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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 …

Society

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.

Society

Latest technology in movie production at the Hong Kong International Film and TV Market

  • By: NG Natasha Goa Sheng、YANG ShuyiEdited by: KONG Tsz Yuen
  • 2024-03-15

The 28th Hong Kong International Film and TV Market, Filmart, concluded at the Hong Kong International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on Thursday, where industry leaders discussed the future of musical score production, leveraging AI, and the breakthroughs in movie production using Virtual Production (VP) and Extended Reality (XR) techniques. In a program titled Dimensional Innovation: The Application and Impact of New Technologies in Film and TV Production, film production companies shared how technology is bringing revolutionary changes to entertainment content production, including co-production, post-production, location shooting, visual effects, and music, as well as the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Among the speakers was Edmond Tsang, BMus Creative Industries Programme Director at Hong Kong Baptist University.  "AI can produce music that meets goals in a very short period of time. It will be a tool for future composers, helping them to get inspired and compose more efficiently," he said.  "The use of VP and XR technology applications will result in a production experience with longer preparation time but a faster production process," said Roger Proeis, President of Votion Studios. This is the first time the Hong Kong company Votion Studios has shown their virtual production studio at Filmart. This virtual production studio uses Extended Reality (XR) and camera robotics to combine real and virtual footage through computers to create a virtual environment that can interact with humans.  The shift from traditional video technology to virtual production has changed filming technology from green screen filming to the current use of LED screens and the creation of instant filming effects after real people do instant filming. Votion Studios has been collaborating with different directors on commercials, music videos, and real estate advertising using their virtual production technology. “This is the first time we demonstrate to the public that filming …

Society

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 …

Society

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 …

Society

Budget 2024: Government to expand cross-boundary data flow and services

    Hong Kong will expand cross-boundary data flow to help Hong Kong and mainland residents in the Greater Bay Area access public services without needing to cross the border. This month, the government announced it launched self-service kiosks in Shenzhen and Guangzhou where Hong Kong citizens can apply for more than 50 government services in Hong Kong. The kiosks aim to streamline government services, promote investment in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and boost satisfaction for businesses operating cross-boundary, according to a Press Release from the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Agency. Echo Lee, 21, from Guangzhou and studying in Hong Kong, said this policy is convenient but he is concerned about the leakage of personal information. Ethan Deng, 19, from Shenzhen and studying in Hong Kong, said he hadn't paid much attention to this policy before and thinks it will be more convenient to apply for documents, especially identity documents. Zong Can, 25, a cross-border worker from Shenzhen, said this policy will help bring the two places closer together, especially for residents like her who live close to Hong Kong. Denny Deng, 26, a Hong Kong resident who works in insurance, said this policy should be helpful to the exchange of enterprises between the two places as well as the development of business, which is conducive to the flow of capital between the two places. "In the future, I hope that we can use cross-border processing to solve more livelihood issues, such as driving licenses, tax, healthcare interoperability. Because Hong Kong is a place where privacy is very important, how to get the authorization of the person to communicate between the two places or successful cases will make the whole community have confidence," said Chau Man-kong, Executive Director of the School of Applied Policy Studies and Educational Futures …