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Culture & Leisure

New archeological discoveries from Sanxingdui sites unveiled at Hong Kong Palace Museum

  • By: Juncong SHUAI、Yuqi CHUEdited by: Chengqi MO
  • 2023-09-27

The Hong Kong Palace Museum exhibition of Sanxingdui relics opened Wednesday, with nearly half of the 120 artefacts unearthed since 2020 and showing for the first time in a major exhibition outside Sichuan province. The bronze, gold, jade and ceramic artifacts dating back 2,600 to 4,500 years are from the Sanxingdui, Jinsha and Bodun archeological sites on the Chengdu Plain. Twenty-three items are grade-one national treasures. Sanxingdui, referring to three remnants of man-made mounds that might have been part of ancient city walls, was first discovered in the late 1920s near Guanghan, Sichuan province. “The reason why we choose to unveil many of the new discoveries in Hong Kong is that compared to the mainland, there is a lack of knowledge of ancient Chinese culture,” said Lei Yu, the curator of Sanxingdui Museum. “The new archeological discoveries are significant because they extend our understanding of Sanxingdui or Shu cultures, with abundant bronze wares that have never been seen before,” Lei added. "After viewing these relics, I was particularly shocked by the beauty and design, which express the Sanxingdui people's respect for nature and gods," said Richard Cheng, a 65-year-old Hong Kong resident. "The exhibition really empowers my cultural confidence." The exhibition is divided into four thematic sections which explore the art, urban life, belief systems and the origins and legacy of the ancient Shu civilization. The exhibition has over 10 multimedia displays, including a holographic projection of a bronze tree and virtual reconstruction of a broken bronze figure. “After watching this exhibition, I find ancient Chinese culture so mysterious,” Zack Brown, 34, said. “ It’s amazing that scholars don’t exactly know what these artefacts were used for thousands of years ago, which leaves space for imagination.” Ray Chen, 22, a student from Chinese University of Hong Kong, said he was disappointed …


Black rainstorm leaves Hong Kong a flooding mess

  • By: Elif Lale AYHAN、Ka Man WongEdited by: Ming Min AW YONG
  • 2023-09-08

The  Hong Kong Observatory issued the black rainstorm warning last night at 11:05 pm and it remained in effect for a record-breaking time of more than 12 hours. All rainstorm warnings were cancelled at 4:45 pm today. The rain bands of Typhoon Haikui brought more than 145.5 millimetres of rain in one hour, the highest hourly rainfall since 1884. The downpour caused flooding in many districts.  The worst affected  areas included Kowloon Tong  and  Wong Tai Sin.  Much of the lower floors of Wong Tai Sin’s Temple Mall, was under water. Rainwater poured into some  MTR stations, forcing trains to skip certain stops because of flooded platforms. At around 6 a.m. today, the government announced that all schools would suspend classes for the day. Employers were told to implement typhoon 8 work arrangements. Kubi Liu, a local 20-year-old student at Hong Kong Shue Yan University, stayed at home in Lee Uk Village in Fanling, New Territories. “I have seen heavy rain like this before. It’s common in Hong Kong, but rain which causes great damage at such short notice, like last night, is rare. Although the heavy rain brought me joy, the follow-up action and clean-up will take some time and money,” Liu said. A bus stop was flooded in her neighbourhood. She thought drainage management in the city could be better to avoid severe flooding. According to Liu, vehicles at Mei Lam, a low-lying area in Sha Tin, were submerged. At some villages in Fanling, minibuses came to a halt because of the flood. By 11:41 pm, a total of 144 people were treated in public hospitals for flood related injuries, according to the Hospital Authority. Chief Executive John Lee said that authorities would “review the way announcements were made” to the general public during extreme weather. “In dealing …


Corporate and government seek more ESG practices in small businesses

  • By: Nga Ying LAU、Yuchen LIEdited by: Bella Ding、Rex Cheuk、Yuhe WANG
  • 2023-07-26

