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Culture & Leisure


Floral Joy Around Town: 2024 Hong Kong Flower Show

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: LI Sin Tung、MAO Anqi、James Ezekiel Kalaw MODESTOEdited by: James Ezekiel Kalaw MODESTO
  • 2024-03-18

Hong Kong welcomes the arrival of spring with the annual Hong Kong Flower Show as it returns to Victoria Park for a second straight year after a three-year halt due to Covid-19. This year’s theme is “Floral Joy Around Town,” with the Angelonia as the event’s chosen flower. Angelonia, also known as the “angel flower” and summer snapdragon, comes in various colours and is noted for its long flowering period, flourishing from Spring to Autumn. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department uses the Angelonia to symbolise Hong Kong’s ability to overcome adversity, adding that Hong Kong can always overcome difficulties and bloom with vigour like the theme flower. Around 229 organisations are participating in this year’s event, including several government departments and exhibitors from other countries. The event will be held from Mar. 15 to 24.

Photo Essay

Lions and Dragons Dance again after four years silence

The 15th World Hong Kong Luminous Dragon and Lion Dance Championships returned to Hung Hom Stadium on Mar. 9, after a four year hiatus, gathering 11 lion teams and 8 luminous dragon teams. For the first time the luminous dragon performances took place during the day. “The windows were covered with black cloth and all the lights will be turned off to create a night effect,"said Gong Pui-wai, President of Hong Kong Chinese Martial Arts Dragon and Lion Dance Association. The championship is held every two years but was canceled in 2022 because of the pandemic.This year's championship includes teams from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao,Taiwan, and eight other countries and regions. The Arts Dragon and Lion Dance Association sent nine referees and more than 50 volunteers to ensure the event went smoothly "Both lion dance and dragon dance are a test of teamwork," said Gong. "Holding such a championship represents Hong Kong's welcoming spirit of tolerance and unity. reflecting our respect for traditional Chinese culture,"he added.                                    


VegCoffee Mix & Match Competition attracts non-vegetarian visitors to Vegetarian Food Asia

The 10th Vegetarian Food Asia held from Friday to Sunday featured the second VegCoffee Mix & Match Competition, with a combination of cafe culture and vegan culture which attracted many non-vegetarians. This year's competition highlighted a vegan and coffee theme, requiring competitors to make desserts and coffee within an hour. The organizer of this event, the Hong Kong Roasters and Coffee Commissioners Association, said this is the only live competition in Hong Kong where coffee and roasting are held at the same time. Lei Bui-dak, 45, chairman of the Vegan Coffee Creation Competition organizing committee, said they wanted to further promote vegan culture through the growing popularity of the cafe culture in Asia. "We wanted to explore how well vegan and cafe cultures could be integrated so that the vegan culture will become widely known as a lifestyle. We were happy to see that the competition did succeed in attracting many non-vegetarians who came because they were interested,” he said. “I came to this exhibition after seeing the Coffee Association's promotion on Facebook​​,” said Cheung Ming-wing, a coffee lover, who specifically came to watch this competition. “I’m not a vegetarian, but I think I might try going vegan after this exhibition,” he said. Lim Sze-han and Chan Sung-ming participated in the VegCoffee Mix & Match competition, presenting a work called "The Hong Kong Tea Set". "The theme of our work is a very classic Hong Kong afternoon tea with pineapple buns and coffee, and all the ingredients of the pineapple bun are vegan," Lim said. “We are not vegetarians. We came to this contest because we were curious about vegan culture and our desire to help spread it for the better,” said Lim and Chan. Lim said that they had made a lot of efforts before the competition, such as …


