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Society

Taiwan quake disrupts Xiamen high-speed rail services

Thousands of passengers were left stranded at Xiamen Railway Station on the mainland following yesterday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Hualien in Taiwan. High-speed rail services were cancelled or delayed as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of passengers.  Taiwan authorities said the earthquake was the strongest to hit the island in at least 25 years, with a depth of 15.5km. It was also felt in Fuzhou, Xiamen, Quanzhou and Ningde in Fujian province on the mainland, according to Chinese state media.   Yu Shihuan, a passenger at Xiamen Railway Station told TYR News that it was the first time he had felt an earthquake. “My phone beeped warning me of the earthquake. I thought it was only an alarm. It was not until I felt my chair shook that I realized it was an earthquake. ” Yu said“I grabbed my friends, who were about to run out of the station to stay in a corner because I know it is only after the first strong wave that we can escape,” The Dispatching Director of Xiamen Railway Station, Zhao Ping, said high-speed trains were not allowed to set off from Xiamen. More than 30 services were suspended. Only a small number  of trains could go north.  “We have to check the quality of some of our earthquake-affected railways to ensure they are suitable for letting the high-speed railway trains pass. The earthquake can crack tracks.” said Huang Shuying, technical engineer of Xiamen Railway Station. The station was in chaos as the information on the station’s big screen was confusing.Wong Xi, a passenger who arrived at the station in the morning, said he had been waiting for more than seven hours but was still not able to leave.  “The train I was about to board passed through Xiamen. The big …

Society

Hong Kong retail sales edge up amid changes in consumer spending patterns

  • By: Subin JOEdited by: Runqing LI
  • 2024-04-04

Hong Kong's retail sales saw a modest year-on-year increase in the first two months of 2024 despite shifting consumer spending patterns and the evolving retail sector landscape, according to official data,  The government’s provisional figures showed on Wednesday that the total retail sales value was provisionally estimated at HK$33.8 billion in February, marking a 1.9% increase from the same period last year. Revised estimated data for January showed a year-on-year increase of 0.9%.  Retail sales value increased by 1.4% in the first two months of 2024 compared to the same period last year, while online retail sales decreased by 15.9% in the same period in 2023. Kevin Kim, 28, a research analyst at Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation, explained that the decrease in online retail sales could be attributed to several factors. “One possibility is that consumers have begun to prefer shopping at traditional retail stores, which could be a rebound from the increased online shopping activities during the pandemic. Additionally, intensified competition in certain online marketplaces may have also played a role,” he said. After adjusting for price changes, the volume of total retail sales in February recorded a year-on-year increase of 0.5%. Nonetheless, when January and February 2024 were considered together, a decrease of 0.4% in volume was observed, indicating a nuanced recovery in retail sector performance. “It should be noted that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year,” the government said in the press release. “... It is more appropriate to analyse the retail sales figures for January and February taken together in making a year-on-year comparison.” For significant types of retail outlets, the first two months of 2024 saw 8.8% increases in sales of jewellery, watches, clocks, and valuable …

Society

Hong Kong bus companies roll out electric and hydrogen powered buses to meet carbon neutrality goal

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: WANG Ludan、YANG Shuyi、WANG JingEdited by: Sze Kei WONG
  • 2024-03-29

The first hydrogen double-decker buses in Hong Kong set sail in February for the Vodafone Road route. Starting from 2022, the electric buses are appearing on the Hong Kong’s street to reduce emissions more than diesel buses as part of the public transportation sector’s efforts to help Hong Kong achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.  