Dehtlet, a Hong Kong-based small and medium-sized enterprise specialising in innovative eco-toilet systems, has received international and Hong Kong awards for improving the environment. The eco-toilet system has undergone more than seven generations of modification. The use of fabric glass in producing the eco-toilets at first was later found to contaminate the environment and so low-density polyethene, a material that poses less harm to the environment was adopted instead. “We are still searching for technologies in making reclaimed rubber as suitable construction materials to replace low-density polyethene, which would still create pollutants during the manufacturing process,” said Lian Chan Lai-yan, the co-founder and managing director of Dehlet. By deploying wind power, thermal power and gravity to conduct aerobic decomposition, the eco-system separates faeces and urine through aerobic decomposition. The separation process does not require the use of water, which avoids the effluent problems associated with water treatment, and the solid could eventually return to nature while the liquid can be used for handwashing. Chan said that reported by the United Nations, the sanitation coverage in rural areas of mainland China was even 2% lower than that of Kenya, shocking her husband and her to hop on the train of a sustainable business. Citizens getting infected through bathroom drain pipes during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 also inspired her to improve the toilet system amid the ongoing gloom of COVID-19. In line with the career they wish to contribute to, recent years have witnessed the growing awareness of the Environment, Social and Governance concepts within corporates, ranking higher in the business agenda. “The ESG standards become more demanding as most of our customers are listed and multinational corporations,” said Chan. A Deutsche Bank research found out that more companies are adopting ESG as it could improve the …

Culture & Leisure

Going green could be expensive but worthwhile in the UK

  • By: Bella Ding、Zimo ZHONG、Le Ha NGUYENEdited by: Bella Ding
  • 2023-07-21

Paprika is a spice made from dried, ground peppers used in Spanish and English cuisines, and among different flavours, smoked paprika won great popularity with BBC listing 261 recipes in total using this ingredient under its food column. The ordinary smoked paprika sold at grocery stores costs around £1.69 for 75g while the same product tagged environment-friendly costs £1.3 for just 10g, or nearly five times more expensive, in Re: Store, a zero waste shop located in Hackney, London. Established in 2019 by founder Megan Adams, Re: Store encourages zero waste-conscious shopping to help protect the planet from harmful degradation. Consumers could bring their own containers for products or utilise paper bags provided by the shop to reduce the use of plastic for packaging. “Our customers want to shop locally and shop sustainably to reduce their environmental impacts,” said Shaniah Bond, assistant manager at Re: Store, “A lot of them like the process of bringing their own jars, filling them and taking them home.” Food waste situation in the UK According to the true cost accounting published by Sustainable Food Trust, people in the UK spend £120 billion annually on food, and an additional £116 billion in environmental and health costs caused by the food and farming industries, which are instead passed onto the public through taxes and expenses related to climate change and environmental damage. Sustainable food reduces the negative environmental impact during their production process, which no longer depends on businesses and systems based on extraction and growth but towards approaches based on the principles of regeneration, sustainability and the circular economy. According to Statista, UK households are estimated to throw away nearly 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging per year, or 66 items per household per week on average. In 2021, the waste reached a staggering number …


Australians volunteer to conserve endangered species

  • By: Jayde Cheung、Tracy LeungEdited by: Jenny Lam
  • 2023-06-08

Native Australian animals are increasingly under threat as natural disasters fueled by a changing climate ravage their habitats. The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are less than 57,920 koalas left in the wild in 2022, possibly as few as 32,065. Koalas in the southern part of Australia face a threat of habitat loss because the woods and woodlands there are being destroyed for urban development and agriculture. Koalas are also killed in domestic dog attacks, bushfires and road accidents.  As a continent prone to a range of devastating natural hazards including bushfires, flooding and tropical cyclones, the government has committed to spend AU$2,300,000,000 (HK$11,740,000,000) on environmental preservation in the latest budget,  Up to AU$100,000,000 is specifically allocated to biodiversity preservation. People from all walks of life work together, some volunteer to be firefighters or animal rescuers, all with the aim of saving the country’s natural environment before it is too late.  In June 2019, a deadly fire swept across New South Wales and demolished 6.2% of the wildlife natural habitat. The country set aside AU$200,000,000 (HK$1,020,000,000) to restore the habitats, according to the Australian government’s website.  Jane Willcock is the senior registrar and museum operations coordinator at the University of Queensland.  “The koalas are too afraid in their place, and they are very picky about what they eat, so they are very difficult to accommodate,” Willcock explained. Financial and physical support since the woods were ignited in July 2019 put an end to the fatal bushfire that impacted three billion animals between 2019 and 2020, either killing them or reducing their homes to ashes, according to the data from World Wildlife Fund.  “My school had posters about koala-saving techniques all over the campus,” said Chong Yan, a veterinary student at the University of Sydney. The veterinary society she joined …