Sham Shui Po' s first Literary Youth Bazaar immerses visitors in local culture

The Home Affairs Department organised the "Searching for Sham Shui Po" Literati Bazaar at the activity space underneath the Tung Chau Street Flyover on Saturday. It is one of the events under the "District 18 is Colourful Day and Night in 2024" programme, aiming to drive people to understand and immerse themselves in local design products and Sham Shui Po textile culture while promoting itself to become the core area of ​​the innovative economy. The bazaar marked the first time for Sham Shui Po to host an event of this scale, with more than 30 stalls featuring local original works such as fabrics, leathers, and cultural and creative products. The bazaar also promotes city walking activities.After registering for admission, visitors will receive a printed eco-cup as a gift. Shadow Lee, 28, a handmade stall owner, said she was happy that the government has given  young literary youths a platform to promote their work. Cindy Chen, 26, a ceramic craftsman, said that as a resident of Sham Shui Po since childhood, she is honoured to contribute to the development of this area's culture. "Although the economy here is not well developed, the culture of cloth and handicrafts has always been very distinctive, and in recent years, I can feel that the government is emphasising these cultures," said Chen. Effie Zhu, 21, a visitor to the bazaar, said it is her first time participating in such type of bazaar in Sham Shui Po,“ I did not expect that there would be so many visitors, not only some literary youth but also many old people and children joined today’s bazaar.” Karlssen Wong, 7, said his favourite part of the whole fair was the stamping and punching of cards in the fair, where there were all sorts of prizes to be won. “I was …

Culture & Leisure

Budget 2024: Film Development Fund receives highest government investment since 2007

The government will inject $1.4 billion into the Film Development Fund in 2024, the highest investment record in 17 years, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po announced in the most recent budget speech on Wednesday. The Hong Kong Film Development Council has approved a total of $1billion in 2023, of which $134 million has been allocated for the Film Production Financing Scheme, accounting for 12.4% of the total investment. “We feel excited about the investment in film. In the past, government investment had helped many new directors and talents who lacked funding to fulfill opportunities to present their works,”  a spokesman of Hong Kong Motion Picture Industry Association said. During the 2023 Christmas period, Hong Kong cinema box office receipts were only $19.6 million, more than a 40% drop from last year and is the lowest in 20 years. “The box office increase in 2022 may be related to the delay of the release of foreign films due to the epidemic,” Rose Lu, 27, a film critic said. “The Hong Kong film market is small, the government should spend more money in promoting Hong Kong movies overseas and mainland rather than importing many overseas films,” said Lu. Hong Kong Legislative Council amended the Film Censorship Ordinance on October 27, 2021, which requires self-censorship and monitoring of film making, and re-examination of some subjects involving political factors, large scale and niche films. “It is hard for many directors in Hong Kong to do some sensitive topics, because it may not pass the film audit. This makes the Hong Kong film market less glamorous,” said Lu. People expect this money will promote diversity in Hong Kong movies and provide financial support for the film industry. “The government should support more shooting studios and try to have a new agreement about the renting cost …


Budget 2024 Key Takeaways: Careful balance of revenue and deficit to continue

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: AU YEUNG Jim、AO Wei Ying VinciEdited by: Juncong SHUAI
  • 2024-02-28

Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po delivered the 2024-2025 Budget speech on Wednesday, announcing policies to strive for high-quality development while sustaining a solid economy. Top the list is the cancellations of property cooling measures, with Special Stamp Duty, Buyers’ Stamp Duty and New Residential Stamp Duty scrapped with immediate effect. For the coming fiscal year, the total government expenditure will increase by about 6.7% to HK$776.9 billion, while the total government revenue is estimated to be HK$633 billion. Chan expects that there will be a deficit of HK$48.1 billion for the year, and fiscal reserves will decrease to HK$685.1 billion. Here are the key takeaways of this year’s budget plan.  

