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Society

Hong Kong beekeepers find ways to battle extreme weather

The mean temperature of Hong Kong has increased nearly 2 degrees Celsius within 10 years.  Given extreme temperatures and frequent typhoons, it is always challenging to nurture bee colonies in Hong Kong.  Still, local beekeepers are determined in continuing what they love and are able to find ways battling against the unpredictable weather.

Society

Big, loud and looking for a mate - Asian Koels in Hong Kong

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: James Ezekiel Kalaw MODESTOEdited by: Xiya RUI、Hanzhi YANG
  • 2024-04-22

As dawn cracks and you wake up to prepare for work, school or other routines, your day may go undisturbed without a sharp two-toned “koo-ah,” courtesy of the Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus), a common sight in Hong Kong. Steady into Spring, the cacophonous calls of the Asian Koel echo throughout Hong Kong, signalling the mating season for the city’s feathered friends. With a vocalisation akin to their onomatopoeic name, the Asian Koel is a large, long-tailed cuckoo species common in Hong Kong and widely distributed throughout East, South and Southeast Asia. Although they are resident birds, they are only heard vocalising during the breeding season, typically between March and August. “I’ve seen some people imitate their sounds whenever I visit the park,” said birder John Chow Kwok-pun. “Some people don’t even recognise what bird is making those noises.” The “ko-ah” call is produced by the male koels, which sport glossy black plumage, to attract females, identifiable by their white and black streaks. Like certain bird species, such as herons and hawks, they have crimson irises. Asian Koels can be found in urban parks and the countryside, perched high in the trees where they vocalise. Being mainly fruit-eaters, they can also be observed perched near fruit trees. “They are frugivorous birds, which means they can be good seed dispersers,” said Bond Shum, founder of Outdoor Wildlife Learning Hong Kong. “Frugivorous birds mainly take fruits in their diet and they can fly with a larger foraging range which helps to disperse the seeds further away from the mother tree,” said Shum. “With the protection of an indigestible seed coat, the seeds are excreted and dispersed when the birds fly away from the fruiting tree.” Asian Koels also possess the behavioural pattern of brood parasites. Brood parasitism is observed among cuckoo species where …

Society

Getting to know Hong Kong through sustainable ecotourism

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: KIM Seojoon、CHAN Wing YiuEdited by: Elif Lale AYHAN、Wai Sum CHEUNG
  • 2024-04-17

Stepping into the forest, a symphony of bird songs filled the air. Chow Kwok-pun, 57, could practically name every bird in Hong Kong just from their songs.   “The best way to teach people about conservation and creating a sustainable environment is to bring them to nature and feel it with their hearts,” said Chow, a secondary school laboratory technician. Apart from his regular job as a teacher, Chow has been an eco-tour guide for 11 years with a passion for promoting environmental sustainability. Every weekend, he runs bird watching and stargazing tours all over Hong Kong, spanning both rural and urban areas. Ecotourism, according to the International Eco-tourism Society, is “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” Tours, like the ones run by Chow, became popular during the pandemic since many people opted for outdoor activities.  According to the World Tourism Organization, the market value of ecotourism is projected to increase from $219.53 billion in 2023 to $249.16 billion in 2024. The growth, according to UNWTO, is the result of rising demand for authentic experiences, government initiatives and policies, the emergence of responsible travel, and efforts on biodiversity conservation, along with the integration of educational components. On weekends, Chow’s eco-tours start at 8 am at early Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve, a popular spot among naturalists, biologists and locals who crave serenity. The Reserve covers 440 hectares of forest on the steep catchment area of a stream. The forest extends from 50 metres above sea level to the top of Grassy Hill (Tso Shan), at  647 metrest. “It is the best forest left in Hong Kong. You can see the well-grown canopy,” Chow said. “People think that there are no birds and stars in the city, I’m here to prove …

Society

Exhibitors disappointed by poor customer traffic at the lighting fair are looking for better turnout in Autumn

The 15th Edition of the Lighting Fair held by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council from Apr. 6 to Apr. 9, drew 200,000 visitors and disappointed exhibitors because of poor turnout. With the theme of “bright lighting smart living”, the spring lighting fair covered commercial lighting, decorative lighting, residential lighting, and technical lighting with accessories, showcasing an extensive array of lighting products and solutions. The Hong Kong International Lighting Fair is an annual exhibition for international buyers to learn about trends and innovations. The Autumn edition is regarded as the largest and most influential professional lighting exhibition in Asia.  "As our experience, the spring edition is typically not optimistic. So we had low expectations for this edition," said Huang Wing, a sales representative at LED Night Lights, a light fixture company based in Zhongshan. “The customer traffic and turnout in the Autumn edition is usually better.” Ariana Chen, sales manager from Shenzhen, Guangdong province, was disappointed with the poor turnout. “We've been doing this for over a decade, and this year there aren't as many people as in previous years, also with fewer exhibitors. You can see from the large open area in the back of the exhibition hall,” said Chen. Zhu Yixin, 32, a seller from Yuyao, Zhejiang Province, said their turnout and visitors were not bustling this year. “Our company has been producing outdoor lights for 26 years, ” said Zhu. “Maybe it is because the light fixtures look so old-fashioned.” “Most of the exhibitors who take part in the Spring exhibition can get a better booth to displace in autumn,” said Zhu. “I hope we can have more turnout this autumn.” Cloye Wu, senior account manager, was looking forward to a better customer traffic this autumn, “The turnout this year didn’t reach our expectation, both exhibitors and …

Society

Songkran water splashing limited to basketball courts in Kowloon City

  • By: NG Natasha Goa Sheng、MAO AnqiEdited by: KONG Tsz Yuen
  • 2024-04-15

  Hong Kong’s celebrations of the Thai New Year, Songkran, were limited to several basketball courts at Carpenter Road Park in Kowloon City over the weekend. Participants in the festival, known for its water splashing, had to register beforehand. Last year, three men were charged after soaking several police officers during Songkran on South Wall Road, also known as Little Thailand.   Alice Choi, District Officer for Kowloon City, said water splashing had to be restricted for “safety reasons”. “It is actually safer for the kids to stay inside a basketball court than play outside on the road,” said Patrick Ho, 39, a father of two.  “It feels great to experience the local Thai Songkran festival traditions in Hong Kong without travelling to Thailand, I think this is one of the great points that can attract more visitors to come,” Ho said. “Today’s atmosphere is fine, but I think the water-splashing celebration is not as enthusiastic as before,” said Vickey Chan, another reveller. “The celebrations used to be held on the street,and everyone could attend and didn’t need to register. Some visitors may find it troublesome and don’t want to attend this time around,” said Chan. Stall owner, Antia Fong, thought there were fewer visitors this year than in the past. “If the government can ease the restrictions to allow the public to fully participate in the activity, more people will come,” she said. “There were not as many people as expected because of the hot weather today, but more people might come around 4 to 5 o’clock when it’s less hot,” said Fong. 

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.