Hong Kong elderly struggle to age with the extreme heat

  • By: Yi Yin CHOW、Runqing LI、Jemima BadajosEdited by: Nola Yip、Ming Min AW YONG
  • 2023-05-09

Chan Yin-chi, 77, lives alone in Kwai Hing. Every Tuesday, he visits the local community centre to dance with other elderly people. She is health conscious and brews her red dates tea every morning. The hot summer nights in Hong Kong though make it hard to sleep without an air conditioner, yet the damp cold air is a problem for Chan. “The cold wind from the air conditioning during the night makes my muscles and bones ache,” she said. “From here to here, there is pain in the whole body,” she said, pointing at her shoulders and legs.  Over the past two decades, the number of days when the temperature in Hong Kong was more than  33°C in a year has increased by 50%, according to the Hong Kong Observatory. Depending on how serious the greenhouse gas emissions are, the annual mean temperature of the city is expected to rise by as high as 1.7°C from 2041 to 2060. Joey Ho Wai-yan, a registered Chinese medicine practitioner in Hong Kong, explained that elderly folks are particularly vulnerable to the effects of high temperatures. Her clinic is often packed with people who suffered from heat stroke after staying outdoors for a long time .“Elderly people are physically weaker, have lower energy, poorer perspiration and they have difficulty adjusting to air conditioning, which affects the balance of their body temperature,” said Ho. “Even after seeking medical advice and taking antipyretic medication, the fever may still recur.”  Heat stroke is caused when the body temperature reaches 41°C or higher. Symptoms include dizziness, headache, nausea, shortness of breath and mental confusion, according to the Centre for Health Protection. Ho explained that climate change is making  Hong Kong becoming hotter and more humid from mid-spring to the end of summer. This makes it harder for …


Farewell To Tai O

  • By: Yee Ling TSANG、Huen Tung LEI、Wai Sum CHEUNGEdited by: Yu Yin WONG
  • 2023-05-02

Colourful soda cans shaped into lanterns that dangle from long pieces of wires is a type of traditional wind chime at the fishing village of Tai O. But when you walk around the many huts on stilts there these days, some of the chimes are rusted and broken because the owners have left for good. They were evacuated because flooding destroyed their homes. Tai O, is one of Hong Kong’s oldest fishing villages. It is in a low-lying area on the western coast of Lantau Island. This “Venice of Hong Kong” is threatened by inundation because of climate change.  Residents recalled their survival experience from two of the most devastating typhoons in Tai O: Typhoon Hato in 2017 and Typhoon Mangkhut in 2018.  In August 2017, Super Typhoon Hato smashed into Hong Kong with an estimated sustained wind speed of 185 kilometres per hour. The Hong Kong Observatory issued Hurricane Signal No.10, the strongest tropical storm warning signal possible here. It was the first No.10 in five years. Hato brought severe flooding and destruction in multiple coastal regions, including Tai O, Cheung Chau, Heng Fa Chuen, and Lei Yue Mun. In Tai O, the damage was the worst in nine years, according to the Observatory. When the government sounded the flood alert system, many residents there had to evacuate. The rising water approached faster than residents expected. Kenny Wong, a villager in Tai O, said they didn’t have time to prepare because the official forecast underestimated the typhoon’s impact. “The flood was up to my knees at home. Many of my furniture and electrical appliances were damaged during the storm surge,” Wong said.  He said Typhoon Mangkhut was even worse than Hato.  When Super Typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong in September 2018, it brought the most severe wind strength recorded …


