny Chan Jong-herng in the Kowloon West Magistrates Court, all nine Occupy Central leaders were found guilty. Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Chan Kin-man and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming were found guilty of conspiracy to commit public nuisance. Tai and Chan were in addition found guilty of inciting others to commit public nuisance. The verdict of "inciting others to commit public nuisance" and "inciting people to incite others to commit public nuisance" applied to legislators Tanya Chan and Shiu Ka-chun, former student leader Tommy Cheung Sau-yin and Eason Chung Yiu-wa, as well as activist Raphael Wong Ho-ming. Former legislator Lee Wing-tat also received the verdict of incitement to commit public nuisance. Based on the judgement, the Court rejected the defendants' statement that the charge of conspiracy to cause public nuisance would have the undesirable effect of curtailing civil disobedience and suppressing human rights. The Court also did not believe that the claim of "civil disobedience" can constitute any defence against a criminal charge brought against a defendant. These verdicts came after a series of trials as the aftermath of the largest pro-democracy mass demonstration Hong Kong has ever seen which lasted 79 days. The nine defendants, as the leaders of this movement, were charged differently with counts of incitement and conspiracy. The defendants expressed that they feel at peace whatever the outcome may be in a press conference before the verdict. "My soul is still. I still believe in the power of love and peace, and I have no regrets about what I have done," said Chan Kin-man. While urging people to continue to fight for Hong Kong’s democracy, Tanya Chan tearfully  thanked her legal team, her mentor and also her mother, whom despite not knowing too much about politics, is her best friend and always …

Health & Environment

Hong Kong Sevens rolls out reusable pint cup initiative to combat plastic waste

The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) is set to introduce 250,000 reusable pint cups as part of its sixth annual "Green Rugby" campaign, with an aim to cut down on single-plastic use at this year’s Rugby Sevens tournament. According to the HKRU, around 200 tonnes of waste was produced at the three-day mega-event amongst the 120,000 spectator in attendance in 2013, but the number was down by 100 tonnes as of 2016. This year, patrons would be asked for a HK$10 deposit paid either through cash or Octopus card for a reusable stack cup produced from fully-recycled plastic, which would be subsequently assembled, cleaned, and sanitized for reuse by local social enterprise BottLess over the course of the game and other non-rugby events, according to the HKRU. The Green Rugby is focused on providing not just a green campaign, but to also aim to work with local companies like Diwash to handle all of their dishware cleaning. Aside from working with the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), the Leisure and Cultural Department (LCSD), as well as large mainstream beverage suppliers like Carlsberg and Swire Coco-Cola Hong Kong, the HKRU has also partnered with local sustainability consultancy The Purpose Business to streamline and monitor the operation of the campaign. Dr. Merrin Pearse represents The Purpose Business based in Hong Kong and the Philippines. One of their main aims is to  reduce waste at the Sevens in 2019. "This Green campaign is the 6th year running, every year we aim to do something more," said Dr. Pearse. In previous years, the Green Rugby campaign has tackled food waste and eliminated plastic straws. This year was the first year it aimed to eliminate single-use plastic. In 2018, 61 tonnes of general refuse was collected from the event, marking a 48% of reduction from 2017. …


Percentage charge in handling fees for Sevens’ tickets on official sale platforms varies

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Vanessa Yung、Anna Kam、Hailey ManEdited by: Phoebe Lai、Yetta Lam
  • 2019-04-05

It’s advertised as "where the world comes to play" by sponsors. This weekend, tens of thousands of rugby fans from around the world will cheer their teams at the annual on Hong Kong Rugby Sevens at Hong Kong stadium. According to the Rugby Union’s audit report, income from "entry and admission fees" raked in $1.3 million Hong Kong dollars. The finals on Sunday usually draw the largest number of spectators every year and tickets for those top team matches are sometimes hard to come by. For years, scalpers would approach fans, typically at Causeway Bay MTR station to offer tickets to those desperate to see the finals. This year, the Hong Kong Rugby Union announced in October 2018, that the tickets were going to remain the same price as last year staying at $1950 for a full three day tournament ticket. Currently, there are no laws in Hong Kong regulating ticket scalping. An online scalper who refused to give his name, claimed that he sold a three-day ticket package for $3600. That’s a 80% markup on the original price. "Few Hong Kong local fans would pay thousands dollars for the Sevens tickets. Buyers are mostly staff from insurance companies who want to offer tickets to their clients, [as a gift]," the anonymous seller explained. According to the Hong Kong Sevens official website, Hong Kong identity card holders can enter a ballot in which tickets would be randomly allocated. Each person can apply for up to two tickets and a total 9,000 tickets would be sold this way. Visitors from overseas can purchase the "Essential Sevens Travel package" from travel agents listed. There are also "hospitality packages" from, for example, Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). One of the travel agents on the website, Keith Prowse Travel, …

Expanding sports opportunities for youths with disabilities

  • 2019-04-01
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Rachel Yeo、Wallis Wang、Anna Kam、Phoebe Lai、Katherine LiEdited by: Dorothy Ma、Sammi Chan、Vanessa Yung、Nadia Lam
  • 2019-04-01

During a rugby tournament held in Happy Valley, 24-year-old coach Winnie Cheung Wing-yin gathered her team to discuss a variety of strategies to win the match. Crowding together at the side of the field, the members watched intently as Ms. Cheung demonstrated strategies verbally, while also flailing her arms and mimicking ball throwing movements. Standing next to her was an interpreter helping to translate her spoken points through sign language. Ms. Cheung is partially deaf and she's one of the Hong Kong Rugby Union's oldest members and now coaches for the deaf rugby team, which has 20 members. She was one of the first deaf participants to join the deaf rugby programme back in 2009. Back then, she was still a pupil at Chun Tok School, one of the local deaf schools that cooperated with HKRU. Ms. Cheung currently receives funding from Laureus, a sports organisation that honours individuals and teams along with sporting achievements. Her efforts throughout the years have landed her a career to work as a coach and develop the next generation of players for the deaf rugby team. "Deaf rugby has changed me in many ways because I was able to meet more people," said Ms. Cheung. Deaf rugby coach Winnie Cheung strategies how her team members can win a rugby tournament in Happy Valley. She believes that hard work and effort is the key to overcome her adversities. According to the United Nations, engaging in sports has the potential to reduce such barriers as it can showcase an individual's skill sets, which makes others take note of their disabilities less. However, people with disabilities are more likely to face discrimination and negative perceptions in society. Through these stigmas, they may be excluded from opportunities which is vital for their social and physical development, including participating …