Society

Easter eggs art installation light up Central Harbourfront

  • By: WANG Jing、AO Wei Ying VinciEdited by: Yau To LUM
  • 2024-03-27

The “teamLab:Continuous” exhibition in Tamar Park, subsidised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department opened on Monday. The Central Harbourfront is the backdrop to the Easter egg theme art work More than 200 glowing ovoids and trees are on display on land and in the water, lighting up Tamar Park and extending into Victoria Harbour. Takashi Kudo, global brand designer of teamLab,who gave a speech in Tamar Park on opening day, said he wanted to make people think about nature, city space and their lives as a continuity since they are all connected. “As the ovoids change their colours when being moved, the wind and waves at the harbour continuously affect them,” said Kudo. “There are many cube-like buildings around which people cannot push or move, but for the ovoids here, you can touch and feel them,” said Kudo. “There is also another metaphor for the pushable ovoids: when people fall, they can stand up again.” Many visitors welcomed the exhibition as they took pictures and interacted with the ovoids. The first week of online reservations for the interaction area is already full. “I have visited many similar art exhibitions in other countries.This event is a good start for Hong Kong,” said Ed Tam, an exhibition enthusiast.  “The exhibition uses Victoria Harbour as its backdrop and creates great scenery. I think this is what makes the art exhibition unique,” he said. Tam said he supported the government in setting up more mega art installations since Hong Kong seldom has such events. “It’s beautiful, but HK$50 million is a huge expense for taxpayers,” said Fanny Wong, a local visitor. “HK$50 million can support the government to do more things for the public.”  “I will still recommend my friends to visit and appreciate these ovoid installations,” said Wong. “The colourful lights along …

Society

Doctors Without Borders raises awareness on plight in Sudan

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: AO Wei Ying Vinci、ZHANG YipingEdited by: Yee Ling TSANG、Yi Yin CHOW
  • 2024-03-26

The Hong Kong chapter of Doctors Without Borders organised its first fundraising running race since 2002 at Plover Cove Reservoir’s main dam on March 17th The choice of the location aims to raise awareness of humanitarian aid and hardships in Southern Sudan.  

Society

Labour importation threatens local job security

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: AO Wei Ying Vinci、AU YEUNG JimEdited by: Ka Man Wong
  • 2024-03-25

It has been six months since the government launched various labour importation schemes aimed at addressing a labour shortage in the construction and transportation sectors. Last year, Hong Kong saw a manpower shortage of 17,500-24,000 in the construction industry, and 3,600 public light bus and coach drivers, according to Legco figures. But labour unions say the government should instead focus on fixing the flaws in labour protection laws in order to promote local employment and sustain the workforce. Construction: Labour importation threatens local job opportunities According to a press release from the Hong Kong Construction Association in January, the first workforce demand survey result after the start of the importation scheme shows a shortage of 8,208 workers. The government has approved 4,680 out of the 12,000 applications in the first round for 20 construction contracts. HKCA supports the scheme as a supplementary measure to resolve the urgent labour shortage but expects the government to enhance labour sustainability by introducing multiple measures, including hiring new blood in the industries, utilising technologies, and providing more training to the existing workforce as the scheme is not permanent. Ng Wai-leung, Equity Director of the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union said that the highly mobile work nature of construction work makes it hard to safeguard job vacancies for local workers. “We would only import labour when the workload exceeds the demand. We should only aim to fill up the short-term manpower gaps,” said Ng. “When the demand shrinks, it is really unacceptable that companies fire local workers before imported ones. Instead, imported workers should go home once they are not engaged in any projects.” According to Ng, many imported labour are working on the Third Airport Runway System at Hong Kong International Airport. He hoped that the agencies and government can provide language …

Society

Hong Kong bus companies driving toward carbon neutrality

  • By: YANG Shuyi、WANG Ludan、WANG JingEdited by: KONG Tsz Yuen
  • 2024-03-25

Electric buses are appearing on Hong Kong's streets starting in 2022,  transforming the city’s image of traffic clogged up with old double deckers that belch out pollution. These buses use environmentally friendly new energy as fuel, which can reduce emissions better than diesel buses. Citybus will put Hong Kong’s first hydrogen bus into road commissioning this month, and it will soon come into the market.  “We plan to test the performance of diesel, electric, and hydrogen buses by deploying five buses of each type on the same route in the second half of this year. ” said Lee Ka-ming, Citybus's Head Engineering Manager. “Based on the results, we will decide on the proportion of hydrogen and electric buses in our plans. We prefer to use data comparisons to support our decisions on which buses to choose,"Lee said. At present, there are 21 KMB routes serving the public with electric buses, accounting for about 56 electric buses. “Double-decked electric buses have been in service since 2023, and their performance has been very satisfactory. Since a bus can operate for 18 years, we will continue to monitor its performance and prepare to cope with any possible difficulties,” said Kenny Kan, Head of KMB's corporate communications and public affairs department. “KMB expects to replace diesel buses with fully electric ones by 2040,” he added.  According to local think tank, Civic Exchange, Hong Kong's transportation sector accounts for the second largest share of total Greenhouse gas sessions, emitting 18.7%. Commercial vehicles such as buses only account for 20% of the total number of vehicles in Hong Kong but contribute over 90% of nitrogen oxide (NO) emissions, a significant contributor to roadside air pollution. “Compared with diesel buses, new energy buses do not produce harmful emissions, thus directly reducing the use of non-renewable energy such …