Climate change takes a toll on construction workers in Hong Kong

  • By: Tsz Yau CHAN、Yau To LUMEdited by: Tsz In Warren LEUNG
  • 2023-05-01

Wong Ngai, 49, a construction worker in Hong Kong has been on the job for six years and has already got used to the physical demands and challenges of his work. But when he was assigned to install street lights next to the airport, he realised his working conditions might get even tougher. Wong had to work in a two-metre wide space three metres underground. The lack of ventilation or fans made the air thick and stifling while the sun was beating down on him relentlessly. “Every time I go into an underground site, I immediately feel dizzy as the heat surrounds me,” said Wong.“I felt like an omelette frying under the sun.”  Lai Chun-Lok, 33, a surveyor who has worked in the construction industry for 13 years, said heat strokes are common on construction sites. “It could get up to 40 to 50 degrees Celcisus on the rooftop. The iron is so hot that it will burn your skin if you touch it,” Lai said. The hot and humid weather in Hong Kong has been worsening over the past decade due to climate change. According to the Hong Kong Observatory, the total number of hot days has increased five times over the past two decades, reaching 55 days in 2022, and it is expected that this summer will get even hotter.  Outdoor workers bear the brunt of climate change. The number of heat stress related work injuries has increased by 75% since 2020, according to the Labour Department’s data. According to the document from the Human Resource Committee of the Legislative Council, the Hong Kong government plans to launch a new heat index guideline, the HKHI, in order to protect people who have to work outdoors in the summer. The heat index calculates temperature, humidity, and ultraviolet radiation from …


Hong Kong: Sweltering summers challenge residents of "pigeon cages" as temperatures soar

  • By: Yuqi CHU、Juncong SHUAIEdited by: Chengqi MO
  • 2023-04-28

At the end of the narrow aisle crammed with household goods, an old air conditioner hums as it struggles to cool the flat where 11 residents live in eight tiny cells separated by makeshift wooden walls.  Around noon, Xia Renhui 52, who has been living in this subdivided flat in Tsuen Wan for five years, prepares his lunch in the shared kitchen. The thermometer hanging on the wall records a temperature of 37˚ C. The scalding water from the tap and the steam spurting out of the rice cooker make Xia feel smothered.   "The whole room feels like a smelting furnace. Every inch of my skin is burning," said Xia.  In Hong Kong, more than 214,000 people like Xia live in subdivided flats, according to government statistics, where increasing summer temperatures are made worse by cramped, unventilated construction and expensive air-conditioning bills. Globally, over the past few hundred years, greenhouse gases from industrialization have led to global warming and an increase in extreme climates, according to a United Nations report. Hong Kong keeps breaking its temperature records. Last year, Hong Kong residents survived the hottest July in the past 138 years, when record keeping began, breaking a previous record set in 2020. And a high temperature of 35°C or above was recorded for 10 consecutive days in July last year, topping the annual record, according to the Hong Kong Observatory. At least five cases of sudden death at work suspected to be related to heat stroke have been reported between June and July in 2022. Hot nights increase the risk of death by about 2% to 3%, while a prolonged period of five or more hot nights raises the risk to 6.66%. Women had a six percent higher risk of dying from hot weather, while older adults had a five …


Hong Kong farmers adopt survival measures amidst rising temperatures

  • By: Tsz Yin HO、Mollie HibEdited by: Dhuha AL-ZAIDI
  • 2023-04-26

Just a 25-minute walk from Kam Sheung Road station between Pat Hueng and Kam Tin in Hong Kong’s New Territories is Fruitful Organic Farm, a locally-owned farm that’s been operating for 12 years. Roughly 30 to 40 crops grow here, neatly aligned with small wooden labels: tomatoes, pak-choy and lettuce, to name a few.  But this farm doesn’t make money from its organic produce. Instead, its income comes from renting out plots of land to other farmers, a survival response to climate change. As temperatures rise, some of Hong Kong’s farms are turning to land rentals and severe weather planting techniques to keep their crops and livelihoods alive. Paul Kwok, 66, who has owned Fruitful Organic Farm for over a decade, said his farm started as an effort to give Hongkongers an opportunity to rely less on imports and to plant their own vegetables organically. But he stopped selling his own produce to hawkers last year. Kwok said this was due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rising temperatures affecting the yield and size of vegetables and fruits. “I believe that we have suffered at least a 30% loss in harvest yield since I first started farming,” he said. Currently, over 90% of Kwok’s land has been rented out. “Our income is even more stable with renting out land to people than it was with selling crops,” he added.  Neighboring farms, such as Go Green Farm, have also adopted a similar business model.  Hong Kong has consistently gotten hotter over the years. According to the Hong Kong Observatory, the region’s average increase in temperature per decade from 1993 to 2022 was 0.28 degrees celsius.  The Observatory also recorded that the annual number of very hot nights, classified as days with a maximum temperature of 33 degrees Celsius or above, has increased …