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Typhoon Koinu leaves thousands stranded at Hong Kong airport

  • By: Hanzhi YANG、Xiya RUIEdited by: Tsz Yin HO
  • 2023-10-12

Thousands were left stranded at the Hong Kong airport on Sunday after the suspension of the airport train and buses and a shortage of taxis during typhoon Koinu. The Hong Kong Observatory issued typhoon signal 9, the second highest signal, at 11.50 pm on October 8 as typhoon Koinu approached the coast of Guangdong. According to the Observatory, most places in Hong Kong had more than 100 millimetres of rain and reaching 200 millimetres in some districts such as Hong Kong Island East. Speaking on RTHK, the Hong Kong's Airport Authority stated that 90 flights were cancelled throughout the day and another 130 were delayed. But some 60 flights that landed that evening brought in hundreds of passengers. Most public transport services stopped soon after signal 9 was issued, including the Citybus’s Cityflyer route and MTR’s Airport Express, which give access to the airport and urban areas. The waiting time for taxis exceeded three hours, leading to frustration among incoming passengers complaining about the insufficient supply of taxis in the city. “We have been waiting for over two hours, but we haven't even reached the halfway point of the queue,” said Moses Chan, 37, a Singaporean visitor waiting in line, adding that he and his wife were shocked by the overwhelming crowds. “Due to the typhoon, the supply of taxis in Hong Kong is actually very low, with only dozens of taxis arriving at the airport per hour,” said Kelly Tang, a staff member of the airport who was responsible for managing order. Airport staff also expressed their apologies for the situation, and free water along with around-the-clock catering services was distributed to those stranded at the airport. “The waiting time is really long, with no end in sight,” Chan, the Singaporean traveller added. Chan and his wife chose to …

Culture & Leisure

Hong Kong Cantopop: K-song's popularity reduces diversity of local music

Cantopop has played an important role in Hong Kong music culture since 1960, yet faced criticism for being dominated by mainstream love songs, or so-called “K-songs”. The term “K-song” appeared 20 to 30 years ago and comes from the word “karaoke”, a popular choice of activity teenagers like to do in the 80s-90s, according to Michael Kam Wing-hin, associate programme director of the associate degree in social sciences at College of Institute. Some say that the emergence of “K-song” reflects the musical preferences of mainstream audiences while critics say K song is a commercial act adopted by music production companies to gain profit. Jacky Chueng, one of the four “Heavenly Kings” in Cantopop, had high sales of his K songs in the 80s and 90s, but his jazz style in the later years led to mediocre sales, Kam said. “This situation may reflect that ‘K songs’ have a good response and audience acceptance, but it does not necessarily mean that the quality of ‘K songs’ is high. While those with a high level of musical quality does not mean that they are easy to become hits,” said Kam. As K songs guaranteed commercial success, companies have shifted their attention more to producing these types of songs, which reduced the diversity of songs in the music industry, and led to mass production of songs with similar characteristics. Kam agreed K songs are a product of the music market. Songwriters tend to produce K songs because audience acceptance and market response is the key to decide whether a song is hot or not, and K songs are mostly about love, with catchy melodies that are easy for people to sing along with, gaining a lot of concern and support, Kam said. “K song” is also seen as a way for artists to …

Culture & Leisure

Art Department: The story behind the visuals

Irving Cheung Yee-man, a 40-year-old  film production designer and art director, once worked on film production in the Shaw Studio for 69 hours straight without sleeping. She would keep working but not be conscious about what she was doing. “Why am I still working?” was the realisation when her consciousness was delayed. For Cheung, working in the film art department is exciting, despite the high-pressure schedule and irregular working time.  “Few other industries have such a job that people working for it can tell others, ‘hey, I just witnessed an explosion today, or a bank robbery, even flesh-cutting from a corpse’,” Cheung said.  In Hong Kong, the rising popularity of recent domestic films has brought more attention to the film art department, which is often hidden behind the media spotlight and the cheers of moviegoers. As the directorial debut of award-winning visual effects specialist Ng Yuen-fai, the action sci-fi film Warriors of Future has become the highest-grossing Chinese-language film in Hong Kong of all time, taking over HK$80 million at the Hong Kong box office, according to data released by the official social accounts of this film.  With expensive and time-consuming production, Warriors of Future has impressed audiences with its rich visual effects and sparked a media discussion on Hong Kong’s special effects filmmaking.  To achieve the artistic presentation of a film, the art department is responsible for creating the overall visual look of a film in collaboration with the director. An art department is supervised by a production designer whose job can be divided into three stages: pre-production, scene creation and post-production. Production designers will discuss and co-create the backgrounds of the film characters at the pre-production stage when the script has yet to be developed. Then, the production designer will lead the art director and costume designer in …

Culture & Leisure

Last surviving hand-painted porcelain factory in Hong Kong

Yuet Tung China Works, first established in 1928, mainly exports hand-painted dinnerware and family crests, such as plates and bowls, to foreign countries. The Canton famille-rose porcelain making technique can now only be found in Hong Kong's last hand-crafted porcelain factory after the decline of handicraft industry.