Society

Hong Kong recycling industry faces uncertainty over waste charging scheme

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: LI Sin Tung、CHEN Yik NamEdited by: James Ezekiel Kalaw MODESTO
  • 2024-03-24

Yeung Man-ching, 21, a student at the Hong Kong Baptist University, starts her morning by bringing plastic bottles and waste paper from home to throw them into the recycling bin on campus. She has been recycling garbage for more than two years and says she has recycled over a hundred bottles. “I always ask my family to collect and clean the plastic bottles. From where I live in Tai Wai, there are no recycling bins downstairs at my house, so I can only take them back to school to be recycled,” she said. Yeung said that she once passed a food waste recycling machine in Sha Tin with a long queue, which intrigued her. She had never thought about recycling before and decided then to start recycling plastic bottles. “I believe that after the waste-charging scheme is officially implemented, more people will be willing to recycle,” she added. “It’s time for Hong Kong’s recycling system to improve.” Recycling in Hong Kong is finally on track, alongside many expectations of its continuous development with the introduction of a new waste charging scheme, whose implementation was pushed back until August this year. But experts say the city still has a long way to go before it can call itself green. “I have noted many discussions and questions raised by various sectors in the community about Municipal Solid Waste Charging, and many people expressed their concerns to me that the general public do not understand how waste charging will be implemented,” said Secretary for Environment and Ecology Tse Chin-wan in a media session on Jan. 19. “As a responsible government, we would like to implement waste charging successfully and smoothly,” said Tse. “Therefore, I believe it is a liable act for us to put more time into public education.” The “pay-as-you-throw” charging scheme …

Society

Food and beverage stalls return to Hong Kong Flower Show 2024 after the pandemic

Hong Kong  Flower Show 2024, one of the biggest annual flower events in the city, has returned with full features after the pandemic of COVID-19. This year’s theme is Fairy Tales and it showcases a variety of flower exhibits from horticultural organizations from around the world.    

Society

Memorial exhibition of Jin Yong brings back the world of wuxia

“A Path to Glory - Jin Yong’s Centennial Memorial '', an exhibition celebrating the 100th birthday of the famous Hong Kong writer Jin Yong opened in Central on Friday, free to the public. Fans can immerse in the fictional narratives with sculptures, calligraphy, and augmented reality. 10 sculptures made of bronze or stainless steel featured in the exhibition held in Edinburgh Palace, worth a total of HK$100 million, are on loan without charge from their creator, mainland Chinese artist Ren Zhe. The exhibition will open until July 2. "Seeing these sculptures in person is more shocking than watching them on TV,"  said Joyce Cai, 63, who has read all the novels by Jin Yong. She came from Kwun Tong, which is an hour's drive away. “The expressions of these characters are so real.” Speaking at the opening ceremony on Friday, the centenary of Jin Yong’s birth, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said people worldwide are familiar with Jin Yong’s 15 novels which have become a “golden-plated signboard” for Hong Kong. Jin Yong, also known as Louis Cha, is a prominent Chinese martial arts novelist and writer, whose 15 volumes of works have been translated into 14 languages and whose books have sold more than 300 million copies, with 1,400 characters created. Zoey Siu, 55, a photographer, has read all of Jin Yong’s novels. “Jin Young’s novel is the collective memory of Hong Kong,” she said.”Once Jin Yong's works were published, the whole city seemed to be quieter at that time because everyone was reading his stories.” Siu was deeply impressed by Jin Yong’s style of writing and attracted by his psychological and detailed descriptions. "Many foreigners are able to read Chinese and history probably because they read Jin Yong novels," said Chong Tai-leung, 55, executive director of Chinese University of …