Health & Environment

Budget 2024: Monthly fireworks may have limited effect on tourism but cause air pollution

Fireworks will be set off every month over Victoria Harbour in the coming year along with drone displays to attract visitors, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po announced in today’s budget speech.  Chan said last year's fireworks displayed along the waterfront in Victoria Harbour, Wan Chai and West Kowloon were all well received. "We will make full use of these valuable resources to provide a more engaging and diverse experience for the public and visitors,” he said. "Regular events are important to tourism," said Professor Chong Tai-leung, 55, executive director of Chinese University’s Lau Chor Tak Institute of Global Economics and Finance. "Monthly fireworks displays are a great way to attract foreign visitors from far and wide." “There are obviously more people visiting Hong Kong, especially on the second day of the Lunar New Year when people gather at Victoria Harbor to admire the fireworks,” said Peter Lo, 62, an electrical engineer, “it almost felt like the traffic flow before the pandemic.” But Lo does not believe that Hong Kong's tourism industry will bring sustained appeal. "There are only a few interesting attractions in Hong Kong, the fireworks won’t attract tourists for a second time."  "If it happens every month, I can choose a time that suits me better and avoid the severe rush during the New Year," said Cao Kailuo, 21, a mainland college student who plans to visit Hong Kong during his vacation. Sara Leung, chair of the Hong Kong Tourism Industry Employees General Union, told RTHK that she is not optimistic about fireworks and drone shows because many nearby areas are hosting similar events and visitors will lose the novelty.  "In fact, the government doesn't need to spend a lot of money on fireworks displays, they usually get sponsors to host them," Chong said. "For example, last year's …


Wong Tai Sin Lantern Festival Fun Fair returns after four-year hiatus

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: LI Sin Tung、MAO AnqiEdited by: James Ezekiel Kalaw MODESTO
  • 2024-02-23

The first day of the Wong Tai Sin Lantern Festival Fun Fair has resumed after a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Buzzing with noise and a lively atmosphere, the highlight of day one was the return of crowds of visitors at the night-time event. Visitors immersed themselves in the festivities, taking pictures and eating snacks bought from the stall. According to the Wong Tai Sin District Council, around 50 exhibitors participated in the fair, including food vendors, craft stalls and decoration stands. The Wong Tai Sin Lantern Festival Fun Fair is one of the events under Night Vibes Hong Kong, a series of projects using night markets as a means to promote the post-pandemic economy by the government. The Fair will be held from Feb. 23 to 25.


E-commerce revives Asia’s largest flower market from poor Spring Festival sales

  Dounan Flower Market in Kunming, Yunnan, which covers 74 acres, is Asia's largest cut-flower market and a major supplier of flowers in China. From here, 80% of the flowers grown in China are traded and exported to over 50 countries and regions.  But this year, traders at Dounan Flower Market were unhappy that sales during Lunar New Year were worse than before the epidemic. Many are hoping that the resumption of e-trading on Feb.15 may be a turnaround. Qin Cuiyun, 54, earned 100 yuan after standing in the cold wind for six hours. Her flower baskets sold for around 20 yuan, which meant she only made two to three yuan on each one. “Flowers always sell better during LunarNew Year, but the business this year is worse than before,” said Qin. “After the pandemic, more people came, but fewer people purchased. People are spending less nowadays because of  the financial situation and the rise of e-commerce, ”she added. Zhang Junzheng, 48, the largest tulip and lily retailer in Dounan, said the sales during the Lunar New Year holiday this year have been much worse than before the epidemic, and he had a loss this year. “It's hard to sell flowers this year even though they are cheap because there are more retailers but fewer customers this year,” said Zhang. Zhang has been working in flower retail in Dounan since 2000 and has been growing tulips for more than 10 years. Faced with competition from e-commerce, Zhang opened an online shop but the prices there are less competitive. “The online platform allows poor quality tulip varieties to sell well through vigorous low-price promotions, which makes it more difficult for me to sell high-quality products”, he said. Fu Wuyin, 63, has been a vendor at Dounan market for 26 years. His …


Annual Lunar New Year Fireworks lights up Victoria Harbour again

  Festive fireworks display returned to Victoria Harbour last night for the first time in five years following cancellations because of  social unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic.  More than 338,000 spectators, including tourists from mainland China and overseas lined both sides of the harbor to enjoy the festivity. The display was divided into eight scenes on the theme of "Prosperity in the Year of the Dragon".