Culture & Leisure

Hong Kong's neon in new art form

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Zimo ZHONG、Subin JOEdited by: Kate Zhang、Ziyu Bruce Zhao
  • 2022-12-05

In a dark room, a woman lit a cigarette and opened a refrigerator. The door was wide open, a pure blue neon glow enveloping her.  This is a classic scene from the 1988 movie As Tears Go By directed by iconic Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, who excelled in using the neon lights in Hong Kong films.  Neon lights have long been a special feature of Hong Kong’s nightscape. Tourist Oh Ae-ran, a Korean housewife, said one of the unforgettable sights of her Hong Kong trip was the numerous neon lights on Hong Kong's streets.  “I was mesmerised by the neon colours that I had never seen in Korea,” Oh said. Another Korean traveller Kwack ho-wook said the neon lights in streets are an exclusive culture to Hong Kong.  “I took many pictures of neon lights at Tsim Sha Tsui. In my view,  neon light makes Hong Kong’s night streets more active,” Kwack said. But over the last decade, the city’s iconic neon signs has been decreasing. Fewer and fewer companies are making them due to the emergence of LED lights, which are cheaper to run and come in more colours." Thousands of neon signs that had been standing for decades were turned into illegal structures overnight in 2010 after the Building Department issued a Minor Works Control System, which requires sign boards not protrude more than 4.2 metres and be at least 3.5 metres above the ground. Media have reported that 90% of the city’s major neon signs have disappeared in the past 20 years. The government Buildings Department has removed close to 7,000 “dangerous advertising signs,” many of them neon, since 2014. But as the number of signs decline for store fronts, Hong Kong's neon culture is shifting to art.  Wu Chi-kai, 55, is one of the last …


Hang Seng Index slightly sinks as China protest fear

Hong Kong stocks closed at a slight drop on Friday, ending the three-day increasing trend since Nov. 29 as the prolonged zero-COVID policy triggered protests across China. The Hang Seng Index closed at 18,675 today with a drop of 0.3% and the Hang Seng Tech Index declined 0.3%. The index soared by 26.6% in November, which recorded the highest monthly gain since October 1998 as China eased some COVID measures and introduced policies helping developers with financial difficulties. The best-performing stock for today was AliHealth, a blue chip stock with an increase of 9.7%, followed by 7.1% by Haidilao, and 3.1% by Meituan. AliHealth announced the interim results from April to September on Monday, stating the total revenue of Q2 and Q3 has bounced by 22.9% compared to the end of Q1. The worst performing stocks were the semiconductor manufacturer SMIC with a decrease of 5.4% and followed by 4.5% in CG Services.  Real estate stocks generally contracted, with Longfor Group and Country Garden recording a 4% slip respectively. Moody said in a report released on Thursday that after China softened the limit of excessive borrowing to developers, the future for the property sector “remains negative on sluggish demand and weak contracted sales.”  Other major Asian markets all slumped as investors await the release of a fresh batch of US jobs numbers due on Friday. Shanghai Composite Index closed at 3,156 points, dipping 0.3%. RMB rose to a new closing high in two weeks, with the closing of an increase of 411 basis points. “China may accelerate its exit from the zero-COVID policy, which will benefit their market currencies and the rebound of assets,” said Barclays Bank.

Culture & Leisure

See the world in patterns: Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition at M+

M+ celebrates its first anniversary with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now. The exhibition follows a number of themes such as Infinity, Accumulation, Radical Connectivity, Biocosmic, Death, and Force of Life.


Hong Kong losing power to retain mainland students after graduation

Yang Yuhe will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Hong Kong Baptist University in 2024, but she has no plans to stay. From Hubei Province in mainland China, she moved to Hong Kong to attend university in 2020. Yang said she plans to go to the United States for graduate school as soon as possible. “The housing here is oppressive, and I would not need to withstand it in the mainland or the US,” she said. “Besides, universities in the US can give me more and better internship opportunities with a higher salary.” Like Yang, more mainland students are coming to Hong Kong to study but fewer are staying after graduation. Students and experts say the reason for mainland graduates leaving Hong Kong is a weakened labour market and unaffordable housing prices. In 2020, the government issued 31,123 student visas to mainland students, an increase of 68% from 2015. But in the same year, 6,125, fewer than 20%, applied for an IANG visa, the work visa available to non-local students who graduate from accredited programmes in Hong Kong. This is down from a peak of close to 10,000 IANG applicants in 2019. Even fewer are applying for permanent residency, available after seven years of continuous employment in the territory. In 2019, immigration data showed that 3,117 were granted permanent residency under the IANG program, meaning around 10% of mainland students educated in Hong Kong end up making the city their home. “Mainland students are the bridge between the mainland and Hong Kong in business and many other fields. Their increasing leave means loss of connections,” said Kaxton Siu, a professor of social sciences at HKBU who has mentored students from the mainland for nearly eight years. “The number of mainland students leaving Hong Kong has increased because of …


“Brekkie, Arvo, Thong”: the challenges of Aussie English for Hong Kongers

When Chan Pak-yu immigrated from Hong Kong to Sydney in 2021, she thought her fluency in English meant she could fit right in. But not so. She was 32, a professional in e-commerce and has been working in English. “Text me as ping me, Mcdonald's as meccas. I really didn’t understand when I first heard of these,” Chan said. Since the emigration started in 2021, Hongkongers have been facing all kinds of challenges in their new home. The language barrier is often the first obstacle. “When I heard my colleagues use slang like this, I had to ask them what they meant. It made me feel embarrassed,” said Chan. She believed it all boils down to cultural differences. “I don't know how to imitate their accents. But you can imagine when they are speaking too fast, I can only understand half of the conversation and then I need to guess what they are talking about,” she added. According to the 2021 Australian Census, 29.1% of the population were immigrants and 17.4% were Asian Australians. Sylvia Tam, 27, is a psychiatric nurse who moved to Melbourne from Hong Kong a year ago. Working in a hospital in Melbourne city centre, Tam meets patients from diverse backgrounds. She feels it’s important to improve her conversational English. “For my speciality, we mostly assess patients and provide tailor-made therapies for them through casual conversations,” said Tam. “The patients I'm taking care of struggle with mental health concerns, it is more difficult for them to express themselves compared to others.” Although Tam is comfortable with her English ability in her professional setting, she still feels the need to communicate with local people and understand their “talking styles”. Tam is not alone. Li Yan-yan, 30, is a theatre nurse who moved to Tasmania last year. She …


Policy Address 2022: Hong Kong’s new leader announces no new measures to boost international tourism; support for local tourism instead

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Aruzhan ZEINULLA、Le Ha NGUYEN、Angela HuangEdited by: Malick Gai
  • 2022-10-19

Hong Kong’s leader John Lee Ka-chiu announced support for existing measures to boost local tourism in his maiden policy address, with no timeline as to when the city will fully reopen to international tourists.    The government will allocate HK$600 million (US$76 million) towards the three-year “Cultural and Heritage Sites Local Tour Incentive Scheme” to boost local tourism with an emphasis on cultural and heritage elements, a policy that was also mentioned in this year’s Budget Address.   “To re-establish Hong Kong's position as the region's premier travel destination, the Hong Kong Tourism Board will enhance its support for tourism in light of the epidemic development so as to attract more high value-added overnight visitors to Hong Kong,” said Lee.   A new round of “Spend-to-Redeem Local Tours” and “Staycation Delights,” campaigns providing the public with guided local tours and hotel staycation discounts, will be launched with an increased quota to enhance local consumption, the chief executive said in his policy address.    “I would prefer tourists over government subsidies. There's very little opportunity for sustainable business with just local tourism,” said Amy Overy, the owner of Hong Kong Greeters, a travel agency that provides private tours for tourists.    The city is still longing for further relaxation on quarantine requirements to attract mainland and overseas tourists.    “HKTB is yet to find any unique elements to promote the city,” said Dave Chan, an instructor from the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.    Chan said the government has been promoting cultural and historical elements but it failed to draw foreign tourists’ interest.    Chan added that around half of the travellers arriving in Hong Kong every year come from mainland China but because the border is yet to open, the recovery of the …